Solo Travel in Budapest: All You Need to Know

Are you a solo traveller searching for a European city break? The answer may be Hungary’s vibrant capital city.

Solo travel in Budapest is safe and affordable, the city has more bars and restaurants than you can shake a stick at, and there are oodles of things to do. It’s one of my favourite European solo city break destinations.

Dive into my Budapest solo travel guide to get the lowdown on why you should go there on your own, solo female traveller safety tips, where to visit, how to get around and where to stay.

view of the river danube and parliament building in budapest from castle hill

Some articles on this website contain affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.


BUDAPEST QUICK FACTS
modern bronze sculpture of a woman sheltering under an umbrella

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Hungarian but English is widely spoken

CURRENCY: Hungarian Forint (HUF or Ft)

ELECTRICITY: 230V. Power sockets are of type C and F

FEMALE SOLO TRAVEL SAFETY RATING: Safe

HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED? Spend at least two days in Budapest to see its main sights but preferably three days

BEST TIME TO VISIT BUDAPEST: Spring or autumn

Introducing Budapest

Once known as the Paris of the East, occupation, dictatorships and the communist regime diminished much of Budapest’s legendary culture and sparkle. After a startling renaissance, it has re-emerged as one of Europe’s finest cities.

Budapest was created when Buda and Pest were united with a smaller third city, Óbuda, in 1873. Each side of the river has a distinct personality.

Buda is on the river’s west bank and is where you’ll find Budapest’s Old Town.

Pest, on the river’s east bank, is the city’s lively 19th-century commercial centre, home to many of the city’s top attractions.

statues of st stephen on a horse in front of the matthias church in budapest
Castle Hill in Buda

Why Take a Solo Trip to Budapest?

Choosing a solo travel destination is no mean feat.

Ideally, you want to visit a place that fits your interests, is easy to get around and is affordable. It helps if that destination is blessed with natural beauty. Above all, it needs to be safe, especially if you are a woman travelling alone.

Budapest ticks all of these boxes.

You won’t be bored, whether you spend one day in Budapest or two weeks. There is something for every solo traveller, from history buffs to solo shutterbugs and foodies.

The city’s history is reflected in its monuments, buildings and museums. Many travellers have soaked away their cares in Budapest’s healing thermal waters and dined on the food for which the city is famous.

If you are bagging UNESCO sites, Budapest is one of its World Heritage sites. The listed areas include the Buda Castle Quarter, the Danube embankment from Liberty Bridge to Margaret Island and Andrássy Avenue.

2 classical stone statues on either side of a doorway seen during solo travel in budapest
Andrássy Avenue, Budapest

Budapest’s nightlife is unrivalled in Eastern Europe. Whether you want to party on a boat on the Danube or hit the ruin bars, a lively night out is guaranteed and presents excellent opportunities to meet other travellers.

For the most part, Budapest is a very walkable city.  As the most popular tourist attractions are concentrated in a small area, exploring the city on foot is often your best bet.

For places further afield, you can hop on one of the trams, buses or metro trains that make up Budapest’s inexpensive public transport network.

yellow metro train pulling into a platform in budapest

If you’ve been stung by the cost of travelling in the tourist honeypots of Southern Europe, Budapest will come as a refreshing change.

Budapest remains one of the cheapest cities in Europe for solo travellers. This is largely because Hungary is not part of the Eurozone and the Hungarian Forint has decreased in value in recent years.

Eating out is inexpensive. On my last visit, I rarely paid much more than €15 for a generous evening meal with wine. Excellent 4-star hotels set me back around €150 a night.

Of course, if you are on a tighter budget, you can bring costs down further.

Is Budapest Safe for Female Solo Travellers?

Keeping safe when travelling is the most important consideration for women going it alone. Budapest is safe for solo female travellers.

I never felt unsafe during my two solo visits to Budapest, even walking around at night

Violent crime is rare. The main risk is from bag snatchers and nimble-fingered pick-pockets. They are most active in the city’s 8th District (the Palace Quarter near the National Museum) and along Váci Street, one of Pest’s main thoroughfares.

As with any solo travel destination, a little bit of common sense goes a long way. After dark, stick to familiar streets and make sure that you know your way back to your hotel or apartment.

Keep your valuables at your accommodation and use an anti-theft backpack when you are out and about. I use this PacSafe backpack which has anti-RFID technology and a hidden pocket.

My Favourite Things to Do in Budapest

view of the river danube and parliament building in budapest seen through arch of fishermens bastion

Head to the Disneyesque Fishermen’s Bastion for the classic views of Pest across the River Danube. Although you can pay to access the upper level of this undulating white rampart of stairways, turrets and cloisters, the views are just as good from the free lower level.

panoramic view of the river danube and budapest from gellert hill

Gellért Hill offers one of the best panoramic views of Budapest. This 140-metre-high dolomite rock is one of the city’s most popular Instagram spots.

rectangular columns with swirly patterns in front of brightly painted arches inside matthias church buda

Matthias Church is beautiful inside and out. It’s well worth the admission fee.

