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Budapest, the capital of Hungary and a perfect destination for a city weekend or a longer stay. This ancient UNESCO World Heritage city is split into two parts by the beautiful Danube river and its nine bridges. Same city but yet so different. The Pest part is flat and this is where you find downtown with the bustling city life. Buda, considered as the higher class part of the city with exclusive flats, houses, and cars, is located on the hillside and is more quiet with beautiful tree-lined streets. Find out my favorite things to do in Budapest and the best restaurants in Budapest, below!

Budapest offers all ingredients for a perfect city escape with its interesting history and culture, impressive architecture, great shopping and the best restaurants in Budapest. This is also where you will find one of my favorite luxury boutique hotels. For even more amazing things to do in Budapest, find the perfect experience through GET YOUR GUIDE!

The Gardens of Buda Castle
The Gardens of Buda Castle

Traveling – How to get here?

To get here you just board a plane to Budapest Airport, which offers a direct connection to most of the European cities. Then, you’ll be on your way to the best restaurants in Budapest.

Once arrived there are many options to get into the city center, where you’ll find many of the best restaurants in Budapest. Take a taxi with the trusted taxi company Főtaxi. A ride into the city centre cost around 20 to 30 EUR and takes around 30 to 40 minutes depending on the traffic conditions. There are also minibus and public transportation alternatives available including bus, metro as well as train (not all the way to the airport). All information can be found on Budapest Airport website

Living – Where to stay in Budapest?

Aria Hotel Budapest– A true Boutique Star, also near many of the best restaurants in Budapest!

If you like me loves boutique and design hotels with a personal touch you HAVE to book a room at Aria Hotel Budapest. This is one of the best city boutique hotels I have stayed in and it has been voted #1 hotel in the world by Tripadvisor!

Aria Hotel
The entrance @Aria Hotel

The creative and exquisite designed inspired by music mixed by influences from an elegant historical palace makes this hotel truly unique. Here you can find everything you need for a perfect stay. Top notch service, big and amazing rooms (go for the Opera Suite Duet if you like pink & purple), an elegant inner courtyard for breakfast and free wine and cheese in the afternoon, a cosy and modern spa for relaxation and a rooftop with one of the best views of the city.

Opera Suite Duet Aria Hotel
Opera Suite Duet Aria Hotel
Quite a view from High Note Skybar @Aria Hotel
Quite a view from High Note Skybar @Aria Hotel

With its prime location in a picturesque street lined by small restaurants and with the St Stephen’s Basilica as a neighbor, it is a perfect starting point for exploring Budapest. Read more about this hotel in My Hotel Review.

Eating & Drinking – The Best Restaurants in Budapest

The best restaurants in Budapest are very cozy, with food and influences from all over the world! The streets in downtown (Pest side) are lined with restaurants. Plus, if you visit during spring or summer, all outdoor patios are filled with people enjoying life!

Famous Gerbeaud Café - Budapest
Famous Gerbeaud Café

Eating at the Jewish Quarter

For a more creative experience, I would highly recommend spending the day in the Jewish quarter. Here, the streets and squares are filled with the best restaurants in Budapest. You can find both cool concept eateries and street food restaurants. Vintage Garden is the perfect place if you are in for romance. This rustic French cafe & restaurant offers not only the cutest decor and design but also a wide range of delicious food, including some healthy options.

Romantic Vintage Garden
Romantic Vintage Garden

Street Food Lovers, Unite!

A walk along the Kazinczy street is a must for all street food lovers. Visit to the Karavan Food Truck Court for delicious street food from every corner of the world. A bit further down you will find one street food place after the other, for some of the best restaurants in Budapest. The most popular and creative one is Bors Gastrobar. Not the most the most healthy food but still street food as you have never seen it before. What about a cold apple cake or truffle soup?

Karavan Food Truck Cour
Karavan Food Truck Court

If you are in for some newly roasted coffee visit Blue Bird Rostery, a really hip place for coffee lovers! For an extraordinary experience, you should also visit the Szimpla ruin pub, decorated by using old used things only. Besides being one of the best restaurants in Budapest, it’s also one of the party places in this area.

Szimpla Ruin Pub, Budapest
Szimpla Ruin Pub

Evening drinks are best above the rest. Even if you do not stay at Aria hotel, make sure to have a drink or two in the High Note Sky Bar. End the evening with a vibrant dinner together with the young and hip crowd in the Jewish quarter. For a quiet evening, head over to one of the best restaurants in Budapest on the Buda side Bistro Deryne, a fantastic French bistro with great food and atmosphere.

High Note SkyBar @Aria Hotel
High Note SkyBar @Aria Hotel

Explore Budapest in 1 day? Or 2! – Things to do in Budapest

Budapest has it all. Historical sites, bustling city life, great shopping areas and some more hidden picturesque quarters and quiet parks. Perfect for a city weekend. Budapest is best explored by foot so make sure to put some comfy sneakers on and get ready for a day full of walking!

I had the pleasure of meeting a fantastic photographer and as it turned out, the best Budapest guide – Richard (@szokerichie). We had a lovely day together trying to cover as many must-sees and hidden gems as possible! So let’s get going! 

