Budapest Info and FAQ
Below this you'll find our essential Budapest guide. If you really want to discover the city, come on a tour with us!
What does Budapest mean?
Buda: possibly named after Attila the Hun’s brother from the Middle Ages. Another legend says it sounds like Slavic 'voda' which means water. It most likely was the name for Aquincum, the Roman settlement which is named Óbuda today.
Pest: Slavic word for "oven". Probably refers to the hot springs.
What country is Budapest in?
What river is Budapest on?
How old is Budapest?
Budapest has existed under this name since 1873, but here is a timeline of the location.
Which language do Hungarians speak?
Hungarian – it’s one of the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn. (Kate McKinnon still managed to rap in Hungarian!)
Why visit Budapest?
Why not? It's an awesome city with a great vibe and amazing views. Check out what to do outdoors, on a rainy day or get tips for fun indoor activities.
How many days/nights should I stay in Budapest?
4 days would be a good start. If you prefer to explore more or at a different pace, consider staying longer.
Why is Budapest popular? What can I do in Budapest?
The question is more like, what can’t you do in Budapest? Marvel at the main sights, have a drink at the ruin pubs or rooftop bars, go adventure caving, do a sightseeing tour with us, enjoy a river cruise, soak at the thermal baths, ride on the chairlift, hop on the children's railway, visit the Parliament / Synagogue, hang out at the beach bars in summer, go sup-boarding, kayaking, rent a bike, check out a cool exhibition, go to the Opera, party at the Sziget festival in August etc.
What can I do in Budapest if it is raining?
Here’s a good list of recommendations!
Where should I stay in Budapest?
Decide for yourself after reading our tips for the best areas to stay and our article on Buda or Pest.
Is Budapest safe for solo travelers?
Yes. Also for girls. It's a walkable city and the tram on the main ring road runs all night. To avoid pickpockets just use common sense.
What is the best view in Budapest?
There's a breathtaking panorama from Gellért hill and the Castle quarter (especially at night!). You'll definitely get that insta-worthy shot you're looking for.
Which thermal baths should I visit?
The most famous ones are Széchenyi and Gellért, no doubt. You can find out more on thermal baths, where Ryan Gosling had a photo-shooting and where locals go and what the pools look like.
What are some fun outdoor activities in Budapest?
Chairlift ride, sup-boarding, children's railway, visiting the zoo, spa party, boat party.. read more here.
Which are the best ruin bars?
Szimpla kert is the most famous one for a reason, therefor it's best to avoid the long queues and either go throughout the day, Sunday morning for the farmer's market or late afternoon, early evening. Fogasház is popular because of its parties, Ankert cause of the clean look, Ellátókert because of the fun vibe and tacos, Élesztő for being off-the-beaten-track and craft beer.
Where can I work with my laptop in Budapest?
Open air e.g. at Pagony, indoors e.g. at Konyha. Coworking spaces around town include L'office or Kaptár.
Where can I get free wifi in Budapest?
Here is a regularly updated list.
Can you drink tapwater in Budapest?
Yes. If you buy water in the shop, the blue ones are fizzy, the pink ones have still water inside.
Is there a smoking ban in Budapest?
You can't smoke indoors.
Is weed legal in Hungary?
No, there is zero tolerance for it.
Can I drink alcohol on the street in Budapest?
Technically no, in reality noone has ever stopped us when we did.
What are some tourist scams in Budapest?
Avoid playing the red cup game on top of the Gellért hill / at the Citadel / by the Liberty statue, you will only lose money, the people who play and win (and lose occasionally) are part of the scam. Those men usually have a similar style, are in their 50s-60s.
If very pretty girls ask you to go to a certain place for a drink with them, you’ll probably end up at a strip club with super expensive bills to pay.
Which other towns are worth visiting near Budapest?
Szentendre, Gödöllő, Esztergom, Visegrád, Etyek are all close to Budapest. A bit further at Lake Balaton: Tihany for example. Ask us for guided tours and special programs.
When do museums close in Budapest?
Which birds fly over the Parliament at night?
Seagulls. They are attracted by the light just like many insects which makes for easy dinner.
What currency does Hungary use?
We are on the Forints (HUF).
Do Euros work in Budapest?
Yes, but if you pay in Euros, often you'll get the money back in HUF so you're definitely losing some cash.
Where can I withdraw Euros in Budapest?
You can use the EUR ATMs, but be aware that the colors are reversed and it will give you the highest amount first, their exchange rates aren’t the best. Try a bank’s ATMs instead.
Where should I exchange money in Budapest?
It's best to avoid exchanging money at the airport and railway stations. Do it in the city somewhere e.g. at Korona change
or Bálint change.
Should I tip in Budapest?
