Travel tips for Budapest-July 2016

Jul 4th, 2015, 06:52 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2015
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Travel tips for Budapest-July 2016


My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Budapest, Hungary in July 2016 to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. I am obviously starting to plan as early as possible and am looking for any tips! We are in our late 20s (will be 27 at the time of trip), both traveling from Canada (Ontario). I speak English and French and my boyfriend speaks English and Hungarian (his family came here from Yugoslavia in the early 90s and he grew up speaking Hungarian and English in his home). We are planning to go for at least a week—possibly 8 or 9 nights.

1. Did anyone here use a travel website to book? If yes, what site would you recommend (Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, etc)? If not, how did you book?

2. Any recommendations for airlines? Or ones to avoid?

3. Any recommendations for hotels? Or ones to avoid?

4. Is Budapest a walkable city? I don’t mind taking the metro but my boyfriend and I prefer walking (I feel you get to see more and love the exercise)!

5. How expensive are the taxis? We were assuming we'd be taking a taxi from the airport to our hotel.

6. Do you have any tips regarding behaviour and local customs? For example, when I was in Paris it was seen as polite to always say hello and goodbye when entering any store or establishment, even if you were not planning to purchase anything.

7. What are your recommendations for must-see spots?

8. What about food/restaurant recommendations?

9. What are the prices like there? As far as I know, Hungary is not on the Euro.

10. Finally, just any other general tips and information would be much appreciated!

I’ve never traveled to a country in which I don’t speak the language/don’t have any family so I am feeling a little lost and would greatly appreciate any help you could provide.

Thank you all very much!
mgolson is offline  
Jul 4th, 2015, 07:02 AM
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Just a quick reply. We were in Hungary a few years ago, Budapest and overnight in Eger. The prices should be really good. Hungary is not on the Euro. We spoke not a word of Hungarian but we always learn a few phrases of the language of the country we are in- Hello, goodbye, Please, thank you, and especially, where is the bathroom?

Budapest is a walkable city. Trams are easy to take as is the metro, which is small.

Watch out for taxis - most are rip-offs but in a pinch you can take them as we did from the Opera House one night back to our B&B.

I never use websites such as Expedia to book. I don't see a reason unless they have a really good deal compared to the hotel's own website. Booking and are good to look at for real reviews of hotels, though.

Make sure you go to the Communist Statue Park. Outside the center of Budapest.

More info:
Dianedancer is offline  
Jul 4th, 2015, 07:12 AM
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Lovely, lovely city. Taxi's were very reasonable. Hop on and hop off bus, nice for city sites, as it is a very large city. We stayed at the Hotel Karin( we need a place with car parking), and took taxi to city center, very cheap. My sister and friend took care of all money items and then we squared up at end of trip. When she prints me our trip summary I will give you the cost of the taxi's. Spa Gellert, was wonderful. Great Market Hall, a must see, we bought food and souvenirs. Rick Steve' Budapest great walking book, my sister and friend had been there last year and as I have a bad ankle, we didn't do as much as in prior trips. I am already planning to go back, and I will use the public transport, bus, tram and metro. I loved the city.
Nlingenfel is offline  
Jul 4th, 2015, 07:21 AM
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I should have added, we did not flag down a taxi, at any time, we had the hotel call and the restaurant call for taxi's. They were all City Taxi, and nice drivers, clean and quiet, and reasonable.
Nlingenfel is offline  
Jul 4th, 2015, 07:22 AM
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Budapest is one of my favorite cities. It is walkable, in the sense that you will have no issues with walking, but some of the sights are spread out and the trams and metro are very good - buy a transport pass. And make sure to take the evening cruise on the Danube.

There is a lot to see, borrow some guide books from the library, or go read them at your local bookstore. You could also read some of the TRs here, or for mine with pix, go to and put Budapest in the search box.

Don't worry about the language. Budapest is seeing a lot of tourists these days. I don't speak any Hungarian and haven't had trouble.

