Budapest is a vibrant and affordable city, notorious for its lively ruin bars, thermal baths and friendly locals. It’s a city with two personalities, split by the impressive River Danube. On one side is Buda, an area with a laidback local feel, and on the other is Pest, the lively area where you’ll find all the action.
Summers in Budapest are warm making it the peak time for partying in the city. With temperatures averaging in the high 20s, the city becomes alive with outdoor bars and hot spring parties. Though, in winter you’ll need a beer jacket as temperatures can reach freezing in December.
Budapest has everything: great nightlife, exciting activities and cheap beer, making it a top European destination. Plus, the flight time from the UK to Budapest is only 2 or 3 hours - you can’t go wrong!
Explore The City
The City Of Spas
Budapest is renowned for its natural Thermal Baths. In fact, there are so many thermal bathhouses that Budapest is known as ‘the city of spas’. Going to one of these spas with your mates is a must-do experience and guaranteed to rid you of any toxins from the night before.
There are night spa parties, or SPArties, held at the thermal baths each weekends. With laser lighting, a powerful sound system and a great atmosphere, it really is an unforgettable experience.
When traveling as a group, it can be hard to see everything a city has to offer, but an Exclusive River Cruise along the Danube River is the perfect solution. Experience some of Budapest’s best sights as you sail along the river and enjoy a drink and a dance while you’re at it. Remember to look out for The Hungarian Parliament Building during your cruise - it's an impressive sight when lit up at night.
Get your mates on a Beer Bike and take in the views of the city - you can even pour yourselves pints as you pedal during this boozy guided tour! You'll be passing some great photo opportunities along the way including the iconic statues in Heroes Square.
The Best View Of The City
For the best view of Budapest you can hike Gellért Hill, you might be a little tired by the time you reach the top but the impressive views over the city will be well worth the effort.
Budapest is one of Europe’s top nightlife hotspots. It has everything from outdoor bars to high-end clubs, but for a great night out you’ll want to head straight to the Old Jewish Quarter. It’s the heart of the city’s nightlife and home to many of the city’s most popular bars and clubs, making it perfect for bar crawls.
The Famous Ruin Bars
As the name suggests, these bars were set up in old abandoned buildings before being turned into cool underground venues. Today, the ruin bars are a popular night spot. Each one has a distinct atmosphere and character but all share the authentic underground vibe.
For an impressive club experience, go to Peaches and Cream, a well renowned R’n’B venue, or Club Dokk, which is a famous club located on one of the River Danube's islands.
Make sure you don't miss out on a night at Hello Baby. Housed in a stunning 19th-century palace, this unique dance club has an incredible atmosphere. The large venue can hold between 800-1000 people sprawled over three floors and often projects epic art pieces across its walls.
If you fancy more of an adult experience, 4Play Lounge is your best bet. Here, you can enjoy an intimate night of fun at one of Budapest’s best strip clubs.
Eat Like A Local
You can find almost any type of food in Budapest, but we recommend that you try the tasty local dishes. Though, If Hungarian cuisine isn’t your cup of tea, there will be plenty of restaurants that taste more like home.
Keeping It Traditional
Hungarian cooking is hearty and often meat-based, like goulash, a spicy meat and vegetable soup. It’s the national dish of Hungary and definitely worth a taste.
Avoid The Crowds
Like most cities, you should avoid eating in the touristy areas as you’ll probably end up with a mediocre and overpriced meal. If you stay away from these busy areas, you’ll find plenty of quality places to get a meal for under a tenner.
Places To Stay
On a tight budget? When staying in Budapest, there are a lot of trendy and affordable accommodation choices. If you’re just looking for a cheap place to dump your bags, a dorm room is your best bet.
Or, if you want to splurge on somewhere a bit more impressive, you’ll find a lot of reasonably priced, stylish hotels in the city. Anyway, Budapest is a compact city, so whatever you choose it’s likely to be close to the city centre.
