Top Events in Budapest in 2024

There are lots of things happening in Budapest every year. There are annual events that take place every single year like the Christmas markets, the Sziget Festival, the Spring Festival, and the Hungarian Grand Prix. But, there are also standalone events like concerts and sports events that only occur once.

In 2023, the biggest event ever arranged in Hungary took place as Hungary arranged the World Athletics Championships. The event was a gigantic success and millions of people followed the event on their TV screens, while hundreds of thousands came to Hungary for the actual event.

What is there to look forward to in Hungary in 2024? Which are the hottest, best, and most interesting events, exhibitions, concerts, and festivals in 2024? In this article, we try to share information about what we consider to be the most essential events in Budapest in 2024.

events in budapest in 2024.

Top events in Budapest in 2024

We will list the top events in Budapest in 2024 in chronological order. In other words, the first events come first on the list, meaning that this isn’t ranked in order of importance, but in order of time. You might not agree with the events added (or the ones left out), but we hope you will find this information useful and inspiring, maybe giving you an additional reason to visit the city of Budapest in 2024.

Illuminated Parks in Budapest (Garden of Lights / Lumina Park) (until March 2024)

More and more cities worldwide have beautiful illuminated parks open during the winter months. The same is true about Budapest in which you can visit the Garden of Lights in the botanical garden named Füvészkert or the popular Lumina Park at the Margaret Island. These are parks with beautiful lights and you can visit the parks from around 17:00 until 20:00 in the evening. It might not give you an adrenaline rush, but it is a very popular program for families or as a romantic program for an evening with your partner.

garden of lights

Depeche Mode concert (March 26)

Depeche Mode is an extremely popular band and it will return to Budapest during their concert tour in 2024. This time the band will perform in the MVM Dome, a new venue located along the main road connecting the inner city of Budapest with the airport. It is always packed as Depeche Mode comes to Budapest, so if this is a concert you might be interested in, you better book your tickets as early as possible.

Gourmet Festival (May 24-26)

Are you a fan of delicious food that tastes great and looks good? Would you like to learn more about techniques used by chefs or see what are the new trends in gastronomy? The Gourmet Festival in Budapest is an annual event in May and it is a festival you must visit if you are a gastronomy nerd.

gourmet festival in budapest

Azahriah concerts (May 24-26)

Want to combine the Gourmet Festival with the most popular artist in Hungary at the moment? Azahriah is a YouTube artist who has become extremely popular and he will have three outdoor concerts at the Puskas Arena in May 2024. You might not understand most of the lyrics (as they are in Hungarian), but you will definitely get a feeling about what young Hungarians like to listen to at the moment.

EHF Final 4 2024 (June 1-2)

Which is the best club team for women in handball in Europe? Every year, the final rounds of the tournament is played in Hungary where the four best teams play semi-finals and then the finals of the tournament. The venue is the same as the venue used for the Depeche Mode concert in March. In the last two years, the Norwegian team Vipers has won the tournament, beating the Hungarian team Györ two years again, and the Hungarian team Ferencváros in 2023. Who will win in 2024?

Euro 2024 (June 14-July 14)

In the period between June 14 and July 14, 24 nations will compete to become the best football nation in Europe. Hungary is one of the countries that will participate in the tournament (in Germany) where they will play against Germany (the host nation), Scotland, and Switzerland. During such events, there are normally large screens set up at several locations in the city, but the most popular location is Szabadság tér (Liberty Square), a fantastic location between St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Hungarian Parliament. Here they also have stalls where you can buy something to eat and drink and the atmosphere is awesome, especially on match days and during the matches.

Coldplay concerts (June 16-19)

Do you need one more reason to visit Budapest in 2024? Coldplay will have three concerts at Puskas Arena, and thousands of people have already ordered their plane tickets to Hungary to be able to attend one of these concerts. It will be packed as one of the most popular bands in the world will come to Hungary. There are no more tickets left for the events, but if you are willing to buy tickets at a secondary marketplace, you can still be among the lucky people present at the Puskas Arena as Coldplay comes to Hungary in 2024.

coldplay budapest

Hungarian Grand Prix (July 19-21)

The traditional Formula 1 race in Hungary takes place on July 21 in 2024. There will be qualification races on July 19 and July 20, but the main event starts around 15:00 on July 21. Fans from all the world come to Budapest for this event, and the question is whether Max Verstappen will win at Hungaroring for the third time in a row in 2024, or if Lewis Hamilton or some other driver will get to the finish line before the Dutch driver.

Ed Sheeran concert (July 20)

There are times when you feel really privileged, and the summer of 2024 for the people of Budapest is a summer like that. Not only will Coldplay have three concerts in the city, but Ed Sheeran is also coming to the city. The special thing is that both Ed Sheeran and Coldplay will only visit a few cities in Europe during the summer of 2024, and both of them have decided to come to Budapest. Isn’t that just fantastic? Once again, the Puskas Arena will be full and all tickets are sold out for the concert, so you can only buy tickets for the concert from others who have already managed to buy a ticket.

Summer Olympics in Paris (July 26 – August 11)

Even though the Summer Olympics is arranged in Paris, it will still impact life in Budapest. Just like during the European Championship in football, there will be big screens at several locations in Budapest during the event. This is a perfect opportunity to cheer for your favorite athletes and to enjoy a cold beer while watching the competitions on a big screen somewhere. Once again, the most popular location is at the Szabadság tér in the city where hundreds of people often come together to have a good time and to watch the events.

It is also worth knowing that Hungary has a tradition of winning 8-10 gold medals during the Summer Olympics, so the Hungarians are very enthusiastic about this event themselves.

Summer Olympics in Paris

Sziget Festival (August 7-12)

The biggest festival in Budapest is the Sziget Festival, arranged at an island a little bit north of the city center. Each year more than 400,000 people come to the island for this festival and in 2023 the biggest artists coming to the festival were Billie Eilish and Imagine Dragons. In 2024, some of the coolest artists coming to Sziget are Sam Smith, Fred Again.., Martin Garrix, and Stormzy, but we expect even more names to be added to the list as we get closer to the event.

Budapest Wine Festival (September 12-15)

The biggest wine festival in Hungary is arranged in September in Budapest. At this event which lasts for four days, you can taste thousands of wines from different winemakers in Hungary, and there are also other countries representing themselves with wines from their own countries at the festival. This is a perfect place to speak about wine, taste wine, and to meet other wine lovers. If you are looking for partners for a wine trip to Hungary, this is the perfect place to make connections with the right people. We should also mention that the festival is arranged around the Castle, giving it the perfect scenery at one of the most beautiful places in Budapest.

wine festival in budapest

Move your body at one of the many running competitions in Budapest.

In Budapest, the autumn is the number one period for running all sorts of running competitions. We have written about several running competitions in our Budapest Guide, so a great place to start is by looking at all the different sports events registered in our Budapest calendar. The biggest competition is the SPAR Marathon which is arranged in October (October 12-13), but the Wizz Air Half Marathon (September 8), and the annual Night Run are also great events for running enthusiasts.

Christmas markets in Budapest

It is quite incredible, but December is one of the busiest months of the year for those working with tourists in Budapest. The restaurants are packed, the hotels are incredibly busy, and if you try to drive a car in the streets close to the Christmas markets, you might have to stand in line for a very long time due to the enormous number of people walking across the pedestrian crossings.

The dates for the Christmas markets are normally published late in October, but our guess for 2024 is that the markets will open on November 15 and remain open until December 31. If things are delayed, the markets might only open on November 22, but we don’t find that very likely.

What should you eat, drink, and buy if you visit the Christmas markets in Budapest? Where are the different Christmas markets located? You can find answers to these questions and much more information in our article about the Christmas markets in Budapest.

Christmas markets in Budapest

These are some of the fantastic events we can all look forward to in Budapest in 2024. Do you have any questions or information about event more events you feel should have been on this list? Please write a comment below and let us hear from you.

Other things you should do no matter when you come to Budapest.

Maybe you cannot be in Budapest for the Sziget Festival or during the annual Christmas markets. Even if you come at a time when there are no big festivals, exhibitions, or concerts in Budapest, there are still lots of fantastic things worth doing in the city. A great place to start is our article with travel tips for Budapest in 2024.

A second thing you should do is to read general information about the permanent attractions and activities in Budapest. The city has so many programs waiting for you, and do not forget to walk along the Danube to enjoy the magnificent panorama. A river cruise on the Danube is always a recommended program, and so is tasting all the delicious wines produced in Hungary. If you like it even stronger, you should taste some of the Pálinka, the Hungarian fruit spirit.

Food is important, so read about all sorts of restaurants in Budapest and plan, at least if you want to get a spot in one of the Michelin-starred restaurants in Budapest, or if there is some other restaurant you really long to visit.

See you all in Budapest in 2024!

Budapest Travel Tips in 2024.

Are you coming to Budapest in 2024? What should you do? What are the essentials that you must see? What are the things you can’t leave Budapest without eating and drinking? Here you will get helpful travel tips to help you prepare to visit Budapest.

Budapest is a city with approximately 2 million inhabitants. Since Hungary has a population of 10 million, it is easy to see that about 20% of the population lives within the borders of Budapest. These people see the beauties of fantastic attractions such as the Parliament, the Castle, the National Theater, the bridges, the Gellert Hill, and the Danube daily. They are so used to it that they quickly forget how beautiful the city is. But, when you come to discover the beauties of Budapest, you will see the city with different eyes and, hopefully, travel back home with fantastic memories.

Where should we start? We have so many recommendations. Before we write about what you should see and do, we will share general information about topics such as COVID-19, crime, the local currency, and more. Let’s get started!

Budapest Travel Tips in 2024.

2020 and 2021 were disastrous years for tourism in Budapest and Hungary. Covid stopped all tourism, and unfortunately, many hotels and restaurants had to close because of the lack of tourists. In 2022, things improved and we saw a steady stream of tourists returning, happy to see the beautiful buildings and walk around without masks in the streets of Budapest and inside the stores, restaurants, museums, and hotels.

2023 was the year in which things turned back to normal and the streets of Budapest were once again filled with tourists and festivals, conferences, and programs all went according to plan. The big river cruise companies also returned to Budapest, meaning that thousands and thousands of people came to Budapest on river cruises traveling between Vienna and Budapest (and some of them even travel towards the Black Sea).

After some years of heavy inflation, the prices in Hungary calmed down in 2023, but if you haven’t been to the country for some years, you will still be very surprised at how expensive things have become in Hungary. If you visit restaurants or grocery stores, you will notice that the prices are becoming more and more similar to other central European countries.

stephen's basilica in budapest

What does this mean for you and your trip to Budapest?

COVID-19.

There is no need to worry about COVID-19 as you plan your trip to Budapest. You don’t need to wear a mask anywhere in Budapest (except for in hospitals). All programs are available as they were before COVID-19. Some people still wear masks in stores, but that is purely based on their own decisions and not because they have to.

Prices and payment methods.

Prices in Hungary have increased a lot. But, compared to many countries in western parts of Europe, it is still relatively cheap to enjoy different programs in Budapest. The local currency is the preferred payment method everywhere, but most restaurants, hotels, and stores accept payments in euros. Even though you can pay with euros, it is wiser to pay with the local currency. Why is that? Using bad exchange rates for euro payments is normal, which results in you paying much more than you would if you used the local currency.

