These are my absolute favorite spots in Budapest:
- Tea: Zhao Zhou and Marumoto
- Baths: Szent Gellert and Szechenyi Thermal Bath
- Food: DOBRUMBA, Bors Gasztrobar, and Ket Szerecsen
The Two Best Tea Shops
These are the best of the best in a city with several great spots for tea aficionados.
Well-designed, modern, warm and welcoming shop. Owned by a successful entrepreneur who cares deeply about tea, especially Chinese tea. On the Buda side in a prime location facing the Danube.
I like Zhao Zhou the best because of the self-serve water options, the large communal seating area in the back, and the owner and staff’s friendly demeanor. My friend Tynan says it is his favorite tea shop in the whole wide world, and he’s seen a lot of tea shops. If you enjoy Chinese tea in the traditional style with multiple steepings, don’t miss this place.
High-end Japanese tea prepared with laser-like precision taught by a Japanese master. Their matcha is legit AF.
This is an excellent shop because of their care for the Japanese tea preparation and wonderful snack selection. Convenient location near the most popular church. Tynan claims the Japanese tea service here is as good as or better than many shops in Tokyo. The best green tea high that I’ve ever had was from a matcha and gyokuro tasting here.
Bonus: Flying Bird Tea House
Chinese tea specialists. Heat your own water, downstairs seating, good wifi, great selection for drinking or purchase.
In many other European cities, this shop would be the best. Not a top pick because I found the downstairs seating area and staff to both be a little cold. Still worth visiting.
Two Great Bath Houses
Budapest is famous for its public bath houses. These are the two that I’ve been to.
Indoor pools. Great photo opportunity. Good cabins. Very picturesque.
Szechnyi Thermal Baths
It was very nice to be outdoors in a huge fresh “hot tub” experience. Indoor and outdoor pools. Home to a famous bath party on weekends that supposedly gets quite rowdy (I’ve never been).
A few people mentioned the beer lounge onsite, but I didn’t find it. Small cold plunge pool. Near the zoo, which you should also visit.
Misc Budapest Bath House Pro-Tips
- Bring your own bathing suit and towel.
- When buying your ticket at check-in, spend extra to purchase the changing cabin instead of a standard locker. It is a small cost for large convenience. Easy to share between traveling companions (one buys the cabin, one buys a regular admission).
- Budget 1 hour. I thought I’d want to stay for 2 hours, but I was happy with the experience at 1 hour.
- Hydrate beforehand. And bring a water bottle.
Four Very Good Restaurants
- DOBRUMBA: I had the lamb burger and loved it. Recommended by locals. I’d return in a heartbeat for any meal.
- Bors Gazstrobar: “Street food” stall offers delicious soup, sandwiches, and large salads. I resisted coming here, but ended up loving it. Inexplicably Star Wars-themed. Small and crowded, no seating.
- Ket Szerecsen: Repeatedly recommended by locals. Great for dinner. Fancy-ish. Try the meat plate combination appetizer.
- Cirkusz: Excellent breakfast. Probably great for other meals, too.
Bonus: Solinfo for breakfast. Modern design, loose leaf tea served in a French press.
Why You Should Trust My List
To make this list, I visited 37 different places on two different trips to Budapest. This collection of top sights is largely based on my friend Tynan’s favorites. He has spent over two months in Budapest on many trips. I also used Foursquare to explore top-rated spots in the downtown area. Not listed here are many nice and good places that I did visit, as well as excellent places that I have yet to visit.
Thanks for reading! For more Budapest tips, check out: Tynan’s Budabest / The Best Things to Do in Budapest.