Budapest is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.
Budapest (Hungarian pronunciation approximates to "boo-dah-pesht") is the capital city of Hungary. With a unique, youthful atmosphere, a world-class classical music scene as well as a pulsating night life increasingly appreciated among European youth and, last but not least, an exceptionally rich offering of natural thermal baths, Budapest is one of Europe's most delightful and enjoyable cities. Due to its scenic setting and its architecture it is nicknamed "Paris of the East".
In 1987 Budapest was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List for the cultural and architectural significance of the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue.
NOTE: As of March 2015, the majority of businesses are closed on Sundays. The exception is Hungarian-owned sole-proprieter stores. Many of the major exhibits are closed on Mondays. When booking your trip, plan accordingly.
Modern Budapest is the result of a historic amalgamation of the separate cities of Buda and Pest (as well as the smaller and more distant Óbuda), and it is still typical to refer a restaurant on the "Buda side" or "living in Pest". Administratively, the city is also divided into 23 numbered districts.
Budapest's Chain Bridge and Castle Hill
Buda - Districts I-III, XI-XII, XXII. Covers the area west of the Danube including Castle Hill, the Buda Hills, and Óbuda to the north.
Pest - Districts IV-IX. Covers the area east of the Danube.
The Hungarian national parliament. In the front the River Danube
Budapest is the economic, historic, and cultural capital of Hungary, with approximately 2 million inhabitants and approximately 2.7 million visitors per year. Hungarians are proud of what their beautiful capital has to offer and of its contributions to European culture. They also take pride in their unique language which is very different from all other European languages.
While Buda has been the capital of Hungary - or that of the Osman-occupied territory - for the better part of a millennium, it has become a grand cosmopolitan city during the country's fast industrialisation in the late nineteenth century. The population of 2.1 million in 1989 decreased formally due to suburbanization.
The first settlement on the territory of Budapest is accounted to Celtic tribes. During the first century AD, the Roman fortification on the territory of present-day Óbuda (now part of Budapest) gradually developed into the town of Aquincum which became the capital city of the province of Lower Pannonia in AD 106. In the beginning Acquincum was only a Roman military settlement and then it gradually turned into a civil settlement. It was the main centre of the Pannonian Region, becoming the most important commercial point. Nowadays the area that was covered by Acquincum corresponds to the Óbuda district within Budapest. Acquincum is the main and the well conserved Roman archaeological site in Hungary. It was turned into a museum with inside and open-air sections. The Roman Ruins in Aquincum have been dated around the II and III century (a.d.). The archaeologists during the excavation works brought back to light a lot of objects and monuments. In the past the city had paved streets and lavish houses with fountains, courtyards and pavements in mosaic. At the north-west of the ruins is the civil amphitheatre in which are still visible the cells in which the lions were kept during the gladiators’ fights. The capacity of this structure was about 16,000 people. The Romans even founded a fortress known as Contra Aquincum on the other side of the river which is assumed to have developed into the later town of Pest. This was part of the Limes, marking the eastern border of the empire, and was gradually given up by Rome during the early fourth century, becoming part of the Hun empire for a few decades. (Modern historical research does not associate the Huns with Hungarians, albeit even the name of the latter expresses this once popular idea.)
Once the horse-riding Magyar (Hungarian) tribes arrived in the Carpathian Basin in 896AD, Óbuda served as the seat of the Magyar high-chieftain (or prince) Árpád.
After a century marked by frequent raids on Christian western Europe, (prince) Álmos realised
that converting to Christianity is the key to survival in Europe. The Christian Kingdom of Hungary was founded by the crowning of his son, Szt. István (Saint Stephan) on 1 January 1001 (or possibly Christmas day of 1000). As visitors will quickly realise, Saint Stephan became an omnipresent national symbol, as did the artefact known as Saint Stephen's Crown (the Holy Crown of Hungary) which was regarded as a legal entity de jure equivalent to the country itself during medieval times. It is still unclear whether the millennium-old crown used in this function for many centuries and shown in the Parliament today, was already used by St. Stephen.
In the following centuries Buda emerged as the most important royal seat.
In 1241/42 the Mongol Empire conquered the territory along with large parts of Europe - this short but devastating conquest of the country is still remembered as Tatárjárás - the name reflecting the erroneous confusion of Mongols and Tatars at the time. Medieval Hungary reached its zenith under King Matthias (Matthias Corvinus), the vividly remembered renaissance ruler whose patronage of arts and sciences made Hungary, a notable power at the time, the first European country which adopted the renaissance from Italy. However, after residing in Buda for decades, he moved his seat to Vienna in 1485 for the last five years of his life after defeating the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III.
In 1541, Buda and Pest fell to the Ottoman Empire. The Habsburg Empire, centred in Austria, conquered the country on its way to becoming a major European power in 1686. Marks of these two cultures are still part of everyday life in Budapest.
The Turks, under their occupation, constructed many thermal baths and some of them are still in function nowadays (Rudas and Király). The citizens of Budapest customarily frequent these baths to this day.
After the Anti-Habsburg revolution in 1848–49 (defeated through the decisive help of the Russian Czar) the 1867 Compromise (Kiegyezés) with a weakened Vienna made Buda the capital of a near-autonomous Hungary, a large, multi-ethnic Kingdom comprising half of the newly created Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary. In this peculiar double-state the Monarch was emperor and king ,respectively, of these two rather autonomous realms.
The following half century marked by peaceful development counts among the most successful times in the history of the country as well as its capital. With the 1873 unification of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda, the city of Budapest was officially created. The two parts of the city were already connected by the first permanent bridge across the Danube since 1849 when was inaugurated the magnificent Chain Bridge. It saw a leap in terms of industrialisation, urbanisation, and the development of a capitalistic society as well as population. It even aimed at rivalling with Vienna - the Millennium in 1896, marking a thousand year of Hungary, offered the perfect excuse for large-scale projects such as the Parliament, Vajdahunyad Castle, or the Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút) - Budapest transformed to a world city during these decades, enriched by Austrian, Jewish, Slovakian, Serbian, Croatian Roma and other cultural influence. This age is remembered as the 'Monarchia' (or as 'K. u. K.' - abbreviation for Imperial-Royal - in Austria, and other parts of the Empire) and associated with the rule of Franz Joseph I. (I. Ferenc József) who died in 1916 after 68 years on the throne.
Neither the Habsburg empire nor Hungary survived World War I in their previous form - leaving Budapest as the capital of a now formally independent Hungary which lost two thirds of its territories and most of its ethnicities, as well as a few million Hungarian speakers, to neighbouring countries. The city`s population reached one million around 1930. During the interwar years under the rule of regent Miklós Horthy, a former Admiral of the Austro-Hungarian fleet, Hungary became an ally of Germany. Near the end of World War II, nazi Germany occupied Hungary after it attempted to negotiate separate peace with the Allies, and eventually installed a bloody dictatorship putting the hitherto fairly unimportant nazi Nyilaskeresztes (Arrowcross) party in charge. While practically all of 400,000 Jews on the countryside were murdered by German nazis and their Hungarian nyilas sympathizers, roughly 60% of Budapest's Jewish community was saved during the Holocaust. People we keep in our memory for helping the local Jewish community include Raoul Wallenberg, the famous Swedish diplomat, who organised the distribution of Swedish passports by his Embassy to as many Jews as possible, and the Italian Giorgio Perlasca, who - pretending to be a Spanish diplomat - rescued many thousand Jews.
Air raids and a terrible three-month siege towards the end of World War II resulted in the death of over 38,000 civilians and destruction of much of the once lively city.
After the war, Budapest slowly recovered and became a showcase for the more pragmatic policies of Hungary's hard-line Communist government under the dictatorial rule of Mátyás Rákosi. The city was, however, also the main site of the 1956 uprising which was successful in installing a reform-oriented (albeit communist) government of Imre Nagy. This was swept away before long, as the Soviet leader Khrushchev felt Hungary slipping from Moscow's rule. The Soviets installed János Kádár as the leader of the communist state who, after over thirty years of controversial rule, was elected out of leadership 1988 by the central committee due to health issues. Kádár died of 1989.
One of the most dramatic historical events of the country was the October 23, 1956 uprising. This uprising lasted until November 11 of the same year. During the revolution, more than 2000 Hungarians lost their lives. A monument erected in 2006 commemorates this tragic event. The monument is in Iron and wood, and is found at the edge of City park. It symbolizes the Hungarian forces that eradicated the communist dictatorship.
Since the peaceful 1989 'system change' (Rendszerváltás) which was achieved as a compromise between reformist party forces and the opposition (notably including a younger self of the current PM, Viktor Orbán), Budapest transformed in appearance and atmosphere, a process further accelerated by the country's long-awaited joining to the European Union in 2004.
Visitors will notice that (except for touristy attractions and restaurants), many items cost less in Hungary than in Western Europe. Hungarian salaries are lower also, to the extent that when compared to income, the relative cost of living is actually quite high. Unemployment is also high, and many people are employed in low-paying jobs, so a higher proportion of the population has difficulty making ends meet. Even university-educated middle class citizens with "good" jobs generally have less disponsable income for luxuries and conveniences than their counterparts in Western Europe.
For Hungarians who can afford it, and for visitors who earn their money in wealthier countries, Budapest offers everything that other modern cities can offer in terms of accommodations, entertainment, shopping, and culture. Tourist attractions, restaurants, and accommodations generally charge prices on par or slightly below similar places in Western Europe (since visitors can afford to pay and prices seem reasonable by their standards).
Tourism Office of Budapest, 1115 Budapest, Bartók Béla út 105-113, ☎ +36 1 438-8080. You can get some very good and free brochures. amongst it: map of Budapest, a map of Hungary with all the youth hostels and prices, a very complete brochure about the northern part of Hungary (available in many languages).
Tourism Info Centre 1051 Budapest, Sütő utca 2 (Deák Ferenc tér)
Budapest Franz Liszt International Airport (IATA: BUD), Budapest Liszt Ferenc Nemzetközi Repülőtér (pronounced "list-ferents"), formerly (and colloquially still) referred to as Ferihegy; is Hungary's largest airport, about 16km (10 miles) southeast of the city centre.
The airport’s central telephone number for information is: +36 1 296-9696 or on +36 1 296-7000. Luggage services can be contacted on +36 1 296-5449 in connection with flights to and from Terminal 1 and +36 1 296-5965 for Terminal 2.
Outside Budapest, there are alternative international airports in Debrecen, Sármellék, Győr-Pér and Pécs-Pogány.
The airport has two terminals, 2A and 2B, being within a short walking distance from each other.
The number 2 appearing in their names is due to the the former (originally opened in the 1950, reopened 2005) Terminal 1 closed recently.
Terminal 2 (opened in 1985) is divided into Terminal 2A (gates 20-30), serving Schengen Area destinations, and Terminal 2B (gates 11-19) serving non-Schengen Area destinations.
Duty free stores are operated by Travel Value. Customs authorities in German airports may not allow you to bring duty-free items purchased at the airport in Budapest through Germany. In Terminal 2, Hugo Boss and Swarowski are the only dedicated brand shops. The alcohol-tobacco-sweets assortment shop has a choice of local wines, mainly by Gundel. You can find Caffè Ritazza eateries in Terminal 2A, both in the pre-check-in area and the in the boarding area. Terminal 2B pre-boarding area offers half a dozen cafés and fast food restaurants which are surprisingly not overpriced as on other airports.
Hungarian low cost airline Wizz Air operates flights between Budapest and more than twenty European cities. Currently, there are no direct flight from the US to Budapest, American Airlines cancelled their NYC-Budapest flight in Feb 2012. Many low cost airlines also operate service to/from Budapest. London Heathrow is connected by a number of flights by British Airways (codeshared with American Airlines), while discount airlines fly to London Luton, Gatwick and Stansted (2012). Paris is connected by flights from Air France (Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle), and various low-cost companies (EasyJet from Orly, Ryanair and Wizz from Beauvais)
As of 2012, the following low cost airlines operate to and from Budapest:
WizzAir  (from Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Malta, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and United Arab Emirates).
There is a train station called Ferihegy next to former Terminal 1, from where suburban trains (called 'személy') run twice an hour to Budapest-Nyugati station in the city centre, taking 25 minutes. Although the trains are suburban trains, they are operated by MÁV and not included in the HÉV network.
(Dedicated train tickets can be purchased from cashiers or vending machines next to the cashiers in the pedestrian underpass in Nyugati - press the button 'Ferihegy'; normally the machine can give change. At Ferihegy station there is a modern ticket vending machine at the platform towards Budapest. A single full-fare train ticket costs 370 HUF for this travel, but local public transport travelcards, called Budapest pass or Budapest travel card (more info here) are also valid. These can be purchased at the post office on the mezzanine level of the airport. If entering the train without ticket, you will pay an additional fine of approx. 2500 HUF , unless no cashier or vending machine was available at the station.)
Public transport between Ferihegy train station and Terminals 2A/2B is provided by the local bus 200E, running every 8-15 minutes, and travel time approx 10 min, see details here. The bus stop towards the Airport is situated directly next to the train station, but you have to pass a pedestrian bridge with elevators not always working. (Within the bus, this stop is called "Ferihegy vasútállomás" - i.e. train station - in case you want to get off there.)
Alternatively you can pre-order a taxi by phone to wait in the bus-stop, to get to the Airport faster or at night. Single bus tickets are available in airport terminals for HUF 350 at the newspaper vendors, or can be purchased from the driver for HUF 450.
The same bus line 200E runs somewhat further into the city, ending at the end station of metro M3 Kőbánya-Kispest, a small local transport hub. Note that for transferring there to the metro, another 350 HUF-ticket is required. There exists a transfer ticket (átszállójegy) for 530 HUF which may be used all the way from the airport to the city center, but for unknown reasons these tickets are not sold in the machines. Get a transfer ticket from the BKK kiosk at the airport. If you return to the airport after your stay in Budapest, make sure you buy two transfer tickets (one from the airport to the city and the other from the city back to the airport).