If you're at a restaurant check whether the bill already has the tips included or not. Usally ten percent is what we tip at restaurants. At bars we usually leave 100-200 HUF or just round up, depending on the order.
Is the Budapest card worth it?
The 48 and 72 hour ones could be worth it if you are planning on going to Lukács baths, doing 2 sightseeing tours (Buda and Pest), going to a museum and using public transport more or using their discounts for different types of sightseeings or another thermal bath. It depends on what you’d like to do during your time here.
Does Uber work in Budapest?
Sadly not anymore. You can try the taxify app instead. If you want to get a cab without an app, make sure to call one and not just hop in on the street. Avoid cabs that don’t operate under a brand name. All cabs are yellow. Brand name should be visible on top of the car.
Which cab / taxi should I use in Budapest?
If you are staying at a hotel, let the concierge call you one, otherwise you can try these numbers or use the taxify app. It’s chaper to use a cab that you called. Avoid non-branded taxis.
Főtaxi: +361-2- 222-222
6x6 Taxi: +36-1-666-6666
How do you get to the city from Budapest airport?
The cheapest way is hopping on the airport bus #100E. You'll need a special ticket for that which costs 900 HUF, you can buy it from the purple vending machines – use your card or have a 1000 HUF bill ready and check the slots before, often it’s blocked so it does not give you back coins. Make sure to validate it on board.
There is also a door 2 door shuttle service. If you go to the Buda side sometimes they will make you wait half an hour until the minibus has more people.
If you are not travelling alone, the cheapest and most convenient way is booking a private car with a driver that will pick you up when you arrive. It has a fix rate of 7500 HUF up until 4 pax (or equivalent in EUR) which you need to pay in cash on the spot in HUF or EUR. Drop us an email with your name, how many people, date of arrival, flight number and a phone number where we can reach you and we’ll help you organize it.
Where can I buy public transportation tickets in Budapest?
From the purple vending machines for example or from booths at certain stations. Use small bills e.g. 1000 HUF or coins or your card because it might not give you back enough change, check slots before using, sometimes it is stuffed and the money won’t be able to come out.
Where can I buy regional bus/train tickets for one-day trips outside Budapest?
Train tickets: Nyugati, Déli and Keleti railway stations.
Information about local and international trains: MÁVDIREKT +36 (1) 3 49 49 49
What is good to buy in Budapest?
For souvenirs: a cool one would be the BudaFcknPest shirts, the traditional ones include: lace, embroidery, Pick salami, the fun secret box, Rubik's cube, Unicum (tastes like Jaeger), pálinka (Hungarian vodka, e.g. with honey and cherry) ..
Do you haggle?
Not really, but if you buy more from the same thing, try to get a discount at the souvenir stores.
Where can I buy cigarettes in Budapest?
At the National Tobacco shop called Nemzeti dohánybolt. To check which one's closest to you, copy/ paste nemzeti dohánybolt to your map search.
What's a cool vintage store in Budapest?
Where are the best design shops and showrooms downtown?
Stylewalker put together a great list!
What are some good shops that are off the beaten path..?
E.g. Rododendron, Buborék, or Insitu.
Where can I buy antiques in Budapest?
On Falk Miksa street.
Where can I find Budapest's flea markets?
At Ecseri or Antik placc.
Which shopping malls are the biggest in Budapest?
Westend and Aréna pláza.
SMS line for hearing impaired people: +36209000107
Fire service: 112
Medical Assistance 0036-1-2000-100
Tourist Police (0-24): 0036 14388080
Lost and found: +36 (1) 296-8797
What if something was stolen?
Apart from calling the police (112), talk to your travel insurance company.
What should I do if I lost my passport or if it my passport was stolen?
If your passport was stolen, you must report the loss to the local district police headquarters.
Also, report it to your embassy.
If you’re in Hungary and you need urgent help (for example, you’ve been attacked, arrested or someone has died), call +36 (1) 266 2888. If you’re in the UK and worried about a British national in Hungary, call 020 7008 1500.
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Hungary. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the Canadian Embassy in Budapest provides consular assistance to Australians in Hungary. If your passport was lost or stolen in Hungary, get a local police report and a letter of facilitation from the Canadian Embassy in Budapest to carry with you to Vienna.
Other embassies in Budapest
Where can I find a 24 hour pharmacy in Budapest?
Between Nyugati railway station and Oktogon
Teréz Gyógyszertár – 1067 Budapest, Teréz körút 41. +361 475-0295, +361 311-4439
This is on the corner of Teréz krt 41 and Szondi street. You have to ring a bell by the small window on Szondi street, then someone will show up.
Close to the Great Market Hall
Fővám Téri Gyógyszertár – 1056 Budapest, Fővám tér 4. +361 269-9525
Buda side, district 1
Széna Tér Patika – 1015 Budapest, Széna tér 1. +361 225-7830
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