If you're looking for the city to organize your stag weekend in, look no further - we've got the place for you. Budapest is the perfect choice for any groom to celebrate his last nights of "freedom". It has a buzzing and colorful nightlife in its party districts; there's a vast variety of excellent ruin pubs to choose from as well as nightclubs. The capital of Hungary has low prices, good transportation, and endless possibilities. Going to a foreign country for your stag party is a great idea anyway. It's always amazing to discover and get to know other cultures, and you can compensate the wild nights with social-cultural programs during the day.
A summary of Budapest - the best points of interest
It's good to know as much as you can about a city you're about to visit, so here is a must-know about Budapest for you. For one, Hungary has not yet adopted the euro despite being part of the European Union, so make sure to get some of their currency, forint (HUF). Many places accept only forint, and while some tourist traps will take your euro, you might not get the deal of your life. It's common for restaurants and smaller businesses to accept only cash, but there are many ATMs scattered around the city, so also check your bank's international fees. Transportation in Budapest is fortunately quite cheap if you know what to look for. You can get the best deals with buying a packet of 10 tickets from kiosks, or a 24-hour, or even a 72-hour pass. The latter two let you travel by bus, tram, and subway as much as you want. However, if you end up using tickets, make sure to validate them at the orange boxes, or you might have quite an unpleasant encounter with on the ticket inspectors (which will probably result in a nasty fine). The city is also easily walkable, with many things to see on foot, if you don't feel like hopping on a bus. But if you'd like to be a bit more comfortable and prone to use taxi services, make sure to be careful, don't hail cabs from the streets, cause you might run into scammers, always ask for a lift by phone. City Taxi and Főtaxi, for example, are reputable taxi companies with reasonable prices, but you can find many other with a Google search, or if you prefer using apps, Taxify is the one for you. Once you're in a cab, check if the meter is running, if it's not, don't be afraid to ask the driver to switch it on. Life is quite comfortable in Budapest if you speak English. Most of the population speaks the language well or at least knows someone in the nearness who does. Streets and shops usually have signs in multiple languages, and most restaurants cater to foreigners by having an English menu too. However, it's a nice gesture to learn some phrases in their mother tongue. Hungarians will be delighted if they hear you trying to speak in their beloved language and will show their gratitude by teaching you some of their colorful curse words.
Margaret Island - relaxing in the grass
There's much to do and discover in one of Budapest's most relaxing places, Margaret Island. You can try all kinds of outdoor fun. It's the perfect place for sporty people, as you can go for a dip in the island's very own bath, Palatinus Strand, or swim in its Olympic swimming pool. There's also a 5km running track encircling the island, without the noise and pollution of the city, providing a refreshing workout. If you’re into wildlife and nature, pet animals at its zoo, or take a stroll around the famously beautiful Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden. You can also try all sorts of fun vehicles like bringo carts, golf carts, electric scooters and even funny egg-shaped cars. This way you can see the whole island without getting tired. Make sure to check out the musical fountain which plays different songs every hour while spewing choreographed jets of water into the air. There are also some cultural sights to see, the chapel of St Michael, which contains the oldest bell in Hungary, cast in the 15th century and the ruins of a nunnery in which Saint Margaret lived, the nun the island is named after. If you get hungry from all the sightseeing, don't despair, there are a selection of restaurants and cafés on the island, find one that serves lángos, a Hungarian delicacy, or grab a beer and relax.
Chilling in a bath in Hungary
Budapest is famous for its thermal baths. The best-known ones are Gellért Baths and Széchényi Baths. Gellért Bath and Spa center has an open-air pool, an effervescent swimming pool, a Finnish sauna and a variety of other saunas and pools. They also have massages and other spa treatments for a fee. This complex was built between 1912 and 1918 and was renovated in 2008 for it sustained some severe damages in World War II. It's located next to Gellért Hill, where you can find one of the most important monuments of Budapest, Liberty Statue which commemorates troops that lost their lives for the country's independence. The panorama of the city which you can see from under the statue is breathtaking and a must-see before or after your bath. The Széchényi Bath is said to have medical effects on the ones dipping in its pools. Its water contains sulfates, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, and fluoride, which are believed to ease the pains of people with joint aches and other medical problems. There is also a range of thermal pools, sauna, and steam cabinets for those who want to relax.
Massages and beauty treatments are also available, and their outdoor pools are a sight to behold on cold nights with the steam rising. Széchényi Bath can be found in the City Park which is a great place to spend your time if you're looking for other leisure activities. There are sports facilities and a boating lake, which is transformed into an ice skating rink in winter. The Budapest Municipal Zoo and the Vajdahunyad Castle (housing the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture) can also be found here, and outside the park, there is the Time Wheel which one of the highest sand timers in the world.
