Budapest is our base city and we never get tired of exploring it, and enjoying its wealth of restaurants, cafés, markets, and bars. Of course, there is much more to do here than just eat: there are grand villa-lined boulevards to wander, old neighborhoods to explore, the Danube banks to stroll, hills to climb for gorgeous views, parks to picnic in, and architecture to admire. We might be biased when we say that Budapest is one of Europe’s most intriguing cities: its mixture of grand buildings, fascinating history, and eccentricity has certainly captured our hearts. But our guests tell us again and again that had they known how fascinating the city was, they would have budgeted more time to spend here.
On a vinous note, our Market Walk & Vineyard Tour combines a morning tour of the market with an afternoon spent visiting wineries outside of town. And our Wine Tasting Class is a great way to get a crash course on the wines of Hungary without leaving Budapest. You do not have to commit to a full tour to have a glass of wine (or a flight) at our wine shop/tasting room, The Tasting Table.
To get up close and personal with the Danube, and sip some wine while admiring Europe’s most beautiful river panorama, book our Danube Boat Ride & Wine Tasting (which is not your typical tourist cruise).
• The Central Market Hall is a three-level 19th-century building which highlights Hungary’s food traditions.
• Walking the length of Andrássy út, from the city center to Heroes’ Square, is an excellent way to spend a few hours.
• Parks such as Margit Island, Kopaszi Gát, and the Buda Hills are where locals flock for fresh air and activity.
• Budapest young designers are worth seeking out. Catch many of them in one place at WAMP, a design fair held on one or two Sundays per month.
• The art nouveau architecture of Hungary’s most influential art nouveau architect, Ödön Lechner (1845-1914), is worth seeking out. With a style which blended art nouveau and Hungarian folk motifs, Lechner is to Budapest what Gaudi is to Barcelona.
• The thermal bath houses, such as the Széchenyi Fürdő and the Rudas Gyogyfürdő, are great places to relax.
• The Palace District (VIII. District) is one of Budapest’s hippest centers of creativity, full of art galleries, cafés, fun bars, and quirky shops. Wander Krúdy Gyula utca, but make sure to also veer into the side streets.
• You haven’t experienced Budapest nightlife until you’ve hit a few ruin bars (romkocsma). This Budapest phenomenon began a decade ago when funky bars, fitted in mismatched second-hand furniture, temporarily appeared during the summer. The idea clicked, and many are now permanent fixtures.
• Budapest offers a variety of musical options and Hungary is a musically-oriented country, producing superstars like Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Franz Liszt, Sir Georg Solti, András Schiff, and Márta Sebestyén.
• The Danube, which flows down the center of Budapest, is one of the city’s best features, and one of Europe’s most dramatic river panoramas.
• The Buda Hills are where the city goes to escape the summer heat, or sled in the winter. They are full of hiking paths, wooded areas, and city vistas.
• The Buda Castle Quarter holds several museums, the Mátyás Church, and the Fishermen’s Bastion. Exploring its pedestrian-only, cobblestone streets is a great way to spend at least half a day.
• The Jewish District holds the largest synagogue in Europe and a few smaller synagogues. Once central to the Jewish life of the country, the area is now revitalizing and is becoming known for its bars, restaurants, and small design shops.
• The food. From the traditional neighborhood eateries, to the many new contemporary Hungarian restaurants popping up, there’s plenty of delicious food to sample in Budapest.
Hungary is small enough that nearly any region in the country can be visited on a day trip from Budapest. Budapest is just a two-hour drive from both Vienna and Bratislava, making it a good base location for a Central European trip.
Year-round. The hot summers are when Budapest really shines, with so many festivals, concerts, events, and open-air bars and cafes to enjoy. Spring can arrive late, and is a fantastic time to experience Budapest, crowd-free. The bright side to the cold and gray winter is the Christmas Market which runs for more than a month. And autumn is perhaps the best time to visit. The Budapest International Wine Festival takes over the castle in September, and the weather is often warm well into October.