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Detours Gay Tours Blog

Gay Travel Guide: Budapest

  • Brandon Folkes
  • Nov 5, 2022

Fast Facts:

  • Capital City – Budapest
  • Population of Hungary – 9.71 Million (2021)
  • Official Language – Hungarian
  • Official Currency – Forint

Hungary is a fascinating country that sits right in the heart of Central Europe, sharing borders with Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovania, and Austria. A country that exists from an eclectic and tumultuous history of war and destruction, now sits as a modern and developed nation with a rich and vibrant culture. Its capital city, Budapest, is the heart of the nation that today has a very present and active LGBTQ+ community.

Hungary was once considered the meeting point of where “East meets West” which was separated by the Danube River that runs right through the center of Budapest. The western side “Buda” houses the beautiful Old Town and Castle Hill where the grand Buda Castle resides, whereas the western side “Pest” is the heart of the city’s cultural center. Pest houses a vibrant nightlife that will keep you out late at night with its unique “ruin bars” built out of old destroyed buildings from the bombings during WWII, or the many gay bars that sprawl near the Jewish Quarter. Of course, you couldn’t visit Budapest without grabbing your swim trunks and heading into the many Hungarian “baths” heated by the intrinsic geothermal energy that courses through the heart of this city. One thing is for sure, it won’t be hard to find things to see and do in this countries capital.

Budapest is incredibly famous for is its deep routed coffee culture. From it’s modern day coffee roasters with specialty choices to the grandiose 19th-century coffee houses that have been the fabric of Hungarian culture for centuries.  Walk into any one of these and you will find an endless array of Hungarian cakes, with ‘dobos tortas’ being the most classic traditional choice on the menu. If you were looking for something more substantive, then the incredible culinary scene is very much alive with many Hungarian selections such as delicious local Gulyás (Goulash) or chicken paprika.

Budapest is a city with a cornicoppia of things to offer. From the many Baroque, Neoclassical, and Romanesuqe architectural style to the modern day food and nightlife scene... Hands down, you will leave Budapest wanting to come back again.

Top 3 Highlights:

  • Dinner river cruise down the Danube River
  • Dance and drink in the many ‘ruin bars’
  • Explore Old Town and the Buda Castle

Top 3 Restaurants:

Borkonyha – This upper scale restaurant features the best contemporary cuisine with Hungarian twists set in a beautiful mirror-lined dinag hall. It’s a popular spot so we suggest booking in advance.

Parisi Passage Café & Brasserie – Located in a late 19-th century shopping arcade, this restaurant features a mix of Hungarian and Frech-style cuisine.

Hungarikum Bisztro – This mom and pop Hungarian restaurant features local food at it’s very roots. Come here to try as authentic Hungarian food as it gets.

Top 3 Bars:

Szimpla Kert– multi-level ruin bar in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.

Alterego – busy gay underground nightclub with dancing and drag performances.

Why Not Café & Bar – chill gay pub down by the Danube River.

Top 3 Optional Activities:

  • House of Terror – A museum experience regarding Hugarian oppression during WWII and the cold war.
  • Visit the Szichenyi Baths – Swim and relax in the famous large geothermal baths
  • Eat and shop in the Central Market Hall – Visit this large local market and have lunch while perusing the various local vendors.

The Best Time to Visit

Our favorite time to visit Budapest is in April/May and September. You will find that the weather is still generally warm with a few days of possible cloudy days but with much fewer tourists crowding the streets as the height of tourist season is over. This means more time to enjoy the city without dealing with a high level of crowds.

A Couple Books:

  • The Door - Magda Szabó
  • Enemies of the People – Kati Marton

A Couple Movies:

  • An American Rhapsody (Drama)
  • Sunshine (Romance)

"Must Try" Local Cuisine:

  • Goulash (meat and vegetable stew)
  • Chicken Paprikash (chicken serves with a paprika sauce))
  • Halászlé (fish soup)