Budapest Donau

Budapest

Hungary

Budapest is a photographer’s dream. The mighty river Danube with its many bridges is a must-see attraction on its own, but there’s so much more to Budapest.
Budapest is not about idyllic town scenery, typical to Central Europe. Nor can you explore the center swiftly on foot, like you could in Prague or Vienna. Instead, Budapest is about fantastic historical attractions scattered in numerous locations. The scenic views, especially by the river Danube and nearby hills, complement the historical sights.

Where to stay in Budapest

With regards to attractions and connections, the area within the green lines on the map is as central as it gets. There may not be enough suitable hotels for everyone, but for the best possible location, aim close to that area.

If you plan to move on foot, aim inside the black lines. The distance between the tags 2 and 5 is 2,5 kilometers, which means that some areas are not exactly close by. If you accommodate outside the indicated areas, make sure there’s a metro station or other means of transport nearby. Check the railway network here.

As shown on the map, the black boundary concentrates on the Pest side of the city. This is due to the steep Buda side landscape, which begins to ascend adjacent to the river bank, and there aren’t many metro stations around, either. However, towards the south on the Buda side, there’s an area extending the black boundary lines. This area has flatter landscape and better selection of services, such as Allee shopping center. This local area has less tourists, and you’ll be able to get swiftly to the center by using the modern, uncongested metro line 4 connected to the area. Note, however, that you probably need to change the metro line to reach Deák Ferenc tér and other locations in the very center.

Castle Hill, tagged 11 on the map, is another area worth considering in Buda. With its cobblestone streets and old buildings, it belongs to the oldest and finest parts of Budapest. The famous attractions, Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle, are both nearby. On the down side, the area is rather distant from the center, and transport options are limited to the metro with distant stops, a bus or a taxi. For more information on Castle Hill and moving in the area, check the section on Fisherman’s Bastion.

Things to do in Budapest

There are separate articles for the following attractions:

  • Buda Castle and Fisherman's Bastion - Both are situated on Castle Hill. The hill is among the top sights in Budapest.
  • City Park - The park is rather distant from the center, but worth a visit nonetheless. It contains Budapest’s largest spa, Széchenyi, among other interesting attractions.
  • Gellért Hill - Climb to the hill near the center and witness the best sights in Budapest.
  • Margaret Island - An island in the middle of Danube is a quiet alternative to the center.
  • Bridges of Budapest - More information and photos on Budapest’s bridges.

Hungarian Parliament Building

Visit the Parliament building from outside or participate in a guided tour inside. For more information on tickets, check: jegymester.hu

River Cruises

There’re plenty of options for river cruises on the Danube. They range from one-to-two-hour cruises to longer ones with candle light dinner at sunset. Or, while you’re at it, head off to Amsterdam and spend a week or two.

It’s recommended to book tickets online in advance, even for short cruises.

Most boats are situated at the piers on the Pest side of the river, right in the center. In fact, the central river bank is packed with boats. Follow the pier numbers, and you’ll be able to find the correct boat with ease.

Váci street

Váci utca is a long pedestrian street parallel to the river on the Pest side of the city. On the map, it is situated roughly between the picture tags 5 and 13.

The street is packed with shops and restaurant terraces, mostly aimed at tourists. Therefore, the price-quality ratio may not be optimal. Nonetheless, it’s a nice street to stroll around.

Shopping in Budapest

The best shopping streets are situated near the squares Vörösmarty tér and Deák Ferenc tér, which are both inside the green lines on the map. The pedestrian street Váci utca unfolds southwards from Vörösmarty tér, roughly from the tag 13 to 5. The northern end of the street contains more clothing stores than the southern end.

Also starting from Vörösmarty tér, Deák Ferenc utca unfolds towards Deák Ferenc tér. Deák Ferenc utca is known as the Fashion Street of Budapest.

Luxury brands such as Gucci and Luis Vuitton have stores at the beginning of Andrássy Út, north of Deák Ferenc tér. Andrássy Út is referred to as Champs-Élysées of Budapest.