The trip from the airport to Deák Ferenc tér metro station takes about 45 to 60 minutes. During nighttime (11 pm to 4 am) the 900 Nightbus departs Terminal 2 every 30 to 60 minutes, providing connectivity with the 950 Nightbus stop at Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út. The 950 bus travels to Rákospalota via the City Center (Deák Ferenc tér) and Nyugati railway station.
In addition to személy suburban trains, Ferihegy also has long-distance trains (called 'InterCity' or 'gyors') to a number of other cities such as Szeged, Kecskemét, Debrecen´and Miskolc. (Warning: On the outbound platform there are some Intercity trains with Budapest-Keleti as destination - do not take this to get to Budapest as this is a ring service starting at Budapest-Nyugati and going through Ferihegy and eastern Hungary before terminating at Budapest-Keleti - taking some 5 h 45 min and costing 6660 HUF).
Long-distance trains to Budapest require a seat reservation which costs a couple of hundred HUF so unless you're in a hurry, stick to the trains labelled 'személy'
Airport Shuttle. , Shared mini-van operation regulated by the Airport that collects passengers going in the same direction and will take you to or from anywhere in Budapest for HUF 3.200 per person or HUF 5.500 for a round trip. Buy your ticket and join the queue at the airport and you will be on your way in 15 minutes. For the trip back, call the centre at +36-1 296-8555 at least 24 hours beforehand and Airport Minibus will pick you up. Buy tickets in the Arrival hall and near the main exit. Will drop you at any address in the city and/or suburbs.
Taxi. The only contracted taxi operator from Liszt Ferenc airport is Főtaxi. Depending on your destination, the cost for a trip to Budapest will range from 5,000 to 10,000 HUF. (Taxis now universally cost 450 HUF base price and 280 HUF for every kilometer. The inner city is around 20 kilometers from Terminal 2.)
Private transfer. Online reservation: Airport Transfer Budapest. Specific Airport Transfer Service to meet you inside or outside, as you exit the secure area, with a sign with your name on it. If you have a particular desire to be met by a driver on arrival, or want a specific kind of car, or have special individual needs like a baby seat or wheelchair, you may want to book in advance with a specific airport transfer service or driver.
Trains connect Budapest with almost all countries in central and eastern Europe. All trains arrive at Budapest Keleti station, unless stated otherwise.
Berlin: 11¾h, two direct EC trains daily (one of from Hamburg), one connection with change at Břeclav and a night train Metropol.
Munich: 7½h, four daytime Railjet trains and one night train Kálmán Imre. These trains stop in Salzburg and Linz too.
Tickets from Germany are much cheaper if bought online , at least 3 days in advance.
Vienna: 2¾h, railjet high-speed services every two hours, departing from Wien-Westbahnhof station (as Wien Südbahnhof is being renovated as of 2012). For tickets from Vienna, as well as from other cities in Austria, note: the earlier you book them, the cheaper they are. Ther RailJet high speed service, that runs a route from Budapest to Wien to Munich or Zürich, but only the non-Hungarian sections are high speed at this time, due to lack of lines capable of handling the full utility of the service. One-way ticket price from Vienna begins at €19.
Prague: 7h, direct EC trains almost every two hours, one with change at Břeclav, one with change at Brno and night train Metropol. There is a through sleeper car departing from Prague one hour before Metropol and later attached to it, so you have more time to sleep. Online tickets  are much more cheaper than normal tickets (the price begins at €19), but you should buy them at least 3 days in advance. If e-tickets are sold out or you have to buy a ticket immediately before departure, buy a (domestic) ticket Prague-Kúty Gr. (the CZ/SK border point) and international tickets Kúty Gr.-Štúrovo and Štúrovo-Budapest. This combination costs about 65% of the direct ticket. For the two international tickets you can get RailPlus discount and return ticket discount.
Bratislava: 2¾h, six EC trains a day. Thank to bilateral agreement between Slovak and Hungarian Railways there are reasonably priced tickets from many important Slovak cities, sold at station counters.
Warsaw: 10½, one direct day train, one direct during night with through seat, couchette and sleeper cars (11½h) and three EC trains through daytime with one transfer in Břeclav or Ostrava Svinov (10-11½h). There is a limited amount of SparDay and SparNight discounted tickets, sold at Polish stations, from €29 in seat car and €39 in a couchette. Other trains with various changes in the Czech Republic and Slovakia possible.
Bucharest: 16h, two night trains Dacia and Ister and one daytime direct train Traianus. For Ister train you can buy a discounted Fortuna ticket for €29 for seat or €39 for couchette, but you should do it at least 7 days in advance. It can be booked online here http://elvira.mav-start.hu/elvira.dll. Pick up your tickets at some of the vending machines with the 10-number booking code (e.g at Budapest Keleti). Normal ticket cost about €50 one-way, €77 return (a RailPlus discount is possible) and couchette reservation fee is €15.
Ljubljana: 9-10h, through coach with IC Rippl-Rónai via Zagreb (arriving at Ljubljana at 23:37) or change at Maribor with IC Citadella, arriving at Ljubljana at 21:38.
Zagreb: 6-7h, two daytime trains a day, Agram and Rippl-Rónai. Different seasonal trains to various sea resorts. Return ticket valid 1 month costs about €30 and it's even cheaper than one-way ticket. There is a seasonal sleeper train from Split, departing every Wednesday and Saturday from 11 Jun to 27 Aug.
Belgrade: 8h, one daytime train Avala and one night train Beograd. There is a special offer Budapest Special/Beograd Special, €15 for one-way and €26 for return ticket. These tickets are sold only at Budapest and Belgrade stations (you can also buy special tickes in Novi Sad at the same price). Couchette reservation is EUR 8 for 6-berth couchette, but there are reservation-free seats even on the night train. Notice that the night train, arrives in Budapest very early at 6AM, and border crossing is around 2:30AM.
Sarajevo: 11h, IC Drava is discontinued by the Croatian Railways. The Bosnian Railways' planned Talgo high-speed service is pending. Only possibility is via Zagreb with 12 hours waiting at Zagreb Glavni Kolodvor.
Sofia: 18¼h, Balkan Express with a through couchette car via Belgrade. Direct ticket is expensive, the better solution is to buy a ticket Sofia-Belgrade (see Belgrade#By train) and then Belgrade-Budapest ticket at Belgrade station. The through car waits 2.5h in Belgrade and even if Balkan Express is delayed (a quite common situation), you have a time until the through car is shifted to the train to Budapest. Balkan Express leaves Sofia at noon and arrives to Belgrade at evening, so you can travel to Belgrade in a sitting car, and buy a cheaper couchette reservation only from Belgrade to Budapest.
Kiev and Moscow: 25h/39h, fast train Tisza, a typical Russian long-distance train going over 2 nights. International ticket is much more expensive than domestic Russian and especially Ukrainian domestic ticket. If you are on a tight budget, use another train from Kiev (departing on 18:52 or 20:06) to Chop (arriving on 10:04 or 10:52) near UA/HU border. In Chop, buy a ticket for the local train to Záhony (HU) and in Záhony buy a ticket for the IC to Budapest (arriving on 18:37). You have more than 3 hours in Chop and 1 hour in Záhony to buy your tickets - and there are later trains from Záhony to Budapest too. The overall trip is even shorter than that on the direct train and you'll pay less than a half of the official international fare. Beware that Ukraine uses Eastern European Time, which is one hour ahead of Central European Time. Local residents of Chop and Zakarpathya Oblast use CET among themselves, they call it 'local time'.
The stations are well connected to each other and to the rest of the city. Keleti and Déli Railway Stations are located on Metro 2, Nyugati Railway Station is on Metro 3. A transfer should take less than 20 minutes during peak hours, slightly more on weekends and evenings.
Depending on where you are coming from, some outer stations can be useful to you; trains arriving from Vienna and Lake Balaton or other western locations stop at Kelenföld station, which is a good public transport hub for Southern Buda (All trains that departs or arrvive to/from Budapest-Déli station, stop at Kelenföld too.) Kőbánya-Kispest station is a good place to get to Eastern Budapest or to Ferihegy Airport.
Train stations in Budapest are not up to Western quality standards; they are hard to access for people with disabilities and their facilities are very limited. Be prepared for long queues at the ticket office. English is rarely spoken. Do not expect luggage trolleys or clean toilets. Food or a coffee purchased at the stations is unlikely to give you a gastronomic buzz; it is also difficult to find a good nearby cafe if you didn't research in advance. Do not accept any offers from taxi drivers waiting around the station entrance. For further information read also Stay safe section.
Hungary’s national bus network is operated by Volán Association. If you arrive to Budapest from another Hungarian city, bus is often the best option. For services, discounts, schedules and on-line booking possibilities check Hungary#Get_around.
Budapest’s long distance bus stations are located outside the city centre, but are very well connected to the rest of the city. The main stations are:
Népliget Bus station (Népliget autóbuszállomás, metro 3, Népliget station). Buses from abroad and most of Western Hungarian destinations arrive and depart here. It is a fairly modern station with reliable facilities. Do not forget to check-in if you travel abroad.
Stadion Bus Station (Stadion autóbuszállomás, formerly known as Népstadion autóbuszállomás, metro 2 Puskás Ferenc Stadion station). This is the biggest hub for Eastern Hungarian destinations, quite modern but somewhat dirty station built underground.
Árpád Bridge Bus Station (Árpád híd autóbuszállomás, metro 3 Árpád híd station). This is a smaller station for some Northern destinations and suburban traffic; use it to and from Szentendre, Esztergom or Visegrád.
Etele tér Bus Station (Etele téri autóbuszállomás, bus 7E, 173E). This is a newly built station next to Kelenföld Railway Station, at the terminus of metro line 4. Useful for getting to Statue Park and some suburban destinations.
Mahart,+36-1 484-4000,  operates a scheduled hydrofoil service on the Danube to and from Vienna and Bratislava between early April and early November.
Hungaria Koncert 00361 317 1377 firstname.lastname@example.org 
operates cruises with lunch or dinner daily at 14:00, 19:00 and 20:00. This service is 90 minutes with hot buffet lunch or dinner. During the cruise, the Parliament, Chain Bridge, Royal Castle, Palace of Arts etc. can be seen.
The river Danube splits the city approxiately in half, with the west side called Buda and the east called Pest. North/south orientation can be referred to relative to the city's bridges:
The Chain Bridge and a view of Pest
Árpád Bridge (Árpád híd), A modern bridge linking to Northern Margaret Island. The longest bridge in Budapest at 973 meters. It was inaugurated in 1950 where already the Romans erected a bridge to connect Acquincum with another settlement on the Pest side.
Margaret Bridge (Margit híd), Easily identified thanks to its distinctive shape: it makes an approximately 35 degree turn half way across, at the southern tip of Margaret Island. Trams 4 and 6 cross the Danube here. This bridge was built in 1901 and then destroyed during the war by an explosion. It was rebuilt in 1948. It is located at the north of the city center.
Chain Bridge (Széchenyi lánchíd), Completed in 1849, the oldest, arguably most beautiful and certainly the most photographed of Budapest's bridges, floodlit at night. It was the first permanent bridge across the Danube. At the time of its construction it was the second-largest suspension bridge throughout the world. Four stone lions taken their place at the edge of the bridge in 1852. They fortunately survived from the air raids of the World War II.
Elisabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd), Completed in 1903. Its original chain structure was destroyed in World War II, and was eventually substituted by a modern cable bridge opened in 1964. This bridge in liberty style was dedicated to the murdered Queen in 1898. It is the third newest bridge of the city.
Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd), Elegant but simple, opened in 1896; it connects the Gellért Baths (Gellért fürdő) in Buda with the Great Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) in Pest. Recently renovated. This bridge was rebuilt in Art nouveau style in the occasion of the Hungarian millenary festivities of 1989.
Petőfi Bridge (Petőfi híd), For a long time the southernmost bridge, it links the inner ring road (Nagykörút) of Pest with Buda. It was built during the 30s, destroyed by an explosion in the World War II and then rebuilt in 1952.
Rákóczi Bridge (Rákóczi híd), The newest bridge in Budapest, with modern architecture and a spectacular lighting system where mirrors reflect the beam of the upward facing floodlights. Built very next to a railway bridge on its southern side. Originally called Lágymányosi Bridge, it was built between 1992 and 1995, initially destined to smoothen the augmented traffic flow during the 1996 expo that finally never took place in Budapest. It is the second newest bridge of Budapest as of 2013.
Most of Budapest's highlights are within easy walking distance of each other and the city centre. All major areas have sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians. Drivers generally obey traffic signals, and similar to other major European cities, pedestrians should firmly indicate their intention to cross at a crosswalk. Many sidewalks and paths tend to be mixed-use for both pedestrians and cyclist.
NOTE: A number of places (streets, squares, parks) were renamed mid-2011, which resulted in the renaming of a number of stops of public transport. If unsure - inquire! Most people are well aware of the changes and are pleased to help you. Also many schedules were modified, some buses circulate less frequently, while other means of transportation may have their operating time extended. Schedules are shown in every stop unless vandalised.
While you'll find several points of interest within walking distance, Budapest is a sizeable city, so unless you drive your own car (or bicycle), you will inevitably use some form of public transportation. The good news is that the city is well covered by a network consisting of four metro lines, blue buses, red trolley-buses, and yellow trams - and the whole system is fairly easy to understand. On the other hand, schedules are not quite as reliable as in, say, Vienna, vehicles are not always the cleanest, and tickets have become increasingly expensive.
It's worth investing into a public transportation map at any ticket sales desk. You can also find detailed public transport maps in some tram stops, especially along the 4-6 tram lines, and in the metro stations. Vehicles run from around 5AM to 11.30PM (or, on Christmas Eve, to 4.00PM). However, tram line 6 runs all night and, additionally, an extensive night bus network is available.
