Travel Guide: Budapest on a Budget
July 11, 2019
by Kate O
Have you been wanting to see Hungary? But worried about how to be the best tourist without breaking the bank? Look no further!
Széchenyi Thermal Baths
Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the largest and most popular bath in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, actually the largest in Europe. Located in a scenic park and built in the neo-baroque style fitting its 1913 opening, it has a certain old-world glamour to it. It has 3 outdoor and 15 indoor pools of varying temperature. The complex also includes saunas and steam rooms, and optional extra spa treatments. It’s open every single day, and is especially popular on national holidays. €20 per person including towels and a changing room where you can leave your clothes. Would recommend flip flops, and possibly accessible cash if the on-site coffee shop and bar appeals to you.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a set of contradictions. It’s the smallest district in the city, but the most densely populated. It comprises the historical remains of the Jewish community, including the ghetto wall, Europe’s largest synagogue and a memorial garden. However, it’s also known as the party area, and home to:
The original and very atmospheric ruin bar. In 2002, young people keen to have somewhere of their own, bought an abandoned factory and turned it into a bar, sparking a trend. In order to save money and increase charm, it is furnished using scavenged material, thematic junk and decorated with the work of local artists. Szimpla is an eclectic mix of themes, with options including shisha, live music, alcohol and oxygen. The building itself is huge and definitely worth exploring. Understandably, this is a big hit with the tourists and liable to get very busy around 10pm.
Full of winding streets, street art, and a truly eclectic mix of people. We stayed in an Airbnb in this neighbourhood and it was a great location for walking around, we never had any problems with noise but more sensitive people might.
Duna Bella Boat Cruise. €12 per person (student discount) buys you just over an hour of narrated cruising between the shores of Buda and Pest, along with a drink of your choice. There’s also an optional 45 minutes of free time on Margaret Island. The boat has an open air top level, and an enclosed lower level with panoramic windows allowing you to stay warm without sacrificing the view. The trip encompasses the major Budapest sights, including the Parliament, Royal Palace, iconic bridges and the Gellert baths. With more than 12 departures daily, including evening and candlelit dinner options, there’s something to fit everyone’s schedule.
Free Walking Tour
A free walking tour is one of my favourite city-break activities. There are so many companies in pretty much every city that offer cool experiences, insightful information, and leave you ready to continue exploring on your own with a much better sense of the city. We went with TRIPTOBUDAPEST and had a great time, the tour lasted just under 3 hours and included everything from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Castle Hill, to a statue of a fat policeman. Our guide was knowledgeable, interesting, and full of tips on nightlife, restaurants, and culture. She also factored in time to get that perfect tourist selfie! Tours run daily from Erzsebet square, across from the Budapest Eye.