Crime in Hungary.

This isn’t something you need to worry about. The crime rate in Budapest isn’t higher than elsewhere, and it is normal to see police officers in the streets. If you take care of your valuables, you shouldn’t fall victim to anything. The city center of Budapest is a safe area, but it is always a good precaution to never walk alone in the darkness. Once again, Budapest is a safe city, and there is no need to worry. Take care of yourself and your valuables, use common sense, and everything should be okay.

The situation in Ukraine.

Hungary is a border country with Ukraine, and many Hungarians live on the Ukrainian side of the border. As the war started, tens of thousands of refugees came to Hungary (most of them traveled further on in the direction of Austria). Since then, this has calmed down, and as a tourist in Budapest, you will not notice any differences.

Should you bring an umbrella?

Hungary has a wonderful climate. Budapest seldom experiences temperatures below 0 Celsius in the winter, and spring arrives early. The summer can get very warm, and it is quite common to have 3-4 weeks with temperatures around 35 Celsius during the daytime in June, July, and August. It isn’t raining much in Hungary, and whenever it starts, it will normally end by the time you finish your coffee in a café.

The wisest thing, however, is to look at the weather forecast for Budapest before your trip and prepare accordingly.

Special events.

There are lots of events and concerts in Budapest. You can read more about different events in Budapest in our Budapest calendar. In 2024, some of the biggest highlights are the upcoming Christmas markets, the Sziget festival, and fantastic concerts with Ed Sheeran and Coldplay.

christmas markets in budapest

Transportation.

It is easy to travel in Budapest with the metro. You can see a metro map right here. The metro will take you to the most important areas. There are lots of buses and trams you can use as well, but if you plan on spending your days in the center of Budapest, you will not need those.

Budapest has many taxis if you need to get from A to B. A popular service for ordering taxis is Bolt (you can find the application in your app store), or you can order taxis via your hotel or restaurant. If possible, avoid jumping into taxis waiting on the street. These are often private taxi drivers who are heavily overpaid for rides.

Budapest Travel Tips – What to see?

Many of the beautiful attractions in Budapest are located along the Danube. Honestly, the Danube is an attraction in itself, and a river cruise on the Danube is one of the most popular activities you should experience. As you walk along the Danube or buy a ticket for a river cruise, you will see beautiful attractions such as the Gellert Hill (with the beautiful liberty statue on the top), the famous Gellert Hotel, the National Theater, the Palace of Arts, the Castle, the Hungarian Parliament, the Margaret Island, and many other attractions. For some, it is enough to see these buildings and areas at a distance. If you want even more, you should go on a tour inside the Hungarian Parliament, buy a ticket for an event in the National Theater, visit the National Gallery within the castle’s walls, and stroll on Margaret Island.

This might sound like a lot; if you visit all these attractions in a day, you will be exhausted in the evening. But Budapest isn’t an extremely big city, so it is possible to walk around and discover all these attractions in one or two days. While walking between different locations, you will discover other beauties and gems. You should also take some breaks in cafés and bars where you taste local food and drinks to make the experience more authentic.

When you have finished discovering the attractions along the Danube, head to St. Stephen’s Basilica and walk from there to Heroes Square and the City Park. This will take you through other beautiful areas on the Pest side, and you will see famous buildings such as the Opera House along the way.

budapest eye

Budapest Travel Tips – What to do?

Enjoy a trip on the Danube.

Seeing beautiful architecture and standing amazed at the Danube panorama is one thing. Another thing is to join activities and programs in Budapest that will let you experience even more. We have already mentioned different tours on the Danube as one of the best activities available in Budapest. These are available throughout the year, from early morning until late evening. The evening tours are the most popular due to the fantastic illumination of the different buildings along the Danube after sunset.

Visit the Gellert Hill.

Another awesome experience in Budapest is visiting the top of Gellert Hill, where you can enjoy the most fantastic view of Budapest. The view is stunning, and the walk toward the top will strengthen your heart. The nicest way to get to the top is to walk from the Gellert Hotel towards the top or cross the Elisabeth Bridge and climb the hill. It isn’t very steep, but you might need some breaks if you aren’t used to walking a lot.

Important to know if you want to visit the Gellert Hill in 2024.
Heavy construction work is currently taking place at the top of the Gellert Hill. As a result, it is very limited how much you can see and experience from the top. Ask the receptionist at your hotel whether it is possible to walk around the Citadella or not before you do the trip. If the construction work is still happening, you should find something else to do instead.

Travel to Szentendre.

Would you like to see more of Hungary than just Budapest? Szentendre is a fantastic city 30km north of Budapest. It is unlike all other Hungarian cities due to its architecture, making it feel more like a Greek village or something like that. Here you can also buy products from local artists and producers. Some will also enjoy the fact that you cannot find big stores of brands such as Zara and H&M in this city. The city center of Szentendre is all about the locals and the local products (and, of course, lots of souvenirs for tourists). If that sounds fun, we can assist you with trips to Szentendre, including transfer, short sightseeing, a visit to the local Marcipan museum, free time, a big wine tasting, and a three-course lunch. You can read more about the trip here.

Get some fresh air and use your legs.

This isn’t a traditional tip in a Budapest Travel Guide, but if you want to climb a tiny mountain in Budapest, you will find some only 10km from the city center. The area is called Budaörs, and here you can find stores such as IKEA, Auchan, and Decathlon. A very nice little walk is to climb a hill called Köhegy. At the top, you will find a chapel, a big cross, and a very nice view.

It isn’t easy to get here with public transportation. The coordinates for where you can start the trip are 47.466283,18.959811. You can walk to the top and either return on the same path or down the main stairs from the chapel and return on the normal road. The nearest bus stop is Templom tér, and you need to walk about 750 meters to get from the bus stop to the trip’s starting point.

köhegy
Köhegy is a nice place to visit in Budaörs.

If you want something a bit more challenging, climb the Odvashegy. It isn’t a tough tour if you are used to walking, but for some, this will at least make their heart pump a little bit faster. The view from the top is beautiful!

It is ideal to start and end the trip from the coordinates 47.464846,18.938132. The nearest bus stop is called “Budafok városhaza,” and you must walk approximately 1000 meters from the bus stop to the trip’s starting point.

odvashegy
Odvashegy is a bit more challenging than Köhegy but fully possible for kids 5-6 years and older.

Eat and drink local food.

This is extremely important. Some would say that tasting the local cuisine is just as important as discovering the attractions of a city. When you come to Budapest, you better prioritize programs where you taste local food and drinks. The most famous food is the Hungarian Goulash soup, and if you travel home without tasting it, you cannot say with good conscience that you have been to Budapest. If you are a vegetarian, several restaurants serve “Fake Goulash,” the same soup without meat.

Hungarians like to make stews of all sorts, often served with homemade dumplings. The stews are often prepared with chicken, pork, or cow meat. They are incredibly tasty and very popular.

Hungary is a great place for sweets, and you should taste the local strudel variants.

It is possible to drink soft drinks in restaurants, but when you come, do not forget to taste the local drinks such as wine produced in Hungary, Unicum, Palinka (Hungarian fruit spirit), and everything Hungarian. We cannot guarantee that you will like everything you taste, but you will be one experience richer after tasting (making it worth the try).

You can read even more about what’s worth tasting in our article about the Christmas markets in Budapest.

local wine in hungary
Tokaj is Hungary’s most famous wine region, especially for its sweet white wines.

Don’t forget your swimsuit.

No matter when you come to Budapest, you should bring your swimsuit. Hungary is known for hot springs, ensuring guests can swim outside in warm water throughout the year. The most famous and popular thermal bath is the Szechenyi Thermal bath. Have you ever seen a picture of people playing chess in a pool in Budapest? Those pictures all originate from the Szechenyi thermal bath. There you can enjoy three outdoor pools and more than ten indoor pools. The water is full of minerals, making sure that you feel good and that it has a good effect on your body simultaneously.

If you want to visit a different thermal bath, you should consider the Rudas bath or the Gellert bath.

Szechenyi

These are just a couple of tips for activities in Budapest. The list could go on if we included all the fantastic museums in Budapest and other opportunities. If you want more fun, activities such as the Labyrinth, the Palvolgyi dripstone cave, escape rooms, guided tours, hop-on-hop-off buses, VIP cinemas, shopping, fantastic fairs, and other programs can always be recommended.

Do you have any questions left?

We have tried to include lots of useful information in this short article with Budapest Travel Tips. If you have any questions left after reading this article, write them in the comment field below, and we will do our best to answer them.

What is the best neighborhood in Budapest? Where to live in Budapest as a tourist? Which is the best hotel/apartment for me?

Budapest is a fantastic city and it has a lot to offer tourists. The city has 22 districts and covers more than 500 km2. As a result, it isn’t always easy to find out where to stay and which hotel/apartment is ideal for you as you visit the Hungarian capital. This article will give you helpful advice about some of the most popular Budapest districts and also come with concrete suggestions based on your needs and the size of your wallet.

We have met many tourists who booked a cheap hotel in Budapest, only to discover that it was located more than 10km outside the city center of Budapest. If you don’t mind spending lots of time traveling by public transportation, or if you rent a car, that is okay. But we do know that it isn’t an ideal situation for most travelers. Where should you book your hotel in Budapest? Let us take a closer look at the best areas.

The best areas to live in as a tourist in Budapest.

If you come to Budapest to discover the city, most people agree that the first, fifth, sixth, and seventh districts are the best. The first district is on the Buda side (near the Castle), while the fifth, sixth, and seventh districts are on Pest. Tourists, in general, spend most of their time at Pest, while Buda is somewhere they go once or twice as they visit the castle area and also Gellert Hill. Based on this, we normally recommend tourists to book a hotel on the Pest side as it saves them time whenever they go shopping, sightseeing, or eating in a restaurant.

hotels near st stephens basilica

District V (Belváros-Lipótváros):

This is the city center and the most popular neighborhood for tourists. It’s home to many of Budapest’s famous landmarks, such as the Parliament, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the shopping street Váci utca. This area is bustling with restaurants, cafes, and shops, and it also hosts traditional the famous Christmas markets and spring markets. If you want to live as close to the action as possible, it is worth booking a hotel or an apartment in this district. This area is popular among tourists, but it is quiet at night (meaning this is not where locals go to parties).

Would you like to book a hotel or an apartment in the fifth district of Budapest? Here you have some suggestions.

  • Hotel Aria: The most expensive and luxurious hotel in Budapest at the moment. It is very central, close to Budapest Eye, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and other famous attractions.
  • Hotel Zenit: Very close to the Danube and only 150 meters from the shopping street Váci utca. Ideal solution for those who want a cheap and brilliant four-star hotel in Budapest.
  • City Hotel Pilvax: Is your goal to live close to the shopping street, museums, and attractions, but without paying too much? This three-star hotel might be what you have been looking for.

All these hotels are close to metro stops, bus stops, and tram stops. That makes them ideal for traveling elsewhere in Budapest with public transportation or by taxi whenever that is needed.