If you are a short term visitor, you may find the following lines particularly useful:
Metro 1, 2, 3, 4 connect the suburbs with the biggest transport hubs, numerous touristic highlights and central hotels.
NOTE: Until 2015 summer, at weekend Metro Line 3 runs on a shortened route due to refurbishment works. Please check BKK website for further information.
Tram 2 runs along the river Danube on Pest side, Tram 19 and 41 runs on the Buda side. They offer a ride with great view of the opposite side.
Tram 4, 6 follow Nagykörút (Grand Boulevard) offering (air conditioned) service up to every 3 minutes at peak times as well as throughout the night. They cross over to Buda on Margaret Bridge (Margit híd) - providing a majestic view - in the north, and on Petőfi Bridge in the south, after which the two lines diverge for their last two stops in south-Buda.
Bus 7 and 107 connect Keleti railway station with the city center and many points of interest in Buda and Pest.
Bus 16/16A, 116 take you to Buda Castle from Széll Kálmán tér (former Moszkva tér). Bus 16 starts from Deák Ferenc tér, the metro line hub.
Bus 105 connects Hősök tere (Hero's Square) to Deák Ferenc tér through Andrássy boulevard, before it crosses the Chain Bridge to Buda and passes by Déli Pályaudvar (Southern railway station).
Bus 200E connects the airport with the Metro 3 terminus Köbánya-Kispest. At midnight to 4.00 AM from city center Bus 950, change at Honvéd utca (District XVIII) to Bus 900 connects the airport.
Boat services have gone into operation mid 2012. See ticket information on the transport company's (BKK) website.
Night travel services are provided by the Tram 6 as well as a number of night buses lines (s. below)
Public transport in Budapest is run by Centre for Budapest Transport (BKK). Their English-language website provides information on current schedules and fares. If you intend to travel a lot, travel cards are far less expensive than single tickets. Tickets can be bought at machines (that are available at larger stops) and cashiers (operating mostly at metro stations). Single tickets are avilable at most news stands as well. Tickets must be validated on the vehicles (on the subway you must validate your ticket before entering the platform). Though most places you'll find regular ticket validating machines, some older vehicles only have mechanical ticket validators. When using these, you must pull the black lever on the top of the validator after putting in the ticket. It validates the ticket by punching holes in it.
Certain groups, such as 65yr+ or blind people travel free of charge if the required proof is provided. Some available tickets and passes for public transport:
Single ticket (vonaljegy or jegy): Valid for one journey within the city limits, transfer not allowed on buses and trams, one transfer allowed between metro lines. HUF350. HUF450 if purchased from the driver (available on almost every bus, tram, and trolley bus lines).
Transfer ticket (átszállójegy): Valid for one journey within the city limits, one transfer allowed, up to 60 minutes per ride and 90 minutes total (120 if the second ride is on the subway or during night). You get two pieces, one to validate on the first ride and the other on the second. Valid only when you have both pieces with you! HUF530.
Short section metro ticket (metrószakaszjegy): Valid for up to three stops and 30 minutes on the subway, change of line possible. Not valid anywhere else. HUF300.
Block of 10 single tickets (gyűjtőjegy): Ten single tickets. HUF3000
24-hour travelcard (24 órás jegy): Valid for 24 hours after purchase. Valid also on MÁV trains and suburban yellow Volán buses. HUF1,650.
24-hour group travelcard (csoportos 24 órás jegy): For a maximum of 5 people travelling together. Valid for 24 hours after purchase. HUF3,300.
72-hour travelcard (72 órás jegy): Valid for 72 hours after purchase. HUF4,150.
7-day travelcard (hetijegy, lit. week ticket): Valid from 00:00 of the indicated starting day until 02:00 on the following seventh day (start+7). HUF4,950.
14-day pass (kétheti Budapest-bérlet, lit. two-week Budapest pass): Valid from 00:00 on the indicated starting day until 02:00 on the following fourteenth day (start+14), with a photo. Valid also on MÁV trains and suburban yellow Volán buses. HUF7,000.
Monthly pass (havi Budapest-bérlet): Valid from 00:00 of the indicated starting day until 02:00 of the same day of the following month, with a photo. Valid also on MÁV trains and suburban yellow Volán buses. HUF10,500.
Monthly pass for students (havi BP-bérlet felsőoktatásban tanulóknak): Valid from 00:00 of the indicated starting day until 02:00 of the same day of the following month, with a photo. Requires student ID from a European country or ISIC. HUF3,450. If staying for more than two days, this is cheaper than a 72-hour pass.
Budapest card (Budapest kártya): Travelcard that also offers discounts at museums and restaurants. 24-hour card HUF4,500, 48-hour card HUF7,500, 72-hour card HUF8,900.
When using the public transport, you should always have a valid ticket or pass. The fine was recently raised to HUF8,000-16,000, depending when you pay. Sooner or later, you will run into ticket inspectors, especially in trams and buses on Sunday; they are also guarding the entrance and exit to many metro stations. They rarely speak English and some were reported to be keen on controlling tourists. There are at least two ticket inspectors on every single entrance to the Metro, as well as on the platforms and sometimes, mostly along the 3rd Metro line, inside the trains. Quite often they also check at the exits of the Metro, but this is announced on the loudspeakers, when you exit the train in both Hungarian and English. Also note that they can be rude at times and they may refuse to give you directions to the nearest point where you can buy a ticket, even if their English is fluent. They can ask for your ID, however they are not considered police officers under Hungarian law. If you do pay a fine on the spot, ask for a receipt!
Beware that not all the tickets are available everywhere to buy. The best options for groups, for example the 24-hours group travelcard, is available only at the BKK service centres near the biggest railway stations as well as the airport and from most ticket machines. They are, however, not available from the older machines or the kiosks so do keep this in your mind.
Metro 4 – Favourite Worst Nightmare
When the government decided in the early 70's that a new metro line should connect South Buda with Central Pest by 1978, no-one thought that it would become a synonym for incompetence and perpetual lack of money. Everything had been at a standstill until 2007, when works finally began after endless political debates. Are we happy now? Not quite: Metro 4 is widely criticised for its high cost and supposedly failed and obsolete trace. After a number of announced openings, it finally opened on March 28th, 2014 to much fanfare after years of anticipation and turmoil.
Blaha Lujza square metro 2 station with the new Alstom carriage in service from 2012
The underground network consists of four lines (Metro 4 opened March 2014), connecting several centrally located sights, railway and autobus stations with suburbs. The lines cross only at Deák tér station in central Pest with the exception of line 4. Many stations have been recently renovated and usually have small shops, bakeries and various other businesses.
The historic Metro 1 or Millennium Subway (yellow), connects the Városliget (City park) with touristy Vörösmarty Tér in Pest center, passing the Opera and Heroes' square, as it mostly follows the majestic boulevard Andrássy út. Notably, the line was the first underground on continental Europe (preceded by London) constructed as part of the Millennium celebrations in 1896. Although the stylish vehicles are not original, the renovated, tile covered stations retain a historical atmosphere.
Metro 2 (red line) connects Déli pályaudvar (Southern Railway Station, in Buda) with Eastern Pest, passing Széll Kálmán Tér (former Moszkva tér, Buda's top transport hub), Kossuth tér (the Parliament) and Keleti Pályaudvar (Keleti Railway Station).
Metro 3 (blue line) can assist you in reaching the Airport as you can change to Bus 200 at Kőbánya-Kispest terminus. A notable station is the historic Nyugati Pályaudvar (Western Railway Station).
Metro 4 (green line) connects Keleti railway station in Pest with Kelenföld railway station in Buda. Important stops include Gellért tér for the famous Gellért Baths and Fővám tér for the Central Market Hall.
Budapest's 25 tram lines offer a slower but more scenic way of getting around. Line 6 runs 24 hours a day.
In 2006 the world's longest trams started their service on lines 4 and 6
Blue urban bus in Buda
The dense bus network connects the suburban zones with several metro and train stations and the city center.
Numbers with an added 'E' (for example 7E or 200E) indicate express services that don't stop at all stops.
Numbers with an added 'A' have shorter routes than their regular counterparts (for example bus 30 has a longer itinerary than 30A).
Numbers between 900 and 999 denote night services.
Numbers between 300 and 899 denote mid-range suburban services provided by Volán company, BKV tickets and most tourist passes are not valid on them.
Budapest's 13 trolley-bus lines run in Northeast and Central Pest. Some of them pass through the City Park (Városliget) and cross Andrássy avenue (Andrássy út), giving you beautiful views while using this eco-friendly mode of transport. Line 70 connecting Kossuth square (Parliament) to City Park (Városliget) also passes through the lively Nagymező utca, Budapest's "Broadway".
The reason why the numbering starts with 70 is a historical one: The first trolley line started on Dec. 21, 1949, the 70th birthday of the Soviet dictator Stalin.
Green suburban railway lines (called HÉV) connect central Budapest with several suburbs. Note that your tickets and travel passes are valid only within the city boundaries, otherwise you should purchase a supplementary ticket (kiegészítő jegy) at a ticket office.
Line Batthyány tér–Szentendre goes upriver to the nearby baroque town of Szentendre. (The same train takes you to Sziget Fesztivál  in August.) It connects at Batthyány tér with metro 2, at Margit híd (Margaret bridge) with tram 4/6.
Line Örs vezér tere–Gödöllő takes you to the beautiful royal castle of Gödöllő from Metro 2 terminal station Örs Vezér Tér .
Tram 60 (aka cogwheel railway) at Városmajor terminus
Some more exotic means of public transport may help you to escape from the hustle and bustle to the lush green hills surrounding Budapest.
Cogwheel railway (Fogaskerekű vasút) is a tram-like railway with historic charm, running from Városmajor terminus (two stops from Széll Kálmán tér metro 2 station by tram 59 or 61) climbing Széchenyi hill (Széchenyi hegy), Buda's popular picnic, excursion and sledging place. Tickets and passes are valid.
Boat. Budapest currently (starting with July 2012) has three regular boat services, running hourly between around 6AM and 8PM, from Kopaszi-gát (South Buda) or Haller utca (South-Central Pest) to Rómaifürdő (North Buda) or Árpád út (North Pest), making 8-10 intermediate stops. Tickets cost 400 HUF - ordinary tickets are NOT valid. Passes are valid only on weekdays.
Buda Castle funicular (Budavári sikló). This handsome, short funicular line takes you from Chain Bridge (Lánchíd) Buda end to Buda Castle offering a breath-taking scenario as it emerges from street level. Originally built in 1870, it was completely destroyed in the War, only to be reconstructed in 1986. As it is considered a tourist sight, tickets and passes are not valid.
Széchenyi Hill Children's Railways (Széchenyi-hegyi Gyermekvasút) it's a narrow gauge line, operated partly by children. The 11.2km long line is running on the Buda Hill's, giving a beautiful look at the nature around Budapest. You can reach the endstation "Széchenyi hegy" by the Cogwheel railway or the other one "Hűvösvölgy" by taking the tram number 61 from "Széll Kálmán tér". Before using it, you should take a look at it's home page for the timetable at . Regular tickets and passes are NOT valid.
Zugliget Chair-lift (Zugligeti Libegő) It's a chair lift, taking you from "Zugliget" to "János hegy". You will have a nice view while traveling. Tickets and passes are not valid. 
Budapest is covered by 34 night bus lines. Numbers are triple-digit, starting with '9', their time tables are marked with an owl. Buses run every 15-60 minutes from around 11PM until 4AM. The main linking points of the night bus network are Széll Kálmán square (former Moszkva tér) tér in Buda and Astoria (junction of Kossuth Lajos utca–Károly körút) in Pest. Daytime tickets and passes are valid. On line map and schedule are available on BKK's home page . Most useful night buses are:
923 – Running along the Nagykörút, Pest's inner ring road, basically as tram 4 and 6 do during the day.
907 – Substitutes daylight bus 7.
914, 950 – In the city center substitute metro 3.
On Friday and Saturday nights ticket inspectors gather around the stops and don't let you hop on the bus without a valid ticket or pass. They also sell tickets for HUF 450.
Apart from the summer holiday, Budapest has heavy traffic, especially in the morning, and in the late afternoon. If you don't want to spend your visit to Budapest in a traffic jam, leave your car in the hotel's garage, and use the public transport.
Driving across the centre requires some local know-how to be efficient. For example you cannot turn left in most of the crossings of the great boulevard (Nagykörút) or on the main avenues like Andrássy út, Váci út, Üllői út or Rákóczi út.
When you get to the airport be aware of taxi touts waiting in the arrivals hall. They will usually overcharge you. So unless you enjoy bargaining with taxi drivers the best thing you can do when arriving to Budapest is to exit the arrivals hall and look for the taxi booth directly outside. (Főtaxi currently has the airport contract.) Tell the English-speaking dispatcher where you need to go and receive a voucher with the destination address, and number of the taxi line. The driver will ask to see this and then return it. There are no fixed priced airport transfers, every trip is priced by the distance of the destination.
In normal traffic conditions, you can get around in the central areas in 10-25 minutes by car. Taxi rides cost a 450 HUF base price and 280 HUF for every kilometer. Time-based fare unit 70 HUF per minute.
Budapest's taxi drivers are not always prepared for English speaking clients, but it does not necessarily mean that they intend to overcharge their foreign guests – you can call one of the major taxi companies with English speaking switchboards to avoid problems. Most companies' websites now have pages in English.
Do not accept offers from taxi drivers waiting in the airport terminals or railway stations. Use your common sense, sit only in taxis carrying logos of bigger companies.
Many taxis parked in the downtown areas do not belong to radio taxi companies and charge much more than the usual HUF 280 per km. Ask about their price in advance or call any of the taxi companies below.
If you are forced to take a taxi from the street, try to pick one with the meter in a place where the driver can't fiddle with it while driving. (While the fare per kilometer stays the same, it may sometimes be possible to "bump" the price by adding extra basic fees.) Asking the approximate price in advance may be a good idea in such cases.