Its exterior is a profusion of towers with toothy spires. Inside, multicoloured columns are painted with leaves and geometric motifs, and shafts of light illuminate its gilded altars and stone sculptures.

art nouveau lobby of gresham palace in budapest with domed skylight and chairs and sofas

Like Art Nouveau architecture? Then you will love the Gresham Palace which is now part of the Four Seasons hotel chain. You don’t have to stay in the hotel to walk around its lobby.

written message, candles and lowers left by sculpture of shoes on the danube in budapest

This powerful memorial to the Jews who were murdered during the Nazi occupation of Budapest comprises sixty pairs of cast-iron shoes arranged along the riverbank. Many Jewish victims met their fate at the Danube and were ordered to take off their shoes before being shot.

the facade of the hungarian parliament building on the banks of the river danube

You can see inside one of Budapest’s most beautiful buildings by joining one of the 45-minute tours of the Hungarian Parliament Building. Book ahead as these sell out well in advance but you may be able to buy a ticket for same-day admission at the Visitor Centre.

You can book your ticket via the official website here.

views of the streets of budapest from the terrace of st stephens church

Enjoy the best view in Pest from the panoramic terrace of St. Stephen’s Basilica. This glorious 19th-century confection of polychromic marble and gilt houses the mummified hand of Hungary’s patron saint.

moorish interior of budapest great synagogue with painted dome and ceiling

Dohány Street Synagogue, or Budapest Great Synagogue, is an architectural marvel, a beacon of cultural heritage and a testament to the enduring spirit of the city’s Jewish people and their history. Visit the Holocaust Tree of Life Memorial on the synagogue’s northern side after the excellent 45-minute tour included with your ticket.

sombre grey exterior of budapest house of terror

The superb House of Terror remembers the victims of the Fascist and Stalinist regimes that operated in Hungary in the 20th Century. It is housed in the former headquarters of the dreaded ÁVH secret police.

people standing at ornate counter of gerbeaud cafe in budapest

And why not? My patisserie of choice is Gerbeaud Café. Although it is hugely popular, I don’t think Budapest’s New York Café is worth it.

interior of gellert baths in budapest with carved columns and domed roof

Relaxing in one of the city’s thermal baths is a wonderful Budapest solo activity. Széchenyi Baths and Gellért Baths are the two city pools that are most popular with visitors (I had a lovely time at the Géllert Baths on my first visit to Budapest).

ornate interior of the opera house in budapest hungary with gilded ceiling and chandelier

Compared to opera houses elsewhere in Europe, attending an opera performance in Budapest is affordable. As this is a popular activity, book ahead.

If you cannot go to the opera, you can join one of the 45-minute tours of the opera house.

the hungarian parliament building on the banks of the river danube illuminated at night

What could be better than sailing along the Danube as you watch the city’s skyline light up, whilst sipping a glass of fizz? This one-hour Danube cruise also includes an audioguide.

>>> BOOK YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE

3 glasses of red wine and a plate with meats and cheeses

An evening spent tasting Hungarian wine was one of my favourite solo experiences in Budapest. We were served eight generous pours of wine, including the famous Tokaji dessert wine, paired with charcuterie and cheeses.

>>> BOOK YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE

bottles of wine and beer on a shelf below a sign saying wine bar

I’m more a cheese-and-wine girl but pub crawls around Budapest’s ruin bars are hugely popular. These (in)famous bars are in the courtyards of vacant pre-war buildings of the city’s Jewish Quarter.

>>> BOOK YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE

Getting There and Getting Around

grand facade e of keleti train station in budapest hungary

Flights land at Budapest Airport (BUD), ten miles southeast of the city centre. The cheapest way to get from the airport to Budapest’s city centre is the frequent 100E Airport Express bus, with a journey time of 40 minutes.

On my most recent visit, I arrived by train from Kosice at the magnificent Keleti station. Budapest is a major international railway hub and is served by three train stations: Keleti Pályaudvar Station (east), Nyugati Pályaudvar Station (west) and Budapest-Déli Station (south).

Although much of the city is walkable, Budapest has a network of cheap buses, metro trains and trams. The one time I used the metro system was to get to and from the train station.

You can find out more about public transport in Budapest here

24-hour, 72-hour or weekly passes are available for Budapest public transportation. The Budapest Card includes the city’s buses, trains and trams, and free entrance to some of the city’s top attractions, admission to St. Lukacs Thermal Bath and a free walking tour.

>>> CHECK THE PRICE HERE

Where to Stay in Budapest as a Solo Traveller

Picking the right place to stay can make or break a solo trip and you’ll need to choose between staying in Pest or Buda.

Choose a hotel in Pest if you want to stay in the thick of things. The Buda side of the river tends to be quieter at night.

Having stayed on both sides of the city, I prefer Buda as it is more tranquil and you benefit from wonderful views across the river. But what is right for me may not be the best choice for you.

Here is where I stayed on my last visit:

Park Plaza Hotel

I would book a room at this Radisson hotel again purely for the unforgettable view of the river and Parliament Building from my bedroom window. As well as its fabulous riverside location, the room was spacious and the staff were super friendly.

bar area of park plaza hotel in budapest with curved sofa and tables and chairs
hotel bedroom with 2 beds 2 chairs and a small table and red carpet

>>> CLICK HERE FOR AVAILABILITY & RATES

TG Hotel Suites Budapest

This large and stylish apartment is on the doorstep of several restaurants and cafes and a stone’s throw from St. Stephen’s Basilica. As a solo traveller, the building was very secure.

room in hotel with bed, sofa and small table with 2 chairs
bathroom of hotel room with large shower toilet and white basin

>>> CLICK HERE FOR AVAILABILITY & RATES


Thank you for reading my Budapest solo travel guide

I hope that it helps you plan the perfect solo vacation. If you have found this guide helpful, take a look at my other Budapest articles:

Happy travels!

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at hello@theflashpacker.net or follow her on social media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *