Destinations

SOLO IN BUDAPEST

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Budapest, the city of my wildest dreams. A place I had dreamed of visiting for years and always scared to because of the unknown. As a solo traveler, I’m always curious to discover places I always hear about, places that seem so far from my reality that I want to experience it and live it. Budapest has always been one of those places for me.

For a long time, it was very expensive to travel from Australia to Europe, the trip itself takes 24hrs and there’s always the worry of budget and language barrier and not knowing what to expect. Thanks to Qatar Airways which now offers affordable flights to Europe, Budapest has been the first place I’ve always wanted to discover.

Traveling solo is daunting in itself, so many uncertainties, so many worries… Will I be able to speak the language, how will I find my way around, will it be safe? Two of my priorities whenever I travel to a new place is feeling safe and finding a nice location to base myself so I can explore on my own without feeling lost. I also like to spend at least a few weeks in a city so I don’t limit my experiences, I enjoy taking the time to absorb the culture, discover the food and the people and just roam free without a strict schedule or agenda. I love waking up in the morning in a new city and just decide then and there what I will do for the rest of the day. I will change decisions along the way and that’s when I found you get to discover the most amazing things and places.

Budapest is safe, very safe. For anyone having doubts, let me tell you now this is the safest place I have been to in all my travels. I walked the streets day and night and not once did I feel paranoid or worried. Everyone was friendly, the food is amazing and it is easily the best place to visit as a solo traveler, you do not feel out of place. The ruin bars are a must see and you can visit them during the day or night.

I spent 3 weeks in Budapest. The first couple of days, what I love to do in every new city, is to find my bearing. I got a place on AirBNB which was close to the Opera metro station which was very convenient. I bought myself a 3 days metro/bus pass and off I went. This is a city that’s made for walking, you can walk to all attractions. The ‘Pest’ side where most of the activities happen is very flat and easy to do on foot. The ‘Buda’ side where the castle is situated is a bit hilly but there are buses to take you around easily. The ruin bars are amazing, visit all of them, night or day whichever makes you feel more comfortable. The St Stephen’s Basilica is stunning, make sure you go to the top to get an amazing view of the city. I would recommend everyone to take the free daily walking tour on your first day to give you an idea on places to go and see but also allows you to situate yourself within the city. Walk around and enjoy all the history and stunning architecture. Take some time out and spend the day at Margaret Island for its peaceful setting.

Budapest, the jewel of the East, I would recommend everyone to go there. It is beautiful, it is charming, it is one of a kind. You will not regret it.

Tips:

  • Take the free walking tour or one of the hop on/off buses on your first day
  • Walk around the city as much as you can and discover everything at your own pace
  • Metro/Bus is easy to use, get a 3 day or weekly pass
  • Go to one of the famous thermal baths – I would recommend Széchenyi or Rudas
  • Visit the castle
  • Take a cruise along the Danube river and enjoy the scenery
  • Enjoy the local cuisine and coffee shops
  • Use the ‘Taxify’ app if you need to take a taxi, it works like Uber
  • Visit Margaret Island – preferably on a warm day and rent a bike to stroll around the island.
  • Visit the ruin bars for their characters, quirkiness and charms
  • Learn how to say Hello, Goodbye and Thank You in Hungarian
  • Take your time and enjoy every minute of it!

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