Note that calling your own taxi is usually cheaper than having one booked for you in a hotel.
Tell the driver in time if you need a receipt.
A new ruling requires all taxis to have a universal yellow colour, but this is not obligatory until September 1st 2014. You can book taxi in advance:
For those comfortable with urban cycling, bicycle is a relatively cheap and convenient way to get around. Bike paths range in style from car-free dedicated bicycle paths to on-street bicycle painted bicycle lanes to normal traffic routes painted with "bicycle route" markers. Cycling on non-marked paths is generally possible for confident cyclists except on busy major thoroughfares. On some major routes, the right-most lane is reserved for busses, taxis, and cyclists only. Some intersections have bicycle traffic lights. Often one-way streets allow cycling in both directions. Signs are marked "kivéve", meaning "one way street, except for bicycles". Many pathways (whether marked or unmarked) are mixed use for both pedestrians and cyclists and (slow speed) cycling on the sidewalk is generally tolerated when necessary. Cyclists should ring their bell in advance if approaching pedestrians who are walking on a marked bicycle path.
Bikes can only be taken on the HÉV (suburban train), the Fogaskerekü (the mountain cog railway starting at Városmajor), and on (most) long distance trains. A supplementary bicycle ticket is usually required.
Visitors wishing to cycle can join an organized bike tour, rent a bicycle from a shop, or use the "Bubi" public transport bicycle service. See "do" for information about renting a bicycle. Longer-term visitors may wish to purchase a bicycle. Basic functional used bicycles start around 20000 HUF.
Although not as fancy as in Rome or Paris, scooters are becoming more common in the streets of Budapest. Inside the city scooters can be driven on the tram and bus ways, often buzzing in between traffic. Although most car drivers are quite used to the scooters around them, some can still be slight irresponsible. Ignore their pushiness and drive conservative and you should not experience any problems. The best roads are the main ring roads as these have plenty of space and good asphalt. The smaller in between roads and roads in hilly Buda can be of lesser quality with some unexpected potholes or tough to see speed bumps.
A limited number of companies offer scooter rental and scooter tours inside the city center. Expect to pay around HUF 6000 for a day. Some companies that offer scooter rental are:
Retro Robogó, +36-70 432-0444. Rent a scooter starting at 3,600 HUF per day (week rental).
In Hungary scooters with an engine up to 50cc can be driven without license plate and only a regular car drivers license. However these 50cc scooters cannot be driven with a passenger. Helmets are compulsory. For scooters and motorcycles with an engine size above 50cc a license plate and motorcycle drivers license is required. If you are experienced with driving a scooter, it is a great way to experience the city
Budapest as seen from the Gellért Hill. Left: the Buda Castle, middle: the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, right: the Hungarian Parliament Building.
Parliament (Országház), Kossuth Lajos tér. The Hungarian National Parliament building is the largest in Europe, designed by architect Imre Steindl for the 1896 millennial celebrations, and built 1880-1902. It is based on England's Parliament building, and supposedly is one meter wider and longer than that august building, just a little bit of architectural conceit. The building is so immense, the weak alluvial soil along the Danube had to be reinforced with a 7-foot-deep concrete foundation. Not surprising, as the building is 300 yards long and 140 yards wide, with 691 rooms and 12.5 miles of corridors. The lacy white Gothic froth covering the building is actually educational: 88 statues representing Hungarian rulers, princes and military commanders. These statues are small and cannot be readily distinguished from the ground, but they are there.edit
Under the Parliament's cupola the Hungarian crown jewels are exhibited. After World War II, the medieval crown (last used in 1916) was taken out of the country by escaping Hungarian fascists, ending up in the United States. President Carter returned the crown to the Hungarian state in 1978, accompanied by a large American delegation. It was exhibited in the National Museum until 2000 when it was moved to its present location. :The only way inside the building is with an organized tour. The tour lasts ~30 minutes and is free if you are an EU citizen, so bring your passport to prove it. Tours only run on specific times during the day, and you have to get your ticket in advance for a timed slot, you have to use the ticket the day you get it. Tickets are sold out by about 11AM, so arrive early at 8AM when the ticket office opens. Getting to the ticket office is bizarrely confusing and time consuming. Queue up by the security fence where you see the "buy ticket" sign, this is by the front of the Parliament at gate X (the opposite side to the river). There will be no sign of a ticket office or anyone selling tickets. It will seem like you are queueing up in front of a fence. Do not panic - this is OK. There may be people in a separate queue, these may be Hungarians who can visit more frequently, or indeed tourists in the wrong queue - you won't be told where to go or what to do, so it is common for people to wander about. The security guard will open the security fence (there is no gate) and you should walk towards the doorway with an X above it, inside is the cash office and you can get your ticket here. Be warned, there are no signs or explanations anywhere of what to do. They only let 2 people at a time in the cash office, and it can take 2-3 minutes per person to get a ticket. Come back at the specified time on your ticket and join the "with tickets" queue to the right, where, again, you will be left with no one to greet you or explain what's going on, until 1 minute before your tour time, when a guide will appear (not in a uniform)and you can go through the fence and get security screened before starting. The tourist information gives tour times for the various languages (e.g. English is 10AM, 12PM and 2PM), your ticket may have a different time on it, like 10.15AM, this is because there is more than 1 tour around the times listed, so you will not join the 10AM tour, but the 10.15 tour. The end result of this system is that at first glance, there are people standing in a very slow moving queue, with occasional tourists wandering into an unmarked door in the corner of the building. Suddenly, a large group of people will appear and jump the queue and wander through the security fence (this is a timed tour starting), the guards are not tour advisors and will not tell you if they are sold out of tickets, or if a tour is starting, or that you are in the wrong queue. Parliament is in session Monday and Tuesday, but tours still operate. For the time of your language tour get the slip of paper from a tourist information office. Non EU Admission: 800 ft adults, 300 ft children. There is a bar just inside the main doors which is open to the public during the tour times. A neogothic jewel, beautifully situated overlooking the Danube. It is very much worth going inside, but you can only do that during guided tours, which are 2000 HUF for inhabitants of European Union and 5200 HUF for others (ignore those trying to pick you up outside the Parliament). Tickets for guided tours can be obtained each day from 8AM. It is recommended to do it in advance because the tickets can be sold out quickly in the morning. You will have to go in front of the Parliament and queue at the ticket line. Again, ignore those that ask you if you want a guided tour. Just pick up your ticket inside and come back at the hour on the ticket. You can also buy in advance in the internet. Guided tours in English are held each day at different times. There are no tours during Parliamentary sessions (which are normally on Mondays and Tuesdays, sometimes on Wednesdays too). The Parliament is the biggest building in Hungary with its 268 meters . During your guided visit you will see the crown of Saint Stephen that is kept inside the gorgeous dome room.
The Parliament Building
The Royal Palace (Királyi palota). The most popular attraction on the hill. Entrance to the area is free, while some museums and attractions have paid admission. Can be reached on foot (sloped paths and/or a long series of steps), by tourist funicular, or by public transit bus. On foot, walk to the base of the castle on the Buda side and look for the white stairs next to the palace garden park. In the park there is also a small elevator and then a small escalator that will get you part way up. By funicular, cross the chain bridge and then proceed to the base of the station. Tickets cost 1100 HUF for adults for a short ride, and the view is not particularly impressive, so this is a better option for those with limited mobility than those looking for a fun experience. By public transit bus, take bus number 16. The first known buildings here where the Royal Palace stands today, were built by Charles Robert’s eldest son, Stephan Duke of Anjou (1308-1342). It was later remodeled, but the reign of King Matthias brought about the golden age of Buda (1458-1490). Legend has it that when a Turkish ambassador came to Buda, he saw all the wealth and grandeur, forgot his greeting speech and all he could say was „The emperor sends his respects.” After several remodelings, the unique building we see today is the recreation of Alajos Hauszmann and Miklós Ybl’s1896 millennial designs. During its history the Royal Palace was destroyed and rebuilt at least 6 times. It hosted rulings but also invaders such as the Turks. Today the Palace is converted into some museums. It hosts the National Gallery. Sections of the Royal Palace include:
Lions’ Courtyard The courtyard got its name from the four stone lions that guard its gate. The two formidable lions at the gate try to deter one from entering, while the two on the inside roar furiously at those who dare walk past the gates. They where created by sculptor János Fadrusz in 1902. As we walk past the gate lighter stripes in the grey cube veneer show the excavated, the re-buried remains of the medieval palace walls. The 4300 m² courtyard is bordered by the building complex containing the Hungarian National Museum, the Budapest Museum of History and the National Széchenyi Library. 
Hunyadi Garden The Hunyadi Garden was a market place during the reign of Sigismund of Luxemburg. The group of bronze statues known as the Mátyás Fountain is the work of Alajos Stróbl from 1904. The work features Matthias Corvinus in the company of his henchman, his hunter, his Italian chronicler and his hunting dogs. On the left side is Szép Ilonka, a young woman from a humble background, who knowing nothing about Matthias’s status falls in love with the king during a hunt. The busy fountain is a popular rest stop for tourists. This is Budapest’s answer to the Trevi Fountain in Rome: visitors wishing to return to the city toss shiny coins into the fountain, of which thousands shimmer under the water.
Savoyai Terrace One of the most representative areas of the Buda Castle, the Savoyai Terrace boasts the best view of the city. Standing on this spacious square we can see the graceful Danube dividing the two sides of the city, the limestone walls of the Parliament, the Gellért Hill, our capital’s bridges, the Monument of Liberty, and on a clear day you can see the sites of Pest. The Terrace is in front of the Hungarian National Museum and on it you will find the neo-baroque bronze statue of Austrian Prince Eugene of Savoy military strategist made by the sculptor József Róna which has been there since the beginning of the 1900s. Eugene of Savoy is an important figure in Hungarian History because he was the general who irrevocably freed Hungary from the Turkish occupation. The first palace, in Gothic style, built and added onto over 300 years, was destroyed by the Christian army that liberated Buda from the Turkish occupation in 1686. In 1715 work started on a completely new, smaller Baroque palace, but over the years more and more space was added to the palace until it reached its current length (304 meters). The palace, in neo-Baroque style, had many added wings (which now house the National Gallery, among other treasures--see below). Reconstruction after the various indignities suffered during rebellions of the nineteenth century finished in 1904. This reconstruction, by Miklós Ybl and Alajos Hauszmann, was undone by German troops holding out at the end of WWII. The roof fell in entirely and most of the furniture was destroyed. A Baroque façade which had never existed before and a real dome (there had previously been a faux dome with attic space beneath) were added to the building. Today the building houses three large museums (see below) and the National Széchényi Library. The statue of Hussar general András Hadik, a favorite of Empress Maria Theresia is well known to local students. The statue, designed by György Vastagh Jr. was presented to the public in 1937. The general is on horseback; take a close look at the horse's testicles. They are shiny yellow, unlike the patina on the rest of the statue. Engineering students have for years polished the horse testicles on the morning of difficult exams, supposedly for luck. Mary Magdalene Tower (Mária Magdolna torony), on the corner of Országház utca and Kapisztrán tér is the part of a 13th-century Franciscan church used by Hungarian speakers. Under Turkish rule, this was the only church allowed to remain Christian: all others were converted into mosques. The chancel was destroyed in World War II and has not been rebuilt except for one stone window, as a memento. *Vienna Gate (Bécsi Kapu) at the northern end of Castle Hill. This was the market for non-Jewish merchants in the Middle Ages, and is where all four streets that run the length of the hill converge. The Vienna Gate inspired a typical Hungarian parental retort for children who talk back, they will be scolded with "Your mouth is as big as the Vienna Gate!" The gate is not really large or extraordinary, but you can climb over it anyway.
The Fisherman's Bastion and lookout terrace (Halászbástya). For impressive views across the Danube to Pest. This neo-Gothic construction was built in 1905 by the architect Frigyes Schulek. It is composed by seven towers that are symbolizing the seven magyar clans’ leaders that came in the Carpathian Basin at the end of the IX century. It was built between 1890-1905, and is named after both the medieval fishmarket once nearby and the Guild of Fishermen who defended this section of the wall during past wars. The story is that different trades were responsible for defending different parts of the castle walls and that this section of the defenses was raised by the fishermen’s guild. In fact, the structure is a late 19th century fantasy built to add class to the area. That this is an invention does not detract at all from the attractiveness of the structure, nor from the impressive views of the river and Pest on the opposite side. The mounted statue between the bastion and the church is King Stephan (Istvan in Hungarian) the first king of Hungary (crowned about 1000.) He was declared a saint for his efforts in bringing Christianity to Hungary. He carries the apostolic cross with two crossbars – a symbol granted him by the Pope. In tourist season there is an admission charge of about $1 to climb on the bastion. In the daytime around the year, the bastion is the place most overcrowded by tourists in the Castle Hill, mainly brought in here by buses. The sculpture of a Turul bird just outside the cable car station is not, as you might think, an eagle, but the mythical turul bird (which is believed to be a kind of falcon). This bird is a part of the story of how the Magyars settled the Hungarian homeland. This bird appeared in a dream to the wife of the Magyar leader Ügyek and told her that she would be the founding mother of a new nation.
Vajdahunyad Castle (Vajdahunyad vára). While loosely modelled after a Transylvanian fortress of the same name, the building is not really a castle at all: it's a full-scale model built for Hungary's 1896 millenial celebrations. The structure has three distinct wings, one Gothic, one Romanesque and one Baroque, making it quite a bizarre sight when seen from a distance. But sneak up closer and its magic will be revealed: thanks to the moat, the trees and the carefully laid footpaths, you can usually only see one section at a time. The attention to detail (all copied from real sites around the country) has been painstaking, so it's like seeing three extraordinarily pretty castles rolled into one. The structure was originally supposed to be only a temporary one, but Budapest's people liked it so much that it was rebuilt to last. Located on an island in the middle of the park's lake.
