Budapest: Exploring Hungary’s Capital City

Budapest is a stunning city that dates back to the Stone Age.  It offers an affordable European holiday that can take you back in time.

Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, is located right on the Danube River and is comprised of two separate cities that are connected by the Chain Bridge. Buda, the hilly part of Budapest, lies on the west side of the Danube River, while Pest, which is flat, is on the east side.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning a holiday to Budapest.

Budapest Attractions: What to See and Experience

There’s much to see and do in this historic capital city.

  • Buda Castle is a site that you must visit. This historic castle, which dates back to 1265, is known for its medieval, Baroque style.
  • Trinity Square, the most popular world heritage site, is home to the Mathias Church, which is at least 700 years old. It was here that numerous coronation ceremonies took place.
  • The Hungarian National Gallery, overlooking the Danube River, contains several wings of Buda Castle and houses beautiful artwork.
  • The Fisherman’s Bastion is one of Hungary’s most scenic photographic tourist sites where you can admire and take photos of the city’s fairy-tale towers.
  • Over 100 thermal springs can be found in Budapest, which is called “the city of spas”. After a full day of sightseeing, you can pamper yourself with spa treatments.
  • At the Budapest Flea Market, situated on the outskirts of the city, you can find everything from fine antiques to lower-priced smaller items that can make ideal souvenirs and gifts.

How to Get Around Budapest

Getting around the city is easy, thanks to Budapest’s excellent public transportation system.

  • The city’s yellow trams provide the main transport. Other transpiration options include trolleybuses, buses and both underground and above-ground trains.
  • There are three subway lines.
  • Many tourists use taxi services, which typically include telephone operators who speak English and are trustworthy. If you’re worried about communicating, you can acquire an English-speaking driver.

Culture and Etiquette Tips

It helps to be aware of basic Budapest etiquette, such as:

  • Shaking hands is expected when meeting people, but men typically wait for a woman to make the first move by extending her hand.
  • When visiting a Hungarian home, it’s customary to give flowers to the hostess.
  • Greet strangers you meet in elevators and shops by saying “hello”.

Weather and Best Months to Visit Budapest

One of the best times to travel to Budapest is from March through May. September through November is also a good time when you can enjoy idyllic weather. What’s more, there are fewer tourists in the autumn months. Usually, Budapest enjoys a somewhat mild climate that doesn’t have many days of inclement weather.  If you’re planning a trip in May or June, you can expect heavy and sudden showers.

Tipping Considerations

  • The tipping rate for Budapest sit-down eateries is 10 percent, while 15 percent is the standard rate for exceptional service.
  • Many Budapest restaurants require a 12.5 percent service charge, meaning there’s no need to leave additional tip money.
  • The going rate for taxi drivers is 10 percent for a full fare, provided you’re a satisfied customer.

Budget Issues: What Things Cost

Compared to other European cities, Budapest is very affordable. In fact, it’s considered one of the cheapest cities in the world to visit. The Hungarian Forint (HUF) is the official currency, although Euros and credit cards are accepted in many places. To get an idea of what items cost, check the daily exchange rate.

Other Considerations and Warnings

  • If you’re looking for a romantic, calm setting, then stay in the Buda Castle District. But if you want an area with more action, consider staying in the inner city or Belvaros, District V, where you can shop and tour historic buildings.
  • Budapest has a wide range of dining facilities, including hot bars and restaurants. If you don’t have enough money for high-end restaurants, there are plenty of low-cost eateries, bars and dining facilities for every budget.
  • The city’s ruin bars are the key social hubs. These bars were formerly rundown buildings that have been renovated.
  • Fortunately, Budapest is relatively safe as violent crimes rarely occur. On the other hand, the city is known for its pickpockets and has a bad record of bicycle theft.
  • Therefore, use common sense when walking on busy sidewalks or traveling on crowded trams. To be safe, you should leave your passport and valuables in your hotel safe.
  • Never exchange currency on a street. Besides being a crime, you could be left with fake money, along with some strange papers. Instead, use exchange offices, found throughout the city.

Budapest is a great destination and guaranteed to provide some amazing memories.   Now you’ve got some great ideas for your trip to Budapest, don’t forget to arrange travel insurance as soon as you’ve made a booking. Get a quote today or call one of our friendly team on 1300 819 888 to discuss your requirements.

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