The Best Luxury hotels in Budapest – Budapest has something for everyone – from dramatic history and flamboyant architecture to healing thermal waters and a nightlife that is unrivalled in Eastern and Central Europe. The city appeals to many: You can step out of a thermal bath and right into a nightclub (and then back into the bath). In a city that dates back to the Old Stone Age, visiting history buffs can take their pick between Roman, neo-Gothic, Renaissance and Ottoman architecture at sites like Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion.
From its multifaceted restaurant scene to its rich Jewish heritage, culture extends from nearly every inch of the Pearl of Danube. Split by the Danube River and composed of three main regions – Pest, Buda and Óbuda – Budapest meshes modern conveniences with ancient architecture and grassy parks. Whether you’re searching for cuisine, shopping or museums, a multitude of all await you in Budapest. And prices are fair enough that you won’t have to choose – you can indulge in them all. You can learn more about the great cities along the Danube River Here.
Budapest Weather – When to Visit Budapest Hungary
Spring is pleasant in Budapest, and the best time to visit. The crowds are minimal, and the room rates are affordable. Also, flights are a lot cheaper than what you’ll find in the summer. If you plan on visiting in May when two of the city’s best food, beer and wine events – Rosalia Festival and OTP Bank Gourmet Festival – take place, remember to pack an umbrella. Rain showers become more prevalent as the season progresses.
Getting a room in the summer (June – August0 can be difficult, so book as early as you can. Also, keep in mind that some hotels don’t have air conditioning, so make sure to double-check your lodging’s amenities before making final plans. If you go in the heart of summer, expect crowds, rain and bloated room rates – for the hotels that actually have vacancies.
Budapest is an appealing destination to visit September through November. Summer crowds have all gone home, and you’re sure to be able to find a deal on accommodations. Plus, autumn offers an array of popular events for festivalgoers, including the Jewish Cultural Festival and the Budapest Wine Festival.
Winters in Budapest get pretty chilly, and snowfall is common. It is recommended to visit in one of the other seasons. But if you do come now, you’ll find rooms at their cheapest and snap some awesome scenic photographs. The city also offers a plethora of Christmas markets and events in December and early January.
5 Best Things to Do in Budapest
Visit Budapest’s Neo-Gothic Parliament Building
Budapest’s Neo-Gothic Parliament Building dominates the curve of the Danube and is a true postcard superstar. It houses the Holy Crown (used to crown the country’s monarchs since the 12th century), as well as other royal jewels. English guided tours are available, but it’s best to book ahead.
Visit the Széchenyi Thermal Baths
One of the largest and most famous thermal baths in Europe, Budapest’s Széchenyi Thermal Baths (Széchenyi Gyógyfürdo) are one of Hungary’s most visited attractions. Soaking in the mineral-rich baths, with startling blue pools set against a backdrop of a grand neo-baroque palace, is a quintessential Budapest experience. It’s also a luxurious one, especially when coupled with a visit to the spa, which offers everything from saunas and mudpacks to rejuvenating massages and balneal therapies. Get Tickets Here.
Explore the Castle District
The Castle District encompasses Castle Hill (Várhegy), the center of Budapest’s history and is packed with many of the capital’s most important museums and other attractions – as well as ground-level Víziváros (Watertown). You’ll also find excellent restaurants, many of them around Széll Kálmán tér, a major transport hub and the center of urban Buda. Take a walking tour in the Castle District
Take a Ride on Tram 2
Frequently cited as the most panoramic tram journey in the world, Tram 2 travels all along the Danube shore between the Margaret Bridge (Jászai Mari tér) and south Pest. It chugs alongside everything you need to see in downtown, all for the price of a regular public transport ticket.
Visit St. Stephens Basilica
The ornate St. Stephen’s Basilica is the city’s biggest church, found steps away from Deák Square. The Basilica hides inside the country’s most revered (and eerie) religious relics – the embalmed right hand of St Stephen, the founding king of Hungary. Climb the 193 steps (or take the lift) to the basilica’s dome for some of the best views of Budapest.
Best Budapest Hungary Restaurants
Bambi Eszpresszó $11 & Under
In Communist Hungary, espressos were popular hangouts serving cheap coffee (strictly dark roast), beer, and basic food. They are fast disappearing, but Bambi Eszpresszó, which opened in 1961, continues to thrive. With its original interior furnishings, stereotypically dour waitstaff, and eclectic neighborhood regulars, Bambi offers a journey back in time. While it’s appropriate to go there any time of the day, a morning visit for scrambled eggs, frankfurters, and a cup of coffee on the outdoor terrace is especially choice. Telephone: 36 1 212 3171 Web: Bambi Eszpresszó | Facebook
Mák Bistro $30 & Over
Mák Bistro uses extraordinary quality ingredients with passion, makes it an unforgettable taste experience – interpreted in a loose, clean and easy-to-understand form. The restaurant’s executive chef, János Mizsei, uses the finest seasonal ingredients, you create innovative and highly creative dishes. In addition to the Hungarian culinary traditions and the love of local ingredients, the style of Scandinavian cuisine is most close to the MÁK’s food preparation technology and presentation style. Telephone: 36 30 723 9383 Web: Mák Bistro (mak.hu)
Onyx $30 & Over
Onyx sits at the top of Budapest’s fine dining scene, and it’s also the city’s only restaurant with two Michelin stars. Chef Ádám Mészáros marries local ingredients with French technique, and the results are unfailingly delicious. Expect a classic fine dining experience complete with glass chandeliers, white linen tablecloths, and tableside service. The six-course tasting menu with wine pairing runs at 175 euros per person. Telephone: 36 30 508 0622 Web: Onyx (onyxrestaurant.hu)
Café Kör $11 – 30
This downtown restaurant is a neighborhood institution famed for its prewar Budapest ambience. In keeping with the bourgeois tastes of the period, the interior boasts a Persian-carpeted dining room and curvy Thonet Bentwood chairs. For a truly local experience, visit at lunchtime, when businesspeople from the nearby financial district flock for cold fruit soups (in the summer), veal stew, oversized schnitzel, and vegetable stews studded with meatballs. Telephone: 36 1 311 0053 Web: Café Kör | Facebook
Borkonyha $11 – 30
Executive chef Ákos Sárközi and a talented team of young chefs serve up inventive dishes in this downtown, Michelin-starred restaurant. Expect dishes such as lamb saddle and pork tenderloin made from the famed Hungarian Mangalica pig. The signature starter here is the duck liver, which has been a mainstay on the menu since the opening in 2010. Borkonyha is the most casual, with a bistro-like vibe. Telephone: 36 30 351 5153 Web: Borkonyha (borkonyha.hu)
Best Budapest Hungary Nightlife
On most summer nights, Ötkert boasts five DJs playing a mix of commercial music, R&B and hip hop across two rooms. They also have a large terrace which is utterly perfect in July and August. If you’re here in winter, don’t worry – it comes equipped with outdoor heating for colder nights. Web: Ötkert Club
Despite the club having reached mega-famous status (you can now buy branded clothing inside), it’s weird and welcoming ethos remains the same. Come for the reputation, stay to have a drink in an open-top East German Trabant car or converted bathtub, listen to some seriously heavy electronic beats, or just soak up the surreal atmosphere. Web: Szimpla Kert
When you want a taste of the high life, there’s no better spot for lip-smacking drinks with a breathtaking view guaranteed to distract you from your companions. If you fancy sunset drinks, be sure to reserve a table beforehand or check the Facebook page for the full program of summer events, which include ‘Yoga Brunch’ and a series of day parties. Web: 360 Bar
For the mad cocktails that come in science lab beakers, plastic smoothie cups and old honey pots, with an even more delightful array of accoutrements. For a real showstopper, order one of the tiki rum cocktails, served in Easter Island-style moai. Web: Boutiq’Bar (boutiqbar.com)
As well as being a great place for evening drinks (the cocktail and pálinka brandy list is impressive), Mazel Tov is also equal parts garden party and gastronomic destination. Head here for Mediterranean-Hungarian fusion plates, and you won’t be disappointed (their shawarma sandwich is a winner). Booking – even on weekdays – is highly recommended. Web: Mazel Tov