District VII (Erzsébetváros):

It is said that Picasso liked to sleep during the day and stay up during the night to paint. Do you feel like Picasso? Would you rather sleep until noon and stay up until early morning? If you are a party creature, the seventh district in Budapest is for you. We should mention that the district is perfect for “normal” people as well, but it is extremely well-suited for those who plan on staying up drinking, dancing, and chatting after midnight.

In the seventh district, you find the famous synagogue in Budapest. This area was earlier a Jewish ghetto. Today it is a vibrant district that never goes to bed. Here tourists can visit some of the best pubs in the world, including Szimpla Kert (the most famous ruin bar in Budapest) and tens of others. Most restaurants close at midnight, but there are bars and clubs remaining open until early morning.

If you want to live here, we can recommend some of the following hotels/apartments:

  • Continental Budapest: A four-star hotel with elegance and luxury. It is a quiet hotel, but very close to attractions, bars, pubs, and restaurants.
  • Stories Boutique Hotel: It is located in Király utca, a street with lots of restaurants and stores. It is also close to the ruin pubs and bars.
  • Maverick City Lodge: This is the neighbor of Szimpla Garden, the legendary ruin pub in Budapest. The street is packed with other restaurants, bars, and pubs, making it the best place to stay if you plan on enjoying life to the max while visiting Budapest.

These hotels are also close to tram stops, metro stops, and bus stops. In other words, you can easily travel around Budapest if you decide to reserve a room in any of the mentioned hotels. Even though it is a different district, you can easily walk from any of these hotels to the shopping street (Váci utca) within less than 15 minutes from any of these hotels.

District VI (Terézváros):

The sixth district is located next to both the previously mentioned district, the fifth and the seventh. Just like the seventh district, it is a quite big district, meaning that it parts of it are very close to the city center, while you might end up far away from the city center if you book in the wrong area of the district.

Even though the seventh district is the number one district for nightlife, you will find several awesome ruin bars and pubs also in the sixth district. This is also an area with exclusive shopping along the Andrassy Avenue, the Hungarian State Opera, fancy restaurants, and cool theme restaurants such as Sir Lancelot (medieval), The Magic (Harry Potter), and Pirate Empire. If you visit one of those restaurants you will enjoy more than just the food on the table.

If you want to live in the sixth district we can recommend the following hotels.

  • Bliss Wellness: A quite cheap hotel with four stars in Budapest. It has an indoor pool and other wellness services available.
  • Revay Hotel: Are you only in need of a place to stay? This is a cheap three-star hotel with a great location in the sixth district of Budapest.

The hotels mentioned above are centrally located in the sixth district. They are good options, and you can reach the city center within 15-20 minutes of walking from both of them.

aerial view of budapest

District I (Castle District):

Don’t you mind walking across a bridge to reach the city center of Budapest? Would you like to live possibly in a hotel with a view towards the Danube and the Hungarian Parliament? Does it sound nice to live in a neighborhood quiet at night, but bustling with tourists during the day?

The first district in Budapest is the castle district. Here you can find the Buda Castle, the Matthias Church, the Fishermen’s Bastion, and many other beautiful buildings and historical locations. Inside the walls surrounding the area, you will also find many restaurants, souvenir shops, and a grocery store. This area is full of tourists in the middle of the day, but in the evenings, it becomes strangely quiet.

The most famous hotel in this article is the Hilton Hotel which is the immediate neighbor of the Matthias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion. This has a fantastic location with a view towards the Danube that will give you double joy while eating the marvelous breakfast the hotel is offering. There are other hotels within the castle walls as well, but they are just quiet and do not have the same view as the Hilton hotel.

Would you like to live in the castle area? These are some suggestions for you!

  • Hilton Buda: If you first live in the castle district, do it in a five-star way. Stay in the legendary Hilton hotel and enjoy the view towards the Parliament while eating your breakfast.
  • Hotel Castle Garden: This hotel is just outside the walls surrounding the castle. It is close to both the castle and the nearest metro station, making it ideal for those who want to live in a peaceful area on the Buda side, but still close to the castle and public transportation.

It is important to remember that people spend most of their time on the Pest side. It is easy to reach the city center on the Pest side using the castle bus. If you decide to walk on foot you should calculate spending 20-30 minutes, depending on your speed and exactly where you decide to live. Walking from Hilton Buda to Váci utca at normal speed with a nice view is fully possible in twenty minutes.

What is the price of a hotel room in Budapest?

Hungary has seen a steep price increase for all services since 2022. As a result, you should calculate spending at least 100 Euro per night for a double room, no matter what time of the year you arrive. You can, of course, find cheaper rooms, but that requires you to compromise either on the location or the quality. If you book a room in any of the hotels or apartments recommend above, you need to calculate at least 100 Euro per night. Some of them are, of course, much more expensive.

Hotel Aria which we mentioned as the best hotel in the fifth district often charges more than 400-500 Euro per night. Hilton Buda which is another exclusive five-star hotel often charges approximately 250 Euro per night for a double room.

It is worth looking around and if you find other hotels in the district you are interested in with better prices, choose one of those instead.

The goal of this article has been to introduce you to the different districts in Budapest where we believe it is ideal to live as a tourist. Based on this you will have an easier job understanding where you want to live, and thus, find a hotel suitable for your wallet and plans.

Should I live in a hotel or an apartment?

This is an essential question and both alternatives have pros and cons. If you travel as a family an apartment often makes it easier to live together at a cheaper cost. It is also great to have the chance to prepare food in the apartment and store food in a fridge. There are many apartments all around Budapest and they often give you more value for your money, especially if you travel with 3 people together or more.

A hotel is a brilliant option if you need a place to sleep, but don’t plan to spend much time in the actual hotel room. Here you can eat your breakfast and you don’t have to worry about anything. Many hotels have additional services such as swimming pools, saunas, taxi services, 24-hour reception, and own restaurants, making it less worrisome than if you have to fix everything yourself.

We hope the information in this article has helped you and given you insight and ideas for where to stay during your trip to Budapest. If you have further comments, questions, or input, please use the comment field below.

The best restaurants for a Hungarian meal in Budapest.

Hungarian food is well-known worldwide. It might not compete with the fame of the Italian, Mexican, French, and Indian kitchens, but it is still widely known and famous. So it is no wonder there are Hungarian restaurants located in big cities all around the world. But you expect the best Hungarian food to be served in Hungary and the country’s capital, Budapest. So where should you go to eat the best Goulash soup and other traditional Hungarian dishes as you come to Budapest? This article will tell you about several restaurants worth considering!

We will not only tell you about some of the best places for a traditional Hungarian dinner in Budapest. That is the article’s main focus, but if you keep reading until the end, you will also find recommendations for what to order as you visit the different restaurants. Hungarian Goulash soup is the most famous course, without a doubt, but it doesn’t mean that you should eat Goulash three times a day during your stay in Budapest. Fantastic meals are waiting for you, and we share information about different meals worth tasting at the end of this article.

11 Restaurants in Budapest for those who want to eat a traditional Hungarian meal.

A traditional Hungarian restaurant normally serves you a giant portion of food on a big plate. At least, that was the way it used to be. However, times and the culinary picture of restaurants in Budapest are changing. Instead of giant portions, restaurants are moving toward fine dining. The large plates are still there, but the portions are smaller, and the prices are higher. Luckily, it tastes amazing and looks fantastic. Let’s get started!

Traditional Hungarian restaurants with Gypsy music.

The so-called Gypsy music is trendy in Hungary and an essential part of the culture. The musicians are incredibly talented, meaning you can get a nice musical experience accompanying your food if you visit such a restaurant. In some of these restaurants, the musicians offer to play a song of your choice by the table during the evening, but you can say no if you don’t want that to happen.

Gundel

Gundel might be the most famous restaurant in Budapest. It is located in the beautiful City Park, next to popular activities such as the Zoo, the Circus, and the Szechenyi thermal bath. This restaurant has served celebrities and royalties for over a decade, and it is where you can feel like a royal if you decide to dine there. Gundel is one of few restaurants in Budapest with a dress code, meaning that you should dress up if you choose to eat your dinner in the restaurant.

Gundel renewed their menu recently, meaning that it is now all about traditional Hungarian courses in a modern way. As a result, this might be one of Budapest’s best places to taste the best Hungarian food in royal surroundings.

Gundel serves the Goulash soup with homemade noodles, making it unique compared to other restaurants.

goulash soup
Goulash soup in Gundel.

Aszu

For generations, Egri Bikaver (a blended wine from several blue grapes) was the most famous wine produced in Hungary. During communism, it was exported in all directions and was known as a cheap but delicious red wine from Hungary. That has changed, and currently, the most famous wine from Hungary is named Aszu and origins from the Tokaj region. This region is primarily known for its sweet white wine. What better place to combine a traditional Hungarian meal, Gypsy music, and fantastic Hungarian wines than in Aszu?

The restaurant is in a nice area packed with fantastic restaurants; some even have Michelin stars. The restaurant has won several awards and is ideal if you want an upper-class Hungarian dinner in the center of Budapest.

Why not try beef prepared with red wine sauce made from the Bikaver wine? Or the traditional Hungarian stuffed paprika? What about a stuffed pancake as a starter? You will find all this and much more on the menu in Aszu.

Eat a Hungarian dinner on the Danube.

There are different options if you want to eat dinner on the Danube. It is obvious that you don’t eat on the Danube if you are interested in the best ingredients and the most celebrated chefs in Hungary. But if your goal is a nice Hungarian dinner with a magnificent view, you should consider dining on the Danube in a boat traveling up and down the river.

One option is to eat a buffet dinner with traditional Hungarian courses and desserts accompanied by live Gypsy music and Hungarian folk dance. However, a four-course dinner with some laidback live music in the background is a different option. Once again, these might not be the best gastronomical experiences you will have in Budapest, but they are still an excellent way of combining Hungarian food with an extraordinary view.

Eat your Budapest dinner on the Danube while enjoying this view.
Eat your Budapest dinner on the Danube while enjoying this view.

Rezkakas

Opposite the Aszu restaurant in a street known for outstanding restaurants, you can find Rezkakas. It is almost identical to Aszu’s style and has more similarities with Aszu than differences. There have been some complaints that service is slow and that it takes a while for the food to be served, but many also praise the quality of the food, the service, and the musicians present in the restaurant every evening.

The restaurant often has tables available for last-minute guests. That makes it a good option if you are looking for a table for tomorrow evening or the upcoming weekend.

Have you been longing to taste Hungarian goose liver? Or an ice cream based in which they use the famous Hungarian sweet Aszu wine from Tokaj? You can taste these and other fantastic dishes in Rezkakas.

rezkakas budapest
Traditional Hungarian dinner in Rezkakas.

Hungarian food with a Michelin star.

Would you like to eat food made by Michelin-awarded chefs in fantastic restaurants? There are some restaurants in Budapest focusing on Hungarian cuisine with Michelin stars. Remember to reserve a table in advance if you want to dine in one of these restaurants.

Stand 25

The most famous chef in Hungary is Tamas Szell. He has participated and performed very well in competitions such as Bocuse d’Or. In addition, he was the chef in the Onyx restaurant, which became the first Hungarian restaurant with a Michelin star during his time as a chef. Since then, Tamas has moved on and is now running the restaurant Stand 25 with Szabina Szullo.

