Your first date with Budapest

Visiting a new city for the first time is no simple matter: just like on a date, you can only make a good first impression once, so be sure to read our guide to have the perfect experience when meeting Budapest!

Every beginning is difficult

You did it. You finally gathered enough inner strength to do what seemed like mission impossible: you asked Budapest (BP) out on a date. And BP said yes. 

This was a week ago. 

Life was much easier back then – but now, things have escalated, and you are at Keleti Train Station, being exactly four minutes late from the date. Off to a not-so-good start! Don’t you worry: you can blame this one on the train, delays are more than usual. Hurry up and get your 24-hour Budapest travel card! Since you don’t have any time to waste, let me grab the opportunity to let you in on a little secret (multitasking legends, aren’t we?): if you are a student and you intend to stay for more than one day, forget about the 24-hour travel card, and buy a monthly pass for 3450 HUF. Thank me later, you have a date to catch!

Image by Dávid Nagy and Zsófia Váradi

Awkward greetings are part of the fun when it comes to first dates. A short, strictly non-passionate hug will usually do, but don’t take it to heart if BP just says hi. After all, you two just met, not to mention your semi-late arrival. You end up just smiling at each other and repeating your names. Not too bad, not too bad. Budapest is quiet and doesn’t talk much, but it’s probably just the butterflies-in-the-stomach effect caused by your charming looks. With enough quality time spent together, you’ll get to know BP, and you can feel it. 

Your first destination 

Hop on Metro Line 4 to reach your first destination: Fővám Square. Forget about the market! It’s way too crowded, and you would not be able to get to know Budapest in a noisy, closed space that smells like fermented vegetables and fish. It’s beautiful outside – why not take a walk instead? You can admire the beauty of Budapest while the sun gently strokes your face. If you simply follow the Danube, you can see how beautiful and how complex BP is, creating a friendly environment for everyone from young skaters wearing dangerously oversized pants to successful-looking businessmen enjoying overpriced drinks a few meters away at Bálna Terrace. University students smile at you as you walk past them in Nehru Part (a small park just ten minutes away from Fővám on foot), and you feel even luckier that you are on a date with Budapest who brought all these friendly people together. You sit down on the soft grass to admire BP, losing track of time. 

Image by Dávid Nagy and Zsófia Váradi

I’m not that hungry…”

You suddenly realize that it is lunchtime – the sharp pain in your stomach reminded you. Budapest says they are not hungry, but you have a feeling they would accept some of your fries if you offered, so it’s best to pick a burger place – unless you want to be *that* person who orders a main dish at a restaurant and asks the waiter to swap the recommended fancy side dish for fries. No judgements here. 

Of course, you could choose Burger King right at Fővám Square. But the weather is so nice, and you only got so much time to spend with your lovely date, I suggest you take the tram (47 or 49) and head to Astoria to try Bamba Marha Burger Bar, one of the best burger places in the world (not just according to me). Pick any of their burgers, ask for fries and a drink, and I guarantee you won’t be hungry for the rest of the day. Warning: be sure to stay on good terms with Budapest whatever may happen, because BP has all the Bamba Marha Burger Bars!

One more adventure

Budapest doesn’t seem tired after your meal. Quite the opposite: BP appears so lively at this late afternoon, you decide to do just one more thing before you say goodbye. You saw that beautiful hill on the other side of the Danube from Fővám Square, and you want to go there. Head to Ferenciek Square (a few minutes from Astoria on foot), and take either bus 8E or bus 110. Get off at Sánc street bus stop for the perfect Gellért hill experience: you just saved yourself half the walk (the painfully steep part), and you can enjoy the view and the ocean of grass right here, or you can keep climbing to see the Philosophers’ Garden or the Citadel

Budapest is so warm, so kind, and so beautiful at this moment, you want to grab the moment to lean in for the kiss. But kiss what? You can’t really grasp BP, and it’s alright. The important thing is, both of you had a great time. And Budapest is not going anywhere. So when you gather the remaining courage in you (after such an overwhelmingly beautiful day), and you invite BP for a picnic at Normafa, they’ll be here. 

Congratulations! You just went on a date with Budapest! Kind of on a budget, definitely like a pro!