State Opera House, Andrássy ut 22. Built between 1875-1884 by the premier Hungarian architect of the day, Miklós Ybl, who also worked on nearby St Stephen's Cathedral.edit
The Central Market Hall - this market is one of the most visited tourist attractions. It is placed in the city center just at the end of Váci Utca (do not confuse it with Váci ut which is a completely different street!). It is the largest and oldest covered market of the city. This is the right place to buy an Hungarian souvenir or to eat traditional food. Closed on Sundays.
National Gallery (Nemzeti Galéria) . An art gallery inside the Royal Palace. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10AM-6PM. Tickets for the permanent collection are 1400 HUF for general admission, or 700 HUF for EU travellers under 26 or over 62. Photographs only allowed with the purchase of a photo/video permit (500 HUF). Audioguides and guided tours available with fees. Ticket price includes admission to the dome of the gallery (weather permitting, and limited capacity) and the views from the dome balconies are very good. The gallery itself contains four floors of exhibitions including sculpture, renaissance and baroque paintings by Hungarians and other European artists, and modern/contemporary Hungarian painting and art installations. One section also displays selected works from the Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum) in Heroes' Square, as the Museum of Fine Arts is closed for several years for renovations. The National Gallery is smaller than other major European art collections, and could be seen very quickly in 1-2 hours, or more thoroughly in a half or whole day. There are several tourist-oriented cafes onsite and nearby for drinks, sandwiches, or ice cream.
House of Terror (Terror Háza), Andrássy út 60 (corner of Csengery Street, a few hundred metres from Oktogon), . Tue-Sun, 10-18. The building in the block of "Andrássy út 60." was used both by Nazis and and the communist-led Political Police/State Security Police as headquarters. In the basement a labyrinth of prisons was created. Many people were jailed and starved or beaten to death here. 2002, the "house of fear" was converted into a stylish but depressing museum about Nazi and communist terror which helps visitors to understand Hungary's 20th century. This museum is displayed for the enlightenment of Hungarians, so one must get an English-language audioguide at the front desk for an extra fee.1800 ft.. edit
Hall of Art (Műcsarnok) . An "art hall" showcasing exhibitions of modern art by Hungarian and international artists. If you're nearby it's always worth taking a look to see what's happening today. Open 10AM to 6PM daily except Monday, admission varies from exhibition to exhibition.
Ethnographic Museum (Néprajzi Múzeum), Kossuth Lajos tér 12 (across from Parliament), . Tue-Sun, 10-18. Sometimes said to resemble the Reichstag (parliament) building in Berlin, the white neo-Renaissance façade complements the Gothic-style Parliament building just across the square. Do not miss the richly decorated interior, including the ceiling frescoes by Károly Lotz (who also frescoed the State Opera's ceiling). The building was originally used to house the Supreme Court and chief public prosecutor's office, explaining some of the motifs used in the frescoes.1000 ft.. edit
Soviet Soldier in Statue Park
Memento Park, at the corner of Balatoni út and Szabadkai utca (From “Ujbuda Kozpont” – corner of Fehervari ut – Bocskai ut (Allee Shopping Mall) with bus No.150 to Memento Park stop.), ☎ #36 (1) 424 7500, . Open daily from 10 AM till sunset. The open-air museum is located in South Buda. Driving takes 20 minutes, taking public transport 50 minutes to reach the spot. Main part of Memento Park is the typically Central European, yet universally unique collection of former public statues, which used to be stationed in the city's public domains in accordance with the guidelines and the requests of the Socialist culture-politics and ideological system. In addiction there is an exhibition of the 1956 revolution and 1989-90 political changes, a film showing about the political secret service. According to Ákos Eleőd, the architect: "This park is about dictatorship. And at the same time, because it can be talked about, described, built, this park is about democracy. After all, only democracy is able to give the opportunity to let us think freely about dictatorship." Possible souvenirs are t-shirts which poke fun at communism, German Trabant car models, CDs of Hungarian communist fight songs, reproduction Hungarian Communist Party membership booklets and postcards. To attend the guided tour, or get a booklet in English is well-recommended.edit
Smaller museums include:
The Hopp Museum of East Asian Art. Collection of 20,000 pieces from China, Japan, India, Nepal, Tibet and Mongolia. Nearby is another similar collection, namely Gyorgy Museum.
The Historical Museum of Budapest. Exhibition of medieval Budapest and history of the Royal Palace.
The Music Museum. Includes a collection of musical instruments and the Bartok archive.
The Military Museum. Uniforms, weapons, maps and other Hungary-related military objects from 11th century until nowadays.
Pharmacy Museum. Collection of pharmaceutical objects from the Renaissance and Baroque eras.
Museum of Medieval Judaism. Presents the medieval Jewish objects of Buda.
Hungarian Agricultural Museum. Housed in Vajdahunyad Castle's baroque wing, this is the only part open to the public and it now houses the exhibits on breathtaking topics like cattle breeding and fishing. But at 50 ft a throw for students it's worth seeing just for the architecture.50 ft. edit
Museum of Victor Vasarely at Szentlélek tér. -- Take HÉV from Batthyány tér and get off at Árpád-híd stop. The museum entrance is just next to the square where many buses stop. The museum contains the work of Vasarely, a figure of 'op art'. The works are excellent and are fun to watch.
Museum of Aquincum - The remains of Aquincum the former capitol of Pannonia Inferior, built by the Romans.
Tomb of Gül Baba and Rosegarden - Built around 1548 by the turkish occupants of the city. It is the northernmost place of muslim pilgrimage. The beautiful view and the peacefulness of the place makes a visit worth.
Béla Bartók Memorial House - The final home of one of the greatest Hungarian composers. Located at a very beautiful place and has a big garden.
Foundry Museum - A foundry from the 18th century in the very heart of the city, preserved as a museum.
Semmelweis Medical History Museum - The most important museum and archives on the history of medicine in Hungary
Museum Kiscell - A beautiful complex of baroque style buildings originally built for Trinitarian monks. The museum exhibits fine arts and items of modern history.
Museum of Óbuda - A museum of the local history in the Zichy Castle.
Zelnik Istvan Southeast Asian Goldmuseum (Aranymúzeum)  has the leading collection in Europe of southeast asian gold artifacts from the 1st millenia BC
Olof palme ház is an elegant building in North italian renaissance style was erected in 1884 by the architect Pfaff Ferenc. The central wall of the building is finely decorated with some portraits of the most important italian renaissance artists: Michelangelo, Raffaello and Leonardo da Vinci.
Aquincum was a city in the Roman times, its remains are turned into a great open-air museum. It's situated in the Óbuda district of northern Buda. There are some ruins of thermal baths, made by stones and decorated with mosaics and paintings. Visiting these places was social events for Romans. Don’t miss the Aquincum museum in which it is possible to admire many finds, paintings, reconstruction of houses and a reproduction of the hydraulic system of the time. Aquincum is the biggest and the most important roman ruin in Hungary.
Gül Baba Türbéje is the shrine where Gül Baba (literally Rose Father, from whom the Rózsadomb (Rose Hill) was named) lies.Offers a nice view and the little street which leads down the hill from there contains more houses that won the "House of the Year" award.
Kassák Museum at the Zichy Castle shows works of the modern Hungarian artists as well as modern Hungarian art.
Kiscelli Museum - The Budapest Picture Gallery.
Liszt Museum. Home of Ferenc Liszt, most famous Hungarian composer. Collection of his personal objects and instruments can be visited.
The Music Museum. Includes a collection of musical instruments and the Bartok archive.
Margaret Island (Margitsziget) and its large parks (see Buda) are a very pleasant place to relax and wander. Perfect for a sunny afternoon. The island can be reach by both side (Buda and Pest) by the Margaret Bridge that has a curious shape because it is connecting with the island with a 30° angle.
St. Stephen (István) Cathedral (the Basilica), Szent István tér. Though often called "the Basilica" for short due to its clerical rank as a basilica minor, it actually is shaped like a Greek cross, with two steeples and a dome on top. Designed by Miklós Ybl and József Hild, and built 1851-1905, it is as high as the Parliament building -- it's the highest church in Budapest. Walking in the main entrance, after climbing a series of stairs, the viewer is first greeted with a relief of St Stephen, then a mosaic of Christ's resurrection. There are many notable mosaics in this church, especially those within the dome designed by Károly Lotz, best known for his ceiling frescoes in the State Opera and Ethnographic Museum. While designed here, the mosaics were made in Venice. The foremost Hungarian artists of the day designed the artworks within St Stephen's, among them Bertalan Székely, Gyula Benczúr and two men also known for their work in the Opera, Mór Than and Alajos Stróbl. Here Stróbl contributed the central statue of St Stephen on the main altar. In the left hand chapel is the "Chapel of the sacred right hand" this is pretty surreal as St Stephen's surviving hand in a glass box, lovely. For a fee, you can also climb to the very top of the Basilica to get a wonderful view of the city.edit
Matthias Church (Mátyás templom, aka Church of Our Lady). Dominant neogothic church crowning Budapest's cityscape - nowadays is under reconstruction. The church praises a wonderful and unusual roof made of coloured shingles and elegant pinnacles. The interior worth a visit because of the frescoes and the artistic glass walls.
Matthias Church (Mátyás templom). The rococo spire of this church is one of the easily seen landmarks of the var. Originally the Buda German community's parish church, its official name is the "Church of the Blessed Virgin". The popular Hungarian king, Mátyás, held both of his weddings here, and so it is known as the Matthias Church. Today an eclectic mix of styles, the church was started in the thirteenth century. The main apse, which ends in a seven-sided polygon, is in French style and is the earliest extant section. The central section was built about 100 years later. During the Turkish occupation of Budapest, all the furnishings were removed and the painted walls whitewashed to cover art unacceptable to the Islamic eye. Once returned to the Catholic community, it was Baroquified (i.e. covered with Baroque ornamentation that obscured the original style like many other Central European churches were), and the rose window was bricked up. In the last century, between 1873 and 1896, Frigyes Schulek began a major renovation and restoration of the Matthias Church. The interior is sumptuously decorated in a style which is on the one hand art deco and yet evokes the medieval predecessors of this structure. As you enter the church turn to the right and proceed down the right hand aisle to the front of the church. For a small fee you can visit the underground treasury which includes a replica of the Crown of St. Stephen -- the real crown (a 12th century object even though Stephen was a 10th century king) is on display in the parliament building. Also take a look at the opulent chapel at the rear of the church (around the corner to the left of the entrance. Be aware that this is a functioning church and you may find that at times it is closed to visitors for church activities or concerts. To the left of the neighboring Hilton Hotel is what looks like the wall of a medieval church with a monument set into it. In fact it is a copy of a monument located in Belsen, Germany (near Dresden). The copy was erected by the ilton Company. It portrays King Mátyás (15th century), the most beloved of Hungarian Kings. In front of the Matthias Church is a tall column decorated with many statues – this is a “plague monument” erected by thankful survivors.
Great Synagogue and the Jewish Museum, Dohány ut. 2-8, . This synagogue is unique both because of its size, and its two onion-shaped domes, which are forty-three meters high. Onion domes are typically found on Catholic churches, and Hungary is a very Catholic country. Perhaps Ludwig Förster, the architect, meant for it to blend in a bit. Those interested in Jewish history or culture may be interested in a guided or self-guided tour of the old Jewish Quarter of Budapest is the neighborhood bordered by Károly Boulevard, Erzsébet Boulevard, Király Street and Rákóczi Road. Main sites include Wallenberg Park, The Tree of Life, The Temple of Heroes, the Rumbach Synagogue, the Carl Lutz Memorial, and the Kazinczy Street Synagogueedit
Rock Church (Sziklatemplom) at the southeastern edge of Gellért Hill. The church was created from a natural cave system, following the Lourdes cave as sample in 1926. To reach the church, go to Gellért tér, turn towards Gellért Hill and look for the big white cross or the statue of King Saint Stephen - you can find the church below the cross and next to the statue.
Heroes' Square (Hősök tere) - with the Millennium Monument in the middle and two museums on the two sides:
Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Lánchíd). Lánchíd (pronounced “laance heed”) means chain bridge and the suspension structure of the bridge is made of chains whose links are huge dog-bone shaped metal bars linked by pins at their ends. Make sure you stop by after dark to take a picture as the bridge is beautifully light up.
Little Princess statue, (on bank of Danube, somewhere near Vigado ter). A bronze statue created by László Morton, a child sitting on the fence of the tram.edit
Shoes on the Danube memorial, (Danube bank, between Kossuth tér and Széchenyi tér (former Roosevelt tér)). The shoes are placed there in memory of the Jews who were shot into the Danube during World War II. edit
Citadella, the former fortress on top of Gellérthegy, offers a superb panorama over Central Budapest including bank of the Danube River, Buda Castle and Pest city. To get good views up and down the Danube, take the steps going down in front of the Liberty Statue in front of the Citadella. There are several outposts offering good photo opportunities. The Citadella is served by local bus 27 from either Sánc utca (reached by bus 8, 112, 239 from Corvin Negyed (former Ferenciek tere) or Astoria Metro stations) or Móricz Zsigmond körtér (reached by tram 6 from Corvin Negyed (former Ferenciek tere) Metro station or tram 47, 49 from Kálvin tér Metro station). The bus stop is called Búsuló Juhász (Citadella), but the Citadella is 600 m away on foot along Szirtes utca.
Elizabeth Lookout (Erzsébet kilátó) is Budapest's highest peak with its 527 meters. One possible 'vehicle' to reach it is the chair lift  (Libegő), starting out from the terminal of bus 291. Open hours of the Chair-lift: between 15th of May and 15th of September: 9AM-5PM, between 15th of September and 15th of May: 9:30AM-4PM. A single ticket costs HUF 750 and and a return ticket HUF 1300.
