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Budapest Holidays

A vibrant city of many cities

Centuries of dramatic history have made Hungary’s capital one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and each of its districts has its own particular character. The city’s unique setting – encompassing the low mountain range of Buda Hills and the flatlands of Pest with the Danube flowing in between – ensures that Budapest holidays are memorable adventures. Expect extraordinary views, a fascinatingly deep heritage, intellectual café culture and lively Eastern European nightlife.

From the heights of Buda Castle (which you can reach on foot or by funicular), you’ll not only enjoy the beautiful Baroque palace itself, but also stunning panoramic views of the lower part of the city. Budapest is divided into 23 districts, some of which are legendary. Belváros-Lipótváros (District V) is home to St Stephen’s Basilica, the Hungarian Parliament and the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge, as well as a wealth of cafés, bars and restaurants. Terézváros (District VI), meanwhile, has the city’s State Opera House, Heroes’ Square and the verdant City Park.

Alternatively, there’s Erzsébetváros (District VII), famous for its cool ‘ruin bars’ built in the remains of run-down buildings in the old Jewish quarter, and also the impressive Dohány Street Synagogue. Holidays to Budapest should also include a visit to one of the city’s famous thermal baths, which use natural spring water. Once cleansed, head to a bakery to try a local cake – an almond and hazelnut meringue Esterházy torte, perhaps, or a chocolate and caramel Dobos torte.

All resorts in Budapest

Three tips for a top trip

Sign up for a card

You can buy various types of the Budapest Card, which allows you to use the city’s public transport and provides free entrance to many of the city’s top attractions.

Go from bath to bar

If you like a party, the famous Széchenyi Baths, which are open at night-time as well as during the day, hold numerous pool parties throughout the year.

Stop off for a coffee

Budapest’s coffee culture flourished during the years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century, so many of its storied coffee houses retain decadent interiors.

Best attractions to see in Budapest

Hungarian Parliament

On the Pest side of the city, this is one of the capital’s most popular sights. The largest building in the country, it is beautifully lit up at night.

Buda Castle

As if Buda Castle itself wasn’t pretty enough, its surrounding district provides spectacular panoramic views over Pest, worth viewing during daytime and at night.

Heroes’ Square

Flanked by the Museum of Fine Arts and the Műcsarnok Palace of Art, the square is imposing and impressive with its statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyar.

Your Budapest questions, answered

Hungarian. While it’s considered a very difficult language to learn, visiting Budapest with a few introductory words will go a long way towards ingratiating yourself with the locals.
Some of the thermal baths sell their own soaps made from the natural spring waters – if you want to splash out, they also stock swimwear from local designers.
March to May and September to early November are the best times for a holiday here. Both fall on either side of the main tourist season, so prices are lower, and you won't feel lost in the crowd during city tours. And the weather is still mild, creating perfect city break conditions. June and July are warmer, with max temperatures of 26°C. But summer is also Budapest's wettest time of the year. You might end up spending a day or two sheltering from the rain. Winters are chilly. Pack plenty of layers if you're off on a Christmas break.
Hungary is a landlocked country, so there are no natural beaches in Budapest. But it does have a few relaxing waterside spots where you can cool off on a hot summer's day. In Budapest's centre is Palatinus, an open-air swimming park with 11 pools, including an artificial beach with fresh sand, parasols, and sun-loungers. Or spend the day at Roman Beach, a 10-minute drive north of the city centre. You'll find three relaxing swimming areas, a kids adventure pool, a soft-play area for younger children, and ping-pong tables. And there are catering facilities for when you start feeling peckish.
Absolutely. From the stunningly located towns of Esztergom and Eger to Central Europe’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Balaton, it’s easy to find a change of scene within an hour of Budapest.
Budapest is famous for stunning 19th-century architecture and a dramatic skyline dotted with towering spires and neo-gothic churches. It's why this popular city-break destination is often called the most photogenic city in Europe. But Budapest also has some natural wonders, including the River Danube. The Danube flows through the city and is over 600 metres wide. A walk along the bank is the ideal way to spend a summer afternoon. Then relax for a few hours at one of the bathhouses along the river. These thermal springs have been a health spot for thousands of years.
Budapest is very walkable. In fact, a walking tour is one of the best ways to experience this beautiful city. Your helpful guide will show you the best sights, a few hidden gems, and give you some tips on where to eat and drink. Budapest is a safe city, even for lone travellers. But you should still take care walking alone at night. Budapest has excellent public transport links for when you want to venture out a little further. And make sure to take a trip on the city chairlift for some epic views.
Breakfasts in Budapest are a big deal. They're hearty and packed full of calories to keep you fueled all day. Expect open toasted-sandwiches stacked with ham, cream cheese, cold cuts, and local smoked sausages. This is usually balanced out with fresh tomatoes, radishes, and green peppers. Many locals start the day with a big plate of scrambled eggs and black pudding. If you want something lighter, plenty of cafes serve pastries, muesli, and fruit bowls. You'll also find all the popular fast food outlets if you get a sudden craving for your favourite breakfast muffin.
Around 30 million tourists visit Budapest every year, making it one of Europe's top city break locations. Some go for the fairytale architecture and stunning gothic churches. Others are more interested in soaking up the city's bohemian vibe by exploring the artisan cafes, independent galleries, and hip jazz bars snuggled away along the back streets. But there's one thing that everybody loves about Budapest – the price! Even during the busy tourist season, accommodation costs in prime central locations are reasonable. And you can enjoy a nice lunch or dinner for less than £10 a head.