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Stephanie North, City Break Specialist

"A feast for the eyes, Budapest is brimming with sumptuous architecture and a vibrant culture begging to be explored. Learn more about the city’s historic sites on a Castle Hill walking tour or take a scenic boat ride along the famous Danube. Don’t forget to stop by the city’s largest indoor market, Central Market Hall, where you can sample traditional Hungarian food and find the perfect souvenir."

Budapest at a glance

A truly majestic city, Budapest offers a distinctive old world charm with historic architecture and treasure filled museums. Its scenic setting on both sides of the Danube gives it a unique character with plenty to see, from the staterooms and galleries of the Royal Palace to the colour and exotic smells of the bustling Central Market Hall.

Nicknamed the ‘Paris of the East’, Budapest’s stunning architecture and war scared remnants give a tangible sense of the city’s past. With an eclectic mix of baroque, neoclassical, and art nouveau styles at every turn, it’s easy to feel as if the city itself is a museum.

Budapest can be viewed as three separate parts – Buda, Castle Hill and Pest, with each area having its own personality and sites. The oldest part of the city is contained within Castle Hill, on Buda’s west side of the Danube, while the more modern Pest area to the west of the river is popular for its shopping and nightlife.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Stunning architecture
  • Art and culture
  • Weekend short break

Getting around

Budapest has one of the oldest metro lines in Europe. Both the metro and tram lines stop at the major sights and attractions of the city. There is also an extensive bus and trolley service.

Dining in Budapest

Dining in Budapest is considerably cheap in comparison to other major European cities and there are countless fine dining options, street vendors and casual cafés for foodies to dive into. Foods are comforting and warming, a weapon used against the colder climate, think rich stews, hearty soups and mouth-watering spicy dishes made namely with paprika, the nation’s favourite spice.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Goulash – A warming beef stewed with potato, onion and carrots, finished with some paprika.
  • Kurtoskalacs – Also known as the cinnamon funnel cake, this treat is a coil of warm, stodgy cake covered in cinnamon.
  • Chicken Paprikash – A signature dish of Hungary, this hearty dish is made from chicken, paprika and sour cream and served with freshly made noodles.

Shopping in Budapest

The popular pedestrianised street of Váci Utca is a shopping hub packed full of souvenir shops and elite Euro-fashion chains, while the Castle district is popular for higher end art boutiques and galleries.

Folk art is popular in Budapest. Items such as embroidered tablecloths, wooden dolls, painted plates and famous Hungarian Herend porcelain can be found throughout the city.

Osprey Holidays top tips

From the money saved from the cheap prices of food in Budapest, why not splash out on a dinner at a Michelin-star or at Hungary's famous restaurant Gundel, which is near City Park.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Budapest designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Budapest hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 1,690,109
Languages Hungarian
Currency Hungarian Forint
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

For a great stress-reliever, visit either the Rudas or the Szechenyi Baths with their rejuvenating thermal springs.

Distance from airports
Ferenc Liszt 16 km
Railway stations
Budapest Keleti

Things to do in Budapest

  • Castle Hill: Budapest’s premier attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - take a funicular to the top to take in the incredible views of the city.
  • Hungarian State Opera House: Enjoy a concert or opera, or take a tour of this beautiful theatre.
  • River Danube: Cruise along the River Danube for wonderful and unique views of the city.
  • Royal Palace: Rebuilt by the Habsburgs during the 18th century, this impressive palace contains the Hungarian National Gallery.
  • Central Market Hall: Huge indoor market selling a variety of local produce and a good place to people-watch.

Osprey Holidays Top Tip 

For an insight into Hungary's communist era visit the open-air museum, Memento Park, where the artworks that lined the streets between 1945 and 1989 are on display. Statues include such communist heroes as Lenin, Marx, Engels and Dimitrov, and soldiers of the Red Army. A direct bus departs from Deak Square (central Budapest) daily at 11am, returning from Memento Park at 1pm. Tickets can be purchased on the bus or at a reduced rate on the Memento Park website in advance.

Tours and Excursions

City Tour

This popular coach tour takes in all the main areas of Budapest, starting with the Castle District for a short walking tour, including the colourful Matthias Church and magnificent Fisherman`s Bastion. Then on to Gellert Hill for spectacular views over Budapest, before returning to Pest to see the famous Central Market Hall and Dohany Street Great Synagogue. The tour will stop at Heroes` Square then take Andrassy Avenue to downtown Pest, passing the Opera House and St Stephen`s Basilica, finishing in the city centre so you can continue your exploration of this fascinating city. 

Budapest by Night

Enjoy an evening in a traditional Hungarian restaurant with Folklore Show, three course menu and wine. Following dinner you will be taken by coach to the top of Gellert Hill for a spectacular view over the illuminated ‘Paris of the East’!

Sisi Tour (Gödöllo Palace)

Located just 30 minutes from Budapest, the former summer residence of beloved Queen Elisabeth (Sisi) and Francis Joseph is the second largest Baroque Palace in the world. The interior of the palace has been restored to its 19th Century glory, recreating the atmosphere of the royal period. During a visit to the museum and a tour of the gardens you will become acquainted with the Habsburgs, their private lives, secret doors, rooms and lovers.  

Danube Bend Tour

This full day tour takes you by bus along the route of the `Blue Danube` making several stops along the way; Visegrad, home to the former Royal Residence; Esztergom, the northern gate of Budapest and centre of the Catholic Church; Szentendre, a charming artists` village. Between May and September return to Budapest is by boat, cruising on the Danube. During the winter or in case of low water or flood, the entire tour will be by coach.

Lake Balaton & Herend

Travel by bus to Herend Porcelain Manufactory, a specialist in hand painted and gilded porcelain and purveyor to the Habsburg Dynasty during the mid-19th Century. After sufficient shopping time you will be taken to Lake Balaton, the largest fresh-water lake in Central Europe, and the Tihany Peninsula where there will be free time to explore Tihany village, home to museums, shops and a Benedictine Abbey. Before returning to Budapest you will stop in Balatonfured, Hungary`s oldest spa resort, and take a stroll along the famous promenade. The tour ends in Budapest city centre.

Gellért Spa Entrance

This priority ticket for the famous Gellért Spa allows you to skip the queues and gives you access to a private changing cabin. The spa complex is beautifully decorated in an Art Nouveau style and features 13 baths, steam rooms, saunas and a swimming pool. Your ticket allows you to stay for the day and can be upgraded to include a 20 or 45 minute massage in one of the VIP treatment rooms.

Entrance to Széchenyi Spa

Located in City Park, Széchenyi Spa is Budapest’s largest public bath and features 18 pools (mostly thermal), both indoors and outdoors, as well as several steam rooms and saunas housed in the impressive neo-Baroque building. This ticket allows you to skip the main entrance line, stay as long as you like and includes the use of a private changing cabin.

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.