Budapest weekends & short breaks 2019
Budapest is a city rich in history, clad with streets of stunning royal architecture and home to world-famous thermal pools. Budapest holidays and city breaks offer a wealth of sights and sounds which are unlike many other European destinations. Beyond the city’s deep history rests a love of art and music which manifests itself in the crazy ruin bars and street festivals that run throughout the summer. Whether you’re looking for a cheap Budapest getaway or a more romantic and exclusive jaunt, this transforming city has something for you.
There are a variety of hotels available for a Budapest city break in 2019. In various shapes and sizes, and in different degrees of luxury, most of the accommodation is affordable. Budapest is also a year-round destination, meaning you can find some great deals on flights from the UK.
Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport is around a 15-minute journey by train into central Budapest or 40 minutes by car.
Most popular hotels in Budapest
Arcadia Hotel Budapest
Royal Park Boutique Hotel
Fortuna Boat Hotel
Full Moon Hostel
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 2h 25m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Things to do in Budapest
Consistently cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest weekend breaks offer its visitors reams and reams of cultural attractions on its list of things to do.
- The Museum of Fine Arts - The most visited art gallery in Budapest, home to over 100,000 pieces of work!
- House of Terror - Full of exhibits on communist and fascist regimes in 20th-century Hungary.
- Buda Castle - located on the Buda side of the Danube River and resides in the central area of the city which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Hungarian Parliament - A typical Gothic style building, it includes a visitors' center.
- Szechenyi Chain Bridge - The most iconic bridge in Budapest, which is lit up at night.
Places to eat
Budapest is a cosmopolitan city with a beautiful mix of traditional restaurants and classy establishments serving up international, gourmet menus along the Danube. Hungary’s national dish is gulyas or goulash. Traditionally this is made up of a meat stew and vegetables, seasoned with the much-loved Hungarian flavour...paprika. A country with Hungarian roots that extend across the Central European states and down into Turkey, you’ll find a lot of excellent fast food across the city. Ideal for ending an evening out in one of the famous ruin bars, you’ll find gyros and kebab shops abound in Budapest.
Top places to eat in Budapest include:
- Megyeri Csárda Tavern
- Múzeum Café and Restaurant
- Great Market Hall
- Százéves Étterem
Budapest for Families
Budapest has a surprising number of family attractions, making it one of our top choices for family city breaks in Europe. Those cheaper flights and choice of family friendly hotels definitely help sell the package. This gorgeous city has awe-inspiring architecture, fun boat trips up and down the river, and large outdoor baths that second as outdoor pools with wave machines and kid’s areas.
- The Children's Railway - If you’re looking for a super kid-focused day out, head to the Buda Hills and the Children’s Railway. Opened in 1949 by the Communist party to inspire leadership in the local kids, the railway is still in operation today and run by 10 - 14-year-old schoolkids who operate the entire system, from the timetable to driving the train.
- Gellert & Szechenyi Baths - Both the Gellert and Szechenyi baths are great for a day out, even when it’s snowing - they are thermal, after all.
- Budapest Zoo - The kids will have a great time exploring the zoo and botanical gardens.
- Danube Legenda Sightseeing Tour - Enjoy taking in Budapest's sights via a boat trip.
Budapest may not be home to any beaches but there is an alternative. Budapest does get extremely hot during the summer, so the locals have dreamed up ways of cooling off for centuries. This is where Budapest’s baths come in. There are various spots across the city, some more popular than others, but the biggest three include Palatinus, Dagaly and Szechenyi. The most popular, Palatinus, is located on Margit Island, and was - amazingly - originally opened as a beach in 1919!
When to go
The best time to for a Budapest holiday would be during the shoulder seasons of March to May and September to November. During these times, the weather is mild and pleasant and there are less crowds around the city. The summer months of July and August usually enjoy the hottest weather for Budapest, but also the wettest. It’s also the most popular time for tourists to visit.
Average high and low temperatures (°C):
- January: 2° / -4°
- February: 4° / -3°
- March: 10° / 1°
- April: 16° / 5°
- May: 21° / 10°
- June: 24° / 13°
- July: 27° / 15°
- August: 26° / 14°
- September: 23° / 10°
- October: 16° / 5°
- November: 8° / 1°
- December: 4° / -2°
Budapest is home to the famous ruin bars, a phenomenon that started in 2001 with the opening of Szimpla Kert, the biggest and most popular ruin bar of them all. Combining art, music and clever innovation in re-using buildings left abandoned after the end of the WWII and the Hungarian Communist era, the bars across Budapest attract hip and trendy partygoers from across the continent and the world. Not all the bars follow the same blueprint. The venues come in various shapes and sizes and often move from venue to venue due to noise complaints, money-hungry developers and organisers wanting to keep things fresh. Rammed full of old furniture, historical knick-knacks of Hungary and generally affordable drinks, these ruin bars are not something to be missed during your Budapest weekend break in 2018.
Top nightlife spots in Budapest include:
- Szimpla Kert
- Bar Pharma
- Tuk Tuk Bar
Budapest for Couples
Budapest, from its neo-gothic buildings to its buzzing ruin bars, is absolutely a romantic holiday destination. Wine and dine in sophisticated restaurants, wander home to a high-ceilinged luxury hotel room with views of Buda and explore the art galleries. Budapest oozes with unexpected romance around every corner.
- Buda Castle - Beautiful buildings surround the city of Budapest, including the Buda Castle, a truly romantic setting.
- River Danube - Cruise along the River Danube together on a boat tour.
- Szechenyi Baths - Bathe together in the foggy steam of a winter’s evening at the Szechenyi baths.
- Matthias Church - This Gothic piece of architecture is something out of a fairytale.
- Gellert Hill - Enjoy the scenic views together from the top of this hill which features balconies as viewpoints.
Culture and history
We’ve rattled on about how beautiful and memorable we think a Budapest holiday is, and much of this comes from the city’s (and Hungary’s) rich history. Once a city at the heart of the Austro-Hungarian empire, much of the beauty of the stunning buildings comes from the wealth of one of Europe’s largest empires. There is a faded beauty to the city, too. Following the Communist era, much was left to disrepair, and there are still marks of its war-torn past on the buildings. From this, a new life has sprung. Arts and music flood the streets during summer, tourists flock to the art galleries and museums, and the historic baths welcome bathers from across the planet.
- Hungarian Parliament - Gothic influenced building which features decorated rooms and an area for visitors.
- Hungarian State Opera House - This Neoclassical venue holds tours where you can learn everything from composers to opera and ballet.
- Fisherman's Bastion - This fortress was built in the 19th-century and now offers scenic views of the city.
- St. Stephen's Basilica - Wonderful Roman Catholic church which holds frequent concerts.