The Hungarian capital of Budapest forged a well-deserved reputation as a haven for backpackers. As a result, there are plenty of hostels and bars catering to thirsty crowds of Australians, Americans and Brits. Beyond getting drunk, there is a lot to see in Buda and Pest, situated on either side of the mighty Danube river.
On the Pest side, take a walk to the Hungarian Parliament building. You can tour the impressive edifice for about $7, marveling at the frescoes, crown jewels and the Domed Hall.
In between Buda and Pest is Margaret Island, a public park off limit to cars. There is a musical fountain playing classical and pop tunes, in addition to the Palatinus water park where you can get some respite from the intense summer heat.
Over in Buda, go for a walk around the Fisherman’s Bastion, a fortified terrace that has some great views. There are entrance fees to the highest towers, but you can get to the balconies for free and the view is just as good.
As with most other tourist destinations, prices in Budapest fluctuate according to demand. High season runs from May to September, so book outside of this period if you’re really counting the pennies. For accommodations, stay in a dorm room in some of the quieter side streets in the downtown area. Treestyle Hostel has dorm beds for as little as $7 per night.
Stick to street food if you’re on a budget and seek out the backpacker bars with special deals. Make sure to splurge on the local specialty, goulash, at least once.
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