My last two visits I have stayed in a wonderful little apartment from these people:

Since you don't give a budget it is hard to recommend hotels. The Marriott has a good location, but if I were not staying in an apartment I would probably look at the Leo Panzio.

There are places outside Budapest that are worth seeing. A lot of people like Eger, but my favorite is Szeged.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 4th, 2015, 08:04 AM
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Budapest is lovely. With that amount of time, visit Lake Balaton, Europes largest inland lake.

Would suggest an apartment, google John Farago, he has several. Look at Hotel Gerlocky, also good for cafe.
LBloom is offline  
Jul 4th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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Budapest is quite walkable - at least to a New Yorker. Prices are generally lower than in western europe - but as everywhere else there is a range of prices depending on where you go.

For detailed recos on hotels and restaurants you would need to give us your specific budget - in euros or forints - not just "reasonable" or similar.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 4th, 2015, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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1. ) Travel website: Airbnb and

2.) Airlines: We use award miles to fly business class which is nearly impossible to find from San Diego to Budapest. We flew into Madrid and then took RyanAir to Budapest a week later. No problems with RyanAir.

3.) Hotels: Airbnb apartments - we had 2 different apartments, the first for 8 nights, and another for 3 nights with a country break in between. Highly recommend either. Always check the cancellation policy to minimize penalty if plans change.

4.) Walkable: We took the Metro only 4 times in our 11 night visit - to and from the Széchenyi Baths, to get closer to Margit Island and walk back, and to the train station with our luggage.

5.) Taxi: Taxi from airport to Deak Ter was 6,960 forints, just round up to 7,000ft and it’s about $25.00.

6.) Behaviour and local customs: Just like everywhere in the world, be kind and friendly and try to say please and thank you in the local language.

7.) Must-see: Terror Museum, Széchenyi Baths, Danube Cruise, Holocaust Memorial Center, Hospital in the Rocks. Any top 10 list and leave plenty of time to wander around and for classic cafes

8.) Food/Restaurant: Suelto Bistro

9.) Prices: Inexpensive. Hungarian currency is the Forint. We were 19 nights in Hungary, and had a rental car for 8 days - TOTAL: $3,717

10.) General tips and info: I posted a trip report on Fodor's and it's on my website (in my profile)

Happy Planning!
RebeccahS is offline  
Jul 5th, 2015, 06:00 AM
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Lovely place; hearty food; moderate prices. Anthony Bourdain, the bad-boy chef turned provocative travel explorer for CNN television, laid out a love letter to Budapest in June and you may be able to find it in his Parts Unknown series. Here is a link to the network or you could search on YouTube or other video services. Believe me, it is not like any other cooking, or travel, series.
Southam is offline  
Jul 6th, 2015, 07:26 AM
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I think the first impression of Budapest is that everything is so expensive but it's because of the exchange rate. Forints to US $'s is currently 1 Forint equals 0.0035 US Dollars, so once you get used to this everything gets inexpensive.

We like to visit wine bars and a few we've found are ETAP, Spiler's Shanghai, Dobla, DiVino's. The last is a nice place to sample wine by the glass and the people behind the bar are very helpful in suggestion things to try. The first three also have either a DJ or live music at night. Spiler's is also the home of the Secret Bar. Don't tell anyone. You won't have to since everyone seems to know about it. It's kind of a joke.

And we came across BorLaBor for a lunch on a previous trip and it was so nice that we went back for dinner.

Peter_krynicki is offline  
Jul 6th, 2015, 08:29 AM
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That's ludicrous. Who looks at prices in a vacuum and says a coke costs 300 forints so it's expensive? It's not like the pre-Euro
Cokes in Italy were expensive because they cost 3000 lire. Of course you convert. The fact is Hungary is inexpensive compared to Western Europe.

And no one converts dollars to Forint because that is unusable, you convert Forints to dollars.

For mgolson: don't use for any place with fewer than about 10 reviews - you will be in a foreign country with a foreign legal system and you will have little to no recourse if you get screwed. Use, which screens a bit better, or go to a hotel. If you give a nightly budget in Euros or US dollars (converting Loonies is a whole other step in the process), then you'll get more recommendations.

