Must-reads for your trip
PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO HUNGARY?
Here are some practicalities to help you to arrange your trip.
Best time to go to HUNGARY
Located right in the middle of Europe, Hungary has rather cold winters, often with some snow; and hot hot hot summers.
As with most of Europe, winter in Hungary (except for the Christmas period) would be less touristy, and summer more.
Although I sometimes enjoy hot summer days, Budapest in summer is too extreme for me. The stones heat up and the temperature rises sometimes to 40 C. For me, the best time to visit Hungary is spring or autumn, when it is generally still or already warmer then in the northern Europe where I live.
And I also love Hungary in winter with Christmas markets and ice-rinks. And the best: sitting in an open air thermal pool in the evening with hot damp rinsing up in the sky and the snowflakes falling on my head. I don't know a more relaxing feeling than that.
what to eat in HUNGARY
I love eating in Hungary. My first (and probably last) many words in Hungarian were all food-related.
There are all kinds of restaurants in Budapest from all the cuisines in the world. Many of them are good and most of them are also rather cheap, so it's a great place to visit for foodies.
There is also a great coffee scene with locally roasted coffee beans and very professional baristas. The ones I particularly like are My Little Melbourne and Platz.
Speaking about Hungarian food, there are plenty of restaurants in the city centre offering to taste Hungarian goulash (not stew, but soup), lecso, potato pancakes called tocsni and of course to pair it with many great local wines.
But for less obvious (but even more delicious options, here is what I would recommend.
- Grab langos with cheese, garlic and sour cream at the exit of the Arany Janos metro stop. I had my share (far too big for my cholesterol) of langos and nothing beats this one.
- Taste rose-shaped ice-cream right next to Basilica and restaurant Platz.
- Get a bowl of gulas leves in Kiado bar at Liszt square.
Insider tip: Check out this guide to drinking froccs like a local in Budapest!
recommended food tours in HUNGARY
If food tripping is your thing, here are some ideas on how to eat and drink your way through Hungary.
where to stay in HUNGARY
Budapest offers a range of accommodation for all budgets, starting from funky cheap hostels and up to luxurious hotels in the city centre. So whichever budget you have, there is plenty to chose from.
If you’re travelling during summer or Christmas holidays, it is best to book your stay in advance. I would recommend looking for hotels at Booking.com. I also have a whole article on getting the best deals on Booking.com.
And if you prefer to stay like a local, Airbnb is something for you. If you haven't tried it yet, this might be a good time. You can get a 34 euro off your first booking (which is a lot in Hungary) by using this coupon code.
books to read on your trip to hungary
- The Paul Street Boys: Iconic Hungarian novel, which all the locals would recognize. Read it before or during your visit and make sure you visit Pal utca (Paul Street) to see the sculpture of the boys.
- Fatelessness: written by Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész is a semi-autobiographical story about a 14-year-old Jewish boy living in Budapest who was sent to Auschwitz during the Holocaust.
- Budapest by Rick Stevens: One of the most thorough guide to Budapest.
- Budapest by Local: Not your usual guide book, but something more: with tips on less than obvious places to visit and things to eat.
Currency: Hungarian Forint (HUF). There are many ATMs to take them out. If you decide to change your money from euro to forint, there are many kiosks with "Change" written on them. Check out a few to compare the rate. You can also pay by card in most shops, cafes and restaurants.
Getting around: Public transport consists of metro, trams, buses and trolleybuses.
For taxi download an app Uber or Bolt. It is cheap, reliable and in English.
Language: Hungarian. Many younger locals in Budapest will speak at least some English and older ones German.