Budapest is the city of spas and since Roman times has offered many public baths around thermal springs. It has Europe’s first underground railway.
Originally populated by Celtic tribes, the Romans conquered this area and established bath houses on the hot springs. In the year 860 seven tribes from Siberia migrated here and joined as one nation under St Stephen. In the 1500’s the Turks conquered this area for 150 years giving them bath houses, paprika and coffee. Then the Austrians liberated the country and stayed. Hungry fought on the losing side in the two world wars and then were occupied by the Soviets. Free from 1989 the Hungarian’s have a rich heritage.
From the airport take bus 100E which runs every 15/30 minutes between Budapest Airport Terminal 2 and Deák Ferenc Square in the city centre. It takes 45 minutes and costs 900HUF (about €3). On the way back get the bus from the square as it gets really busy – somehow the driver got folk on but we were like sardines.
Once in Budapest a 24 hour ticket to travel multiple times is valid from the hour and minute first stamped and cost 1650HUF. You can buy multiple days but they were not much cheaper according to the BKK types and prices page. Look at the BKK bus ticket vending machines site to see a machine near you.
Tram 2 and tram 4-6 take you round the important tourist sites and save the price of an expensive tourist bus. Tram 2 takes you along tge Danube and offers views of the castle as well as taking you to tge parliament. See the transport page for more details https://www.bkv.hu/en/our_thematic_routes_with_/?jid=
Bike rental for around £8 a day is possible from bikebase and there is also the public bike system where once you register the first 30 minutes is free. Make sure you do not ride more than 30 minutes as it can be expensive. Bikes are heavy and not for tall people.
Bars and Restaurants
Budapest has “ruin” bars where old dilapidated buildings are taken over and turned into huge drinking areas.
Szimpla Kert, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Budapest is a huge tourist orientated bar full of nooks and crannies in the old Jewish quarter.
Koleves Kert beer garden, Kazinczy u 37, Budapest is a great outdoor beer garden.
Elestzo Craft Beer bar is eastern Europe first craft beer bar.
There is a great list of indoor and outdoor bars at https://www.offbeatbudapest.com/top10/best-local-bars-budapest
Kádár étkezde, is a Jewish Hungarian restaurant that sells traditional food to locals. Not much English spoken here but great food at grest prices. No alcohol.
Belvárosi Disznótoros Budapest, Király u. 1d, 1075 sells traditional Hungarian dishes like wild boar stew. There are two in the city centre.
Rosenstein Restaurant Budapest, Mosonyi u. 3, 1087 Hungary is Jewish Hungarian and the Matzo Dumpling Soup is excellent here
The Allee shopping mall, Október huszonharmadika u. 8-10., 1117 Budapest, is for locals and has a bunch of shops you have never heard of. Upstairs you can eat traditional Hungarian food as the locals eat. Black pudding , stuffed cabbage and other delicacies.
Lehel Market Mall is very unusual and for locals. The architecture is worth seeing and you can buy a beer here.
The Europeum is small but in the centre.
West End Shopping Mall has three floors of shops.
Arena Mall is next to the main train station
MOM park Budapest, Alkotás u. 53, 1123 Hungary
Things to See
House of Terror Museum – the secret police headquarters
The tomb of Gul Baba is the northernmost Islamic shrine in the world. Sulemain the Magnificent ruled an Islamic empire from Budapest to the Red Sea and Gul Baba was his right hand man. The tomb was built in 1534 after Gul Baba’s death. Take tram 19 or 41 from the chain bridge to Gul Baba Utec and start the long steep climb to the tomb. It’s hard but that adds to the experience.
Acuincum is a museum with Roman ruins and bathhouse. The Roman ruins are quite substantial and right above Florian Ter metro station and below a concrete flyover. It’s free to get in.
Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Állatkerti körút, Budapest has 16 pools and you can play chess in the water. Budapest is famous for its springs and spas and this is one of the biggest. It is quite expensive but you can’t come and not go.
There are public chess parks in Budapest where you can play a local.
Budapest Art Gallery 1146 Budapest, Dózsa György út 37.
The chain bridge was built by a Scotsman Adam Clark.
There is the castle, St Stephens cathedral and the parliament to see.
Most parks in the city centre and everywhere else have a place for children to play.
Places to take them are
Budapest Zoo entry is HUF3000 for an adult and HUF2000 for a child. Take yellow metro line 1 to the Széchenyi Fürdő stop. Some elements similar to a Disney type place than zoo and lots of play areas for kids. Food cheap and try Langos a kind of pizza.
Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Állatkerti körút, Budapest has 16 pools – more a spa then play area but you can lounge on the sunbed all day.
The city park, Varosliget , next to the zoo and thermal baths, has loads of things for children; boating, trampolines, table tennis and there is a great beer garden called Kertem. A bus (number 70) goes back into Budapest from here.