Welcome to your holiday in Hungary’s capital city. As one of the largest cities in Europe, Budapest mixes the old with the new. It has a rich history of different cultures settling on its lands, including the Romans, the Ottomans and the Celts. As a result, the city is filled to the brim with beautiful architecture, incredible food and a bustling pace of life. Its social calendar is one of the busiest in Europe, and at any one time, you might be lucky enough to catch one of its many music festivals, concerts or city celebrations completely by accident. The city serves as a large meeting point for most of Europe’s younger generation and is a hotspot for city breakers, couples, backpackers, and even families.
You might not know it, but Budapest it actually comprised of the two islands, Buda and Pest! Each of the city’s islands hug the beautiful River Danube. Budapest’s famous sites include the 19th century Chain Bridge (one of the few bridges that connect the islands), Castle Hill and Hungary’s Gothic Parliament Building (home to the Hungarian crown jewels).
By day, you’ll experience a rich and varied culture. By night, you can party until the sun comes up in restaurants, ‘ruin-bars’ and even street tents. In the summer, the city can reach up to 21 degrees, but in the winter, the temperature drops to as low as -1 degrees. Budapest hosts some of the best hotels in Europe and is renowned for its open and friendly people. It is a city always full of life, vibrancy and culture, and it’s an easyJet holidays favourite.
District I – Buda Castle
This area of the city is Budapest on the charm offensive. It’s widely considered the most beautiful of Budapest’s districts. Think cobbled streets and grand buildings, the famed thermal baths, the Danube, the Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion, and oh so much more. This area is a moocher’s heaven.
District V – Belváros (Inner City)
This district used to be walled in, and to this day you can still spot segments of the old walls, which have now been incorporated into buildings within the district. There’s a pretty pedestrianised area with trees and benches to relax on, plus cafés and local restaurants galore. For sights to be seen, visit the Szabadság Square, and the Soviet War Memorial, and Budapest’s largest church; St Stephen’s Basilica.
District VII – Erzsébetváros (Former Jewish Quarter)
When on a Budapest holiday, you have to visit the old Jewish Quarter. It’s cultural, it’s romantic, it’s beautiful. There are several synagogues to see – The Great Synagogue is the second largest in the entire world. This district is also one of the coolest destinations, with popular ruin bars, beer gardens and excellent street food on offer.
Castle Hill Walking Tour
Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets of one of Budapest’s most eminent historical sites. Begin your walk by taking the funicular to the top of Castle Hill. From there, you can enjoy lush gardens, panoramic views of Budapest’s Castle District and the renowned Fisherman’s Bastion, the stunning while viewing platform that looks like something out of a fairy tale.
Cruise along the Danube
One of the best ways to see Budapest is on a scenic cruise on the Danube River. Whether you fancy a quiet day of sightseeing in the sun or a romantic dinner beneath the stars, the cruise is a key part of a Budapest city break. Some of the tours offer wine tasting events and optional walks around the famous Margaret Island. If you have time, why not take a ride on the hydrofoils to the Danube Bend and Vienna (anyone for two holidays in one?).
Budapest isn’t known as the ‘City of Baths’ without good reason. It’s one of the few cities in Europe that’s preserved an authentic collection of Turkish Baths dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. If you really want to relax, take a dip in one of over 80 glorious thermal springs around the city - you won’t regret it.
One of Budapest’s most beautiful historical sites, Heroes Square is only a short walk from the Baths and the city centre. Built in 1896 to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary, the square, with its towering pillar and accompanying monuments is one of the main reasons that Budapest is known as the ‘Paris of the East
The most striking site in Budapest City has got to be the Hungarian Parliament Building. Standing at a staggering 315ft, it’s hard not to miss. With a signature Neo-Gothic architecture style, it’s a beauty to take in. Stunning but sturdy, the building boasts 691 rooms and over 12.5 miles in stairways. So unsurprisingly, it’s the third biggest parliament building in the world. And at over 100 years old, its history should send it straight to the top your to-see list. See the somewhat baroque features up close with a guided tour. During a 45-minute session, you’ll see the main entrance, take a peek at the old House of Lords and even steal a view of the Hungarian Crown Jewels.