The restaurant quickly received a Michelin star and is one of the finest places in Budapest if you want to eat Hungarian made by the best chefs in the country.

The restaurant isn’t in the center of Budapest, but if you walk across the Chain bridge (the most famous bridge in Budapest) and through the tunnel on the other side, you are suddenly very close to the restaurant.

Have you ever wondered what a Michelin-starred Goulash soup tastes like? Or would you instead taste a roasted duck leg with cabbage and potatoes? It might sound easy, but hopefully, you will experience miracles as the food hits your tongue in Stand 25.

stand 25

Babel

Babel isn’t a restaurant; it is an experience. You don’t order from a standard menu. Instead, you buy a degustation menu consisting of eight courses (or more). Babel is about reinventing traditional Hungarian dishes with modern cooking techniques and presentation. As a result, the degustation menus frequently change according to the season and which fresh ingredients are available.

The restaurant is on the Pest side, close to the Elisabeth bridge. As a result, it is easily accessible for all tourists in Budapest.

What should you taste in Babel? Whatever they serve you!

babel budapest

Salt

Salt is yet another Michelin-starred restaurant in Budapest, focusing on Hungarian cuisine. Just like in Babel, you buy a degustation menu and eat whatever they bring to the table. The poultry served in the restaurant comes from the chef’s family’s meat manufactury. Besides this, the chef (Szilard Toth) often heads out to the wild to pick wild plants that he uses in the food served in the restaurant.

As you can see in the picture, the dishes might not be gigantic, but they are attractive, local, and tasty!

gourmet food in salt budapest

Other restaurants where you can eat delicious Hungarian food.

If you want to eat Hungarian food in a Michelin restaurant or with Gypsy music in the background, you have already read some suggestions. But would you rather dine in a nice Hungarian restaurant without those extras? Here you have some remaining tips.

Trofea Grill

Trofea Grill is a restaurant chain in Budapest with six restaurants in the Hungarian capital. The restaurant operates with a buffet system where you can eat and drink as much as you want for a set price. It might sound primitive, but the quality is surprisingly good. In addition, you can taste a large number of Hungarian dishes during one single meal. You can choose from soups, starters, main dishes, and desserts. The main focus is on Hungarian food, making it easy to get a quick introduction to the local kitchen.

Since you serve yourself, it looks less nice on the plate than in a regular restaurant, but it still tastes incredible!

You can find the most central Trofea Grill restaurant near the State Opera, making it easy to access for everyone.

dessert n trofea grill
There are lots of desserts to choose from in Trofea Grill.

Fatal restaurant

Would you like a restaurant serving giant portions and gigantic wiener schnitzels? Then, fatal is the place to go. The restaurant is in Vaci utca, Budapest’s pedestrian street, and it is terrific for Hungarian food the way a grandmother would serve you.

This restaurant is not so much about fine dining. Still, I suspect kids and those hungry will appreciate a dinner in Fatal more than the previously mentioned restaurants in this list.

As mentioned, this is the place to visit if you want to eat a 250g wiener schnitzel in Budapest. The menu is extensive, meaning you can choose from a wide selection of starters, soups, main courses, and desserts if you decide to dine in Fatal during your Budapest stay. Throughout the years, celebrities such as Ralph Fiennes, Brian May, Antonio Banderas, and Ferenc Puskas have used this restaurant as the location for their dinners.

fatal budapest restaurant

What to eat and drink in Hungary?

It is one thing to find a good restaurant and another to know what to order. Here we will briefly introduce some of the most famous and traditional Hungarian courses and drinks.

Traditional Hungarian food worth tasting.

Stuffed cabbage

Stuffed cabbage, also known as “töltött káposzta” in Hungarian, is a traditional dish in many European countries, including Hungary. The dish consists of cooked cabbage leaves filled with a mixture of ground meat (such as pork, beef, or lamb), rice, onions, and various seasonings. The filling is then rolled up in the cabbage leaves, and the rolls are typically braised or baked in a tomato-based sauce.

The exact recipe for stuffed cabbage can vary depending on the region and the family preparing it. Some versions may use different types of meat, while others may include additional ingredients such as paprika, sauerkraut, or bacon.

Goulash soup

Goulash soup, also known as “gulyásleves” in Hungarian, is a traditional soup from Hungary typically made with beef or pork, with lots of onions, paprika, and other vegetables and spices. The soup is flavorful and popular in Hungary and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Some people fear the soup’s spiciness, but that isn’t usually a problem.

If you want to spice it up, ask your waiter for some strong paprika and you will quickly feel the heat!

Wiener Schnitzel

A Wiener Schnitzel is a traditional Austrian/Hungarian dish made from veal, pork, or chicken. It is breaded and fried until it is crispy and golden brown. The dish is often called a “Wiener Schnitzel” because it originated in Vienna, Austria. But since Hungary and Austria have a common history in many ways, the Wiener Schnitzel is considered a Hungarian meal by Hungarians, just like the Austrians consider it Austrian.

To make a Wiener Schnitzel, a thin slice of veal, pork, or chicken is first pounded with a meat tenderizer to make it even thinner and more tender. It is then seasoned with salt and pepper, coated in flour, dipped in beaten eggs, and then coated in breadcrumbs. The breaded veal is then fried in hot oil until it is crispy and golden brown.

wiener schnitzel

Chicken Paprikash

Chicken paprikash, also known as “paprikás csirke” in Hungarian, is a traditional dish from Hungary that features chicken cooked in a paprika-based sauce. This is one of the most popular Hungarian dishes among foreigners, which means you can find it almost everywhere.

The chicken and the sauce are normally served together with homemade noodles, often called “galuska” in Hungarian.

Goose liver

Hungarian cuisine features goose liver as a delicacy and is often served as an appetizer or as part of a larger meal.

Goose liver can be prepared in a variety of ways, including searing, poaching, and pan-frying. One traditional Hungarian preparation is to slice the goose liver into thin pieces and sear it in a hot pan with a bit of oil or butter until it is crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The liver is then typically served on a slice of toasted bread or a bed of lettuce with a side of jam or chutney.

Cottage cheese dumplings

Cottage cheese dumplings are a traditional Hungarian sweet dessert made from cottage cheese, flour, eggs, and sugar. The dumplings are formed into small balls, boiled in water, and then served with a variety of sweet toppings.

Gundel pancake

The Gundel pancake, also known as “Gundel palacsinta” in Hungarian, is a famous Hungarian dessert that is named after Károly Gundel, a renowned Hungarian chef and restaurateur. The dessert is a thin pancake filled with a mixture of ground walnuts, raisins, and rum, then covered in a sweet chocolate sauce and flambéed with rum.

gundel pancake
It tastes better than it looks!

Somloi galuska

Somlói galuska is a traditional Hungarian dessert that consists of three types of sponge cake layered with vanilla pastry cream, chocolate sauce, and rum-soaked raisins, and topped with whipped cream and caramelized walnuts. The three types of sponge cake used in Somlói galuska are often made from a combination of flour, sugar, eggs, and often ground walnuts or breadcrumbs. The cakes are baked separately and then cut into small pieces or broken into crumbs.

Gesztenyepüré

“Gesztenyepüré” is a Hungarian dessert made from pureed chestnuts, sugar, vanilla, and sometimes rum. The chestnuts are boiled until tender, then peeled and either mashed or pureed into a smooth consistency. Sugar, vanilla, and sometimes rum are added to taste, and the mixture is typically served chilled with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of vanilla sauce on top.

Golden dumplings

Golden dumplings (aranygaluska) is a sweet Hungarian dessert made with sweet yeast dough, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts. The name describes the dessert’s color and shape.

To make aranygaluska, a sweet yeast dough is prepared using flour, yeast, milk, butter, sugar, and eggs. The dough is then divided into small pieces, rolled into balls, and dipped in melted butter before being coated in a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts, often walnuts.

The balls of dough are then placed in a baking dish and left to rise for a second time before being baked in the oven until golden brown. Once baked, aranygaluska is typically served warm and can be accompanied by a sweet vanilla sauce or a dusting of powdered sugar.

What to drink in Hungary?

Which are the typical Hungarian drinks that you should taste while enjoying your meal in Budapest? Here you have a couple of suggestions.

Palinka (Hungarian fruit spirit)

Palinka is a type of fruit brandy produced in Hungary. It is made by distilling fermented fruit mash, typically from plums, apricots, pears, or cherries.

Palinka is a clear, colorless liquor with a high alcohol content, usually around 40-50% ABV. Most restaurants serve the Palinka as an aperitif or digestif in small glasses. It is worth drinking slowly to fully enjoy the fruit taste.

Wine

Hungary is known for its wine production. In this article, we have already mentioned the sweet white wine from Tokaj and the wine Bikaver from Eger. There is so much to taste as Hungary has 22 wine regions producing wines from all sorts of grapes. In some restaurants, especially the Michelin-starred restaurants, you will often be offered a wine menu specifically made to match the degustation menu.

No matter what you do, taste lots of fantastic Hungarian wine in Budapest.

taste Hungarian wine

Unicum

Unicum is a traditional Hungarian herbal liqueur. They make the drink from a secret blend of over 40 herbs and spices. It has a dark brown color and a bitter, slightly sweet flavor with notes of citrus, cinnamon, and clove. Unicum was created in 1790 by a Hungarian physician named Dr. Zwack, who developed the recipe as a medicinal tonic for the royal family.

Over the years, Unicum has become a popular alcoholic beverage in Hungary, often served as a digestif after meals or as a remedy for stomach ailments.

Six free activities you should enjoy in Budapest!

Budapest is a fantastic city with amazing attractions and activities waiting. Maybe you come with lots of money and want to see and experience everything, no matter how much it will cost. Or perhaps you are trying to spend as little money as possible during your days in Budapest? This article will show you several activities and programs that you can enjoy without spending any money.

Six things you can experience in Budapest for free!

The Fishermens’ bastion.

This historic fortification is one of the most famous attractions in Budapest. It is located on the Buda hill in the castle area, next to the famous Matthias church. You can enjoy a fantastic view from the Fishermen’s bastion towards the Hungarian Parliament, the Danube, the Margaret Island. It will give you a panorama no camera can catch entirely.

The entire Fishermen’s bastion is free to visit between October 23rd and March 15th every year. Besides that, the ground level can be explored and enjoyed for free all year. In other words, an excellent place for a free and fantastic panorama in Budapest.

fishermens' bastion

Walk along the Danube Promenade.

You do not need to pay anything to walk up and down the streets of Budapest. And if you like to walk, you should definitely walk up and down the streets next to the Danube. The panorama is extraordinary, both during daytime and nighttime. If you have the chance, walk from the Elisabeth bridge to the Margaret bridge (on the Pest side), walk across the Margaret bridge, grab something to eat at Trofea Grill (by the Margaret bridge on the Buda side), and then walk back along the Buda side until you get to the Chain bridge and walk across it back to the Pest side. This will give you a fantastic walk with a beautiful panorama in Budapest.

danube panorama

Explore the Central Market Hall.

