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Tips by Locals When Visiting Budapest

Get the most out of your Budapest Holiday


Visiting Budapest is a thrill, but you can’t find all tips and suggestions in the tourist guides.

We have made a list of suggestions here, which are provided by the locals for all of the travelers out there who wish to experience Budapest like a local. For example, Hungarian words that start with “sz” are pronounced as “s,” and the words that start with “s” are pronounced as “sh.”

So, once you are done with the travel packing tips for Budapest, run along to catch your airport transfer and head to the heart of the city.

Tips by Locals When Visiting Budapest

Taste local “palinka” and “unicum”

Palinka is the national drink of Hungary. Basically, it is a fruit liqueur that tastes similar to vodka. There are few flavor varieties, but the most recommended ones are pear, apricot and plum. On the other hand, Unicum is a traditional Hungarian liqueur that’s very similar to Jagermeister. You can try both at basically any bar or restaurant before or after your meal. It is truly a local flavor so don’t leave Budapest without taking a sip.

Party at the Lukacs Spa

Budapest is very popular for its thermal baths and pools, which provide healing and relaxation for the visitors. However, some of them offer wild parties in the night. The Lukacs Spa is one of those places. The spa initially was a Turkish bath, but today throws crazy parties each month. If you happen to know that one is happening, don’t miss it.

Catch a gig at A38

The A38 is a multipurpose cultural hub on a reconstructed Ukrainian ship, where varied live music, a restaurant and bars can be found. This place is also an exhibition center and an event venue, so catching a gig there could be a very unique experience. The ship is located under the Petofi Bridge and you’ll need to cross to the Buda side to get there.

See a Roma (gypsy) concert

There’s a Roma music scene in Budapest which is very lively. Some of the most famous local “czigany” bands are Parno Graszt and Szilvasi Gypsy Folk Band. They frequently have concerts around the city, so make sure to check some of the local places’ programs if you happen to look for such an experience.

Enjoy a medieval dinner at Sir Lancelot Restaurant

This place offers a pretty rustic experience, so remember to make a reservation in advance. When you get your meal, the staff won’t serve you with any forks, but they’ll bring you a meat knife and a bib. The seating area is a vault-like underground room with only a few very long tables, while the dish you order will arrive carried by at least two people. There’s also a medieval entertainment composed of belly dancers and a man who swallows fire.

A trip to the Hajógyári Island (Óbudai-sziget)

This large island is home to the famous Sziget Festival happening every August. However, if you are visiting during the rest of the year, note that there are couple of really large clubs which can accommodate thousands of people partying to electronic dance music. The island is even more fun in the summer, as you’ll see people paddling around the small river, or ships turned into outdoor clubs.

Dip at the Széchenyi Baths

The Széchenyi Baths have two indoors (rather cool) and three outdoors (quite warm) thermal pools and the place is open all year round. Hence, our advice is to pack a swimsuit and slippers and enjoy the interesting experience to swim in a 40°C pool as it snows on you. And yes, there are whirl pools as well, adding to the fun.

Check out Pestiest

Pestiest can be found in almost all cafes and bars, and is a free weekly guide of events and attractions in Budapest, where you can have an update on all daily events (and their cost). Even though it’s entirely in Hungarian, the guide is well organized and is a great information starting point.

A dessert at Cafe Gerbaud and a dinner at Gundel

The Cafe Gerbaud and the Gundel are two of the oldest and most respected places in Budapest. Leave space in your agenda to have a cup of coffee accompanied by dessert at Cafe Gerbaud and sit down for a traditional Hungarian dish at Gundel, like goulash soup, goose liver, chicken paprikash and Gundel pancakes, only a few of the delicacies on the menu.

A day trip to Eger, Lake Balaton or Szentendre

If you’re done with the Budapest’s most important spots, consider visiting the city’s surroundings. We recommend taking a day excursion to Lake Balaton, where you can swim or eat fish. On the other hand, Szentendre is a historical village an hour away from the city, perfect for a day trip in a medieval atmosphere. If you happen to be in Budapest during the spring, head to Eger, Budapest’s open-air winery. Combine this day of wine tasting with a visit to the Eger Castle while you’re there.

Catch a performance at the opera

Reserve a night to visit the magnificent Hungarian State Opera House. It is spectacular both from the inside and the outside. So, when you find yourself in a country that is home to world famous classical composers like Bela Bartok and Franz Liszt, consider getting opera tickets and enjoy the show.

Budapest has a lot to offer, from top tourist places to visit during the day, to the wildest parties during the night. Consider these tips provided by the locals when tailoring your agenda and you’ll be able to add some true uniqueness in your visit. So book your airport shuttle from the airport to the city and enjoy the adventure