In the City Park, the Budapest Zoo is one of the oldest in the world. It offers more than 800 animals to be seen in a historic atmosphere.
The Cogwheel tram (Fogaskerekű) and Children's Railway (Gyermekvasút) in the Buda Hills are a great escape from the city. The cogwheel tram, which is officially tram no. 60, leaves from Városmajor, accessible by tram 59 or 61 from Széll Kálmán tér. It climbs through the wooded Buda Hills and at the top, if you feel like doing it, take the Children's Railway through the hills to Hüvösvölgy and take tram 61 back down to Széll Kálmán tér. The cogwheel tram accepts local travelcards, but the Gyermekvasút does not, and fares can be found here. Also if you have an old map, you'll find Pioneers' Railway (Úttörővasút) instead of Children's Railway in it, which is the former name of the railway from the Soviet era.
Bubi is Budapest's recently-launched public bicycle system. Similarly to the systems in other major European cities, users purchase an access ticket and can pick-up a bicycle at one of many stations located throughout the city. Once the user has an access ticket, bicycles can be taken for free for up to 30 minutes at a time. (After that, the bicycle must be returned and re-withdrawn, or surcharges will be applied.) Access tickets start at 500 HUF for a 24 hour period. Tickets can be purchased online or at central customer service points. Bicycle stations are located throughout the central part of the city. See their website for more details in English or Hungarian.
Bicycle rentals are available from local shops. Expect to pay around HUF 2000-3000 per day. Some bike rental companies include:
Budapest Bike, ☎ +36-30 944-5533.. Rent a bike starting at 2,000 HUF for 6 hours.. edit
Yellow Zebra Bike, ☎ +36-1 266-8777. Rent a bike starting at 1,500 HUF for 1-5 hours.. edit
Bikebase, ☎ +36-1 269-5983. Bike rentals available for 2,000 HUF for 24 hours. Possible to rent higher-end bikes or touring bikes at daily or longer term rates. edit
TreeHugger Dans  - Used english bookstore, bicycle rental and coffee shop. Smoke free and the staff is very friendly even if the book prices are extortionate. A good place to pick up a local city map with fresh recommendations.
FONÓ Music House XI. district, Sztregova u. 3. Tel.: 206-5300, 203-1752. Fax: 463-0479 (Take tram no. 18, 41 or 47 southward from Móricz Zsigmond körtér and get off at Kalotaszeg utca stop. Walk backwards 2 minutes and take the first street on the right.) They offer concerts, folkdance performances as well dance houses called táncház in Hungarian. Every Wednesday evening they have Hungarian dance club which is a perfect place to see how young Hungarians revitalize traditional culture.
Don't miss a boat trip on River Danube. You can enjoy both riverbanks and the bridges at the very same time. It is especially spectacular at night. Tourist Boats leave from Vigadó tér. Round trip in about 1 hour. There are a few different lines, most are the same. Dinner cruises are available as well.
The BKV (Budapest Public Transport) now operates a passenger service up and down the Danube. Schedule and stop can be found here  Regular BKV metro tickets (350ft or 450fr on the boat) Transit Passes can be used as well (except on weekends). Take in the sights like Castle Hill, Parliment and the Bridges for the price of a bus ticket.
City Park's lake offers boating in the summer. There're also open-air tables for ping-pong nearby.
City Park's lake, Olof Palme sétány 5.. M-F 9-13, 16-20; Sa-Su 10-14, 16-20. Rink entrance: M-F morning 600ft, Fri evening-Sun. Skate rental available (look for Roces sign further from the Heroes Square); deposit 15.000ft or a photo document; rental hour is 600ft.. edit
The Capital Circus of Budapest in City Park (Fövárosi Nagycirkusz) offers tigers-and-acrobats style performances featuring international artists. Information and tickets
Hungarian State Opera House, Magyar Állami Operaház, 1061 Andrássy út 22, metro 1 station Opera, tickets HUF 300-10,900. One of Europe's architecturally most breathtaking opera house's company performs traditional opera and ballet. The quality of its huge repertoire is not always up to international standards, but if you don't expect too much, you will spend a decent night here. Cheaper tickets offering reduced visibility are a good deal if you don't want to pay HUF 2500 for the official guided tour  to the building. The company also performs at Theatre Thália, (Thália Színház 1065 Nagymező u. 22-24, metro 1, tram 4, tram 6 station/stop Oktogon, tickets HUF 2900-4900), , while Theatre Erkel, the Opera's chamber theater is closed due to reconstruction.Actually the guided tours - every 3PM and 4PM - are more expensive (1000ft) than a ticket to the opera(from 700ft). Buy the second cheapest to be able to see the stage as well. But even if tickets are expensive you will enjoy the performance even if you're not an opera buff. You can get cheaper tickets during the summer when there often are opera festivals. Most operas are in Italian, but at the State Opera they subtitle the entire perfomance in Hungarian. The hall is beautiful and in its original state. On the balcony surrounding the hall they have put the name of every classic opera performed there into the wood. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated. For a real treat, purchase seats in the kabin or box seats ranging upwards of 5000 to 8000ft. Appropriate dress - suits or sport coats for men, dress or skirt/blouse for women (although tuxedos to backpacker wear is seen during the week).
Palace of Arts, Művészetek Palotája, 1095 Komor Marcell utca 1, tram 2 stop Millenniumi Kulturális Központ, tickets HUF 700-9,800, standing tickets for students are available for HUF 200 one hour before every show, (be sure that your student card is valid, otherwise you won't get in). This modern, power plant-looking building hides an excellent modern art museum, a festival theatre and the marvellous Béla Bartók National Concert Hall (Bartók Béla Nemzeti Hangversenyterem), which offer great concerts from classical, jazz and world music to Hungarian and international pop, special children programmes and the best opera performances in Central Europe. The annual Wagner festival in June is a must. Spectacles are held all around the year. Book your tickets at the Palace of the Arts home page without additional booking fee.
Theatre Madách, Madách Színház, 1073 Erzsébet körút 29-33, metro 2 station Blaha Lujza tér, tram 4, tram 6 stop Wesselényi utca, tickets HUF 500-8900. If you want to see the Hungarian version of blockbuster musicals like The Phantom of the Opera or Producers, this is your place. Madách is widely popular among musical fans, and some of their recent shows have been critically acclaimed, so book well in advance.
Budapest Operetta Theatre, Budapesti Operett Színház, 1065 Nagymezõ utca 19, metro 1, tram 4, tram 6 station/stop Oktogon, tickets HUF 950-15000. Grandmothers' eternal favourite, the Operetta Theatre performs old-fashioned operettas for the nostalgic hearted and tries to be Madách's main rival in musicals.
Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Trafó Kortárs Művészetek Háza, 1094 Liliom utca 41, metro 3 station Ferenc körút, tram 4, tram 6 stop Üllői út, tickets HUF 1000-2500, 25% discount for student card holders. In a renovated transformer building, Budapest's most important contemporary cultural center presents Hungarian and international experimental dance, theatre and music performances. A disco hall in the cellar and a lively bar upstairs also serve your entertainment.
Millenáris, 1024 Fény utca 20-22, metro 2 station Széll Kálmán tér, tram 4, tram 6 stop Széna tér, tickets HUF 1000-6000. This huge cultural center has been built around former factory buildings. The complex includes a park, a small artificial lake, cafés, an interactive museum called Csodák Palotája (Palace of Miracles) and a theatre which hosts music, theatre and sometimes great contemporary opera performances. You could book your ticket at their home page, which is available in Hungarian and English
Merlin International Theatre, Merlin Nemzetközi Színház, 1052 Gerlóczy utca 4, metro 1/2/3 station Deák tér, tickets HUF 600-2000. Merlin, within stone-throwing distance of Váci street, Budapest touristy and commercial heart, is a hub for some Hungarian alternative companies and also for performances in English.
National Dance Theatre, Nemzeti Táncszínház, 1014 Budapest, Színház utca 1-3, bus 10, bus 16, stop Dísz tér, tickets HUF 1100-3500. The main dance theatre of Hungary hosts a wide range of local and international performances. Although not always revolutionary modern, it's always worth to check the program.
Experidance Company. This popular company performs Hungarian popular dances in modern conception.
MU Theatre, MU Színház, 1117 Kőrösy J. utca 17, tram 4 stop Fehérvári út, tickets HUF 1500, for student card holders HUF 1000. MU, one of the well-known Budapest dance theatres hosts contemporary dance performances.
Central European Dance Theater, Közép-Európa Táncszínház, 1071 Bethlen Gábor tér 3, metro 2 station Keleti Pályaudvar, tickets HUF 1200, for senior citizen HUF 700, for student card holders HUF 800. CEDT's company performs renowned contemporary dance theatre.
Theatre Szkéné, Szkéné Színház, 1111 Műegyetem rakpart 3., Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME)'s theatre hall, bus 7, bus 73, stop Szent Gellért tér – during the construction of metro 4 station in Szent Gellért tér use temporary stairs next to the river for reaching the building, . Szkéné hosts, among others, Béla Pintér and Company (Pintér Béla és Társulata, tickets HUF 1500), many alternative theater goers' favourite. Their 2006 autumn premier, ”Korcsula” (Korčula – the name refers to a Croatian island), a Central European black commedy, is subtitled in English. Book your ticket by email.
Budai Vigado (Hungarian Heritage House) The HHH is the historical building also known as the "Vigadó" (Entertainment Hall) of Buda. The building is located in Fő utca (High Street), between Batthyány tér (Batthyány Square) and Clark Ádám tér (Adam Clark Circus). The building was designed in Eclectic style by Aladár Árkay and Mór Kallina. It was constructed between 1898-1900. The relative simplicity of the façade is contrasted by the rich Art Nouveau ornamentation in the interior. The building was designed to serve the multiple cultural needs of the contemporary middle-class citizens of Buda. It was a cultural complex comprised of a theater, a library, a café and a restaurant.The most impressive parts of the interior are the hall with its columns and wide marble staircase, the ornamented lounge, and the adjacent auditorium. Features performances by the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble.
Budapest offers a multitude of fairs and festivals. A few of them are:
Budapest Spring Festival A dazzling variety of cultural events mainly revolving around classical music and performing arts - including folklore.
Jewish Summer Festival Another array of cultural and music events, with a Jewish touch.
Sziget Festival on Óbudai Sziget (Óbuda Island)  An institution attracting rock fans, world music hippies and the usual festival crowd every year in august. It has become one of the best-known festivals in Europe, offering a multitude of cultural, culinary and musical events. Day tickets cost €45 and festival passes, including camping privileges cost €200 if purchased before a certain date (in april or may) and €230 thereafter. Festival passes without camping privileges cost €30 less. Sleeping in a tent under the open sky instead of a hotel room gives the complete festival feeling. (Safe boxes are available for valuable personal belongings).
Budapest Christmas Market The main Christmas market is located on the Pest side, in Vörösmarty Square and near the Chain Bridge, Vaci Utca (one of the main pedestrian streets in Center) and the metro stop Vörösmarty tér. The market stalls are filled with beautiful ceramics, jewelry, cards, wood crafts, fuzzy warm hats & slippers, candy, sweets, leather goods, ornaments, etc. In the center of the main market are a variety of food and wine vendors. Open early December - end of December (specific dates change, check with the tourist board)
In spite of increasing funding difficulties, quality cinema has remained alive in Budapest. For contemporary non-mainstream European and Hungarian titles turn to Budapest’s excellent art house movie chain, Art mozi, most of their branches are provided with a café or pub and offer pleasant atmosphere to spend your evening. A few selected cinemas of this chain:
Uránia National Movie Theatre,(Uránia Nemzeti Filmszínház, Rákóczi út 21, metro 2 station Blaha Lujza tér, tickets HUF 890-990). Combines mainstream European artistic movies with new Hungarian films, the latter ones sporadically subtitled in English.
Cinema Puskin(Puskin Mozi, Kossuth Lajos utca 18, metro 2 station Astoria, metro 3 station Ferenciek tere, tickets HUF 800-1050). “Pushkin” is the most mainstream among the art house movie theatres in Budapest, an elegant, decorated multiplex offering quality, but generally easy-to-watch Hungarian and foreign films. Its café is recommended.
Cinema Művész (Művész Mozi, 1063 Teréz körút 30, metro 1, tram 4, tram 6 station/stop Oktogon, tickets HUF 920-1050) is probably the most popular “Art Mozi” theatre in Budapest. Many Hungarian movies are on show with English subtitles; ask for them at the desk.
Movie Museum Örökmozgó (Örökmozgó Filmmúzeum, 1073 Erzsébet krt. 39, tram 4, tram 6, stop Király utca). “Perpetual motion” (that’s what the name means) is your best choice if you’re in mood to see a movie from the times when Leonardo DiCaprio was a child. Most of the oldies speak their original language and are subtitled in Hungarian.
Mainstream cinemas mainly show subtitled (or dubbed) Hollywood films and Hungarian romantic movies. After the shopping center revolution in the late 90s, more than two thirds of the city’s cinema screens are run by international chains and franchises. Two examples are:
Corvin (Corvin köz 1., metro 3 station Ferenc körút, tram 4, tram 6 stop Üllői út). One of the oldest, although completely modernised cinema in the city--gives multiplex feeling for those tired of malls. On Corvin's wall memorial tablets and reliefs are reminescent of the 1956 revolution’s heavy fightings around the building; the memorial itself is worth a visit. Tickets HUF 1150, before 16.00 HUF 950, on Wednesday HUF 750.
Most centrally located mall cinemas are Palace Westend (mainstream)  in Pest (in Westend City Center, Váci út 1-3, metro 3, tram 4, tram 6 station/stop Nyugati pályaudvar) and Palace Mammut in Buda (in Mammut Center, Lövőház utca 2-6, , metro 2 station Széll Kálmán tér, tram 4, tram 6 stop Széna tér); Palace MOM PARK in Buda, which is the "ORIGINAL LANGUAGE MOVIE" in Budapest, so you can watch all the foreign movies here with subtitles too. Check Palace’s web site  for programme and booking. Tickets cost HUF 1250, for student card holders HUF 990, on cheap days HUF 800.
Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, where tourists and locals go to swim, relax, and soak in hot or cold mineral waters. Thermal baths differ from normal baths or swimming pools because their hot water is drawn up from deep under the earth's surface where temperatures are higher. The thermal hot water saves on heating bills and also has different mineral contents compared to normal tap water. Soaking in certain types of mineral water is considered to have health benefits for some types of health problems, so it's not uncommon for Hungarians or visitors to come to the baths for therapeutic reasons, sometimes even prescribed by a doctor. Thermal bathing is more popular in Hungary than in other destinations for several reasons. First, because of Budapest's geography, thermal waters run closer to the surface here than in other places. Secondly, thermal bathing was (and is) popular among many Turkish cultures, and Hungary was occupied by the Turkish people of the Ottoman Empire for many years. In Budapest, some thermal baths are large, historic complexes visited as a cultural as well as a bathing experience. Other thermal baths are operated more as spa hotels, with thermal water but in a modern, spa-like atmosphere.
At most baths, especially those frequented by tourists, people wear typical swimming attire and all public access is mixed-gender. (Certain days, hours, or sections at some baths may designated women-only or men-only, and often during these times, people bathe nude or nearly-nude.) All baths have changing areas and showers designated women-only or men-only. Transgender/non-binary gender identities are not widely recognized in Hungary, so the closest option to gender-neutral changing is to rent a private cabin within either the women's or men's section.
Swimsuit (unless otherwise stated) and admission money are essential. A towel should be brought or rented onsite. Shower shoes or sandals are recommended as floors are not modern and not especially clean. Some may wish to bring swimming goggles, a water bottle, a bathrobe (in the winter), or a bathing cap. For some facilities or certain sections, a bathing cap might be mandatory. For those who plan to swim or lounge outdoors, small beach items like sunglasses, sunscreen, reading material, etc, may be a good idea. Hair dryers are generally available on-site. Bathers may wish to bring showering items (e.g. shampoo) and a change of clothes. Most facilities use a wristband electronic locking system for lockers and cabins, so bringing a padlock is not required. It's possible for a busy venue may run out of locks. As much as possible, valuables should be left at home, and safety boxes may be available depending.
Access to the baths is often available with many different types of tickets. Expect to pay something in the realm of 4000-5000 HUF for the major tourist baths. A general ticket usually includes all-day access to the main areas of the baths and a small private locker for storage of clothes and personal effects. Discounted tickets are usually available for young people, students, and seniors. Cheaper tickets are sometimes available for shorter bathing periods (e.g. 2 hour or 4 hour vs. all day), weekdays (vs. weekends), or off-peak hours (e.g. early morning, late afternoon, evening). Advance booking is generally not required, as prices are the same and it's typical for there to be no line up or a short one (e.g. 10-20 minutes' wait).
Spa services, rentals, upgrades, and amenties
Some baths offer additional services such as specialized water massages, typical spa massages (e.g. relaxation or Swedish massage), manicures/pedicures, etc. Prices vary.
Most baths offer rentals or purchases of various items like towels, robes, swim caps, swimsuits, etc.
Most spas offer or require the rental of a private cabin rather than a locker. A private cabin is a small booth where bathers can change clothes, and then lock and leave their valuables and personal effects. A private cabin can generally be shared by several people using the same locker area (i.e. women-only/men-only).
Depending on the size of the bath, most facilities offer small cafes for sandwiches, drinks, and snacks. Water fountains and washrooms are also available.
Gellért Baths, Buda, Kelenhegyi utca 4 (Gellért Hotel at the base of Gellért Hill), ☎ (36-1) 466-6166, . Generally 6AM-8PM. .One of the oldest, most famous, and most beautiful baths in Budapest.. edit
Prices: Adult bath tickets starting from 4900HUF. Massages starting from about 3000 HUF.
Changing: Individual lockers, single-person cabins, and family cabins are available.
Facilities: Indoor area includes a normal swimming pool, soaking pools (36°C and 38°C), dry sauna, steam room, and a cold tub. Outdoors there is a swimming pool and a warm (not hot) soaking tub. Outdoor facilities are closed in the winter.
Tips': Swim cap mandatory and available for purchase. Typical bathing attire in the common areas. Bathing attire or nude/semi-nude typical in gender-separated areas. If renting a towel, be sure to carefully observe instructions (i.e. keep receipt) to get your deposit back.
Inside Szechenyi bath
Széchenyi Spa, Pest, Állatkerti krt. 11 (metro: Széchenyi fürdő), . Indoor part daily from 6AM to 7PM; outdoor daily 6AM-10PM in winter. One of the largest, oldest, and most popular baths for tourists in Budapest. Beautiful architecture.. edit
Prices: Entrance fees starting from 4200 HUF. Massages from 3500 HUF.
Facilities: Two hot soaking pools (30 degrees C and 38 degrees C) and one swimming pool (26-28 degrees C) are open outdoors year round. Indoors, there are a variety of hot and cold pools, and a dry sauna.
Tips: Famous photos of Széchenyi show bathers playing chess in the water. Bring your own set if you want to play, as rentals are not available.
Rudas Spa, Döbrentei tér 9. (Buda side of the Elizabeth Bridge), ☎ +36-1-3561322, . 6AM to 8PM depending on the day. A beautiful Turkish style bath built in the 1500s.. edit
Prices: Adult tickets starting at 1500 HUF. Massages from 3000 HUF.
Facilities: Main bathing facilities are all in one central room. The main pool is 36 degrees celcius, and it is surrounded by smaller pools at 16, 28, 30, 33, 36, and 40 degrees. Steam room and dry sauna. Relaxation room for resting.
Tips: Weekdays are exclusively gender-segregated, while weekends are mixed gender, so plan your visit accordingly. On weekdays, bathing attire is permitted but nude or semi-nude is the norm.
Király Baths, Buda, Fő utca 84 (metro: Batthyány tér), . 9AM-9PM daily. Turkish style bath originally built in the 1500s.. edit
Prices: Entrance fees starting from 2300 HUF. Massages from 3100 HUF.
Facilities: Four thermal baths at 26, 32, 36, and 40 degrees celcius.
Danubius Grand Hotel/Thermal Hotel Margitsziget, (northern end of the Margaret Island (Margitsziget)), ☎ +36(1)889-4700 (email@example.com, fax: +36(1)889-4939), . until 9:30PM. . High-level and modern baths and spa also offers a great choice of medical treatment. Admission fee (5,700 HUF weekdays, 7,000 HUF weekends) doesn't limit your time inside, and gives access to all spa facilities including a great gym (remember to bring your fitness suit). Solarium and medical treatments should be paid separately, remember before entering the changing rooms (1,300 HUF for 10 minutes).edit
What's inside?: Two body-temperature soaking pools and a cold-water corridor with stones on the floor; one swimming pool; separate steam baths; common sauna. There's a drinking fountain with mineral water extremely rich in minerals--find on a way from baths to the gym.
Changing: Towels are handed at reception--without fee or deposit. Also, there seems to be bathrobes available for rent--ask at the reception. For changing clothes, only lockers are available, without attendant--you have a key. There's no cabins (as families typically live in the same hotel). Every shower cabin have a curtain, and there's some liquid soap available.
Visitors mix: Almost no locals; in New Year season (and 1-9 of May?) about 80% are Russians who are also residents of the hotel.
Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal Spa, Erzsébet körút 43-49, ☎ +36(1)479-4000 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +36(1)479-4333), . A symbol of history, culture, architecture and the tradition of hospitality opens its doors in all its original splendour. The Royal Spa has been beautifully restored to its original splendour and now offers the latest state-of-the-art spa facilities and treatments. The Royal Spa is one of the most expensive in Budapest costing 10,000 HUF for a day pass. It is a spectacle of opulence and luxury in the amazing art deco setting. Included in the price is bath robe, towels, lockers, hydromassage, fruit juices and water. Although expensive it is a truly unforgettable experience .edit
The Palatinus Outdoor Baths, on the Margaret Island (Margitsziget), have three pools filled with therapeutic water--and a total of 11 pools (totaling 17.5 acres). In front of the baths is a beautiful rose garden, and nearby, an open-air stage where opera and ballet performances are held, plus an open-air cinema used during the summer.
Dagály is a large complex of baths and pools located just north of Árpad Híd Metro station on the Pest side and directly on the Danube. There is an outdoor 50m lap pool open year round and a covered-in-winter 25m lap pool. There are 2 large outdoor hot baths. One heated to 33C and the other to 36C. In summer, several huge pools are also available and plenty of open grass and trees for sunbathing or shade. The architecture is classic modern. Admission is ~1,300 HUF. One changes clothes in a small cubicle before passing through to the large unisex locker room where attendants lock your clothes in a locker. Tip HUF 100 on your way out. Be sure to bring some bath sandals to wear to the pool edge. The floors are not always clean. One sees lots of families here, elderly people and fitness swimmers. Staff do not speak English, but is helpful and patient.
Veli Bej Frankel leo u 54, Budapest, 2,800 HUF for 3 hours. 6 am to noon and 3 pm to 9 pm, daily (closed from 12-3pm). One of the oldest thermal baths in Budapest, the newly renovated Veli Bej baths (reopened in 2012) is located along the river, a 10-minute walk from the Margaret bridge along the Buda side. It might be easy to miss, but keep walking from bridge til you reach a hospital--entrance to the baths is on the left side of the hospital building. Extremely clean and very modern, and the personnel are happy to help in English. Not very crowded either, so it's perfect for those who want a bit of peace and quiet. There are 5 heated pools: a large octogonal pool at the centre and four smaller ones with varying temperatures. There is also a jacuzzi, a Kneipp walk pool, sauna and steam room. Massages are available for a small fee.
Tourists can reach two main caves in the Buda Hills. Both are well-lit and accessible to people of most size and fitness levels. Admission is available only with a tour guide. Some or most visits may be available only in Hungarian unless booked for a private group. Tickets can be purchased for one or both caves. There are options for people with wheelchairs or limited mobility, and for somewhat athletic cavers who would like to try something more adventurous.
Szemlőhegyi cave, 1025 Pusztaszeri út 35 (Take the No. 29 bus from Kolosy tér, and get off at the Szemlőhegyi barlang stop.), ☎ +36 1 325 6001. Wed-Mon 10:00 AM to 4.00 PM. edit
Pál-völgyi–Mátyás-hegyi cave system, (Take the No. 65 bus from Kolosy square. You have to step off at the fifth bus stop, named Pál-völgyi cave.), ☎ +36-20-9284969 (email@example.com), . edit
Sightseeing ships on the Danube that serve meals are quite popular with tourists. It's a way to enjoy a view of the city from the Danube while enjoying a meal of authentic Hungarian cuisine.
Hungaria Koncert Ltd. offers several Danube cruises, among others the 19 o'clock Dinner and Cruise with live music, where dinner guests are entertained by 3 members of the award winning Rajko Folk Orchestra.
This cruise is available everyday. The meeting point is at the Danube Palace (1051 Zrinyi Street 5.) at 18:30. Tickets may be booked ahead on the website, by phone (+36 1 317 1377; +36 1 317 2754) or may be purchases at the cash desk at the Daunbe Palace
Flow Therapy  - This exciting exit game offers a memorable treasure hunt for 2 to 5 people. No age-restriction. The exit game or room escape game is a new craze in Budapest, inspired by the popular point and click type computer games. But there everything is very real. Multiple players arrive together at the venue, where by resolving logical and skill-requiring tasks and by finishing off head-splitting tasks they try to accomplish their mission jointly. You will have to play roles, which come round very rarely to a very few during everyday life. In order to achieve your goal, besides your creativity also your cleverness is required.
There are a number of universities and other tertiary institutions in Budapests. Many of them offer degrees or courses in English, German, or French. Particularly popular, even though not cheap, are the medical university courses offered in German and English.
Central European University A small but excellent American private university mainly funded by the Soros foundation (associated with Soros György - George Soros, "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England"), offers an extensive graduate program in a wide variety of courses in political, economic and environmental fields.
Eötvös Loránd University. The flagship university in Hungary, founded in 1635, offering bachelor, master and PhD level degrees in certain fields in English.
Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. World-renowned music academy in the heart of the city.
Corvinus University of Budapest, formerly the University of Economical Sciences, colloquially known as 'Közgáz': Offers Bachelor and Master courses in many languages.
Budapest University of Technology and Economics, B.Sc. and M.Sc. level engineering courses available for foreigners in English, French and German language at the International Education Center of the university.
Semmelweis University the flagship institution in medical education and research, offering courses in English and German. International students make up 24 percent of the total student population.
International Business School (Nemzetközi Üzleti Főiskola, IBS-NÜF)  An institute of higher education offering numerous undergrad and some postgraduate programs, mostly providing Oxford Brookes University and Hungarian Degrees in English and/or Hungarian languages.
Debrecen Language School offers Hungarian language classes year round at all levels in Budapest, Debrecen and Sopron.
Teaching English is a popular profession for travellers and people moving to Budapest.
Generally speaking, finding a full-time job is fairly difficult unless you speak Hungarian. You should also be prepared that Western standards at job interviews regarding personal life and diversity issues do not always apply. Do not be surprised if you are asked about your smoking habits. Also, companies are not always prepared to fully understand and accept people from diverse backgrounds. You should be prepared that most places wont hire you until you speak at least a little Hungarian. Restaurants with a specific countries cuisine (such as Italian restaurants and pizzerias) tend to hire people from that country for making the food more authentic.