Boat trip: instant sightseeing and party
As Budapest is sliced in half by Hungary's most magnificent river, Danube, there are many possibilities to try water-related transportation. If you want, you can rent private boats to cruise up and down, while checking out the sights by the riverbank, but if you're on a budget, the leading transportation company in the capital (BKK) also has scheduled riverboat cruises on the Danube which can be used with the tickets and passes mentioned earlier. Private boats will probably cost you more, but you get to decide when and where you want to go and also can start the party for the night. Scheduled boats, however, are a lot cheaper but they run with a fixed timetable and drinking alcohol is forbidden to them. You can see beautiful parts of Budapest while cruising on a boat - make sure to check out the Parliament, home to hundreds of governmental offices, the Chain Bridge, the Castle of Buda and the Castle district, the Fisherman's Bastion, and you will be thoroughly amazed.
Lunch in the Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall in central Budapest is the city’s most famous marketplace. Most locals use it for its original purpose, buying groceries and else for their daily life, but it has become incredibly popular with tourists too. The secret is in the vast rows of items offered and the high quality of locally grown and sourced fruit, vegetables and meat. You can also find souvenirs like lace, chess sets and leather goods on the upper floor if you're looking for some tangible memories of your stag weekend. If you get hungry while browsing, look no further. The market hall also has an array of lunch options, especially ones that count as local delicacies. Food stalls offer goulash and lángos, and in butcher's shops, you can usually get bratwurst with some mustard and a significant slice of white bread. If you feel like doing some real shopping before your night out, you're already in the right place, because Váci street, the shopping street of Budapest starts from the square in front of the market hall. On this street, you will encounter the stores of many global brands as well as cafés and restaurants. If you decide you need some more open air, check out Szabadság bridge. In summer it's often closed on the weekends, and youngsters swarm here to have a taste of freedom while drinking wine above the Danube.
Getting started on Deák square and Szabadság square
You have seen enough sights and want to get the night going? Head to Deák or Szabadság square and blend in with the local youth chilling in the grass with a bottle of wine. Deák is the absolute transport hub in the nightlife of Budapest. It's easily approachable with tram, subway or bus and provides a great grassy area to hang out. Actually ‘Deák' is a smaller part of the square and Erzsébet square mistakenly gets called Deák too, but it doesn't matter to the locals. In the Erzsébet part, you can also find a little bike park and the famous Budapest Eye from which you can see the whole city. In the middle of the squares, there are two pubs if you don't like sitting on the grass. Akvárium is actually below ground level, directly under a pool, it has some great outdoor areas, and inside it gives a home to one of the best concerts in Budapest. Almost next to it, Fröccsterasz is a trendy bar/club with themed parties on different nights of the week. Szabadság square is not too far from Deák.
It's also easily approachable and close to the Danube. It's the perfect place for afternoon picnics or drinks to start the night. It has an interactive fountain, a pub and from time to time, gives a home to free festivals with great concerts and broadcasts of sports events like the World Championship and the European Championship.
Nightlife: ruin pubs and party district
One of the things Budapest is most famous is its nightlife and ruin pub culture. They usually call vast chunks of downtown "the party district," pubs, clubs, and bars are so frequent. Interestingly, the history of the party district is closely linked to the Jewish district, giving it a fascinating cultural spin. The origins of ruin pubs can be originated from low rental prices of damaged buildings in the city. Currently, there are about 120 ruin pubs in Budapest, each unique in its form and awaiting guests. The ones you should give a visit are Szimpla, Fogas Ház, Pótkulcs, Kuplung, and Ellátókert. Some of them have their special brews of beer, wine or pálinka, that are worth a taste and they usually have many other choices on tap. As smoking indoors is forbidden in pubs and restaurants, open-air pubs are becoming increasingly popular as they provide shelter from the rain but let you smoke "inside". Ruin pubs are not exactly cheap, but they aren't expensive either and are worth every dime for the exclusive atmosphere they present. Bigger pubs like Fogas Ház usually have live music and dance halls too, so if you're already feeling the buzz, you don't have to search for another place to get your groove on.
Budapest gives you a chance to enjoy yourself in any way you can wish for on a relaxing weekend. Its many green areas provide you with space for great outdoor fun and games, the low prices make sure you can enjoy yourself the best you can without having to worry if you'll have enough left for the ride home. The enchanting party culture of the capital is one of a kind - it's so inviting and exciting that once you're there, you won't want to go home.