Budapest is Calling…
With its breathtaking architecture, unique culture, vibrant gastronomy and magnificent historical sights located throughout the city, Budapest is a city which demands your attention. This city really is the perfect location for both a fun-packed city break or a relaxing long weekend.
There are endless options for exploring when curating your Budapest itinerary – from the world-famous thermal baths to the infamous drinking dens in ruined courtyards, known as ‘kerts’, it’s safe to say this city packs a punch!
To help you decide what to see, visit and do in this wonderful Eastern European city, Panoptic have pulled together our top recommendations for gastronomy, drink, nightlife, and historical sights. This is the Panoptic Events guide to Budapest! We hope it will provide you with some inspiration for your next trip on how best to incorporate some of the city’s top attractions alongside its hidden gems into your Budapest itinerary.
Budapest’s Food Scene
The culinary scene in Budapest is a perfect mix of traditional, hearty Hungarian dishes and top-class cuisine from across the globe. So whether you are looking to immerse yourself in Hungarian classics or to explore the global cuisines this city has to offer, you will be spoilt for choice on where to dine.
For visitors looking to experience the true taste of Hungarian gastronomy, Urban Adventures offers a guided tour. The tour takes guests to a classic Hungarian institution to try traditional studels and goulash, an authentic Jewish restaurant, an award-winning chocolate factory and Budapest’s famous Central Market Hall which is brimming with local produce and plates. While you’re there, make sure to try out one of Hungary’s famous ‘Langos’ – also known as Hungarian pizza’s. These deep-fried, doughy delicacies are traditionally topped with soured cream and cheese, but for those with a sweeter tooth – you can also enjoy a range of sweet toppings too.
For those looking to venture out and explore Budapest’s take on cuisines from across the globe – this city is not short of options. From vibrant and spicy Mexican restaurants like Arriba Taqueria, to Lebanese-inspired favourites like the Hummus Bar. Budapest is also not short of fantastic Asian eateries, dishing up flavoursome favourites like pad thai that certainly pack a punch. For something a little extra special, why not book a table at one of Budapest’s six Michelin star restaurants – Costes Restaurant. Located on Ráday Street this star-studded restaurant boasts not one, but two Michelin stars and serves up visually striking, inventive plates inspired by both Hungarian classics and Vieira, where you will be introduced to miniature versions of Hungary’s poppy-seed strudel, kürtőskalács, and Túró Rudi.
Comprised of two sides – Buda and Pest – which are split by the magnificent river, Budapest is brimming with unique culture and fascinating history. There are endless historical sights to see on your trip to this beautiful city. From Heroes’ Square to Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion and St. Stephen’s Basilica (a beautiful neo-renaissance edifice) to the majestic Parliament Building located in the ‘Buda’ side. For those travellers looking to immerse themselves in a historical expedition of Hungary’s capital city, you truly are spoilt for choice.
We highly recommended taking a stroll along the Pest side of the water. From this angle, you can take in the magnificent views of Buda, the beautiful Chain Bridges and the majestic Gothic parliament building which completes the city’s skyline. Why not explore the parliament building for yourself and experience a short tour of Hungarian law-making? It also wouldn’t be a historical expedition of Budapest without taking a trip to see the Great Synagogue – the second-largest synagogue in the world.
Looking to learn a little bit more about the country’s complex history? The Hungarian National Museum, founded in 1802, is a perfect spot to browse over one million art objects and read about the country’s fascinating background.
Finally, it simply wouldn’t be a trip to Budapest without a visit to the world-famous thermal baths. The most renowned are the Szechenyi baths, located in the Pest side of the city. Szechenyi is not only the largest bath in Budapest, but is one of the largest in Europe. With 15 pools to explore ranging from steaming hot to icy cold, make sure to add this one to your itinerary and enjoy a swim, sauna and even pay a visit to the beer baths on the top floor (yes, that’s right, beer baths!) We guarantee you will leave feeling relaxed after this unique experience.
Magnificent historical sights aren’t the only thing this city is brimming with. Budapest is also known for its vibrant, soulful nightlife. However, bars and nightclubs are slightly different here. Known as ‘kert’s’, the phenomenon of ruin bars in Budapest have become a top visitor attraction for travellers all over the world. Budapest has transformed its derelict ruins into bustling bars and clubs. Complete with buzzing atmospheres, funky music and decked out in, let’s just say, unique decor – including bicycles, bathtubs and other totally random items, the nightlife experience is nothing like you’ve experienced before. Here at Panoptic, we highly recommend a visit to Szimpla Kerts – one of Budapest’s most famous ruin bars and one that certainly guarantees a good time!
That being said, ruin bars aren’t the only place to find exciting nightlife. Remember the thermal baths we spoke about earlier? Come nighttime, the Szechenyi baths transform themselves into a colourful, one-of-a-kind nightclub, known as a ‘spa-rty’. Think belly dancers, acrobats, jugglers and techno music as you dance the night away right in the thermal pools themselves. This unique experience has become a rapid hit among travellers across the globe – and we are not surprised why! Make sure to book your spa-arty tickets in advance though, as these events sell out extremely fast.
One thing Budapest is certainly not short of is fantastic bars. Expect wallet-friendly drinks, plenty of locals and a vibrant atmosphere as you bar hop around the city. From elegant rooftops to unique speakeasy’s and unfussy, casual bars – there is a drinking spot in Budapest to suit everyone and every occasion. A particular Panoptic favourite is Leo’s – situated exactly where the Chain Bridge touches Buda ground, Leo Rooftop offers one of the most breathtaking views of the city and serves up a fantastic selection of innovative signature cocktails and champagne alongside delectable plates within its stylish, cosmopolitan atmosphere. The High Note Sky Bar also features a stunning roof-garden offering sweeping views of the city and a close-up view of St. Stephen’s Basilica. For a more relaxed, intimate drink, BÉLA is the perfect all-welcoming neighbourhood joint located in the trendy area of Bartók Béla Boulevard – with plenty of cosy nooks and crannies amongst its snug, terracotta-coloured walls and hanging greenery – it’s the ideal spot to grab a beer after a long day of exploring! Of course, we can’t forget grabbing a drink at one of the famous ruin bars we mentioned earlier too!
Ready to give Budapest a visit?
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