What to pack for Budapest

Travel Tips — By Gyongi Asztalos on July 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Being a capital city bang smack in the center of Europe, Budapest holds no surprises for what to pack, if you are planning to stay within the city. So pack the default of shoes, t-shirts, shower gel and city map. Excursions to the outskirts, or sporting programs will make the packing process a bit more complicated. Plus, each season provides its own unique opportunities, so time of travel will greatly influence what to bring along!

Photo courtesy of: HikingArtist.com

Necessary items

  • Passport: This is the one thing that is completely independent of time and weather, that needs to be in the bag at all time and at all costs. Identification is necessary for practically everything around Budapest, from renting cars and mopeds all the way to reserving accommodation.

Winter:

  • Winter coats and snow boots: Hungary has harsh winters falling steeply into the minuses with plenty of snow even in the inner city, so do not leave yours at home! Hats, gloves and scarves are also a must.
  • Snowboard or ski sets: If you are into winter sports, the Buda hills are perfect for urban boarding, and transfers leave for smaller ski resorts around the country form Budapest. If you have your own equipment, packing them is not a bad idea, but renting is also possible and inexpensive!
  • Towels, swim suits and flip-flops: Surprisingly, these are not to be forgotten at home even in the winter, as Budapest being one of the great spa cities of Europe is abundant in baths houses open all year round. Nothing beats sitting in an outdoor pool full of steaming thermal water while it’s snowing and the pool staff are preoccupied by shoveling snow to keep the pool entrances free.

Spring and autumn:

  • Hiking shoes: This is the time to put them on and get out into the open. The Buda hills are great for shorter, or even all day excursions.
  • Bike:  If you have your own, bring it along, but again as with all sports equipment, it can be rented at a reasonable price.
  • Towels, swim suits and flip-flops, again, are a must. If you happen to have a small suit case, or do not like packing your whole wardrobe for a long weekend, bring the basics and buy or rent the rest in Budapest. Prices here are very low; regardless of Budapest not being the ultra budget destination it was ten years ago.

Summer:

  • Towels, swim suits and flip-flops: They dominate this season, along with high factor sun screen, as it can get very hot and humid in the city.
  • Empty water bottle: Something not to set foot onto the streets without, as there are numerous water fountains around the city spouting drinkable, what’s more very healthy and delicious mineral water.
  • Fan: also a good idea.

Totally unnecessary items

Completely useless things include canned food. It may be surprising that this even gets a mention, but Hungarians have a habit of taking food abroad with them when going on a budget trip. But because Budapest is surprisingly inexpensive compared to other European cities, eat out is the best idea! Plus, there are plenty of authentic Hungarian dishes waiting to be tried, without which a visit to the city would be incomplete.

Things you might not think to pack, but may come in handy

This may come as a shock, but an umbrella, rain coat or both will come in handy at one point or another! You may be thinking Budapest is not in Britain, but the odd summer shower or storm is not unlikely.

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