I just came back from a one-week trip in one of the most interesting and beautiful European Capital Cities (even if I admit I have not seen them all): Budapest.
I hope, then, to be an helpful guide with this article and to support your next trip to this city.
First of all, where to lodge? I stayed in the Marco Polo Ho(s)tel near Blaha Lujsa tér Metro Station, a very central structure which is open 24 hours a day. The staff speaks English and is very kind, it is possible to pay both in florins or in euros and to have wi-fi connection in every room. So you can stay here, near shops, bars, restourants and monuments paying a very good price. You can find there rooms for 2, 4 or 12 persons (you can also book a double room for single usage paying a little more).
If you have to change your money, please pay attention because there are many shops that change currency but they apply very different types of commission, so be careful and just have a look around before choosing where to change.
As far as food is concerned you can find fast food chains in everywhere, but also many restourants (please note that not every restourant is really Italian as it advertises) and small places where to eat very well. Because of my personal experience, I advise you to try Black Cab Burger in Rákóczi Utca where you can eat an hamburger for only 800/1000 florins; or the baguettes and soups of Bors Gasztrobár (the normal menu costs only 1350 florins). If you wanna try something local, then you should go to the Central Market, at the second floor, where you will find traditional langosh (a sort of fried pizza). If you want to taste a little bit of Italy, then go to 2Spaghi. BUT, if you prefer restourant, please mind that you have generally to pay a service fee (around 12%).
If you love desserts and snacks, then you have to go to Jégbufé in Petofi Sándor Utca and take a waffle, or a delicious and traditional chimney cake! The second one, you can find everywhere but be careful and watch the price because it goes from 320 HUF to 1500 HUF. I recommend the kiosk in Oktagon square in front of Starbucks (try a caramel coffee frappuccino with the chimney cake; delicious!).
There are also many places where to drink beer or other cocktails paying a very low price, but I can’t advise you because I am not a drinker – sorry.
If you want to have a tour of the Danube you can choose between a lot of different cruises (day/night with dinner or with pizza, ect) but if you want to get a low cost ride then you can take the D12/D11 lines (D13 during weekends and holidays) which arethe public transport ferry lines which costs 750 HUF/person for a single trip. If you take the D12 at Haller Utca and you hike down at Népfurdo Utca, you can enjoy of an hour journey. Then you can come back to the city center by taking the riverside promenade or you can pass through Margaret Island.
Budapest is amazing by day, but is magical by night so it doesn’t matter if you are alone or in company, please allow yourself a night-walk in the center and along the riverside to appreciate the beauty of the city and its monuments (Parliament, Castle, Saint Matthew Church, Saint Stephen Church, Citadel, Városliget Park, etc.) enlightened by the romantic lights.
To get to the centre from the airport you have to take the bus 200E till the end of line, and then the Metro 3 till Deák Ferenc tér (or to Blaha Lujsa tér changing the blu line for the red one at Deák Ferenc tér to get to the hostel). For this trip you will need the Transfer Bus Ticket which costs 530 HUF (it consists in two tickets each one has to be validated the first on the bus and the second before entering the underground station). The same ticket is needed to get to the airport from the centre, of course.
I hope you will find a very good weather (unlike me), but it’s better if you put in you bag also a mackintosh and a scarf to protect yourself from the wind.
Have a good trip!