Hungary's national currency is the Hungarian Forint, or HUF. Coins are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 denominations, and banknotes in 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, and 20000 denominations. Depending on market values, 1 euro exchanges for approximately 300 HUF. Typical vendors accept only local currency, although euros may be accepted at major attractions or very touristy places. (Sometimes the exchange rate is fair and sometimes quite bad.) HUF can be obtained by exchanging money at a vendor, exchanging money at a bank, or withdrawing money from a local bank machine. Bank machines generally give 20000 HUF notes but will also give smaller bills if withdrawing irregular sums of money (e.g. 39000 HUF vs. 40000). Currency exchange businesses range from simple, cost-efficient services that charge a small fee to highly inflated tourist rip-offs to outright theft or scamming.
Váci utca is the main area for tourists, and features the normal array of overpriced cafes, souvenir shops, and popular fashion brands. Beyond normal tourist souvenirs, popular Hungarian-specific items are linens, lace, blouses, and other imitation folk items. Paprika peppers and spices, honey, and Hungarian liquor are popular food items. The Great Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok) at Fővám tér is an atmospheric historic markethall selling mainly tourist souvenirs.
Popular global chain stores like H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Intimissi, etc, can be found along Vaci Utca, in major tourist squares, and in the major shopping malls like WestEnd. Prices are comparable to Western Europe even though many other items in Hungary are cheaper.
Second-hand clothing shopping is typical for many Hungarians in the working and middle classes, since wages are substantially lower than in Western Europe but brand name shopping mall clothing is the same price. Second hand shops can be found throughout the city, often advertising themselves as selling "Angol" (English) wares or displaying a British flag. These shops purchase bulk used clothing in Western Europe and sell it in Hungary, since used clothes from other places are thought to be more lightly used or more fashionable styles than local ones.
Budapest has many small shops selling locally designed and locally made clothing, jewelry, and household items. It takes time to find your favourite gems, but try wandering near Astoria. Prices are generally consistent with Western Europe.
Paloma Budapest, Kossuth Lajos utca 14-16 (near Astoria), . A mixed-use space of designers, pop-up shops, and concept art. Unique pieces at affordable prices, often staffed by the artists themselves. The space itself is the beautiful (and slightly sad) courtyard of a semi-restored historic residential building from the late 1800s.. edit
FONÓ Music House XI. district, Sztregova u. 3. Tel.: 206-5300, 203-1752. Fax: 463-0479 (Take tram no. 18, 41 or 47 southward from Móricz Zsigmond körtér and get off at Kalotaszeg utca stop. Walk backwards 2 minutes and take the first street on the right.) Fonó provides a high quality selection of Hungarian folk, etno and world music.
Individual listings can be found in Budapest's district articles See Buda and Pest
Hungarian food deserves to be (and often is) mentioned among the country's main sites. As in other cultures, the Hungarian approach to food combines pride in their own traditions with a readiness to accept outside influences. The result is a vibrant restaurant scene where an Asian-Hungarian fusion restaurant may well be of genuine interest. Luckily, prices are significantly below western Europe's with around 4 EUR for a budget lunch, and around 8-14 EUR for a nice evening meal in a mid-range restaurant, depending on place and appetite. Above 20 EUR per person is definitely considered expensive, but there are enough lavish places above this price range for those looking for something special.
Local specialities often revolve around meat (pork, beef, veal, or poultry), often involve liberal use of paprika, however not necessary of the hot kind. Note that - due to a historical translation error - "goulash soup" is indeed a soup, not the "goulash" that visitors may be familiar with from home which is known as "pörkölt".
Major specialities include (google image search can aid your imagination):
gulyás(leves) usually translated as 'goulash soup' - a filling meat soup (usually beef) with potatoes and paprika, among other ingredients. Served as main dish or as a (heavy) starter. The name refers to the Hungarian version of a cowboy taking care of a 'gulya' (cattleherd).
paprikás veal or chicken cooked in delicious creamy paprika sauce (not spicy)
pörkölt a stew with of sautéed onions and - paprika. Similar to what is served as 'goulash' abroad.
halászlé - fishermen's soup served differently depending on region
töltött káposzta - stuffed cabbage, the cooked cabbage leafs are filled with meat and in a paprika sauce, served with sour cream (similar to crème fraîche or crème acidulée)
Balaton pike-perch (fogas)
gyümölcsleves - fruit soup - cold, creamy and sweet, consumed as a starter.
From the desserts, you may not want to miss
Somlói galuska, a poem on biscuit dough, cream and chocolate sauce, invented by Károly Gollerits at Gundel
Gundel palacsinta - Gundel pancake (crepe) - with a filling prepared with rum, raisin, walnuts, and lemon zest, served with a chocolate sauce, and the careful reader may guess its birthplace.
Kürtőskalács, (chimney cake) a delicious sweet dough pastry which is cooked on a chimney shaped spit and coated in butter and sugar to form a crispy crust. After the cakes are cooked they can be rolled in a variety of toppings such as cinnamon sugar or chocolate.
There is also a great variety of wonderful pastries/cakes (Torta), some of which you will recognize if you are familiar with Viennese pastries. You may want to try Dobos torta (Dobos cake, named after József Dobos), and Rigó Jancsi a light chocolate-cream cake.
Coffeehouses (kávéház) are a traditional Budapest institution, somewhat resembling Viennese lifestyle. A visit to one should be on every traveller's agenda, these are places which are great for spending some time enjoying a cup of coffee and a delicious cake. Some of them (especially in the higher price range) offer meals as well.
Hungarian cuisine and restaurant experiences are happily remembered by visitors, even if the Hungarian diet may seem rather meat-based to many western visitors. The city has large variety of great places to eat at prices quite reasonable for western-Europeans. Like in some other cities, a number of restaurants see tourists as scapegoats. It is a good idea to avoid restaurants in the heart of the most touristic areas like Váci utca, especially if all customers seem foreigners - here you'll more likely than not be served mediocre food with a high bill padded with number of bizarre charges. In some restaurants anything you don't explicitly ask for, but appears on your table, is likely to be charged for. Don't take restaurant tips from suspicious individuals on the streets, ask your local friends instead, and check online reviews first.
A wide variety of decent food for not reasonable prices can be found at the lively Raday utca, venue of a number of cultural events, near Kálvin tér. But simply strolling the more central areas - e.g. near the Great Ringroad (Nagykörút), or the Pozsonyi út - will be enough to bump into nice places to test local cooking skill (though not necessarily with a menu available in English).
Top-notch quality food (1st category restaurants) charge a wide range of prices (from starters around 1000 HUF, main courses around 3,000-10,000 HUF, and menus from 5,000 HUF). Perhaps the most reputed among top restaurants is the Gundel near Városliget - check the prices before you decide to go, but it offers a good value Sunday brunch for some 5000 HUF.
Walking along the Danube on the Pest side, you see a lot of restaurant and bar boats. Most of them serve traditional Hungarian and international dishes, some of them are function more as bars. Thanks to the beautiful panorama across the Danube and the castle, these places provide an unforgettable experience.
Needless to say, if you want to take home some Hungarian paprika, Pick szalámi, or Tokalyi wine, grocery shops are naturally cheaper than specialised souvenir kiosks.
In the central areas, you will find smaller grocery shops such as the Hungarian chains GRoby, CBA, (sometimes Rotschild's) as well as the usual European suspects Spar, Kaiser's, Plus, and Tesco Express.
Further from the centre, you can find foreign-owned hypermarkets like Auchan, Tesco and Cora with the usual range of goods.
Individual listings can be found in Budapest's district articles See Buda and Pest
Budapest offers plenty of places to drink, from cool and ultra-hip to rowdy and down-market. If you are in the mood for a particularly Hungarian experience, visit a so-called borozó (wine pub). These offer cheap yet tasty Hungarian wine on tap at outright hilariously low prices if you manage to find one outside the tourist circuit.
Hungary is famous for its wines produced at Balaton area and Eger. Among red wines the best are Kékfrankos, Egri Bikavér „Bulls Blood” and white wines the Szürkebarát and Chardonnay are popular.
You should try not to miss out on the Hungarian spirit, palinka, made from fruits such as, plum, apricot, cherry or williams pears.
Unique Hungarian soft drinks to try are Traubi Szoda (a white grape soda) and Márka (a sour cherry soda).
Individual listings can be found in Budapest's district articles See Buda and Pest
The most expensive digs are on or near Castle Hill,dozens of reliable backpacker hostels are mostly across the river in Pest. However, Buda has better air quality due to the closeness of the hills and the forests lying to the west from the city.
Mobile phones from other countries will generally work in Hungary, but roaming fees can be high. Check with your phone provider for more information.
WiFi is widely available. Many restaurants and shops offer free wifi to their patrons, and wifi is sometimes available in public squares or parks.
Hostels and hotels generally have free wifi, or they may charge a fee.
Temporary mobile phone or data services can be purchased from major Hungarian carriers like Vodafone. You will need to first buy a sim card (something like 1000-3000 HUF) and then choose a pre-paid top-up style plan. For example, a typical plan might require you to pay a 2000 HUF top-up, and with this top-up you will receive 500 MB or 1 GB of data for the next 30 days. Calling and texting might cost a per-use rate (e.g. 50 HUF/minute or 30 HUF/message) and this will be deducted from your original top-up balance.
Hungary has typical summer temperatures around 35-40 degrees celcius, so plan your clothing and hydration accordingly.
Tap water throughout Budapest is safe to drink, so carry a bottle you can refill. Public fountains are often available throughout the city. Some look like regular drinking fountains. Others are decorative fountains (e.g. statue of a lion with water coming from it's mouth) but are also safe to drink from. It can be hard to tell which fountains are for drinking, but it's likely okay if there's either a steady stream of flowing water (versus water bubbling up from a spout), a button that makes the water flow, and/or if you can walk right up to the stream of water (versus if there's a guard rail or fence). If in doubt, ask someone.
Routine medical care, emergency medical care, and dental care in Hungary vary widely in terms of quality. Budapest is a popular destination for medical tourism, where uninsured foreigners come to get a root canal from a well trained dentist for lower prices than in their home country. Clinics that cater to tourists, expats, and wealthy Hungarians generally offer similar standards of care to other Western European countries. For planned procedures, visitors should conduct some basic research in advance (e.g. professional-looking website, client reviews, knowledgable telephone staff). For emergencies, visitors should seek appropriate medical attention and would also be well advised to enlist the help of a Hungarian speaking friend or even hostel/hotel staff. Where possible, insured travellers should also consult their insurer for local contacts or recommended facilities. Foreigners may be treated differently than locals (maybe better, maybe worse) and it is common place for doctors to discretely collect extra fees from those who expect proper care.
Budapest is generally very safe for tourists. The main concerns for visitors are pickpocketing/minor theft and scams/rip-offs. Violent crime is low and unlikely to affect tourists. Most areas of interest to tourists are safe for wandering about day or night. Take normal precautions when walking alone or in isolated places. Some areas outside the centre might be more risky for walking alone or at night. Ask a local or your hostel/hotel staff if planning an unusual route and you're concerned.
Visitors should be aware of their belongings, especially in busy areas frequented by tourists (e.g. Vaci Utca, monuments and attractions, public transportation, queues and crowds). Basic precautions should prevent most problems. Keep money and valuables somewhere you can see and feel them (e.g. in a small shoulder bag you can keep your hand on in crowded areas, rather than in a backpocket or in a backpack). When possible, avoid carrying your passport or excess cash. Avoid people who are giving you unwanted attention.
Tourist scams range in seriousness from overpricing normal goods to outright theft and blackmail.
In general, large restaurants and cafes in heavily touristed areas offer mediocre food for high prices. Usually heading a little bit off the main street and choosing somewhere where locals seem to be eating will allow you to find something that is a better quality and value. For example, on Vaci Utca a .5L beer might cost around 1000 HUF when elsewhere it would cost 300. Restaurants are required to post their menu outside, so have a quick look at the prices before you sit down.
Always use regulated taxis with proper signs and license numbers. When possible, use a phone to call a cab or go to a taxi stand rather than hailing one off the street. When possible, ask a local what an approximate fare to your destination might cost. In the taxi, either make sure that the meter is running, or agree on a fixed price before departure.
Főtaxi is the official airport taxi partner airport and they have a stand outside the terminal building. Taxis from other companies can pick-up passengers who call them directly.
Sex work is illegal in Hungary, but sex workers may be discretely offering their services in areas frequented by tourists (e.g. Vaci street). Some may be involved in scams, theft or blackmail (e.g. forcing you to pay a large bar tab).
Balaton - Lake Balaton is a 200km lake about an hour west of Budapest. Hungarians love their "inland sea", and it is a popular summer destinations for Hungarians and (mostly European) foreigners to go swimming, camping, cycling, or partying. Towns around the lake are all well served by direct trains from Budapest. There is a youth hostel in Revfulop.
Esztergom - Site of the biggest basilica (church) in Central Europe.
Gödöllő (30km east) - A town full of parks, and home to Grassalkovich Kastély (Grassalkovich Palace), formerly a Royal Palace. This palace was the occasional residence of Sisi, Habsbourg Empress Elizabeth. The great royal park became specail with its old trees which could see Sisi in the 18. century. (Reach from Budapest by MÁV suburban rail – Keleti pályaudvar; or HÉV ("local/suburban trains" supported by BKV ) from Örs vezér tere to Gödöllő (to Csömör is wrong direction)
Szentendre (19km north) - Home of the Hungarian Open-Air Museum, a huge site with many ancient buildings brought from all parts of the country, including barns, outbuildings, and even churches. HÉV ("local/suburban trains" supported by BKV ) runs from Batthyány tér to Szentendre
Vác - (32km north) Baroque style main square, Cathedral, Triumphal Arch, mummies of the Dominican church (Memento Mori). Reach from Budapest by MÁV suburban rail – Nyugati pályaudvar;
Visegrád - Famous for its former royal palace partially rebuilt in Renaissance style, medieval residential tower, and impressive citadel. Suburban bus service by Volánbusz 
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!