House of Terror
Hungary is rich in history, so of course Budapest City is scattered with eclectic museums. Some culture-centric, others houses for history, but one that embodies both is the House of Terror. Found on Andrássy Avenue, the museum plays tribute to the victims of the two terror regimes found in Hungary’s past. Showcasing the raw and real life experiences of those that lived through the fascist and communist regimes during the 20th century, it’s sure to satisfy your hankering for Hungarian history.
Dohány Street Synagogue
Found nestled in Erzsébetváros, the 7th district of Budapest City, is the Dohány Street Synagogue. Also known as the The Great Synagogue or Tabakgasse Synagogue, it’s quite an impressive sight. As the largest synagogue across the whole of Europe, and the second largest in the world, it’s something to make sure you see while in the city. And you’ll be awestruck when you do. With intricate detailing, designed in Moorish Revival style, the architecture is breathtaking. If you’re interested in history, you can opt to take a Jewish heritage tour too.
With temperatures swinging from highs of 3°C to lows of -1°C, Budapest winters are chilly and snowy, with the air filling with the scent of cinnamon, mulled wine, and traditional desserts coming from the food markets. Despite the low temperatures and forbidding weather, Budapest in winter is still a sight to behold: winter markets buzz with locals and tourists, skaters crowd the enormous Ice Rink in the City Park, and the opera season in full swing. Winter lovers will be dazzled by the Winter Festival in Vörösmarty Square, and in February the Mangalica Festival will give you a chance to taste traditional food – from cheese to chocolate. If you’re visiting during this time, make sure to catch the Carnival: starting on Epiphany and ending on Ash Wednesday, Carnival season hosts parades and masquerades, among which the Busójárás, declared by UNESCO an Intangible Cultural Heritage.
March is a great time for traveling to Budapest. Days start getting warmer and, while galleries and museums are still a popular choice, you’ll also have the chance to enjoy open-air sites like the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden. On the 15th the streets will buzz with celebrations commemorating the 1848 Hungarian Revolution: head to the Hungarian Parliament for a chance to marvel at the Holy Crown and the Crown Jewels that will be on display, on Castle Hill for an evening of music and dancing, or to the Budapest History Museum and the National Gallery which will be open to the public free of charge.
Budapest springs offer longer and warmer days humming with life and activity. You’ll have the chance to enjoy blooming flowers, open-air festivals, and the wonderful Spring Fair in Vörösmarty Square as well as the Cherry Blossom Festival. If you’re visiting during Easter make sure to catch the traditional performances of folk music and dancing, and the art workshops.
Summers still see some rains in June, but the city buzzes with outdoor events like the Danube Carnival. Though more expensive, July and August are still very popular with tourists: the Festival of Folk Arts and the Sziget Festival draw young crowds and on the 20tth of August you can enjoy the fireworks over the Danube as the city celebrates its found day.
The cooler Autumn days are great for hiking on the hills, stroll through the markets, or enjoy Hungarian traditions like the National Gallop Festival and the Oktoberfest beer festivals.
Although Hungary’s local dishes are much richer and heavier than other European food, the flavours are second to none. For the real local experience, sample a little meat goulash, some fresh water fish, and ‘modra’ (strips of beef served in a creamy sauce with peppers). Once you’ve loosened your belt, sit back and enjoy a glug or two of some of the city’s local wines. Ones to look out for are Tokaji (a strong dessert wine), Bikavér (meaning 'Bull's Blood') and Pálinka (a strong brandy that comes in apricot, plum, pear and cherry flavours).
Restaurants in Budapest
One of the most interesting parts of Budapest is its variety of places to eat and drink. Many of its restaurants, such as the Great Market Hall (a great place to pick up fresh vegetables and fruits) and the multiple Michelin star-awarded Borkonyha, are unique to the style of Budapest and its culture. It’s a place filled with warm, hearty food at all times. But no Budapest city breaks are complete without visiting Borbiróság. This is the best place to sample affordable Hungarian cuisine and enjoy its low-key ‘wine court&
Budapest makes for a brilliant city break. With a variety of great food, drink and culture to enjoy, the city of Budapest is the jewel of Hungary. Packed with museums, relaxing natural spas and a particularly exciting nightlife, the city is the perfect place to get an affordable taste of central Europe.
By booking with easyJet holidays, you can keep the cost of your Budapest holidays to a minimum. Offering flexible bookings and affordable flights, we can tailor make your getaway to fit you. Whether you are staying for 3 days or 3 weeks, booking your Budapest holidays with easyJet holidays is flexible and easy. Buda here we come!