Okay, so I know we have a lot of “favorite” cities, but we’re serious when we say that Budapest is one of our favorites. No visit to Eastern Europe is complete without a stop in this city of history and hipsters.

Below, we list our favorite places to eat, drink, and see in Budapest:

Where to Stay

Note: The River Danube divides Budapest into two main areas: Buda and Pest. Each of these areas is then divided into numbered districts.

  • District XI – Located in Buda, the hillier, more residential, and quieter side of the city.
  • District V – The inner core of the Pest side, a bit more touristy than the rest of the city. Where the chain hotels are located.
  • District VII – Located in Pest, it’s the “party district” where lots of the clubs are.
  • District VI and VIII – Other areas located in Pest that are still central and have more of a local feel than District V.

Where to Eat

  • Fekete – Located in a courtyard off one of the main streets, they had a delicious Snickers pie. Breakfast there is also exceptional (and very affordable). And good coffee.
  • Szimply – The best brunch we had in Budapest (and some of the best food overall). Expect to wait, but it’s worth it.
  • Mazel Tov – An Israeli restaurant and wine bar. A bit pricey by Budapest standards ($35 for two entrees and a glass of wine). Reservations recommended.
  • Hadik Cafe – A traditional Hungarian restaurant. Get the sztrapacska (Hungarian dumplings with cheese curds and bacon).
  • Belvaros Langos Alom – A food stall serving langos, a fried bread served with different toppings.
  • A Séf utcája – A food stall serving modern Hungarian food. We got the deconstructed pastrami sandwich. The portions are huge.
  • Fricska Gastropub – An upscale New Hungarian restaurant that has an excellent lunch special ($10 for a 3-course meal). Reservations recommended.
  • Padrón – A Spanish tapas restaurant, great place to grab a drink and a few bites.
  • Ruszwurm Confectionery – A superb place for dessert. The cream puffs, pie, and torte are delicious.
  • Levendula – A decent place for gelato with several locations around Budapest.
  • Gelarto Rosa – Tiny bites of gelato served on rose petals. Portions are small, but the presentation is interesting.
  • Molnar’s – Known for their “chimney cake.” Get the cinnamon flavor.

Where to Drink

  • Szimpla Kert – A “ruin bar” with a crazy, eclectic vibe. Imagine if a vintage thrift shop exploded. Contains several different bars as well as a few food trucks next door.
  • Csendes Tars Winebar and Garden – Good beer, cheap wine, and tasty bar bites like sausages and feta cheese dip.
  • FIRST Craft Beer & BBQ – A beer garden located next to the river. A great place to hang out, get a burger, and people watch.
  • Jonas Craft Beer Bar – Another craft beer bar near the river (located right next to First Craft).
  • Ibolya Espresso – Don’t let the name fool you: it’s a Communist-era bar serving Hungarian beer. Lots of nice outdoor seating, though be aware that there will be people smoking.
  • For Sale Pub – A bar decorated with handwritten ads (and other random pieces of paper).

Best Coffee in Budapest

  • Kontakt – Really good, simple espresso drinks and located right across from Szimply.
  • My Little Melbourne – A great spot if you’re just looking to get coffee (though food options are minimal).
  • Bluebird – Another high-quality coffee spot (no food at all, however, so don’t go there hungry).
  • Madal – Not Heather’s favorite coffee place, but still better than average.

Budapest Activities

  • Széchenyi Thermal Baths – Budapest is known for its thermal baths, and this place has baths both indoors and out. We spent several hours lounging by the outdoor baths.
  • Liberty Statue – A great place for scenic views of the Pest side of the city. It’s a bit of a hike to get to the top, so be aware of that if traveling with children.
  • Andrassy Avenue – The main shopping street in Budapest. A beautiful avenue lined with trees and fun just to wander around.
  • Palace District – A historic, residential district where many of the old palaces are located. The architecture is stunning.
  • Hold Street Market – Located off of Andrassy Ave, it’s a food market with more of a local vibe.
  • Central Market Hall – An outdoor food market that’s worth seeing but very touristy.
  • New York Cafe – A coffee house located in a beautiful hotel. The coffee is pricey, but it’s worth it just to hang out and take in the ambiance.
  • Buda Castle – An iconic tourist attraction in Budapest that’s worth a visit to learn about the city’s medieval history.

Destination Map

Want to see all of our favorite Budapest destinations on a map that you can access from your phone? We’ve pinned each location mentioned in this guide on the Google Map below:

Final Thoughts

We’ll gladly pay another visit to Budapest any time. Whether you like coffee, history, or gourmet food at bargain prices, it’s an essential Eastern European destination. We hope this guide gives you some inspiration for your Budapest adventure!

Prefer listening to reading? Check out the accompanying podcast episode.

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