“My house in Budapest, My hidden treasure chest….but for you…You..I’d leave it all.🎼🎼🎼” (from the song Budapest by George Ezra).
The moment my bus arrived in Budapest Nepliget station, I can’t wait to play this song for my IG stories! Budapest was never in my travel list, however I’ve heard good feedback about it from my friends and fortunately I still have some Interflix passes expiring- so I immediately turned on my budget traveler/adventurer mode again.
Arriving in Budapest and Transit to City Center
You can reach Budapest via several ways- 2 of the most common ways is via plane (check cheap Ryanair tickets), or bus (Flixbus, Eurobus, etc). I used 2 out of 5 vouchers of my Interflix for this roundtrip travel. I left Nuremberg at around 10PM and reached Budapest Nepliget station by 8 AM. I didn’t feel confident upon arrival since I wasn’t able to change Hungarian Forints in Germany. Good news for you guys is that there is a ticket vending machine in Nepliget station (check for the purple ticket machines in the local train area), that accepts credit cards. You can buy one train ticket (around 400 Huf) going to your hostel, or just buy the 24 hour pass for a very cheap price of 1650 Huf, which is approximately 5 Euros. You can reach city center by getting off at Deák Ferenc tér (line M3). From here, you can reach most of the places by foot, and can also do the travel essentials-change money, groceries, etc.
Where to Stay in Budapest?
If you are wondering in what area to stay during your Budapest vacation, I highly recommend any hostel within Deák Ferenc tér station. I stayed at Activity Hostel, which is a bare 5-minute walk from the square along the main street ( I can recommend it because of its perfect location,clean rooms, and really nice staff especially Bori!). Feel free to use my 15 Euro discount link for Booking.com , or my 22 US dollar discount for Airbnb ! Both of these are my affiliate accounts so you technically get the same price, but with the added discount for you and me. Just like any other city center, this area will not be crystal clear perfect (there are homeless people at night, etc), but based from my solo girl travel experience, it was ok so nothing to worry.
Where & What to eat in Budapest?
Local Cuisine- try Goulash in Red Pepper
If you are in Hungary, you should try Hungarian food! Make sure to try the Goulash from Red Pepper ( Visegradi utca 2, Budapest 1132, Hungary ). The staff told us that they serve the best Goulash in Budapest, and I can only agree about that! Cost is around 8-10 Euros for the dish plus a drink! Definitely the best 10 Euros I’ve ever spent for food!
Best cakes-Ruszwurm Cafe
This old but famous cafe is located in the Castle District (1 min walk from Matthias Church). You’ll immediately see it because of its long lines and jampacked tables. Make sure to try their Cream cake(bestseller) along with the other cakes that look equally yummy! Price is also very reasonable- around 400 Huf per cake ( 1 Euro!).
What to do and places to visit in Budapest
Attend a free walking tour
My first activity to every European city I visit is to attend morning walking tour. It helps me to get a feeling of the vicinity with a guide of a local insider. Unlike paid tours, free walking tours are short (2-3 hours), interesting, and most of the time lively. In Budapest, I attended the Original walk of Free Walking Tours and showed up at exactly 10:30AM in Vörösmarty square (at the lion fountain). It ended at around 1PM in Matthias Church. Do not forget to give a reasonable tip to your tour guide since this is the way they make a living out of it. This tour pretty much covered the highlights of the Pest side already.
- How to go: Vörösmarty square (at the lion fountain) is just around Deák Ferenc tér station. It is near Starbucks/KFC, and other establishments.
- Cost: Usually, I give 5-10 euros, but if you feel like giving more then do so, they deserve it.
Go to Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion either in late afternoon or early morning
Both of these tourist spots are located in the Castle Hill and is definitely flocked with tourists in the daytime. I visited this area twice- late afternoon for sunset, and early morning at around 7:30AM, and got the place all by myself! Definitely a perfect strategy for those who want to get that perfect Instagram shot! Fisherman’s Bastion is my favorite place in Budapest because of its Disney like feels- which is probably why it was told that the Disney logo is inspired from this real-life structure (i.e. mainly due to the turrets?).
- How to go: Just take bus 16 or 16A Deák Ferenc tér station, or your location (look for the nearest bus stop). The fare for this is already covered by the 24-hr pass, but you can also buy tickets from the driver for around 400++ Huf.
- Cost: 0 Huf since there technically no entrance fee for both of these places. Fisherman’s bastion has a fee of around 600 Huf if you want to be on the higher platform, but they only ask for it during daytime. If you go early morning or in the evening, there is no staff anymore who will ask for the fee so you can just technically pass through the rope entrance gates.
Stroll along the Chain Bridge, Danube, and Hungarian Parliament Building at night
Budapest’ nightscape views are definitely jawbreaking. My first night in the city is super windy, but me and my new found friends managed to walk along the Danube and night and was able to get some nice night shots (thanks to my ever trusted Fujifilm XT10). Do not forget to spot the flaws of the lions in the Chain bridge, pay respect for the Shoes on the Danube, and admire the beauty of Hungarian Parliament building.
- How to go: All of these locations are walking distance from the center. At the end ( Hungarian Parliament), if you are tired, then you can take the train from Kossuth Lajos tér station back to your hostel.
- Cost: 0 Huf. All of these are outdoor places, so simply enjoy the views and take awesome pictures!
Try the Thermal Baths of Budapest- especially when you visit in Winter!
Budapest is well known for its Thermal baths. I personally tried the Szechenyi since it is the most famous and photogenic as compared to others. I bough my ticket from the hostel ( 5600 Huf, all day entry with cabin), and was thankful I did so since I managed to skip a long line of tourists & locals who are eager to dip in the pool in the middle of summer. For me, I think it’s quite overrated since I find the water and the place quite dirty, plus the fact that I came from a country who also has a lot of hotsprings ( i.e. Laguna) so I wasn’t super impressed. In the end, I still managed to feel the experience and tried the various indoor pools ( with different temperatures ranging from 20 deg to 38 deg), and outdoor pools! Make sure to wear proper swimming attire. I guess the experience will be better in Winter since the difference of the air and water temperature creates a somewhat weird soothing effect.
- How to go: Take the train and get off at Széchenyi fürdő of line M1.
- Cost: 5600 for whole day entry with cabin. You can also check the latest prices here.
And that’s a quick summary of my solo trip in Budapest! Watch out for more adventures of the Madaldal Kid!