Situated on the banks of the Danube, Budapest unites the western Buda Hills and the eastern Great Plain. An unexpected and under-appreciated jewel of a city and the capital of Hungary, the community provides the travelling visitor a unique and youthful atmosphere to enjoy. A pulsating night life plays host to many younger travellers looking to fully explore what less-tourist-y European cities have to offer, including the scenic setting, stunning architecture and the distinctive natural thermal baths which make Budapest regularly top European destination favourite lists, especially with cheap and easy public trams to get around on, or the ability to rent a bike from just about anywhere to see the sights.
Where should I stay?
If you're on a budget, accommodation in European cities can often be hard to find without paying higher rates and not really finding value for money amongst the questionable bed sheets and strange smell in the bathroom. Budapest offers some of the leading types of hostel, allowing weary travellers to rest their heads in luxury hostels.
Whilst hostels generally conjure up the worst pictures to do with communal sleeping and bathing facilities that you can think of, this new generation of accommodation offers travellers a host of luxury facilities developed from an influx of customers who wanted to experience being out in the wild, or exploring the nooks and crannies of a city but who also wanted their home comforts without having to share the facilities with dozens of other people. As a result you can get a no-frills room (no desk, TV or phone in your room - but who really uses them anyway?) but which is comfortable, clean and isn't decorated with dodgy wallpaper, all for an affordable £17 a night.
You can't beat some freshly baked bread or cake for breakfast, so visit the notably affordable Rakoczi Bakery, which also offers local delicacies and sandwiches should you have a long day ahead. For lunch, Budapest regulars recommend Frici papa Kifozdeje, a traditional Hungarian hash house offering traditional dishes at affordable prices so that tourists like yourself can try a taste of real Budapest. Ruben is the best and cheapest source for a traditionally-cooked three course meal in Budapest and comes with many a recommendation, so if you're stuck for dinner you know you'll be easily satisfied with a simple three courses here.
What should I see in Budapest?
If you can't afford to visit big tourist spots like the Royal Palace or the Baths themselves, you can always cycle or walk down the Danube promenade, which offers a unique perspective of the city, or downtown Budapest where many of the cultural and historical sights are can also be accessed by bike or foot. If you're planning on seeing most of the city by bicycle or using your own feet, travel insurance is key in protecting yourself against street thieves, accidents, injury and other important things such a lost, stolen or damaged possessions, travel documents and cancellation.
Also known as the city of second-hand goods, Budapest is known throughout Europe for its flea markets, offering items varying from Chinese antiques to recently-crafted homewares, fruit and meats. This isn't totally free, depending on whether you buy anything, but it's a great way to sample some local cuisine and get involved in the regional culture. The Museum of the Arts is free and can offer travellers a vibrant cultural injection to the trip, or alternatively, the Varosliget is a lively green park - perfect for people-watching.
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