Budapest: An Unexpectedly Remarkable City

Few talk of Budapest as they talk of Rome, Paris or London. Even I wouldn’t have been aware of this city had I not visited it. It feels nice to know of a not-so-famous city that turned out to be so good! Travel to Budapest because it really is an underrated city in Europe. There are so many things to do and see in Budapest that even 5 days were not enough for me!



On my Ryanair flight from Milan Bergamo airport to Budapest, I had no idea what to expect of Budapest. For starters I was panicked since my ATM and credit card did not work at the Budapest airport. I had no local currency (Forints in this case) and was only carrying some euros. This was also a useful lesson for me to be more prepared during travel. Luckily,  a young lady helped me in reaching the city centre without taking any money for the ride.

She herself was taking a flight to Africa but her parents who had come to drop her gave me a ride in their car and also a tram ticket for free!! OMG!! I am now connected with her through Facebook and hope to visit her someday in her home in Africa and/or Romania. Bless her and her parents!

Anyhow, once I reached the city and settled in my room, I realized my card worked in the city! I was also pleasantly surprised by what I saw around me. I think the city deserves attention, a lot of attention and you will see the “why…..more people should travel to Budapest!

Not only was Budapest a gem of a city filled with wonderful things to do but is also home to stunning Neoclassical and Gothic architecture. Having been through a lot of destruction during the World War II, Budapest seemed to have fought back to keep itself on the high. It definitely shows the resilience and power of its people.

The Parliament

Budapest is divided into parts – Buda and Pest. The former is laid back, residential and quieter while the latter is the “happening” side of the city. As a famous city of Eastern Europe, Budapest is not only a financial centre but also ranked as one of the 7th most livable city of the continent!!

Quintessential taxi alert!

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The Chain Bridge


1. Walk around and feel the city. I don’t mean it dramatically but just don’t go with a list. Walk in in its many bookstores, cafes and restaurants and feel the pace of this Eastern European City.

2. Drink lots of beer and have goulash (traditional soup) and make sure you see the list of festivals happening around the time of your visit! Read more on what to eat here.

3. Visit the Danube river at sunset. It is surreal and Budapest comes alive at night.

By the way, I clicked several pictures from my phone camera and was wondering what the effects would have been if I had had a DSLR. So if you are there, Make sure to take a good camera… There are so many great photo opportunities.

The Danube
So many Japanese food outlets here!
Great tram system in the city

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4. Visit the Fisherman’s Bastion on Castle Hill. It has unique monuments and the name itself derives from the fishermen who defended the walls in the Middle Ages. The entire area on Castle Hill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also houses the Buda Castle, gothic styled Mathhias Church and National Gallery of Hungary. Bus No 16 takes you to the hill or simply take the funicular.

5. Explore the many bookstores and beautiful libraries in the city. If you are a booklover like me, you will thank me later!

6. Take a ride in the historic trams of Budapest that offer a certain vintage charm to the city. Hop on one and enjoy the local vibe!

7. Take a Free Walking Tour and explore the city with a local for free!! Mine ended up at a Ruin Pub in the city and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Make sure that you tip the guide something at the end of the tour.

For those who are traveling in the summer, there are a lot of things to do in Budapest and you can always refer to this post. For others- why don’t you take a virtual trip to Budapes with met??


86 thoughts on “Budapest: An Unexpectedly Remarkable City

  1. I so want to go! What were the roads like – as in cobbles? Better or same as Rome? (Couldn’t possibly be worse than Rome) My little mobility scoot was very brave in Italy, but my butt was killing me!! Well worth it though… 🙂

    1. It is such a wonderful city,Sheryl 🙂 No the roads are cobbled in the historic areas as far as I remember. The castle and the churches. The rest of the city was not cobbled.

  2. Beautiful photos, Ishita! So glad you enjoyed Budapest. I love all the picturesque Hapsburg cities – and used to live nearby in both Prague and Vienna, so I’ve been quite a few times. Not in a few years, however, so it’s definitely time to get back!

    1. Thank you Kimberly 🙂 I imagine we are soul sisters then, I love all the cities of Hapsburg empire and plan to visit another one soon 😀

    1. That is wonderful Darlene! I will check it out and am sure the readers will too 🙂 Budapest is a great city to just soak it all in plus convenient to visit nearby countries too

  3. We have a river cruise booked for next year, and will be boarding at Budapest … I think we spend a couple of days there. So, I will read your posts with interest.

  4. I love Budapest, I’ve been there three or four times and it’s a place I don’t get bored of. The Turkish, Roman and Habsburg empires all left their mark on the city and that’s a big part of what makes it unique. In fact, it’s part of what makes Hungary a unique country.