There’s a tendency from smaller shops to large shopping centers, which are in abundance near the center of Budapest. Some of the largest shopping centers are listed below:

  • Arena (Plaza) – Near the main railway station, Keleti, 700 meters away on foot. The metro stop is called Keleti pályaudvar (green and red line). Website: arenamall.hu
  • WestEnd City Center – Next to the western railway station Nyugati. The blue line metro stop is called Nyugati pályaudvar (blue line). Website: westend.hu
  • Allee – South of Buda, within the black lines on the map. The closest metro stops are called Móricz Zsigmond körtér or Újbuda-központ (green line). Website: allee.hu
  • Mammut – North of Castle Hill. The metro stop is called Széll Kálmán tér (red line). Website: mammut.hu

Home chefs will surely appreciate shopping centers, as they contain well-equipped grocery stores, which are otherwise hard to find in central Budapest. At least Arena and Allee have fine grocery stores (Tesco and Interspar) on the bottom floor. Obviously, Budapest also contains a large market hall, which is situated near the picture tag 5 on the map.

Porcelain items, especially by Herend, are common presents to bring back home.

Prices

Regardless of products, prices are low compared to Central Europe. Below, there are examples of restaurant and hotel prices in Budapest. The hotel prices refer to median prices in Budapest city center at Booking.com.

Product

Pizza in restaurant

Steak in restaurant

33 cl beer in restaurant

Hotel, 3-4 stars (April)

Hotel, 3-4 stars (July)

Price

€7-10

€18-28

€1.80

€96

€98

Booking.com

From the airport to the center

  • There’s an airport bus 100E operating between the airport and the center. You’re required to buy a certain ticket (900 HUF, less than 3 euros). Other public transport tickets or passes are not accepted.
    There’re three bus stops in the center, all close to each other: Kalvin tér, Astoria and Deák Ferenc tér. When returning to the airport, Deák Ferenc tér and Kalvin tér along the way, are in use all the time. Astoria is available only in very early mornings.
    For time schedules, check here. First click the direction of your choice on the right-hand side of the 100E logo, then the bus stop.
    The stop at Deák Ferenc tér is situated southeast of the square, along Károly krt in front of the Városháza park. For the picture of the park, click here.
    The Kalvin tér stop isn’t at the square either. Instead, it’s at the beginning of Üllői út. It’s shown in this picture between two buildings, with a red and a blue bus parked in the middle of it. Get the tickets from the metro stations shown on the left and right-hand sides of the picture.
  • The info screens at the stops looked like this in 2017: Deák Ferenc tér - Kálvin tér.
  • Coming from the airport, buses stop close to the above stops, but on the opposite side of the street.
  • A taxi is a good choice in Budapest:
    A taxi company called Fö has an exclusive right with the airport to have taxis waiting at the main entrance of the airport.
    First, give the details of your taxi travel at a booth at the main entrance: the destination, number of passengers and the number of luggage. You’ll receive a document with an estimate of the price and the code of the taxi. This document is given to a taxi driver, who’ll soon drive next to the booth. Passengers are instructed to the correct taxi, and there’s usually no need to look for it. The final price is determined by the meter. The fee, which is very close to the estimate, is paid to the driver.

Weather in Budapest

Shallow pool at Deák Ferenc terWinter: In winter, the weather fluctuates from snowy frost to sunny with temperatures well above zero. In general, there’s no permanent snow.

Spring: In March, sub-zero temperatures are possible, but daily highs swing back and forth around 10°C. In April, the weather fluctuates from 10°C to summery warm. Trees grow leaves during the first half of April. In May, daytime weather resembles summer time, but nights are cool.

Summer: It’s hot and dry in summer. Temperatures are close to 30°C and above, especially in July and August. It rains rarely, but when it does, a thunderstorm is likely.

Fall: September is cooler but still summery, and thus a good time for a visit. October is a turning point towards winter weather. In November, first subzero nights may appear. The weather gets grayer and grayer the further the fall progresses.

Other Budapest sights

Check also these Budapest sights

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of