Morning time – Things to do in Budapest

Find incredible things to do in Budapest through GET YOUR GUIDE. Hop on the famous Danube River and see the Budapest skyline on this 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise with Welcome Drink. Or if you crave for a high-end experience, enjoy an Organ Concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica!

Start the morning by a walk over the impressive Chain Bridge. Even if the lions are missing their tongues, it is still an impressive bridge.

The chain bridge in a pink evening shimmer
The chain bridge in a pink evening shimmer

After a short tram ride with the Castle Hill Funicular, you will reach the huge Buda Castle and with that also the magical views. From here Budapest is amazing with all its bridges, impressive buildings and of course the Danube River. This is also a perfect photo spot for the impressive Parliament Building. Explore the patios, gardens and paths while slowly walk downhill.

Buda Castle, Budapest
Buda Castle, Budapest
Amazing view from Buda Castle
Amazing view from Buda Castle
Buda Castle inner court yard
Buda Castle inner courtyard
The Gardens of Buda Castle
The Gardens of Buda Castle

After a 20 min walk, you are back in Pest and it is time to explore downtown with its squares, pedestrian areas and the fashion streets in the Váci Utca area. Vigado Concert Hall, Budapest Eye, and St Stephen’s Basilica are must-sees and do not forget to take a picture with the little guy sitting on the fence!

St Stephen’s Basilica
St Stephen’s Basilica
Budapest Eye
Budapest Eye

Budapest is great for shopaholics with more or less all brands you could wish for but at somewhat more affordable prices than in the big Western counterparts. Step outside the main streets and you will find cute local design boutiques. You can spend all day between shops and the best restaurants in Budapest!

A cute design boutique just a block away from the fashion street, Budapest
A cute design boutique just a block away from the fashion street
Lunchtime – Things to do in Budapest

Lunchtime and it is time head off to the Jewish quarters to find more of the best restaurants in Budapest. Pass by the colorful Aquarium on the way. I loved these quarters and returned here for a short visit also the second day before heading back home. Here you can also find one of the biggest Synagogue in Europe.  Read more about these quarters under ”Eating & Drinking – Where?” 

Afternoon – Things to do in Budapest

If you like food and local markets take the tram to the Great Market Hall of Budapest and admire the view at the Liberty Bridge. From here it is a short walk through the main tourist streets back to Vörösmarty Square. The metro station is in this area, and so is the famous Gerbeaud Cafe, one of the best restaurants in Budapest.

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Great Market Hall
Great Market Hall
Liberty Bridge, Budapest
Not the best outfit for a windy day at Liberty Bridge

Time for an experience in one of the oldest undergrounds in the world. The stations are very cute and the manual registration makes it feel even more authentic.

Arriving at the beautiful Hero Square is a good break from the bustling city, especially if you cross the street to the parks surrounding the Vajdahunyad Castle. This castle is a true fairy tale castle blending a variety of styles from Roman, through gothic and renaissance to baroque! Walk or take the metro back to the Opera and then head back to downtown along Budapest’s own Champs-Élysées.

Hero Square
Hero Square
Beautiful surroundings of Vajdahunyad Castle
Beautiful surroundings of Vajdahunyad Castle
The Opera House Budapest
The Opera House Budapest

After Trying the Best Restaurants in Budapest… 

Back in downtown, you are of course a bit tired after a long day filled by different impressions and experiences but also very happy. Digest it all in with a cocktail @ The High Note Skybar at Aria Hotel, enjoying one of the best restaurants in Budapest. A perfect ending to a great day!

I hope you will enjoy this city and the best restaurants in Budapest as much as I did! There are just so many things to see and things to do in Budapest! And if you want a great photographer and Budapest guide I can truly recommend (@szokerichie).

For more information about Budapest, I can highly recommend the We Love Budapest site.

More on Travel with a Silver Lining

Budapest is a dreamy city I never expected to love as much as I did. Read more about things to do in Budapest on my travel story. Don’t forget to check out my Budapest restaurant review for the absolute best restaurants in Budapest

Trying out new things and meeting new flavors is one of the reasons I love traveling. Check out the Eat section of the blog, with all my restaurant reviews from all over the world, including the best restaurants in Budapest.

Do you love Travel with a Silver Lining? Then check out my top three posts, about three of my favorite places: Top 18 Instagram Spots in Lisbon, My Amalfi Coast Photography Guide and Top 10 Hipster Restaurants in Moscow!

Booking Input & Tours

  • Made up your mind about experiencing the best things to do in Budapest? You’ll need the perfect hotel to make your experience unforgettable. Find it through BOOKING.COM, right here!
  • No one can show you the best things to do in Budapest the way a local can. That’s what so brilliant about the HI, HI concept: through it, you get shown around town by a Hungarian who loves the capital. Book your guide HERE!
  • Through GET YOUR GUIDE, you can locate some of the most fascinating experiences in the Hungarian capital and many other cities. Enjoy their Budapest city guide, below!


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