When I think of Budapest, I think of digital nomads working in coffee shops and coworking spaces. I also think of bachelor and bachelorette parties every weekend. And you cannot forget about the famous thermal spas! And most of all, I think of the beautiful architecture on both sides of the Danube River that make up Budapest.
As one of Europe’s best travel destinations, Budapest attracts millions of visitors each year. In Budapest, solo travel is very common. Many single travellers visit the Hungarian city and have the best time! Between all the historical and cultural buildings, museums and thermal spas, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed my solo trip to Budapest.
If you are wondering what to do alone in Budapest and if the city is a safe destination for solo female travellers, then keep reading. I compiled everything I know about Budapest in this post. So follow along!
Related Post – Solo Travel Guide to Vienna, Austria
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What you need to know before travelling solo to Budapest Hungary
Before you take your Budapest solo holiday, take a look at some of these useful travel tips for travelling in the Hungarian capital city:
- Hungarian Forint (HUF) is Hungary’s official currency.
- The standard voltage is 230V. Power sockets are of type C, and F. Check here and see if you need to bring a travel adapter.
- Use GoogleMaps app to navigate around Budapest.
- You can get by speaking English in Budapest. Most Hungarians speak English, especially in the tourism industry.
- Budapest is safe for solo female travellers. But with visiting any big cities, please practice your normal safety precautions. Violent crime is not prevalent, but pickpocketing and scams occur in touristy areas.
Hungary entry requirements
Hungary is part of the European Union (EU) and the Schengen area.
Non-EU travellers can only stay in the Schengen region for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days. And you will need a valid passport for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country and must be issued within the last 10 years.
Check if you need to apply for a Schengen visa from a Hungarian consulate or embassy and apply for a visa before you leave your home country.
How to get to Budapest Hungary
Budapest Airport (BUD) or Ferenc Liszt International Airport, is located 16km southeast of the city centre.
The easiest way to get to Budapest’s city centre is by taking Bus 100E, a direct public bus from Terminal 2 to Deák Ferenc tér in the city centre. There is a bus every 20 minutes (5:00 am to 1:20 am), which takes about 35 minutes. Costs 900HUF.
There are 3 rail stations in Budapest: Keleti Pályaudvar Station (east), Nyugati Pályaudvar Station (west) and Budapest-Déli Station (south).
Depending on where you are coming from, you could be arriving at one of these three stations.
How to get around Budapest Hungary
Budapest is very easy to navigate, and most places are walkable.
But you can also take public transit BKK (buses, trams, four metro lines, trolley-buses and suburban railway). They are all very easy to use.
Tram 2 takes a tour around the city and experiences the panoramic sightseeing tour on the yellow streetcar that follows the Pest embankment. Metro 1 is the world’s third oldest subway.
Tickets for public transport can be purchased at the airport, newspaper stands and from the ticket machines at 350HUF. Tickets purchased directly from the driver costs 450HUF.
Depending on how long you travel solo in Budapest, you can get a 24-hour, 72-hour, or weekly pass for all Budapest public transportation. Alternatively, you can get a BudapestCard which includes all public transportation, free entrance to 19 museums, and a free walking tour.
What to do in Budapest Hungary on your own
First, let’s talk about geography. The Danube River split Budapest into Buda (west of the river) and Pest (east of the river).
District I is on the hilly Buda where you will find Castle Hill.
The flat Pest is divided into many districts. Still, the ones you will want to know are District V Inner City, District VI & City Park (technically District XIV), District VII Jewish Quarter and District VIII Palace District.
There are many other districts, but chances are you will spend most of your time in these districts. Check the map for more details.
All the top things to do in Budapest are pinned on the interactive map. You can find more information about each attraction by clicking on the individual pin.
District I Budapest
Spend an afternoon strolling the hilly Buda where you find Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, and beautiful Matthias Church on Castle Hill. You can either hike up the hill or take the funicular to the top. For those who like museums, Budapest History Museum and Hungarian National Gallery are also on Castile Hill.
And while you are on the Buda side, walk up to the Citadella on top of Gellert Hill for the best spot for sunset. On the way down, the Hotel Gellért and Gellért Thermal Bath are just at the base of the hill.
District V Inner City
One of the best ways to experience Budapest is by walking along the Danube River. You can get a close-up and personal experience with the Hungarian Parliament Building, the iconic Neo-Gothic building in front of the Danube. Make sure to check out Shoes on the Danube Bank. They are little sculpted shoes next to the Danube.