Nothing is free inside the Big Market Hall, besides walking around on the inside. But even though it might sound boring to walk in a market hall without spending money, half the experience here is looking around. It is interesting to see all the products Hungarians come to buy daily in the market hall, and you will for sure enjoy it!

Market Hall

Learn some history at the Heroes square.

The most famous square in Budapest is the Heroes Square. It is located in the City park, a majestic square surrounded by two fantastic museums, the Art Hall and the Museum of Fine Arts. It is free to walk around the square, and you can do a quick wrap-up on Hungarian history if you read more about the different characters shown as statues on the square.

If you want to visit the museums for free, come to Budapest for one of the Hungarian national days (August 20th, March 15th, or October 23rd). Most of the museums in the city are free to visit on such days.

Heroes Square

Discover the City Park.

You have already been to the Heroes square, so why not walk on to the City park? This is a gigantic park area in which you can find playgrounds, restaurants, cafés, and the magnificent Vajdhahunyad castle. What’s even better is that you can walk around in the park and also in the Vajdahunyad castle area for free. You need to pay to enter the different parts of the castle, but walking through the castle area is free and an experience on its own.

Explore the Margaret Island

It is easy to spend money at the Margaret island renting bicycles, visiting the Palatinus bath, or living in one of the spa hotels. But it is possible to walk around in the beautiful environment while watching remains from a former monastery, watching the water in a fountain move to the rhythms of classical music, and visiting a tiny zoo for free at the Margaret island. You can also run on the running track surrounding the island, or bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic with the things you bring along. No matter what, the Margaret island is a fantastic place to go in Budapest.

margitsziget

These activities offer a great introduction to the culture and history of Budapest, and they are all completely free, making them accessible to visitors of all budgets. Would you rather read more about ideas for a romantic day in Budapest? We have lots of interesting in our Budapest Guide, so make sure to look around for inspiration, ideas, and helpful suggestions.

The best hotels for Christmas market tourists in Budapest.

November and December are fantastic months to visit Budapest. You don’t have to fear extreme heat, and you can visit the magic Christmas markets the city has to offer. If you haven’t read our guide to the Christmas markets in Budapest already, that is a good place to start. But, maybe you know everything there is to know about the Christmas markets. There is, however, one remaining question – what hotel should you choose for your trip to Budapest?

The most important to know is the location of the Christmas markets. Below we have created a little map showing the locations of the two major Christmas markets in Budapest; Vörösmarty square and Sas square.

the two christmas markets in budapest

It is important to understand that the two locations are close. It only takes 5 minutes to walk from one of the Christmas markets to the other. But, the Christmas market at Vörösmarty square is located at the end of the shopping street Váci utca, making this area better for shopping lovers.

Based on this information, we will recommend a couple of hotels. We will include some recommendations for those who are on a budget and who don’t mind using the metro for a few stops as well. But, the main goal is to recommend a few hotels very close to the Christmas markets, meaning that you can leave the entrance of your hotel and almost start drinking hot wine and eating Hungarian lángos immediately.

Let’s start with the cheapest solutions…

The best hotels for Christmas market tourists in Budapest with a low budget.

We cannot guarantee low prices on these hotels, but they will be cheaper than most central hotels in Budapest. No matter your choice, you can reach the Christmas markets using the subway (metro), and you don’t have to change lines.


Easy Star Hotel (Sziv utca 13, 1063 Budapest)

This is absolutely fitting into the category of a budget three-star hotel in Budapest. It is located 150 meters from the metro stop Kodaly Körönd (yellow line). This is the second oldest metro line in all of Europe, making it an attraction itself. The hotel has breakfast available. It isn’t luxurious at all, but if you just need a place to sleep and eat breakfast (and you’d rather spend your money at the Christmas markets), this is a great option.

How to get to the Christmas market from this hotel?

Walk to the Kodaly Körönd metro stop and travel to the end station of the line (Vörösmarty square). You will immediately be at the biggest and most famous Christmas market in Budapest.

This hotel is 2,2km from the Christmas market at Vörösmarty square. It is a very nice walk if you don’t mind using your legs.

easy star budapest

Would you like to live a little bit nicer, but you don’t mind using the metro for a few stops? The next hotel is a great pick for you!


Hotel Andrassy (Andrassy ut 111, 1063 Budapest)

Hotel Andrassy is one metro stop further away from the city center than Easy Star Hotel (mentioned above). This hotel has a good reputation in Budapest, and it has been around for a long time. It has four stars, a nice restaurant in the building, and it sure looks nicer than many other hotels in Budapest. In other words, you don’t get the very cheap feeling as you walk around in the building. But it is still cheaper than living at four-star hotels in the very heart of Budapest.

The location is also close to the Heroes Square and the City Park, making it easy to visit this fantastic area where you can find the popular Szechenyi thermal bath, the Zoo, the Vajdahunyad castle, the Heroes square, and several nice museums.

How to get to the Christmas market from this hotel?

Walk 150 meters to the metro stop Bajza utca. From there, travel in the direction of Vörösmarty tér and get off at the end station. You will then be surrounded by stalls and feel the smell of hot wine immediately.

If you don’t mind walking, this hotel is located 2,7km from the Christmas market at the Vörösmarty square by foot. It is a fantastic walk along the beautiful Andrassy Avenue (which has beautiful lights before Christmas). This street is also known as the street for luxury shopping in Budapest (in the area near the Hungarian State Opera).

hotel andrassy in budapest

Have you had enough walking already? Are you coming to Budapest to live in a great location? Don’t you want to spend time and energy buying public transportation tickets or walking a few kilometers to get to the Christmas markets? It is time to come up with some recommendations for you!


The best hotels very close to the Christmas markets in Budapest

Would you like to feel the smell of Hungarian sausage as you leave your hotel? Are you traveling to Budapest to relax, not to mess with public transportation tickets, taxis, and other things that you’d rather avoid? Here you have some hotel recommendations located no more than a few hundred meters from the Christmas markets in Budapest. We have included some cheaper and some extremely elegant solutions to the list.


Hotel Promenade (Váci utca 22, 1052 Budapest)

What should we say about this hotel? It has three stars, and it is located in the shopping street Váci utca. You can easily use this as your base for exploring Budapest and the Christmas markets, but do not expect a lot of extras. The main entrance is located in the shopping street, but it is easy to overlook it at first glance.

WiFi is available to all guests free of charge, and breakfast is available in the hotel. This is perfect if you want to live quite cheap at a very central location in Budapest. Would you rather spend some more and stay in a nicer hotel (with four stars)? Read the two recommendations following this.

hotel promenade in budapest

Mercure Budapest City Center (Vaci utca 20, 1052 Budapest)

Mercure is a hotel brand that many travelers know. This is something you can trust. The hotel is located in the pedestrian street Váci utca and it is often preferred among travelers who want to live in a four-star hotel without spending all their money paying for accommodation. You can order your room with breakfast if that is preferred, but you can also book without breakfast and just leave the hotel and eat breakfast elsewhere nearby during your stay in Budapest.

As you leave the hotel, you need to walk approximately 250 meters to get to the Christmas market at Vörösmarty square. Some people fear that the hotel is noisy as it is located by the shopping street, but this is seldom causing any trouble.

mercure city center

This is a quite cheap four-star hotel very close to the Christmas market at Vörösmarty square. Would you rather live in a cheap four-star hotel near the Christmas market by St. Stephen’s Basilica? The next recommendation is for you!


Hotel Central Basilica (Hercegprimas utca 8, 1051 Budapest)

This four-star hotel is located almost at the square of the Christmas market by St. Stephen’s Basilica. It isn’t a very luxurious four-star hotel, but it has a great location, and it makes walking back and forth in Budapest easy due to its location. You can easily book your room with breakfast, but due to its location, you can easily book without breakfast as there are plenty of places where you can eat breakfast nearby.

Once again, this is a quite “easy” four-star hotel, but a great choice if you want to live with style without paying a fortune.

hotel central basilica

Would you like to live in a five-star hotel instead? Below you can find our final two suggestions!


Kempinski Hotel (Erzsebet ter 7-8, 1051 Budapest)

This is a very nice five-star hotel in Budapest with a great location. It is 150 meters from the Christmas market at Vörösmarty square and 250 meters from the Christmas market by Stephen’s Basilica. You will find lots of great activities available within the walls of the hotel (SPA treatments, restaurants, swimming pools, fitness center, and more), and you will absolutely enjoy how close it is to the Christmas markets. It is also practical that it has its own private parking for guests, making it easy if you arrive in your own car or if a taxi will drop you off at the hotel.

The hotel is located by the square where you can find the famous Budapest Eye. This is a nice activity worth testing, and it looks fantastic at night.

This is a typical five-star hotel with gracious rooms and lots of air. In other words, you really get that luxurious feeling as you enter the hotel.

Kempinski is a very nice five-star hotel. Would you like even more luxury and something even more special? Below you can find our final and the most luxurious recommendation.


Aria Hotel (Hercegprimas utca 5, 1051 Budapest)

This hotel is for those who want luxury like nowhere else in Budapest. It is a very expensive hotel and extreme in its level of luxury. The hotel is located less than 50 meters from the Christmas market by St. Stephen’s Basilica. If you want to relax after a tiring day in Budapest, this hotel has a bar at the roof, a spa center with a pool, and free WiFi. This hotel is special because it is built around different music styles. Free wine is available to hotel guests each day between 16.00 and 18.00, combined with a cheese buffet. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the breakfast is amazing. In other words, this is the ultimate place for luxury near the Christmas markets in Budapest.

hotel aria in budapest

We have recommended hotels ideal for your trip to Budapest in this article. Some are extremely close to the Christmas markets, while others are further away and require you to walk more than 2km or use public transportation. No matter what you are looking for, we are quite convinced that some of these will suit you and your needs, and let us not forget, your wallet.

If you have further comments or questions, write a comment below!


Frequently asked questions about hotels in Budapest during the Christmas market period.


Is it cheap to book a hotel in Budapest in November and December?

The time before Christmas is supposed to be a “low season” in tourism. But, due to the Christmas markets, it has turned into a high-peak season. As a result, you will most likely find cheaper hotels in the start of November (before the Christmas markets open) than you will in December. Budapest is still a cheap city compared to cities such as Vienna, where you have to pay 2x-3x more for rooms of similar quality and with a similar location in the city compared to Budapest.


How should I travel from the airport to my hotel in Budapest?

There are several options for this. You can arrange the airport transfer directly with your hotel. It is also possible to book an airport transfer in Budapest with us. You can find more about airport transfers in Budapest right here. There is also a bus that connects the airport with the city center. This works well for most of the hotels described in this article, and the price is 1500 HUF per ticket.


Do you have any restaurant recommendations for Budapest in November and December?

Most restaurants operate with normal opening times during this period. But, it is worth noticing that many restaurants have lots of reservations, which means you will often be sent away if you try to just walk by a restaurant in the evening without a reservation. As a result, it is worth reserving a table, at least if you desire to dine in a certain restaurant.