      1. I’ve visited a few places in Hungary. my girlfriend’s brother married a Hungarian girl and they live in Nyíregyháza, in the east of the country; the city is pretty normal ut it is close to the beautiful Tokaj wine region which is certainly worth a visit.
        I’ve also visited Eger, which is a spa town about halfway between Budapest and Nyíregyháza. It’s quite nice, but you might find yourself with a bit of a language barrier to overcome if you don’t speak Hungarian or German. Here’s a blog piece I wrote about it a few years ago:

        1. That sounds amazing! I canceled my Eger plan last minute because I wanted to visit the bookshops of Budapest 😛 Checking your post now

  5. The place looks stunning, even from your phone’s camera Ish! 😛
    Every time I read your posts, I start planning my trip to Europe coz it sounds so wonderful. Keep traveling and being amazing.

  6. The last time I was here was in 2000, when the city was still recovering from years of Communist neglect. Am going again in June, so will look forward to seeing the difference. Your pictures are marvellous

  7. I know you love Italy, but Budapest is my favorite city. We spent two week there living in an apartment right on the Danube. Love the Market, Love the food, love the city! Read about some of my adventures in Budapest on my Blog I wrote a few posts about being in Budapest.

    1. That sounds so lovely. Thanks to airbnb now we can find the best type of places at a reasonable price. Love the city although I wasn’t so impressed with the people. Friendly but only till a certain point. not like the Italians definitely. I will check your blog

  8. Budapest is one of my favorite cities! So glad you enjoyed it – and great photo of Parliament.
    If you go back there are a lot of interesting Art Nouveau buildings. Also don’t miss the Gold Museum at the top of Andrassy ut.

  9. Budapest is a great city – I’m glad you got to visit it. So much history, beautiful architecture, friendly people, excellent goulash and then don’t forget about the baths!

  10. I am visiting Budapest on Tuesday for 3 nights and I cannot wait! I’m glad I stumbled upon your post as I’ve had very little time to do any researching or reading up on the city… Hoping there will be a fresh post or two before I depart!! I always hear about Budapest in the same breath as Prague; which we absolutely loved…. if it is anything similar then we are in for a real treat. Channel 4’s Travel Man, Richard Ayoade, recently did 48 hours there and it looked great! Counting the sleeps… any quick n fast recommendations?

    1. Have a great time Carl. I just posted another article on where I had breakfast! Must do..Are you fond of reading?? I can suggest you a library visit. Let me know your interests

  11. Budapest is indeed a lovely city and you are right, probably a bit underrated though I think I prefer it that way so that it can keep its charms without the hordes of tourists found in other popular cities. Nice pics. (Suzanne)

  12. We were in Budapest last month, and loved it! I haven’t written about it yet though. Like you, we walked everywhere – and we had dinner one night in that restaurant, Imazs, in your pictures.

  13. Oh great to read that you enjoyed Budapest! It’s a gem and luckily with good employment opportunities and cheap flights it is becoming more and more relevant in Europe. I was there only two days but I loved it. I have to confess I actually liked it more than Prague!

    1. Lot of people told me about liking it more than other cities nearby. Although I am yet to see Prague, I am guessing it is super touristy.

      1. Yes and that was the problem in my case. Too many people, and so many shops selling ridiculous crap that doesn’t even have anything to do with Prague but that tourists buy. So sad. I want to go back in a different season, because the city was beautiful, I just focused too much at how overly exploited it is, tourist-wise.

  14. A nice summary post. On our first visit last April we bought two-day tickets for the Big Red Bus and sat on top for the full circuit marvelling at every sight. This helped us to prioritise where to go and what to see across the next 5 days. Spending Christmas there next this year.

      1. Yes, we plan most trips like that. Flying to San Francisco next week to begin a Trans USA Rail trip over 21 days ending in New York

  15. I went to Budapest two summers ago, loved it! It has an amazing atmosphere, a history I knew little about before going, good food, really excellent prices for everything, and an amazing ruin bar scene in the Jewish quarter.

  16. Oh it’s soo good to see your posts and reading all those nice comments. I live here, so it makes me happy that so many tourists like it as much as I do

  17. Oh, I love Budapest! I think it is an enchanting city with beautiful secrets around every corner. My favourite part was the Fisherman’s Bastion. What was yours? Also, I think it is great you had the chance to spent a few days there to fully embrace it!

    1. Thank you!! It’s so tough to pick one but probably by the river at the Bridge in the evening. I also loved the St. Stephens area even though it was touristy

    1. How wonderful. What made you choose to settle there? Have you been before. it would be so nice to read your perspective of the city

      1. I’ve actually never been before! I’ve been living in Istanbul for two years and was looking at my options when a friend asked if I’d like to move in, rent free, and help her with her English in the evenings. I couldn’t pass the opportunity up, so here I am getting ready to move this month!
        I can’t wait to check out the city and will definitely share my perspective when I’ve got one! 🙂

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