Planning on making your way to Budapest? We've created a wee guide to the Pearl of the Danube so you can find your bearings a little easier, tell you what's what but not ruin any of Budapest's quirky surprises.Here's 17 things you need to know about Budapest...
17. District VII is the party district
Budapest is divided into a ton of districts, but district VII (also known as the Jewish district) is the only one you really need to know if you want to par-tay.
Here you'll find the legendary ruin bar SzimplaKert, but also great bars such as Fogashaz and Làmpas. That's not to say there aren't other terrific bars spread out over the other districts, but if you're only in town for a few days then you definitely need to make your way to VII!
16. Jaywalking Is illegal
It doesn't say anywhere that jaywalking is illegal, but you can get fined for crossing at a red light, like €100 fine. In the middle of the night it's ok to stroll across the road as this law isn't heavily enforced. But if the police feel like it, they can stop you.
15. The fine for peeing on the street is between €11 - €60
This is illegal in every country, or at least to my knowledge. But in Budapest if you get caught by the police then they can fine you whatever they feel it seems. A friend of my decided to relief himself on return from Fogashaz, was caught by the police and fined. So hold it!
14. Learn to say "beszélsz angolul?" (bes-say-yes-ango-lul)
Living in Budapest for the past few months you would think that I would naturally pick up some Hungarian right? Well let me inform you with an alphabet of 44 letters and 20 billion ways to say 1 word is a bit of a migraine. Luckily for my ignorant tongue most young Budapestians speak a little English. That one saying has saved my ass on dozens of occasions, so it's a great thing to know!
13. It's not really a bagel/sandwich kind of city
Although a metropolitan city, Budapest is still very traditional with a mix of a street food or restaurant culture.There's no real middle ground unless you want to survive on Subway or Burger King. It's really cheap to make your own sandwiches however!
12. Keep an eye on the taxi fare
Same situation for every backpacker, some taxi drivers will try to rip you off. Always take a note of the fare per kilometer otherwise then can try charge you an outrageous amount of money. Especially if you not too familiar with the exchange rate. Taxifarefinder.com
is a great website to bookmark if you plan on getting a taxi anywhere!
11. €1 is around 315HUF
This is usually the average exchange rate from Hungarian Forints (HUF) to euros (EUR). It sometimes goes up a little, it sometimes goes down a little. Always check the exchange rate before going into any exchange place to avoid losing money. Avoid paying with card. If you can take money out from the ATM and let your bank do the exchange rate as they're more likely to give you a better deal.
10. A single metro ticket is 350HUF
It's about €1.10 for a one-way ticket if you're arriving from either Keleti or Nyugati station then it might be worth hopping the metro to your hostel rather than killing yourself walking after a 7 hour train journey. The same fare applies to trams also.
9. The view from Gellert is way better than from Buda Castle
The view from Buda castle is insanely beautiful don't get me wrong, but the view from Gellert is sensationally breathtaking. After a 20 minute trek to the top you literally feel like you're on top of the world. There's honestly no better view of Budapest.
8. And so is the sunset from Margaret Bridge
Watching the sun disappear behind the leafy Buda hills while absorbing the purple haze that descends over the Danube is a time of absolute serenity. I like to think of it of the eye of the storm, as the sunset is a break between the hectic day and the chaotic nightlife. Perfect time to grab a beer, round up some new hostel buddies and take in this stunning sight.
7. The 'Sparties' are just for tourists
I'm not putting down Sparties (Spa-Parties), but you'll never meet a Hungarian there. There a tad out of the price range of the average wage of a younger Budapestian. If you want to get a more authentic taste of the nightlife head over to the bars on the Buda side of the city.
6. The Hungarian language is bizarre, but In a good way
As I mentioned previously, Hungarian isn't the easiest language to understand. But don't fret too much! You don't really need to get to grips with it if you're only here a couple of days. But do try and pronounce the street signs as it is a bit of a laugh.
5. Don't expect to get much sleep
Whether you intend to or not, Budapest will have you out till the early hours. With an endless amount of incredible bars and clubs open until 7 am there's no doubt you'll be crawling your way home each night. Or at least the rest of the people in your dorm will be out all night. So join in the party and enjoy yourself!
4. Drinking on the streets is technically illegal
But the police don't particularly enforce this law either. Everyone drinks on the streets in Budapest, no one gets in trouble for it. So grab a cheap bottle of booze and explore the city!
3. The local food is delicious & definitely worth trying
Kürtőskalács (pictured above) is Budapest's sweetest treat! You can find these little swirls of joy all over the city and can refer to them in English as Chimney Cake
. Don't forget to try some traditional Langos and Goulash! It's cheap, convenient and sooooooo
2. But there's way more to Budapest than just cheap booze & awesome bars
Hungary has an incredible history, intriguing folktales and are total romantics! Who can blame them eh? Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in the world so it's understandable where they're whimsical tales of lovers come from. What to know more? Check out NEXT City Tours' Free Tour of Budapest
! It's free and has a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor.
1. Utca (meaning street) is pronounced oot-sa
Good to know if you're stuck and need directions! Even if the person you ask for directions doesn't speak English they'll be able to point you in the right direction. Just a small tip that will get you around a lot easier.
That's all for now folks! Hope this article will come in use for you!
By Budapest-Resident, Catherine Munnelly.