My Travels into Hungary were slightly unexpected, you can read about what happened on an article about my bad euro-lines service. So my visit to Budapest was unprepared. I did make the most of it though
Budapest: The capital of Hungary and one of the most architecturally beautiful cities I have been in. Also, another tourist mecca.
Buda Castle - Set on top of a hill overlooking the river this is large well renovated castle with superb views of the river bank. Spoilt terribly by having a 5 star hotel slap bang in its center - the future of cultural hotspots?
Danube - This is one of the most famous rivers in Europe, and I can't think of another I have visited that has so much to see. Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Parliament and a host of other buildings are all situated along it. Night time viewing is a must.
Parliament Building- Close to London's parliament in terms of beauty. Just as much security spoils it terribly. As does the constant renovations.
Heroes' Square - If you want a free walk in the park, head here. Worth a visit either way.
Applied Art Museums- If you like old European buildings this is place to marvel at.
Old KGB Station, and Torture House- Speaks for itself really. A bit hard to find, and not much too it.
Nyugati/Keleti Railway Stations - I am not a train spotter. But I did hang out here for a while. The Nyugati in particular is the most spectacular of buildings and certainly the best example of what huge old train station should look like!
Did you know?
Hungary created the first noiseless matchstick!
By plane: Hungary has many budget airline destinations. If flying to a budget carriers city, please be aware of how far it really is from your end destination city.
By bus/car: Car rental in Hungary is possible, but the driving in Hungary can be quite hazardous. Eurolines is the most popular international bus company that has several stops throughout Hungary. There are also several hop on and off tour companies offering the same.
By Train: The train network in Hungary is quite good, and not that expensive.
I took a last minute overnight train from Krakow Poland which I documented here. It took me through the center of Slovakia with immigration onboard the train. They boarded again in Hungary so there was no need to get off the train. The night train itself was actually very empty.
|Try my custom flight search for the lowest priced flights to and from Hungary!
After several countries of good food I ran into trouble in Budapest. In one word, expensive. Actually, expensive Hungarian restaurants. I finally found a Chinese place by the railway station that was very cheap and very nice.
A lack of street stalls to eat, and far, far too many western fast food chains. In fact pick up a free tourist map, and all you will see there are BK signs everywhere. I did eat lots of Hungarian salami and sausage from the markets which was quite good, but again, a little pricey.
I found the Hungarians to be okay. Nothing makes them stand out other than being a bit drab. Aside from the drinkers, they tend to keep to themselves.
It was never going to happen for me. In Budapest is so touristy you don't need it. Out of the capital, I would imagine it would be important. .
Do pick up a free tourist map of the city and marvel at the amount of fast food chains listed on it.
Do make an effort to see the sunset on both sides of the city.
Do not bother to find the tourist office, it's got little on offer you can't find on the internet or in a guide book.
Do try to see if there is anything cultural going on. When I was there I got to see a World Press Exhibition on Police violence, held right opposite Parliament.
Where I stayed
Finding a hostel in Budapest that's not overrun by students or gap year party goers and not a terribly run place was a challenge in this city.
Green Bridge Hostel- just beside the Danube is about 10 Euro a night in a dorm with free internet and bad plumbing.
Prefer local accommodation? Try Airbnb (get up to USD $40 discount)
I found it relatively easy to research this due to some local expats I met. It's also surprisingly easy to move there. That said, language, and a high unemployment rate makes it a toughy. Though renting is quite cheap in certain parts, and transport is easy. The types of jobs on offer is centered around bar work for non Hungarian speakers.
How much is a daily budget in Hungary?
My biggest expense in Budapest was food. I really struggled here to find something within my own budget and within walking distance of where I was. Hostels were all about 10 Euro for dorm rooms, transport was cheap and entrance fees low. 23 Euro a day is about right.
How is the metro in Budapest?
I really found the Budapest Metro easy to get around. But saw plenty of tourists getting very annoyed with the system it uses. There are 4 lines and more planned. You buy a ticket per line, and have to pay if you want to transfer. Yes, you have to pay to transfer lines. Stupid idea. And yes they check, and yes some guards give backpackers a hard time with fines. Buy a week ticket and look the guards in the eye with contempt, or else stand back and watch them pick on more backpackers, non central lines in the evening is best for this. The old yellow line a real treat as it's one of the oldest in the world.
Money in Budapest, what to do?
International Credit cards like VISA or
MasterCard work everywhere as do most debit cards. You get your Hungarian Forint in return. There are also plenty of Money changers.
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