Budapest is a wonderful country to visit. But these are 5 things to avoid in Budapest. Avoid eating at the New York Cafe, avoid renting a car, avoid using euros and dollars, avoid looking for a restaurant to eat at after 10 pm, avoid expecting the restrooms to be free, and avoid using the Hop On Hop Off Buses.
Avoid in Budapest: Eating at the New York City Cafe
Everyone talks about the New York Cafe in Budapest! But you would never find locals eating here! And that’s because it’s very overpriced, similar to prices you would find at a 5-star restaurant in America. But it’s not a 5-star quality restaurant.
The menu is about 20 pages in length. You have to wait in line unless you made reservations to eat there, and the reservation process is challenging in and of itself. The wait staff is very snooty. And when they finally sit you down, you are expected to know what you want to order before you even familiarize yourself with the menu.
One of their items on the menu is an English Breakfast, but they serve butter with it. The English Breakfast should have offered clotted cream as another option like they do in London. Am I right?! 🙂 Their other items were okay, but with such small portions and the hefty price that comes with it, it’s not worth it…at all!
Having said all this, we would recommend going inside the New York Cafe. Tour the place with your eyes, walk around, and take pictures. It is very pretty inside. Thankfully, you can do all this without ever having to pay for food. Skip it and eat at any one of the awesome local restaurants that Budapest has to offer! You’ll thank me later!
Avoid in Budapest: Renting a Car
Budapest unlike most cities in America has one of the best public transportations that we have ever seen. Find out more by reading our other article. And because of this, renting a car in the city is not necessary. Why take the time to learn how to drive in another country? Why worry about the cost of getting into a car accident? Why try and find parking? Why get honked at by other local drivers when you have no idea where you are going? Save yourself time, money, and headache, and use the inexpensive and clean public transportation that Budapest has to offer.
Avoid in Budapest: Using Euros or Dollars
Avoid using Euros and dollars in Budapest. We recommend using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees to pay for anything you can in Budapest. But when you have to pay in cash, we recommend using the Hungarian Forint no matter if you are an American or European. The Hungarian Forint is a lot less than the Euro or the Dollar.
If you spend a week in Budapest and you take your credit card, you really only need $100 worth of Forints between two adults. Budapest as a whole is very credit card friendly. We would recommend using all the forints up before you get on the plane and come back home unless you want a Hungarian forint souvenir because it won’t be worth anything to convert back into the dollar or the Euro. We recommend giving your leftover cash to a homeless person. 🙂
Avoid in Budapest: Expecting table service at a restaurant after 10 p.m.
There were a few late nights in Budapest when we were hungry. We went to what appeared to be lively, bustling restaurants that were clearly opened at 10. p.m. However, you could only order alcohol. So the bar was opened, but the kitchen was closed! And these restaurants were located in pretty busy areas as well. The moral of the story is to eat dinner earlier while in Budapest.
Avoid In Budapest: Expecting the restrooms to be free
In most places in America, using the restroom is as easy as walking into an establishment, and asking to use the restroom. But in most places in Europe, and for this matter in Budapest, you need to bring change with you so that you can use the restroom.
The typical amount is 200 Hungarian forint. It is best to actually carry some Hungarian change with you as the people who allow you to use their restroom don’t have credit card machines, and may not know how to exchange dollars into forints and vice versa. Other times, there’s only a machine that you have to put your change into to use the restroom, so no attendants on duty. Even in a place like the Parliament, you have to pay to use the restroom near the gift shop.
Avoid in Budapest: Using the Hop on and Hop off buses
Avoid the Hop on and Hop off buses. It’s similar to using regular bus service. When people are standing up on these buses, you can’t see out of the window. Also, the buses are typically older, battered, and completely uncomfortable. These buses are definitely not worth paying for.