Budapest: General Tips
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is truly an incredible city. It's filled with empire, royal, and sadly, nazi and communist rule history. It's beautiful, easy to navigate and can be a lot of fun. Budapest is one of my favorite cities I've travelled to, and after going to Vienna, it was fun to see the strikingly similar "other capital" of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Budapest was established in 896 from seven tribes originally from Siberia. The story goes, that the eagle on top of the stairs you climb to the castle district marks the spot and animal which indicated Budapest as the place to settle. If you pay attention you will see 896 and 96 are important numbers used throughout the city. My favorite example is that the Hungarian Parliament building and the main church, St. Stephen's Basilica are both 96 meters tall, signifying the equal importance of church and state in Hungary. Buda and Pest began as separate settlements, and surprisingly merged only recently in 1873. I invite you to learn a bit of the history in between bath and bar hopping. This city has so much to offer.
- Remember they are on Hungarian Forint, look at conversion rates and keep that in mind when buying food, goods, etc. It may seem like fake or "monopoly money" because using 500, 1000 and 5000 bills are very common, however, prices of goods are adjusted to be about "regular prices" in USD/Euro. Although the exchange rate may make you feel like a baller, don’t let that make you ball out when you're poor and on a budget.
It’s a relatively tourist-y city, so just be extra aware of pick-pockets who target tourist.
Their public transportation is good, however, be aware of the tickets you are buying. A “one-trip” ticket is only obviously one trip, therefore, if you’re trying to get somewhere with a bus and metro, even though that is “one trip” to you, it counts is as two trips. Police there are known to give tourists tickets for this so they can get some young money.
My tour guide said police also are known to give tickets for jaywalking. Use the crosswalks and wait for the lights. No need to spend extra money in a city on an easily avoidable fee.
I didn't know this until I went there, there are two sides of city - Buda (flat-er side) and Pest (hilly), separated by the Danube River.