  • Most restaurants have normal opening times until December 23rd.
  • On December 24th, 95% of the restaurants in Budapest are closed. As a result, it is hard to find places where you can dine on December 24th. The best is to eat your Christmas dinner in your hotel or book months in advance in restaurants such as Aszu and/or Rezkakas. These restaurants operate with set menus for December 24th, and also for December 31st.
  • Many restaurants remain closed on December 25th and 26th, but a very popular restaurant like Sir Lancelot is open again on December 25th. Rezkakas and Aszu are open as well on December 25th and December 26th.
  • Many restaurants are open on December 31st, but most of them have special menus for this evening. These have to be reserved beforehand (in most cases).

To sum it up, book a table in advance if you come to Budapest in this period. Some restaurants that are worth considering are:


What is the price of eating breakfast in Budapest (not in your hotel)?

This depends on where you eat and what you eat, but a cheap breakfast costs approximately 1200-1800 HUF (3-4 euros), while a more expensive breakfast will cost around 3000 HUF (8 euros).


Will my hotel offer dinner opportunities on December 24th and December 31st?

It is impossible to give a general answer to this question. The wisest thing is to contact the hotel directly to get an answer to this question. Most hotels with a restaurant and with four or five stars will offer their guests dinner on these days, but you should definitely contact them to be sure.

Nine dinners in Budapest you will remember for a long time!

Are you looking for suggestions on places to eat in Budapest? Here we have compiled a list of nine dinner opportunities that for sure will give you many memories and experiences to remember for a long time.

We don’t expect you to consider all nine suggestions just as good, but, we are sure that everyone will find some of the ideas to be brilliant. And based on our own experience, we can clearly say that these are awesome experiences that will be stuck in your mind for a long time after the actual dinner.

Are you ready to go? If you find something you like, click the links to fix your reservations and to read more about the different restaurants and programs.

Nine fantastic dinner options in Budapest

Let us start with two gourmet restaurants that will give you a culinary experience to remember. These are not the cheapest experiences in Budapest, but considering the quality you get, the prices ain’t that bad at all!

Onyx Budapest – A two-starred dinner

Onyx was the first restaurant in Budapest to receive a Michelin star and was later the first restaurant ever to receive a second Michelin star. In other words, this is the only restaurant in Budapest with two Michelin-stars, and it is food and ingredients at the highest level. You will for sure remember your meal here for a long time, but be aware of the fact that you should reserve a table months before arrival if you want to be sure to get a free seat.

Gourmet dinner in Onyx Budapest

Onyx Budapest
Address: 1051 Budapest, Vorosmarty ter 7-8
Reservation: +36 30 508 06 22


Aszu Budapest – A gourmet dinner without stars

If you want to experience a Budapest dinner in high class and with the best ingredients, but without paying for the Michelin stars, Aszu is a perfect option. The restaurant is located in the heart of Budapest, not far from St. Stephen’s Basilica. Here you will often find free tables if you book a few days in advance, making it perfect for a very fine dinner in Budapest booked quite late. Aszu is also the name of the most famous wine produced in Hungary from the Tokaj region, making the restaurant a perfect place for a wine dinner where you combined the best ingredients with some of the best Hungarian wines.

Aszu restaurant in Budapest

Aszu Budapest
Address: 1051 Budapest, Sas u. 4.
Reservation: can be done here.


After two gourmet restaurants, it is time to change to some different restaurants in other interesting categories.


Dinner at the Danube River

The dinners you are served on the Danube might not be the most exclusive, but they will still give you memories to remember for a long time. What is better than enjoying a delicious meal (either served at the table or taken from a buffet), and then eating it while watching the beautiful city of Budapest outside the windows of the boat? Many of these boats also have live music in the background, giving you an even nicer experience during the trip.

There are river cruises with food available both during the daytime and nighttime, but if you want to see Budapest at its most magnificent, make sure to book a cruise in the evening!

Dinner at a river cruise in Budapest

Budapest River Cruises
More information about tours and booking opportunities here.


Eat a lot in Trofea Grill

Are you one of those who simply want to eat it all and taste it all? Maybe it is hard to choose only one main course from the menu? Go to Trofea Grill and enjoy food from a giant buffet. Here you can eat without stop and without limitations and taste a whole lot of variations of Hungarian food. There are soups, main courses, salads, desserts, fruits, vegetables, grill bar, and so much more to choose from, and besides eating a lot, you can also drink without limitations as everything is included in the price.

Buffet dinner in Trofea Grill Budapest

Trofea Grill
Address: Kiraly utca 30-32 , Margit Korut 2
Reservation: fix it here

There are a total of six Trofea Grill restaurants in Budapest, but the two addresses above are to the best two restaurants in the category.


A fantastic wine dinner in Budapest

Hungary is a nation of wine production, and what can then be better than to enjoy a large wine dinner while in Budapest? We have two awesome wine dinners available to our guests and they are both arranged in central Budapest, not far from the Ferenciek square. At both dinners, you will be served traditional Hungarian courses combined with 100% authentic Hungarian wines. Neither of the menus should be considered gourmet dinners, but they are still in high quality and should be satisfying to most people out there looking for dinners with good drinks and high-quality food.

wine dinner in budapest

Wine dinners in Budapest
Arranged in BorLaBor and Karolyi restaurant in Budapest
More information and booking can be done here.


A Medieval dinner with belly-dancing

It might not sound so attractive, but the Sir Lancelot restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in all of Budapest. It is crowded on all evenings (almost), and here you can enjoy giant plates of food served to you and your companions. But, that isn’t all. The restaurant is furnished with medieval furniture, there is live middle age music in the background, you can experience sword-fights and belly-dancing, and it is an experience people come to experience over and over again while in Budapest. A really authentic and awesome experience for those who want a somewhat different restaurant experience in Budapest.

Medieval dinner in Sir Lancelot Budapest

Sir Lancelot Budapest
Address: 1065 Budapest, Podmaniczky u. 14.
Reservation: fix it right here.


Brewery dinner for those who love beer

Are you in love with beer? Do you want to eat a lot, and at the same time drink and enjoy beer brewed at the actual restaurant? Our brewery dinner might be exactly what you have been looking for. The restaurant/brewery is located near the Kalvin square and here you will combine a four-course dinner with a brewery visit, accompanied by four beers and four Hungarian fruit spirits (Palinka). You will for sure not leave the restaurant hungry, but you might walk a bit shady after getting quite a lot of alcohol into your blood during your time at the place.

The four courses served are quite traditional Hungarian courses, and the portions are like you expect them to be in Hungary – BIG!

Beer dinner in Kaltenberg Budapest

Brewery dinner Budapest
Address: Kinizsi utca 30-36 (Kaltenberg)
Reservation: This program is made for us and can be booked here.


Juicy steaks in La Pampa / Pampas

Do you like the sound of a juicy steak, or maybe a Kobe steak while in Budapest? At both La Pampa and Pampas Steakhouse, you have the chance to eat steaks in all sizes and with all sorts of side dishes. Both restaurants are known for their high quality, and they are both located in the heart of Budapest. La Pampa is close to the St. Stephen’s Basilica and has a beautiful interior, while Pampas is next to the Grand Market Hall and might look a bit rustier on the inside. The menu is, however, identical in both places, so the only difference between the restaurants is the waiters and the interior.

Ready for a steak in Budapest?

Pampas Steakhouse
Address: 1053 Budapest, Vámház krt. 6
Reservation: Fix your reservation here.

La Pampa
Address: 1065 Budapest, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 23
Reservation: Fix your reservation here.


Eat your dinner at an outdoor market

The last option might sound strange, but if you want a dining experience in Budapest that you might remember for a long time, why not find an outdoor market and eat there? It might be the Easter market or one of the Christmas markets, but these are perfect places to taste very authentic and tasty Hungarian food. Here you will find Hungarian sausages, lots of pork, fresh salads, hot soups, and of course, lots of traditional Hungarian spirits and drinks.

This might sound boring, but it isn’t. At these markets, you will find lots of meals that you don’t find in average restaurants, and just take a look at the following picture from the Christmas market at the Vorosmarty square in 2019 to see what was served.

Rooster Testicles Stew

Do you see what was served here? Rooster Testicles Stew! It might not sound delicious, but it will for sure give you an experience that you will remember for a long time. And maybe you will even enjoy the taste? This is just one of many examples of what you can taste and eat at these outdoor markets in Budapest


Are you ready to eat your Budapest dinner?

We hope these nine suggestions will inspire and help you out. If you have further ideas or suggestions, write them down in the comment field beneath. Have you been to any of the places described? Feel free to write some feedback and tell us all about your experience!

The only thing that remains after this is to wish you GOOD APPETITE!

The Ten Best Hotels in Budapest in 2020

Where are you going to stay in Budapest during your trip to the city in 2020? Which is the best five star hotel in Budapest? Which hotel has the best panorama towards the Danube? Which is the best three star hotel in Budapest with a great location and cheap prices? The Budapest Guide presents to you the Ten Best Hotels in Budapest in 2020.

If you have read the introduction, you probably understand that we do not aim at listing the ten best hotels in Budapest, because then they would all be five-star hotels. Instead, we try to list the ten best hotels in Budapest that all are best within their very own category. Maybe you want to live in a super luxury hotel, but do not care so much about its location? Or maybe you want to live with splendor and luxury in the heart of the city? We have the best hotels for both of you.

Would you rather live in a great hotel that only has three or four stars, but still located in the city center? Or would you rather find a cheaper hotel that will give you great value for your money, and instead spend a few minutes every day using public transportation to get to the city center? Read on and find our recommendations!

Ten Best Hotels in Budapest in 2020

Here you have ten recommended hotels in Budapest. We hope you will find one suit exactly your needs and your travel desires.

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham – If all you want is luxury in Budapest

Is your only desire to live in the most luxurious hotel of them all in Budapest? You don’t care about price, nor location, but you just want gold and glory, and maybe even the chance to bump into Hollywood stars currently in Budapest working on a movie production (or something like that)?

The view from one of the nicest rooms in Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Budapest.
The view from one of the nicest rooms in Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Budapest.

The hotel you should stay in is the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham. This is located in the heart of the city, close to the Danube and with a splendid view towards the Chain Bridge. It is a glamorous hotel, and one of the most expensive places to stay in Budapest.

Danubius Health Spa Resort Margaret Island – If you want quietness, thermal water (SPA), and no noise

The next hotel we want to recommend is located at the Margaret Island in Budapest. It is important to notice that this isn’t a hotel ideal for those who come to discover Budapest. It is way too far from the city center (30-45 minutes on foot), and it is located on an island in the middle of the Danube. The island itself is gorgeous, and it is one of the nicest (if not THE nicest) recreational areas in all of Budapest. Here you can walk in a green area, lie down in the grass to relax, go for a nice walk (or enjoy a jogging trip around the island on the 5km track), or just lie in the SPA of the hotel enjoying real thermal water (with high temperatures) and some of the other indoor activities available at the hotel.

Health Spa Resort hotel at the Margaret Island in Budapest
A nice room in the Health Spa Resort hotel on the Margaret Island

Again, this is the number one recreational hotel in Budapest if your goal is to relax. But, if you are on a city-trip, go somewhere else.

Erzsebet City Center – if you want to enjoy a three-star hotel in the heart of the city with good prices

Would you like to live in the heart of Budapest in a quiet street, but still close to the walking street and the Danube? Don’t care so much about the number of stars, but you still want to live in a nice hotel where you can enjoy a clean room, nice surroundings, and everything you require of a hotel room and a hotel building in itself? Hotel Erzsebet City Center is without a doubt a great place to stay.

