When you tell your friends that you are headed off to Budapest for the week, don’t be surprised if they ask you what region of Mongolia that’s in. Not many people are familiar with the magnificence and and allure of Hungary. Budapest is an absolutely stunning city with tons of activities and attractions to keep you busy, but it still under the mainstream tourist radar. Let your in-laws go to the same high-rise resort in Hawaii for the tenth year in a row. You will have the vacation of a lifetime exploring the fascinating and brilliant cultural offerings in Budapest. The best part is: you won’t spend an arm and a leg doing it. Here are five adventures to explore around Budapest that won’t break the bank.
Pound for pound, the best bang for your buck is this walking tour with Absolute Tours. Marvel at the one-of-a-kind jaw dropping architecture of Budapest’s most renown historical landmarks with professionally trained guides. The tour includes stops at St. Stephen’s Basilica, the internationally celebrated Danube promenade, and ends with a beautiful panorama from Fisherman’s Bastion. The tour usually takes between three and four hours depending on the depth of your interests and questions, which your expert tour guide will happily accommodate. If that sounds long and exhausting, don’t worry because the tour includes a stop at a local cafe with the a drink and two pastries included on the tour price Absolute Tours prides themselves on small intimate tour groups and customer satisfaction. At the astonishing price of only $43, per person, this comprehensive tour is definitely worth checking out.
What could be better than a tour around Budapest? That’s right, a tour with wine. City and Wine Tours will pick you up from a centrally located hotel in the heart of Budapest and transport you and your tour group (capped at just 12 people for the best, most personal tour experience) a short thirty minutes away to Etyek wine country. To start things off, you will first arrive at either a cheese or chocolate workshop and sample a few of the handcrafted artisan offerings (paired with the finest local wines of course). Don’t fill up too quickly though, because you have two more stops at different traditional wine cellars to enjoy. Learn about the process of making wine, sample four unique Etyek wines, and tuck into a two course lunch or dinner (depending on the time of your tour). This is a must-do for wine enthusiasts and the gastronomically inclined, but for only $98, this unbelievable tour is great for everyone! Book quickly and well in advance, as these tours are very popular and tend to fill up.
The Danube river has great historical importance dating back hundreds of years and is the perfect way to enjoy the glimmering lights of downtown Budapest. You will see the imposing parliament building, the oft-used Chain bridge, and more on this exhilarating sunset cruise. Not only will you be offered complimentary wine or beer to sip on as you relax and take in the sights, but come hungry because you have a four course traditional hungarian feast awaiting you on board. You will dine to the accompaniment of a traditional Hungarian folk band to complete the experience. Dinner, drinks, music, and the world famous Danube. Four hundred bucks, right? Try a tenth of that. This magical evening tour offered by Hungaria Koncert is a steal at just $42.
If you came to Budapest looking for adventure on a budget, look no further. Absolute Tours is at it again, this time inviting you to enter the fascinating Palvolgyi-Matyas Hegyi system, a labyrinth of natural caves and chambers that lie right under the feet of Budapest residents! Never even set foot in a cave before? Relax. This tour is great for first timers. You will get training on all the necessary equipment (nothing too technical, just headlamps and caving overalls). Don’t let the total accessibility of this tour fool you. You will still be crawling and scrambling through tight corridors down there, and you will travel a total of 20 km over three hours. This tour is the definition of adventure! As such, participants need to be at least 14 years old and have closed toed shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain. Ready to don your helmet and lace up your hiking boots yet? Experience the cave walk for just $45. Now that is a bargain.
Margaret Island is a fascinating and gorgeous island in the middle of the Danube river. Stretching a mere 2.5km long, this little green oasis is accessible by bridge or underground metro. The petite island is famous for the myriad of transportation methods offered to cross from one end to the other. Bicycles are a great choice, but you can also rent a golf cart, electric scooter, or egg car to traverse the island. This is a great place to go for a ramble, a bike ride, or find something interesting to do in the city without a high price attached to it. You can walk by the Margaret Island ruins (an old convent), climb the old and very ornate water tower (which also doubles as an art gallery), or go for a dip in the Palatinus thermal pools. If you are looking for a spectacular and affordable afternoon in Budapest, Margaret Island is just what you are looking for!
Budapest has so much to offer travelers of all kinds. Whether you are a solo backpacker, a couple on a romantic getaway, or a family of five looking to make some new memories, Budapest is the perfect stop. You can’t go wrong booking a Budapest hotel on sites like Expedia, but there are plenty of hostels, lodges, and vacation rentals for those looking for alternative accommodations. Any way you stay, you will definitely want to return soon to experience it all again!