Budapest: Complete Guide
Updated: Nov 25, 2019
If you’re thinking about a little trip to Budapest, I’ve only one thing to say: DO IT! This city took me by total surprise, and I already put it on my list of places, that I have to go back to! Everything from the food, the nightlife and the architecture – it’s just stunning! Pack your bags and get on the next flight! Hungary was my country number 52, and I’m so happy that I’ve added it to my list. I only recommend places, that I’ve tried myself, so I can fully vouch for everything. Here’s a full guide to enjoy Budapest to the fullest.
Where to stay – Buda vs. Pest
Before going, I knew nothing about Budapest, so I had a hard time figuring out where to stay. Every time I googled where to stay in Budapest, it would just say something like “stay on the Pest side” or “stay in the 7th district” – but I had no clue where those areas were!
So, let me explain it a bit better – Budapest is two cities that are now one. So on the left side of the river you have Buda and on the right side Pest. Buda is the older part of the city, with the castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, the citadel, amongst others. Pest is the newer side with the Parliament, the shopping street, the party area, and so on. There’s without a doubt more life on the Pest side, so that is where I’ll recommend you to stay.
We were so lucky and got a hotel in the 7th district (the Old Jewish Quarter), which is close to Astoria Metro station. We stayed at Dubai Hotel, which is located right in the center of the party area – which was perfect for us. It’s just down the street from Szimpla Kert, which is the original ruin bar (more on this later). The hotel wasn’t anything remotely fancy or anything, but it was cheap, had what we needed, and we could walk to everything!
Where to drink
First of all – there’s a lot of places to drink in Budapest! And it’s cheap as crazy! So prepare yourself for some good drinks, and maybe a headache or two.
FIRST Craft Beer & BBQ
This place is amazing! We were there 3 times in only 4 days, because we enjoyed it so much. FIRST is the first craft beer place that opened in Budapest, and they’re on the top of their game! They have so many different beers, with everything from mango, to chocolate, to just a regular pilsner, so there’s something for everyone.
The cozy settings at FIRST. Really rustic and what we Danes would call “hyggeligt”
Tuk Tuk Cocktail Bar
This was without a doubt the best cocktails in the city! And also the ones that are served in the funniest way. We got a cocktail served in a bowl with a small bird cage on the side – how fun is that? And the bartenders at Tuk Tuk are fun too! You’re guaranteed a great night here!
Sorry for the bad quality but it was rather dark. But it was such a nice place!
Doblo Wine Bar
A really cozy little wine bar with live jazz music every day – which is something close to heaven for me. You can buy small or big glasses, a whole bottle, or even a tasting menu. They also have small snacks that fits to every wine. If you want to taste the best wines in Hungary, Doblo is definitely worth a visit.
Another cute setting. I love a wine bar that looks “old”
Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar
THIS! Is the best place in Budapest! Hands down! Budapest has many of their famous ruin bars, each amazing in their own way. But Szimpla Kert was the first ruin bar, and is also the biggest and best one. The old building is transformed into one big party on two floors with multiple bars, including a craft beer bar, a wine bar, a cocktail bar, and a sisha bar. The cocktail bar can be found in a half open space, and if you continue past that you’ll find a small garden with a beer bar. The beers here are super cheap (1€), and it’s easy to find people to talk to and have an amazing time. They care a lot about the environment, so everything sold at Szimpla Kert is locally grown, and from Budapest, and every weekend they have a brunch on the top floor. I could go on and on about this place, it’s the best place in Budapest!
Inside the “main room” of Szimpla Kert. The different bars are on each side
Where to eat
There’s many places to drink, and even more places to eat. One thing is sure – if I lived in Budapest, I’d get fat. It’s so cheap, and so good!
FIRST Craft Beer & BBQ
As mentioned earlier, FIRST also serves food – and it is delicious. When we came the first time we spotted their burgers, and we knew that we had to come there to eat. So we came back the next day for lunch, and tried their burgers, fries, nachos, corn, and mac’n’cheese. It was all so good, it’s definitely a place we’d come back to next time we’re in Budapest.
As you may have seen on my Instagram, this place serves some insane milkshakes, donuts, and bagels. You can buy them separately or together, like we did. It’s super sweet, so your stomach (and heart) have to be ready for a real sugar attack! But it’s so good, and such a cool experience to visit Mr. Funk. I’d say it’s a must see in Budapest!
The insane milkshake donuts of Mr. Funk! How cute are they?
Budapest is home to a couple of Michelin restaurants, and here they only cost like 1/10 of what they do in many other countries. Therefore we of course had to go to one! We went to Borkonyha because they were the only one with vegetarian courses on their menu, but we’re so happy we did! The waiters were so nice, and there wasn’t a snobby vibe, as you can maybe get on other Michelin places. Everything from beginning to end was so good, so we can really recommend Borkonyha. Just remember to book at least one month in advantage – and that counts for all of the Michelin restaurants.
Our delicious entres at Borkonyha. It was definitely as good as we expected!
This is one of the places to go for a good brunch! They have so many different things on their menu, and it’s displayed really good! Their coffee is delicious, and there’s a nice vibe in their restaurant. If you want a good and cheap brunch, London Coffee Society is definitely worth a visit!
Taken from the top floor of London Coffee Society. It’s a really cute little place
When you’re in Hungary, you need to taste some real Hungarian food. We walked by Gettó Gulyás one night, and it looked so nice, that we went in. They didn’t have a table, so we booked one for the next day. It was really fun to try some real Hungarian food! For starters, I tried Hungarian Pancakes with mushrooms, and my friend got the traditional Hungarian Goulash. The pancakes were a bit fun, since it was real pancakes packed with mushrooms and in a gravy. The goulash was so rich in flavour, and really good! For main, I got a Hungarian mushroom stew with Hungarian egg noodles – WARNING! Hungarian egg noodles have nothing to do with noodles! It’s more like small pasta “lumps”, and to be honest they didn’t taste of much. Some might like them, but they weren’t for me. My friend got a Hungarian veal stew with paprika, which was really tasty! So if you wanna try nice Hungarian food, Gettó Gulyás is a good place to go!
Gettó Gulyás’ beautiful and cozy settings