We can start here: Budapest is absolutely one of the most UNDERRATED European cities. If you are still on the fence about whether or not to include Budapest in your travel plans, make no mistake, you can go ahead and skip both Paris and Prague because the Hungarian capital is totally worth the visit.
Architecturally speaking, Budapest is STUNNING. Take a stroll along the Danube river and you'll find yourself at ease. This is a city that has a rich history, especially around the time of WWII, with the intensive persecution and displacement of Hungarian Jews and the Hungarian government's eventual alignment with Nazi Germany. You can feel and see the remnants of the War while you stroll through the city, as well as point out numerous lasting buildings from the Communist regime.
Given Budapest sits right at one of the global focal points of East and West, to this day, cultural tensions from either side of Europe can still be felt from years ago. (The week that we visited, for instance, the streets closed one morning because authorities found a bomb along the banks of a touristic section of the Danube river.) It is said that the past is another country when it comes to Hungary. On the one hand, lasting gems from an opulent historical periods are what give the city is charm-- for example, some of the remains that make this city so unique is the abundance of thermal baths. At the same time, today the city is dotted with Bohemian bars, posh nightclubs, swanky rooftop bars, which speak to its evolution into modernity. The result is that Budapest, with an intense historical intrigue is mixed with the modern cutting edge sophistication, amounting to an explosion of entertainment for everyone.
Here are a few things you want to know before visiting Budapest:
- Budapest is the capital of Hungary
- The national language of Hungary is Hungarian
- July is the hottest month in Budapest with highs hitting an average of about 80 degrees F - aka the perfect time to visit
- There is no Uber in Hungary but you can find plenty of taxis around.
- Budapest is more affordable to visit than other major European cities such as Paris or Rome
Day 1: Arrive in Budapest
Arrive in Budapest just before lunch
Lodging: New York Palace Hotel by Marriott
- This property is part of Marriott's Autograph Collection
- This is without a doubt the most grandiose Marriott property we have ever stayed at. You are quite literally staying inside a PALACE!
- The property cost us about ~180 USD a night after using a corporate rate
- Pro-Tip: If you don't work for a corporation that is affiliated with Marriott, have someone that does have that affiliation book your hotel for a better rate
- The location of the hotel is primo--this entire itinerary is accessible from the hotel within a 20-minute taxi radius
2:00pm - 3:45 pm: Late lunch at Cafe New York
- If you are staying at the hotel, then I wouldn't recommend having lunch here because you will have breakfast at the hotel throughout the trip (depending on if your rate includes breakfast)
- If you aren't staying at this hotel then cafe is ABSOLUTELY worth a visit for lunch or dinner.
- The ambiance at the cafe is superb, there is either a pianist or violist playing at all times
5:00pm - 9:00pm: Sunset at Szechenyi Thermal Bath
- As mentioned before, there are no Ubers in Budapest - you can rely on the hotel attendants to call you a cab
- We happened to be in Budapest during several World Cup matches - the great thing about Szechenyi Baths was that they had a large screen set up at one of their outdoor pools, which made watching and participating in the revelry a breeze
- These baths are really quite incredible. You could spend all day here. There are several pools with varied water temperatures to choose from, and various sauna rooms.
9:00pm: Dinner at Kiosk Budapest for traditional Hungarian food
Admittedly, we didn't love Hungarian food. But obvi you have to try it when you're in Hungary! This restaurant is a really cool vibe with an awesome outdoor bar and a sophisticated interior
It is near the baths so I recommend this spot for dinner
Day 2: Budapest
9:00am: Breakfast at New York Palace Hotel
Y'ALL the breakfast at New York Palace is superb! We were surrounded by gourmet pastry and coffee carts and ate like royalty.
10:30am - 1:00 pm: The "Original" Walking Tour" - CAN'T MISS THIS
- Danube Promenade
- Municipal Concert Hall
- Gresham Palace
- Academy of Hungarian Sciences
- St.Stephen’s Basilica
- Chain Bridge
- Castle District
- Royal Palace
- Matthias Church
- Fisherman Bastion
1:00pm - 3:00pm: Lunch at Hotel Clark's rooftop bar, Leo
- Leo opened in Spring of 2018
- The vibe is sexy, the cocktails are bomb, and the food happens to get better because of the view. Overall, this spot is perfect to chill out after walking for the last 4ish hours!
3:00pm - 6:00pm: Head to Pest
Right next to Hotel Clark is a trolley that can take you up to Pest. This is something you absolutely can not miss
9:00pm: Dinner at Antalya Kebab 2
One of the best things about being in Europe is eating Kebabs. This whole in the wall spot will not disappoint and is five minute walking distance from the New York Palace hotel
11:00pm: Another Budapest can't miss: Szimpla bar - the famous ruin bar in the Jewish Quarter
Day 3: Departure Day
6:30 am - 8am: Morning bath and massage at Gellért Thermal Bath
- Daily ticket with locker usage on weekdays - 5600
- Take a taxi to get here with hella traffic - 3800
8:00am - 12:00pm: Breakfast at hotel and snooze till check out
12:30pm - 2:00pm: Lunch at Great Market Hall (one of those large areas with several vendors and restaurants!)
---- End of Trip! -----