Budapest vs Bucharest – Which Is Better to Visit

Author Carina Klein
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Which one should you visit – the Romanian capital Bucharest or the Hungarian Budapest?

We’re sitting in Budapest as we write this blogpost so keep in mind that we might be biased. Budapest is without a doubt more popular than Bucharest but that doesn’t mean that the Romanian capital doesn’t have its charm.

Bucharest or Budapest – Which Is Better to Be a Tourist in?

Is Bucharest Worth Visiting?

Is Budapest Worth Visiting?

Yes! Yes!

What is Bucharest Known for?

What is Budapest Known for?

Like Budapest, Bucharest reminds a lot of Paris. In fact, it’s even called the Paris of the East.
Additionally, you can see a lot of communist architecture.
Budapest is known for its spas and beautiful, Paris-like architecture.
Fun fact: Many movies that play in Paris were actually shot in Budapest.

Bucharest Best Time to Visit

Budapest Best Time to Visit

Like with many places in Europe, spring and autumn are the best times to visit. Winter is too cold and summer too crowded. Like with many places in Europe, spring and autumn are the best times to visit. Winter is too cold and summer too crowded.

Is Bucharest Safe?

Is Budapest Safe?

Bucharest is a safe city to travel to. If you stick to the centre, you should also be able to safely walk around at night. Just keep aware of your surroundings and use common sense. Budapest is a safe city. Pickpocketing is common though.

Bucharest Solo Female Travel

Budapest Solo Female Travel

I personally walked around alone day and night without any problems. I personally walked around alone day and night without any problems.

Bucharest for First Timers

Budapest for First Timers

Bucharest is much less touristy so it’s not quite as easy to navigate. Budapest is much more touristy so the infrastructure is better. Many places even accept the Euro as a currency.

Is Bucharest Cheaper?

Is Budapest Cheaper?

Bucharest is a bit cheaper.
We paid around 30€ per person and day.
Budapest is a bit more expensive.
We paid around 40€ per person and day.

Bucharest Things to See

Budapest Things to See

  • The Palace of Parliament
  • The Arch of Triumph
  • Revolution Square
  • Old Town
  • Macca – Vilacrosse Passage
  • Stavropoleos Monastery
  • Former Stock Exchange Palace
  • Hungarian Parliament Building
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica
  • Buda Castle
  • Matthias Church
  • Fisherman's Bastion
  • Vajdahunyad Castle
  • Szechenyi Thermal Baths

Our Favourite Activity in Bucharest

Our Favourite Activity in Budapest

We loved our tour of the Parliament, the second-largest building in the world. We loved relaxing at the Szechenyi Baths.

Bucharest Tour

Budapest Tour

A guided walking tour is the best way to explore a new city. We did two guided tours in Budapest: 1. City centre, 2. Buda castle

Bucharest Spa

Budapest Spa

Therme Bucuresti is the largest wellness centre in Europe and absolutely worth a visit. Budapest has more than 100 thermal springs and is known for its thermal spas.
Szechenyi Baths and Gellért Baths are amongst the most famous.

Where to Stay in Bucharest

Where to Stay in Budapest

Our hostel was a bit far away from the centre. Next time we would stay in a more central place like Bedsy. We stayed at Maverick City Lodge and can recommend everything from the location to the facilities and the cleanliness to the vibes.

Bucharest Transport

Budapest Transport

We found the Bucharest transport less straightforward. There are 4 metro lines. You need magnetic cards for them.
To use the surface transport (buses, trolleybuses, trams) you must purchase an 'Activ' or 'Multiple' magnetic card (which is different from the metro card).
The Budapest Transport is really straightforward.
You can just tap your credit card on the airport bus.
There are 4 metro lines which are easy to navigate as well as buses which bring you to places like Buda castle. You can buy tickets at ticket machines and even on the bus.

How Many Days in Bucharest

How Many Days in Budapest

Honestly, we think that 1 full day in Bucharest is enough to get a taste. You need at least 2 full days to explore Budapest which consists of the two parts Buda and Pest.
Budget some extra time if you want to visit a spa (which you should).
We have been twice already and have not managed to see it all.

Bucharest Food

Budapest Food

Romanian food is Eastern European full of sausages, cabbage, and potatoes.
Romanian wine was a very pleasant surprise for us.
Caru' cu Bere is not a hidden gem but a great place to try some local dishes.
The Hungarian cuisine is famous for two dishes: langos and goulash. Getto Gulyas is a great option for some fancier goulash.

Bucharest Nightlife

Budapest Nightlife

We actually didn’t explore Bucharest nightlife but we saw plenty of options in the old town, especially around Selari Street.
Real talk: There’s also a seedy side of the Bucharest nightlife with some very obvious s*x tourism.
The best and most unique part of Budapest nightlife is the ruin bars. We especially loved Szimpla Kert.

Should I Go to Bucharest?

Should I Go to Budapest?

Yes, if you like
  • being off the beaten path
  • cheaper prices
  • a shorter trip
  • an architecture mix of French, Byzantine, and Communist
  • interesting wines
Yes, if you like
  • more tourist infrastructure
  • spas
  • beautiful Art Nouveau and neoclassical architecture
  • cool bars
  • goulash
Picture of Bucharest
Picture of Budapest

Budapest or Bucharest – Our Personal Opinion

First and foremost: We absolutely think you shouldn’t skip Bucharest when you’re in the country.

Here comes the but: If you’re looking for a city trip destination, we would choose Budapest. We love the architecture, the spas, the ruin bars, and how easy it is to navigate. There is so much to do that you will have a hard time getting bored. We have been twice already we still have some things left on our Budapest bucketlist.

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