Erzsebet City Center in Budapest – nice and cheap with three stars

The prices are much lower than those of most other hotels nearby, but you get high quality and a centrally located hotel in return. One of the best choices if you want location and quality at a low cost.

Mercure Korona – If you come with a large bus and want to park a bus next to the hotel

If you do not live in Budapest, you might not understand this, but if you do – you will! It is often a nightmare for groups who arrive with large buses from the airport (or from their own country and city) to park next to their hotel. Often they will find themselves dropped off a 5-minute walk from the hotel (or more), and that isn’t very ideal if you carry a lot of luggage, if it is raining, or so on. If it is important to you to live in a hotel that can have a bus park just next to it (and also pick you up on the same location), Mercure Korona is the number one hotel to pick for you.

Mercure Korona in Budapest
Mercure Korona – a hotel ideal for larger groups

It is centrally located, only 3-4 minutes on foot from the Grand Market Hall and the shopping street Vaci utca. You will find lots of amazing restaurants in the vicinity of the hotel, and it is also extremely easy to reach from the airport, making sure that you do not have to spend lots of unnecessary time in traffic before you arrive to the hotel. And, it will also save you quite a lot of minutes as you depart from your hotel in order to get back to the airport. The hotel has four stars!

Aria Hotel – One of the most complete hotel experiences in Budapest

Would you like to visit a hotel that has a rooftop bar with a beautiful view over Budapest, freshly pressed juice for breakfast, floors, and rooms with classical music style and named after famous composers and just one of the nicest hotel experiences available in all of Budapest? Hotel Aria the hotel to pick.

Aria Hotel in Budapest
An amazing view and a fantastic interior at the Aria Hotel in Budapest

Hotel Aria is located next to the St. Stephen’s Basilica, one of the nicest areas in Budapest and very centrally located. From here you can reach all central locations in a short time, while enjoying a stay in one of the most praised hotels in all of Budapest.

7Seasons Apartments – If you want an apartment with space for more people together

It is always nice to stay together with friends and family in an apartment as you come to Budapest. Not only do you have more space to live in, but you can also cook your own food, make your own breakfast, and save quite a lot of money compared to living in a hotel. But, which apartment should you choose?

A fantastic apartment complex in Budapest, 7Seasons Apartments.
If you want to live in an apartment in Budapest, 7Seasons is the answer

There are lots of apartments available in Budapest, but if you want to go for one of the safest bets with a central location in Budapest, go for 7Seasons Apartments. It has a beautiful reception, and it almost feels like a hotel, but at the same time you will get very nice prices and big rooms with space for the entire family at the same time.

Mercure City Center – If you want four stars in the shopping street with good prices

For those who want to live in the shopping street of Budapest in a nice four-star hotel, Mercure City Center might be what you are looking for. The hotel is super central, and normally they have very good rates available. Once you leave the building you can walk around in the shopping street of Budapest, and you can also eat in a very nice Italian restaurant located next to the entrance of the building.

The entrance of the Mercure City Center in Budapest
Leave the hotel and walk in the shopping street if you stay in Mercure City Center.

It is easy to get to the hotel with smaller cars (ideal for smaller groups), while larger groups might have trouble parking just next to the hotel.

This is still a perfect solution for those who want to live in the very heart of the best part of the shopping street in a four star hotel with nice prices.

Hotel Marriott – Five stars with a view towards the Danube

This is one of our favorite hotels in Budapest, at least if you want to live in a hotel where all rooms look in the direction of the Danube River. Here you can enjoy the view towards the Castle Hill, the Chain Bridge, the Gellert Hill, the Elisabeth Bridge, and see all the nice and romantic boats on the River Danube from the window of your room. The hotel also has an amazing fitness room which will let you enjoy this stunning view while doing your daily amount of exercise.

The Marriott Hotel in Budapest
Marriott is the hotel to stay in if you want a magnificent panorama towards the Danube.

Hotel Marriott is a nice five-star hotel and they also have a parking lot next to the hotel where you might be lucky enough to park with a big bus as well, making this an ideal hotel for those who want to live in luxury by the Danube in Budapest, or for groups who want to stay centrally in Budapest for their conference or trip to Budapest.

Hilton Buda – If you like retro and the Hilton brand

We normally don’t recommend the Hilton Buda hotel, simply because it is located on the Buda side and most people spend 85% of their time on the Pest side as they visit Budapest. But, if you want to live in one of the most interesting hotels in Budapest, Hilton Buda still might be the number one place to go.

This hotel is built on the ruins of an old monastery, making it a tourist attraction in itself. Here you can taste wine in an old wine cellar, enjoy a panorama view towards the Danube, and dine in a restaurant with view towards the Hungarian Parliament and other sights. Few hotels are located in such beautiful surroundings in Budapest, and as you can see on the picture beneath, it is located next to the Matthias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion.

Hilton Buda is located at one of the most beautiful locations in all of Budapest.
Hilton Buda is located at one of the most beautiful locations in all of Budapest.

The district itself is peaceful, especially early in the morning and in the evening as most tourists leave the area to return to the Pest side.

Hotel Gozsdu Court – If you want a nice, modern, three-star hotel in the heart of the busy seventh district

The seventh district of Budapest is well known for its amazing life. Here you can find some of the most popular ruin pubs in Budapest, and here you will have things happening all around you from early morning till early morning (again). The Gozsdu Court is an amazing area, and here you can find lots of restaurants and street-food, small stores, and one of the busiest areas of the town for those who want to enjoy life, eat delicious food and have a good time.

Hotel Gozsdu Court in budapest
Hotel Gozsdu Court is perfect for those who want an apartment/hotel in the busy seventh district of Budapest.

The area is very close to the heart of the city, so it is only 5-6 minutes of walk from the hotel to get to the shopping street and, in a few more minutes, be by the River Danube. This place is ideal for families and larger groups as they have apartments available with as much as three bedrooms available.

Some things worth noticing about the list

As you might have noticed, almost all the hotels on this list are located on the Pest side. That is simply due to the fact that most people spend 85% of their time in Budapest on the Pest side. An average visitor will visit the Buda side to visit the Gellert Hill and the Castle area, but they will spend most of their time eating, drinking and doing their shopping on the Pest side. For that reason, we normally recommend our visitors to live on the Pest side, and rather just get across the Danube to visit the Buda-side whenever that is needed.

More programs worth checking out in Budapest

When you come to Budapest, it is important to stay in a nice hotel. But, it is just as important to book a table in the best restaurants and to make reservations for the important programs that you want to enjoy while in the city.

Did you know that we can help you out with several awesome programs in Budapest? We can, for example, help you out with some of these programs.

These are just some of the services we can help you with as you come to Budapest. Make sure to read more about the activities you are interested in, and contact us if we can help you out with any of the selected activities and programs.

If you have any further comments or questions about hotels in Budapest, use the comment field beneath and we will do our best to assist you with answers and help!

What is the Grand Market Hall in Budapest like?

Budapest is a city with fantastic buildings, and an amazing panorama as you walk along the Danube. But, one of the most fantastic places to walk around is in the Grand Market Hall, at least if you have a kitchen you can use afterward to prepare some royal meals.

The Market Hall is a melting pot in Budapest. Here you can see old ladies with their trolleys, buying whatever they need for the day. Next to them, you will meet a group of 30 Japanese tourists taking photos, while a local chef heads towards his favorite seller for some fresh meat for the daily menus in the restaurant. Here you can find all sorts of people, at all ages, from all around the world.

Last week I had the chance to walk around in the Grand Market Hall in Budapest. It is located in the city center of Budapest, at the very end of the shopping street named Vaci utca. The market hall opens at 6.00 in the morning, to make sure that those eager to prepare lunch before eating their breakfast, can get fresh meat and vegetables before sunrise. But, what can you actually find inside the Grand Market Hall? Join me on this little culinary walk in the Grand Market Hall of Budapest.

market hall 1.jpg

A walk in the Grand Market Hall in Budapest

The first thing that hits you as you enter the building (and look at it from the outside), is that it reminds you of a railway station. Lots of persons actually believe it is a railway station, but end up deeply surprised after actually entering the building. The Grand Market Hall was only one out of five market halls that were built in the capital of Hungary at the end of the 19th century, but this is the most famous and popular of them all.

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The Grand Market Hall has a basement in which you can find a grocery store, a meat store, and some small places where you can buy fish. The locals, however, spend most of their time on the ground floor, while tourists (especially women) walk around on the first floor.

The Ground Floor

At the ground floor, you can find fruits, vegetables, and meat. One of the first things you will see (depending on where you enter), might be lots of Hungarian paprika. At the picture beneath you can see the Hungarian paprika in all sorts of shapes.

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You will often notice that Hungarian food has a red color. It might be a soup, a sauce, or a stew, but the red color normally comes from using the Hungarian paprika. In the market hall, you can buy it as a powder (ideal for use in soups, stews, and sauces). But, you might also buy the real paprika, but that is often used as a decoration, and not so much for actual cooking. One of the coolest things to bring home from the Grand Market Hall is a glass with paprika-stew, named Erös Pista (Strong Stephen). Add a teaspoon of this to your food, and it will give a strong Hungarian taste to your food.

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If you want to have a nice lunch, then you shouldn’t forget about the dessert. But, no need to worry. You can find lots of dessert solutions in the market hall. At the picture above you can see some of the most traditional Hungarian cakes, including the round biscuit covered in chocolate, with jam in the middle, the so-called Ischler.

Would you rather eat some hand-made chocolate for dessert? There are lots of chocolate with all sorts of spices and extras in the Market Hall.

market hall 5.jpg

All sorts of meat

If you are a meat-lover, then you will find all sorts of interesting meat in the market hall. You can, of course, find traditional meat like chicken wings, chicken breast, minced meat, steaks, and so on. But, you will also find more interesting pieces like the ones you can see on the image beneath. There you can see larynx from a pig, cow interiors like lounges, hearts, kidneys, spleen, and other delicious stuff. Besides these, you can also find testicles, tongues, ears, and other culinary exotic objects, so get ready for cooking!

market hall 7.jpg

Would you rather buy some Hungarian sausage, salami, or maybe some liver paste? You can buy such objects as you walk around inside the Market Hall. It might not be as exotic as the meat portrayed above, but it is easier to prepare, and maybe also digest for some of those with a faint heart and scared of eating interior parts of animals.

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Not only meat, luckily!

Hopefully, the vegetarian readers of this blog still read the article, because now comes the part they might prefer. Hungary is a nation of agriculture, meaning that there are fresh vegetables and fruits available throughout the year, at very nice prices.

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Maybe you want to enjoy a fruit salad before continuing your walk? You can easily buy such a salad in the market hall, and you can also find places, where you can buy fresh, pressed orange juice and grapefruit juice if that sounds good.

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Would you like to drink raw juice? There are lots of vegetables ideal for juicing in the market hall. But, you can, of course, buy some beetroot and create a creamy soup with it instead? Or maybe buy a cabbage to create the traditional Hungarian stuffed cabbage?