All airlines suck, it's a question of degree. You're flying out of Canada, you should be flying Air Canada if there's a direct Toronto-Budapest option. If not, Air Canada and Air France both connect with Malev in Paris. Budapest's airport is fairly small and easy to navigate.

Use credit cards and draw cash from ATMs. Don't take any funny money with you (exempting Loonies from funny money for now). If we could draw Forints at a cash machine at the airport 11 years ago, you can do it now.

RebeccahS had a good starter list. Don't miss the Parliament, St. Iztvan's, the Dohany Utca Synagogue and the Weeping Willow, or the Szoborpark.

Hungary has unique history: e.g., Hungary was the far junior partner in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Hungary is one of few countries to be on the losing side of both World Wars, the Hungarians (ethnic Magyars, non-Slavic - closer to Finns and Estonians) were the first group to chafe against the Soviet bit and suffered the worst Soviet reprisals for the '56 uprising; only Poland had more people die in the Holocaust than Hungary and the Holocaust did not even reach Hungary until 1944. There's more, because of course there is.
BigRuss is offline  
Jul 6th, 2015, 08:33 AM
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Sassafrass is online now  
Jul 6th, 2015, 11:44 AM
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Something to note on #6.) Behaviour and local customs:

If paying cash for your meal at a restaurant, don't pay and say "Thank You" if you expect to get any cash back. "Thank You" along with your cash payment means keep the change. Wait for the change back, leave what you want for a tip and THEN say köszönöm (Thank you)!
RebeccahS is offline  
Jul 6th, 2015, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Hello, My wife and I went to Budapest last fall. A beautiful city. We used the Red Hop-On-Hop-Off bus line and found it to be great! Saved a few steps and got a good feel for the City. We stayed at the Marriott on the river and it was in a good area to walk and shop from. Have fun!
wild2bill is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 06:20 AM
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As we are staying at the Marriott (on the Danube) where did you catch the hop on hop off bus. Can you give me the web site? Also did you find it too crowded at times so that you could not get a good seat? I suppose that may depend on where you board, but we would like to get a sense from your experience. Also is there good signage to identify where you board at the various stops? Did you buy your tickets online?
MrsBillT is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 07:17 AM
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Budapest has very good public transport, both below and above ground. Rather than the HO bus, I would buy a transport pass and use trams and buses. You can get on and off wherever you like. You can catch the tram that runs up and down the Pest side of the Danube right outside the Marriott.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 07:34 AM
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Using the transport system in Budapest is a very good option. Trains are frequent, trams travel regularly, and the autobus covers all the city. (Ask your Hungarian speaker boyfriend why one always uses the full term Autobus in Hungary.) Because we had the transit pass we were easily able to get to the little noted Vasarely Museum on the Buda side, north of the center of the town. It was a very interesting place for those with an interest in modern art.
Jeff801 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 08:23 AM
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There're definitely a couple of things which are a must:

-public baths - they are amazing. nothing to add
-museums - I advice you to check out the transport museum near the railway station
-national restaurants - don't forget to try Tokaj vine, it's worth of that money.
cheapessayservice is offline  
Jul 7th, 2015, 08:33 AM
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Skip the hop-on/hop-off bus. They cost a lot, get stuck in traffic, and are unnecessary. Each side of the city (Buda, Pest) is walkable.
BigRuss is offline  
Jul 8th, 2015, 07:30 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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I think you will find that Hungarian wine is especially good, rivaling any of the French wines, so you might want to go down to the Faust Wine Cellar and do a tasting --->

You can do all reds, all whites, 6 or 8 types, even a Tokji tasting. And a nice thing is that if you find a type of wine that's especially tasty you can buy a bottle to take away. I thought the all-red tasting of 8 types was particularly good. Definitely make a reservation. It's up pn the Pest side.

Peter_krynicki is offline  

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