And make sure you cross the river via Liberty Bridge and Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the first stone bridge symbolic of Budapest. When you are hungry or want some retail therapy, Vaci Utca is where you want to be. And if you keep walking north, you’ll find St. Stephen’s Basilica, a Roman-Gothic basilica.
Or experience the Danube River by cruising on a Danube River Cruise. The 1-hour tour cruises down the Danube during the evening and includes a welcome drink.
District VI + City Park
As one of Hungary’s World Heritage sites, Városliget (City Park) has a lot to see and do. You are immediately greeted by Hősök Tere (Hero’s Square), the city’s largest and most impressive square. And immediately around the vicinity of Hero’s Square, take in some culture at the Museum of Fine Arts and Kunsthalle (Hall of Art). Walking further in, you will find Vajdahunyad Castle, a romantic castle by the boating lake. And Széchenyi Thermal Bath is also in the park as well.
House of Terror is a bit south of the City Park. A monument to remember all those held captive, tortured and killed in this building. As horrific as it sounds, the horror ended with the victory of freedom and independence.
District VII Jewish Quarter
There are a lot of casual eateries and shops in the Jewish Quarter. You can find some of the best Hungarian food in this district. See below for more restaurant suggestions.
And while you are in the Jewish Quarter, visit the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe. The building is impressive along with the intricate details in the courtyard. Many significant events took place in the synagogue, considered the most important religious place of the Neolog Jews in Hungary.
Ruin bars are synonymous with Budapest nightlife, all in the Jewish Quarter. Essentially, they are bars in old and abandoned spaces. It doesn’t sound very attractive, but it is the city’s most happening nightlife and bar scene. Even if you are travelling alone, you should still experience this as it is truly unique to Budapest.
And you have to visit Szimpla Kert because this is THE ruin bar of Budapest! The interior feels like a maze as you walk through each room. I saw this space during the day, and it was dizzying. I can’t imagine at night after a few drinks! Or try one of the best Budapest ruin bar crawls if you want to do a bar-hop experience.
One of the unique activities that you need to do is going to the thermal bath. Budapest is known for thermal baths! You have to try at least one! They are relaxing and have a medicinal effect due to the mineral-rich waters.
Most people will visit Széchenyi Thermal Bath because of its beautiful complex. It is one of the largest bath complexes in Europe with 21 pools. You pay an entrance fee to use the thermal spa, including all thermal baths, saunas and aqua fitness. Indoor pools have various temperatures while a beautiful yellow Neo-Renaissance building surrounds the outdoor pool. You can also pay more to experience the Beer Spa where you sit in a tub of beer and have all-you-can-drink beer from the tap next to the tub.
However, Gellért Thermal Bath was my favourite. Even though the spa is part of Hotel Gellért, the spa is open to the public and has spa treatments and an outdoor pool. The Art Nouveau building is decorated with colourful mosaic tiles. The overall feel and ambiance are relaxing and comfortable.
Rudas Spa and Király Thermal Baths are both highly recommended during my research. And there are sparties, spa + parties, on Saturdays at either Széchenyi during warmer months and Lukács Baths during winter months, where you can enjoy a bevy and music in the thermal spa!
Street art in Budapest
Walking around Budapest, you can see colourful murals on the sides of buildings, under a bridge, in ruin bars, and around open courtyards. Some of these murals are quite big – several storeys tall. These vibrant murals match the vibe of the city.
Festivals in Budapest
There are a lot of festivals during the warmer mothers in Budapest. One of the best ways to find out about them is to check out We Love Budapest website. It has all the upcoming calendar events and activities.
Some favourite events include Budapest100, where some of Budapest’s squares and courtyards inside buildings are open to the public for viewing. There are some elaborate and intricate courtyards around the city, but they are usually not accessible. This is the day when some are open to the public for viewing. There is also the Night of the Museums where visitors can visit the participating museums past midnight.
As for food, both Beer Week and Gourmet Festival at Millenaris Park are happening around May. The one event I participated in was the Rosalia Festival where Hungarian rosé winemakers gather at the City Park for a weekend. There are performances, typical Hungarian food stalls, and lots of rosé wine!
If you want to make the most of your time in Budapest, check the event calendar so you will not be disappointed.
Solo day trips from Budapest
There are several great day trips from Budapest that you can take while you are in Budapest.
