The sights and cities of Eastern Europe are sometimes forgotten in favor of Western hot spots like London and Paris, but after visiting a city like Budapest, adventurous travelers and history buffs alike will be singing its praises. Consistently called one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe, Budapest boasts some truly unique spots like geothermal springs and delicious classic Hungarian cuisine making your extra travel time well worth it.
Today Kaleigh Glaza of Lux and Concord is breaking down the best and most beautiful spots to eat, drink and be merry in Budapest, including some great places to hit if you’re traveling on a budget. While there’s a lot more to explore in the city, these spots are perfect to hit if you only have a weekend or so to explore.
Where to Drink
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With theme nights like “Feel Good Monday” and entertainment including high-flying aerial yoga performers, this two-story mecca of excitement will make visitors want to come back again and again. The open-air interior, complete with trees growing at the bar’s center, give it a unique look perfect for that envy-inducing Instagram shot.
While you simply must visit any one of the ruinpubs (bars that are famous in Budapest, usually located in an abandoned warehouse and home to a relaxed, artsy vibe) in the 7th District while in Budapest, Ellato Kert should definitely be at the top of your list. Open-air nights out don’t get much better than this hot spot, plus it boasts cheap drink options, table soccer games and the (self-proclaimed) cleanest bathrooms in the whole neighborhood.
Source: Szechenyi Baths
There’s no party quite like a bathtub party…so try it while you can! These medicinal baths come from two thermal springs and always run right around 74 degrees, even in the winter! Their “sparties” (spa parties) take place at night and basically provide a typical club atmosphere…but in a giant bathtub. It’s a truly unique Budapest experience, but you can always visit in the daytime for a more relaxed environment.
Where to Eat
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For fun and a good meal on a budget, this is the spot! The café is small but you can find inexpensive beers that will have brewery lovers in heaven thanks to the expansive list. In the warmer months, the wrap around patio makes it a great place to linger with the friends but even in winter it’s centrally-located enough for an easy stop in between tourist destinations.
Start your days here for a tasty breakfast at a good price. The cakes and skillets (depending on if you want sweet or savory) are both excellent choices, and the café also makes for a great people watching spot. If you come back in the afternoon, try the local cheese plate and a cup of coffee for a relaxing time.
This is one of the best rated restaurants in the city, and best of all it offers a true taste of Hungarian ingredients. More off the beaten path, and not very well advertised, this is a restaurant that the locals will send you to for delicious food and elderflower champagne. Many of the ingredients, and even the wines, come from local or family farms, too.
What to See
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London and Paris both have their own iconic bridges, so why shouldn’t Budapest have one as well? This is a suspension bridge that crosses the famous Danube River, linking the western and eastern sides of the city. When it was built in 1849, it symbolized the unifying of eastern and western influences, a juxtaposition that can be seen throughout the city.
Elisabeth Lookout Tower
This one is a hike, but it’s worth every step of the 1725-foot climb to the highest spot in Budapest. If the weather is clear, you can see all the way to the Matra Mountains, which are over 50 miles away. Plus, it’s named for a seriously powerful and beautiful lady, the Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary.
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One of the most famous and easy-to-spot locations in the city, the castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill. In addition to being a historical landmark, its expansive ground including houses, churches, and other medieval public buildings all offer amazing views.
City Park Allatkerti Korut
Source: Sophie Stedman
Bring it on Central Park, because City Park has it all! An amusement park, botanical gardens, medicinal baths and swimming pool plus multiple palaces make this a destination all on its own. You can easily make a whole day of exploring the park, and be sure to enter through Heroes’ Square for stunning views of one of the most iconic squares in the city.
Special thanks to guest reports Sophie Stedman and Robyn Glaza from on the ground in Budapest assisting with this story!