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There is a lot of fruits available in the market hall, and they are sold at great prices. During harvest season, this is one of the cheapest places in Budapest to buy watermelon, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, peach, apricot, pears, apples, plums, and other juicy fruits. You might not bring with you several kilos of fruits as you leave Budapest, but you should absolutely eat some kilos of fruits while in Budapest! You can also buy dried fruits in the market hall, making it even easier to digest fruits while walking the streets of Budapest throughout the day.

Would you rather buy some fresh seeds, peas? Everything is possible in the market hall!

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We have just been walking around the ground floor of the market hall in Budapest, but there is much more to see (also on this level). But, maybe you have gotten tired and want to take a break and grab something to eat? Let us visit the second floor to see what it has to offer!

The second floor

The most popular place to eat in the Market Hall is in the Fakanal restaurant on the second floor. Here you can eat in a very traditional environment (typical red/white tablecloth), and you are served all sorts of traditional dishes. If you want to taste Hungarian fruit-spirits (Palinka), that is possible as well in this restaurant.

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As I mentioned earlier, the second floor is where most tourists spend their time in the market hall. Do you need to buy some souvenirs that you should bring home to your kids or some other family member? This is the floor in which that can be done.

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Does a typical Russian doll (a matryoshka doll) sound interesting? You can find them with all sorts of motives, making it a possible funny gift to bring with you home. Maybe you want to buy a chess board instead? There are handmade chess-tables waiting for you on the second floor, as well as keyholders and other small objects.

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But, what is it that most ladies prefer to buy in the Grand Market Hall? The number one answer in Budapest is table clothes. These are (mostly) hand-made, and they are either clean white or made with typical Hungarian colors. These are very popular, and a gift many bring home to their elder family members.

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The only problem is that most people fear to use them, as they are afraid to spill on them. For that reason, lots of people have 3-4 similar table clothes in their cupboard at home already, but still, they manage to buy at least one more during a visit the to Market Hall in Budapest.

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I hope you have enjoyed this culinary walk in the Grand Market Hall of Budapest. It is an amazing place everyone should visit, and if you have a kitchen available during your stay in Budapest, it is even better!

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Have you been to the market hall in Budapest? Did you enjoy it? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments!

A fantastic tram-ride in Budapest

You can buy tickets to hop-on-hop-off buses in Budapest. You can pay a private guide to show you around. Or, you can buy a single ticket for the public transportation and enjoy a ride with tram 2 in Budapest.

tram 2 budapest
The route of tram 2 in Budapest

Let us get started right away. The best way to start the tour is by heading for the Margaret Bridge. The bridge is located a bit north of the Hungarian Parliament. You can, of course, start by jumping on the tram from the Rakoczi Bridge (or the Petöfi Bridge, or the Liberty bridge instead), but as you join us on this trip, we will start from the Margaret Bridge (name of the stop is Jaszai Mari tér).

Let’s get started with the panoramic tram ride in Budapest

As you board tram line 2 in Budapest, do not forget to validate your ticket first. The people inspecting tickets are not known to be tourist-friendly. As a consequence, lots of people have ended up paying unnecessary fines, even if they didn’t intend to do anything wrong at all. Again, validate your ticket. You can not buy a ticket on the tram, so you need to bring a ticket with you (you can buy from vending machines, from small kiosks, and in all metro stations).

Tram line 2 in Budapest - Source: Pixabay
Tram line 2 in Budapest – Source: Pixabay

You do not need to travel for a long time with tram 2 before you see this magnificent building ahead of you! The Hungarian Parliament is the building, and it is one of the most beautiful of them all in Budapest.

Hungarian Parliament
The Hungarian Parliament

Depending on who tells you about the building, you will hear that it was constructed sometime between 1884 and 1903, and it was designed by Imre Steindl. It is very inspired by the British Parliament building, but it ended up even nicer than its source of inspiration!

There has been a lot of construction work on the Hungarian Parliament building, but it is now mostly finished. As a result, it is shining on all sides (earlier it has been almost black due to dirt). The building is fantastic all times of the day, but it is at its most amazing after sunset with the big lights turned on!

As the tram drives next to the Parliament you will see two other beautiful buildings. These were all part of a design competition at the end of the 19th century, but they both lost the competition to the present Parliament building. Instead of throwing away the drawings, they decided to build both the buildings as well. The first building you see is the home of the Ethnographic museum while the second building belongs to the Ministry of Agriculture.

Museum of Ethnography and Ministry of Agriculture in Budapest
Museum of Ethnography and Ministry of Agriculture in Budapest – Source: Pixabay

Once you leave the Parliament and the other buildings behind you, the tram will take you along the River Danube again. You will be met by a stunning view in all directions as the tram moves on towards the Chain Bridge, the most famous of all bridges in Budapest. But, before we pass by the Chain Bridge, let us take a look across the Danube to enjoy the view of several beauties.

A nice Danube Panorama to the right

As we look to the right we will see four different structures that should be highlighted. Take a look at the picture beneath to see which those buildings are.

Panorama towards the Buda side from tram line 2 - Source: Pixabay
Panorama towards the Buda side from tram line 2 – Source: Pixabay

Down by the Danube on the Buda side you can see the Szilágyi Dezső Square Reformed Church. It was built between 1893 and 1895, and it is well known for its special shape, and the beautiful Zsolnay tiles on the roof.

As you look further up you can see three interesting structures next to one another. The one marked as number two on the picture is the Fishermen’s Bastion. This was built at the start of the 20th century, designed by the Miklos Ybl. While working on the Fishermen’s Bastion, he was also leading the work of renovating the Matthias Church (number 3), a church that was originally built in the 13th century. This church is the favorite church of many who visit Budapest, not only because of its interior, but because of the fantastic Zsolnay tiles on the roof, and that you can visit the tower and enjoy one of the best views in Budapest from the top.

The Matthias Church seen up-front.
The Matthias Church from up-front. The Hilton Hotel is to the left of the church.

Number four on the picture is the Hilton Hotel. This is a debated building, as many feel as if it shouldn’t be there. It is, however, a very special building due to the fact that it was constructed onto the remains of a Dominican monastery from the 15th century. As you enter the hotel, you can still see the ruins of the original building, making this one of the most special Hilton hotels in the world.

The beautiful Chain Bridge and the Castle

The tram ride from the Parliament to the Chain Bridge doesn’t take more than 1-2 minutes, so you will not have a long time to study the buildings we have just described. Soon you will get into a little tunnel taking you to the other side of the Chain Bridge. But, do not forget to take a closer look at the bridge before you drive beneath it. This was the first permanent bridge constructed between Buda and Pest. It was finished in 1849, and it has been one of the most famous landmarks in Budapest ever since. It was destroyed in 1945 (Second World War), but was quickly fixed and was ready for use again in 1949.

Chain Bridge and the Castle
The Chain Bridge and the Castle – Source: Pixabay

Now it is time to look to the Buda side again. On the top of the hill on the other side, you can see the Buda Castle. It was originally constructed in the 13th century. It has served several kings and flourished especially during the reign of King Matthias in the 15th century. During the Second World War, it was heavily damaged, but most of the damages were fixed during the Communist reign. Today the Castle is the home of the National Gallery, Budapest Historical Museum, and the National Library. In addition, it is a very popular venue for festivals and other popular events.

The Elisabeth Bridge and the Gellert Hill

In front of us, we can now see a white bridge, better known as the Elisabeth bridge. It was originally constructed in 1903, and it was the largest suspension bridge in the world as it was finished.  Just like the Chain Bridge, it was destroyed during the Second World War. The citizens of Budapest had to wait for more than 20 years for this bridge to be reconstructed.

On the Buda side of the bridge, we can see a statue portraying Bishop Gellert. He was on his way to Jerusalem as a pilgrim in the 11th century, when Hungary’s first king (Stephan), convinced him to stay. Gellert stayed in Hungary, but after the death of King Stephen, he was taken captive by rebellions trying to get rid of Christianity, and he was thrown down the hill in a barrel (and died).

On the top of the hill, you can see the Citadel and the liberty statue. This hill has been used for thousands of years, but the citadel (fortress) was built between 1850-1854. The statue portraying a lady with a palm branch in her hands was built after the Second World War in honor of the Communist soldiers who liberated Budapest (the construction was ordered by the Soviets, so the Hungarian didn’t have the chance of saying no to the job). The Gellert Hill is maybe the nicest place in Budapest if you want to take stunning panorama shots of the city, both during daytime and by night.

The Liberty Statue at the Gellért hill
The Liberty Statue at the Gellért hill

You will now quickly reach the green bridge, the Liberty Bridge. This was the third bridge built between Buda and Pest and it was finished by the end of the 19th century. Since the tram will drive into a tunnel to get beneath the bridge you cannot actually see the building, but on the Pest side next to the tram line, you can now find the famous Market Hall, a must-see place while in Budapest.

You cannot see it from the tram, but it is there - The Great Market Hall.
You cannot see it from the tram, but it is there – The Great Market Hall.

As the tram moves on, you can see the Gellert hotel on the Buda side, and almost next to it, the Technical University. But, just as interesting is the building on the Pest side built in the shape of a whale. This is often referred to by locals as the whale (Bálna), and it is a cultural center with some nice shops, and several restaurants and bars. It is a nice place to sit down and have something to eat and drink while enjoying the view of the Danube and the city.

The Whale shaped building in Budapest
Here you can see the whale-shaped building, the Bálna – Source: Pixabay

The end of the tram ride is approaching, but there are still a few more things worth noticing. First, we will pass beneath the Petőfi bridge (named after a famous Hungarian poet who lived in the 19th century). On the Pest side, you can now see a whole lot of newly built buildings. It is a modern area with new flats and quite a lot of offices. But, do not be fooled, and do not leave the tram yet. You will soon reach the final stop, and Budapest has some goodies left for you, just take a look at the picture.

The National Theater in Budapest and the Palace of Arts
The National Theater and the Palace of Arts – Source: Pixabay

As the tram ride ends, you will end up next to the Palace of Arts (to the right) and the National Theater (to the left). These are some magnificent buildings that were built quite recently (between 2000 and 2005). They are extraordinary buildings, but most people would say that they are most impressive by night, just look at the picture above again.

Now that the tram ride has ended

The tram ride has now ended, and you have just enjoyed a very cheap panoramic tour of Budapest. But, you are far away from the city center by now, so you should probably just remain on the tram and enjoy the ride back to the city center. You will then have one more chance to pick up on those attractions you didn’t really have the time to see during the first ride.

Do not forget that this is a ride you should do both during daytime and nighttime. As you can see, lots of the pictures are portraying Budapest by night, and the city is even more beautiful then. If you want to save even more money, you could do this tram ride instead of a River Cruise on the Danube. Most cruises travel between the Margaret Bridge (where the tram ride started) and the Rakoczi Bridge (where the tram trip ended), so you will see exactly the same. It might be better and easier to spot everything from the Danube, but if you are on a budget, this is a fantastic tram ride that will let you discover Budapest on your own without spending more than 1 Euro.

Doesn’t this sound like a treat when you come to Budapest? Have you tried it? Have you got any questions? We would love to hear your comments, thoughts, and questions.