Szentendre is a small town 22km north of Budapest. The Serbian town has churches, museums, galleries, and cafes in a serene baroque setting. This quaint cobblestone town has summer festivals and many arts and cultural events. Some of the must-sees include the Hungarian Open Air Museum and Blagovestenska Church.
Or if you want to make it easy-peasy, join a day tour to Szentendre that includes a boat ride on the Danube and lunch.
How to get there: Take the suburban train H5 at Batthyány tér to the end of the line for a self-tour from Budapest. On the way back, take the boat from Szentendre at 5pm, and you will experience the boat ride on the Danube River slowly cruising its way back to Budapest.
Visegrád is a castle town just 40km north of the capital city. An itinerary of a day trip to Visegrád Hungary includes a medieval citadel on top of a steep hill, Roman Empire ruins, a tower that is part of the Lower Castle, and a museum inside the Royal Palace.
There is an organized day tour of Visegrád, Esztergom and Szentendre which combine all the best highlights from these charming towns via bus and/or boat cruise (available May to September) if you rather join a tour instead.
How to get there: Take the suburban train to Nagymaros-Visegrad and the local ferry to Visegrad.
Where to stay in Budapest Hungary as a solo traveller
There are plenty of good and cheap hostel options in Budapest. Below are the two best hostels in Budapest for solo travellers. I also include a mid and high-end hotel option.
For more information about each accommodation option, check out the description below and the location on the map by clicking on the individual pin.
- Avenue Hostel ($) – Located close to Nyugati train station, the hostel has private pods as dorm rooms, a large kitchen and free breakfast.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Flow Hostel ($) -The hostel is near the Central Market Hall. The dorm rooms are spacious and have various communal spaces. They even have a quiet space for work.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- D8 Hotel ($$) – Get a standard room near the Danube River and the Chain Bridge. The room is newly renovated with a contemporary flair. You get a private bathroom, flatscreen tv and buffet breakfast each morning.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Hotel Clark Budapest ($$$) – Located on the Buda side, Hotel Clark Budapest has modern guest rooms and a beautiful lobby and common areas. I was quite impressed with all the finishes in the hotel.
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
What to eat in Budapest Hungary
I love traditional Hungarian food! Before this trip, I only know about Hungarian goulash, and that’s about it. I was pleasantly surprised to learn I don’t have to eat goulash every meal! Ha! Not like that’s a bad thing though…
Typical Hungarian food and drinks in Budapest
Here are some of the top Hungarian food you must try while in Budapest:
- Gulyás – Hungarian goulash: Hungary’s national dish
- Lángos – Hungarian fried bread
- Paprikás Csirke – chicken paprikash
- Pörkölt – Hungarian beef stew
- Kürtőskalács – aka “Chimney Cake”
- Dobos Torta – Hungarian’s famous sponge cake with chocolate cream and caramel
- Ruszwurm cream cake – egg cream cake exclusively sold at Cafe Ruszwurm
- Pálinka – fruit brandy
Where to eat in Budapest Hungary
There is delicious Hungarian food everywhere! Many casual eateries are in the Jewish Quarter, and food stalls are all over the city. I probably had way too much good food during my Budapest solo trip.
Traditional Hungarian restaurants and cafes
- Street Food Karavan Budapest– modern food stalls serving Hungarian cuisine in an open passage.
- Central Market Hall – an indoor market on the ground floor and fast food vendors on the upper floor.
- Gettó Gulyás – my favourite Hungarian restaurant in Budapest. Everything on the menu is excellent.
- Terv Bisztró – a hip cafe with cool vibes and good Hungarian food.
- Pörc & Prézli Étterem – cozy Hungarian restaurant with live music.
- Róma Ételbár– a local Hungarian restaurant on the Buda side with daily specials.
- Ruszwurm Confectionery– founded in 1827, one of the oldest cafes in Budapest.
Are you ready to travel solo to Budapest Hungary?
Phew! That was a lot of info! I hope you like this informative post about solo travel in Budapest! And if you are considering travelling to Budapest alone, go for it! Budapest is safe for solo female travellers, even if you are going there for the first time. I was there for more than a month and had no issues.
Honestly, I could stay even longer if I had the time. But if you have time constraints, you can see Budapest in 2 days and still see all the best Instagrammable places.
Let me know in the comments if you have any specific questions about travelling solo in Budapest.