Your Guide To a Weekend In Stunning Budapest
Buda - Palatial Charm and a Unique Atmosphere
Situated on the west side of the Danube, Buda’s distinct landscape is vastly different from its neighbouring districts. Buda Castle sits on top of steep hills overlooking Pest. Despite the palace and a detached sense of imperial wealth, Buda is considered to be a little rougher than Pest but with its own unique charm. Late night bars can be found on most corners and restaurants and bars along the river are perfect spots during the day.
Pest - Busy, Cosmopolitan and Vibrant
Pest is almost completely flat and boasts a busy cosmopolitan feel with an assortment of bars, cafes, clubs and gourmet restaurants. Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens can be found here and there’s often live music or open-air markets in the local parks. Bars on this side are modern, with hip ‘ruin bars’ situated in old baroque buildings and rooftop terraces overlooking the city.
The Islands – The Diamonds of Budapest
There are three islands situated in the middle of the Danube that locals have nicknamed ‘the diamonds of Budapest’. Margaret Island is a beloved leisure destination and locals see it as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. Packed with all sorts of attractions from music festivals to open air theatres, Margaret Island is one of Budapest’s tourist hotspots.
The biggest of the three, known for its nightlife it has become a hub for partygoers in the capital. There are also quality sporting activities on offer, with tennis courts and a cycle route that takes you across the island.
Best clubs in Budapest:
Living Room, Kossuth Lajos utca A popular student hangout with three different rooms, each with its own genre of music. It’s often busy with a happy party atmosphere. Each of the trio of bars inside is reasonably priced and queuing times aren’t too bad either.
Romkert, Dobrentei Square Nestled at the foot of Gellerts Hill, Romkert is an open air nightclub that you won’t want to leave. The music is predominantly Europop and DJs change regularly. It’s a superb location on the banks of the River Danube, with reasonably priced drinks from multiple bars.
Ötkert, Zrínyi utca Ötkert is one of the most popular clubs in Budapest and is packed most nights. Because of this there are often lengthy queues to get in and even longer waiting times, but once you’re in you can drink and dance until the sun comes up.
A38 Hajó, Petofi híd Boat party! The much heralded A38 Hajó is actually a converted military ship offering themed nights with live music and open air parties, making it a top choice for clubbers in Budapest.
Morrison’s 2, Szent István körút The first thing you realise when you step into Morrison’s 2 is that it’s a very big place. A huge courtyard seating area and bar doubles up as the entrance. Move further in and you’ll find the jazz bar. Pool tables and casinos jostle for your attention on the first floor, whilst the second floor boasts a sizeable dance floor and cocktail lounge. Head down into the catacombs below to discover an underground maze of rooms each with its own DJ spinning eclectic tunes. More popular with tourists than locals, it’s always busy and always fun.
Budapest is home to one of Europe’s first underground railways and it’s an excellent way to travel round the city. Tickets are cheap but make sure you get one before you travel as you may be fined for travelling without one. Taxis are largely inexpensive and are a convenient way to get across the city. Prices usually range between 200-400 HUF a mile (approximately 50p-£1).
There’s also a tourist bus which costs a relatively hefty 3000HUF (around £8) but is a great way to see some of Budapest’s most famous landmarks. One ticket will allow you to travel for the whole day, so you can hop on and off as much as you want.
Budapest is a wonderful city that attracts millions of visitors each year. Sadly this also attracts criminals. Be on the lookout for pickpockets on the streets. Another thing to remember is that nothing is free – anyone offering free beer, wine or tickets should be avoided. Local gangs will often try this trick before attempting to extort money from you. As usual, be cautious in strip clubs and make sure you know what you’re paying for before you rack up a huge, unexpected bill.
Groups of lads make common targets for other scams, with one commonly reported sting involving pairs of girls befriending tourists and pretending they don’t know where they’re going before leading them to exhorbitantly priced bars.
Do you speak English? – Beszel angolul?
Excuse me – Elnezest!
Thank you – Koszi/Koszonom/
What time is it? – Hany ora van
Where is the toilet? – hol van a mosdo?
How much is this? – ez mennyibe kerul
Egy sört kérem - A beer please