The Hungarian capital is one of Europe’s fastest-growing tourist destinations not only for its nightlife but for its cultural history and offbeat attractions. It’s also a very easy place to have fun if you’re travelling on a shoestring – so long as you know where to look. Here are some hints and tips for those vacating to Budapest.
Sorting out the paperwork
Other than the obvious passport, there may be other documentation you need to bring. Hungary is an EU member and visa changes will be coming in to non-EU members. You can read about this ETIAS information update online. If you’re planning to rent a car, make sure to bring your insurance documents and also consider buying a vignette, which will allow you to travel on highways – useful if you want to explore outside the city. Whist an EU member, Hungary does not use Euros, but instead forint. Shop around for the cheapest transfer rate.
Booking the flight
You can get some great cheap flights to Budapest by booking last minute. If you’d prefer to give your trip more forward planning, try to aim for out of season months (i.e. not in the summer or over the Christmas period). Malev Hungarian Airlines can be great for budget flights, whilst there are many UK budget airlines to choose from.
What to see
There’s a lot to do for free in Budapest. You can peruse through the Great Market Hall and cross the city’s many bridges and climb up to take the views from Fisherman’s Bastion. You can also take a free walking tour of the city. Other attractions are generally quite cheap such as Buda Castle and it’s labyrinth, the Szechenyi baths and the House of Terror museum.
Budapest has an amazing public transport system including buses and trams. This is very cheap and worth making use of (the city is too big for walking around). You can also travel along the river although this is more expensive.
Where to stay
Hotels in Budapest can be pricey, but there are some cheaper and more basic ones for those on a budget. Hostels are a great place to meet fellow travellers and are very cheap. There are also many apartment rentals across the city which can be very affordable, giving you privacy you wouldn’t necessarily get in a hostel.
Food and drink
Fine dining isn’t cheap, although there are some hidden top notch restaurants in the side streets that are great value for money. For excellent street food, the Central Market Hall is the best place to go to grab some Kolbasz. Opposite is the strangely named For Sale pub with even stranger decor, which is well worth a visit (the walls are plastered in messages from visitors and the floor is covered in hay). Meanwhile, for drinking out, Budapest is one of the cheapest cities in Europe. An average bottle of beer costs just over a pound!