Published: July 21 2023
Budapest, dubbed the 'Pearl of the Danube,' is a city brimming with history, culture, and breathtaking scenery. From thermal baths to architectural masterpieces, there is a lot to consider. Here's what you need to know before setting off to this remarkable city.
1. Essential Information
Budapest is the capital of Hungary and its largest city. The local currency used is Hungarian Forint (HUF), although Euro is accepted in many places. The official language is Hungarian, but many locals speak English, especially in tourist areas.
2. When to Visit
The best time to visit Budapest is during spring (April - June) and fall (September - November), thanks to the mild weather and less crowded tourist spots. However, visiting in the winter season can be equally thrilling with the offer of Christmas markets and ice skating in the City Park.
3. Getting Around
Public transportation in Budapest is efficient, reliable, and well-linked. The city has a robust network of trams, buses, trolleybuses, and the four lines of the metro. Besides, the BKK, Budapest's transportation authority, offers multiple ticket options that can save you money if you plan to travel a lot.
4. Must-See Sights
No trip to Budapest would be complete without visiting the iconic Buda Castle, Parliament Building, and the Chain Bridge. Don't forget to stroll along the Danube promenade for the most picturesque views. For culture buffs, the ruin bars, especially Szimpla Kert, offer a unique experience.
5. Thermal Baths
One of the city's top experiences, Budapest's thermal baths date back to Roman times and remain a key part of the local culture. Some of the most famous ones include Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Gellért Baths. We recommend packing your swimwear!
6. Local Cuisine
Hungarian cuisine is delicious and varied. Be sure to try traditional dishes like Goulash (gulyás) soup, Chicken Paprikash (paprikás csirke), and the sweet pastries like Dobos Torte and Chimney Cake (Kürtőskalács).
7. Money Matters
Even though Hungary is part of the EU, it has not adopted the Euro. ATMs are plentiful, and credit cards are widely accepted. However, for smaller establishments and for some public transport tickets, you'll need cash in Hungarian Forints.
Budapest is generally safe for tourists, but like any big city, it's wise to stay vigilant, especially in crowded places and tourist hotspots.
With these essential bits of knowledge at your fingertips, you're ready to explore Budapest to the fullest. Enjoy the vibrant mix of the old and the new, soak up the culture, and relish the distinct flavors of this phenomenally beautiful city. Enjoy your trip!