Muslim Traveler Guide to Budapest

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Fresh out of 3rd year of university and about to graduate, I wanted to fill my last ever summer holiday by traveling to as many destinations as I could. I wanted to start in Europe so I asked one of my closest friends if she wanted to come with me and let her decide on the European destination, she suggested Budapest and I agreed, not knowing a thing about what Budapest was like. It’s definitely a decision I don’t regret as Budapest was beautiful. One of the places where I’ve gotten the best photography shots for my travel page without even trying very hard. The sights are what made the pictures brilliant.

Top 2 Lifesaver Tips for Budapest:

  1. Wear comfy shoes: Make sure you take some comfy walking shoes! There are a lot of hills and steps in Budapest and most of the sights are a short walk from each other, a tram or bus is available but some sights are best seen on foot so take some trainers or comfy walking shoes.

  2. Take an empty bottle for water: Take an empty bottle with you or remember to buy bottled water from a supermarket; some tourist spots have very overpriced drinks. Sometimes it’s even difficult to find a place that sells bottled water near the sights, so remember to buy it beforehand.

Best neighborhood to stay in Budapest

From the UK, flights to Budapest can be found at pretty cheap prices, we decided to visit from the 14th to the 17th of June. The weather was very warm but it did rain on the last day (nothing we aren’t used to in England!).

We had previously decided to get a taxi from the airport as this would be the best option for us, we had researched the approximate cost so we knew we weren’t going to get ripped off. The taxi took us into the center of Budapest, where our apartment was, in 30 minutes.

Our apartment was a lovely one-bedroom apartment located right in the center of Budapest, within walking distance of most of the sights. Inside of the apartment is modern however, the outside wasn’t so much so we were pleasantly surprised when we got inside. The apartment building was very well secured with security gates and strong doors to prevent anyone from getting inside.

For my fellow Muslim travelers, there are generally no prayer mats at the apartments in Budapest so remember to bring your own!

There is a range of other apartments and hotels in Budapest for you to choose from too that have fantastic amenities and are friendly for Muslim travelers too.

Mosques in Budapest

There are a few mosques in Budapest. Masjid Darussalaam offers a women’s prayer section which is great for female Muslim travelers, however, this is closed during Friday prayers for Jummah. There is also the Budapest Mosque. We didn’t visit these mosques as our apartment was closer to the center than the mosques so we had the opportunity to go back to the apartment for prayers.

Halal Food in Budapest

Budapest has a range of halal food options, however, ensure that you don’t eat at the street kebab shops as many of them claim to be halal but in fact are not, so make sure you check for halal certification before eating in Budapest. We opted to have Pizza for dinner on the first night at an Italian restaurant called the Jerney Italian bistro; I really enjoyed the pizza and we sat outside so we could enjoy the view of Buda Castle and the river, with trams passing by just in front of the restaurant.

There is a lovely choice of restaurants near the promenade around the Budapest city center, the next day we ate at a Halal Lebanese restaurant called Baalbek; we really enjoyed the food here, unfortunately, this restaurant has shut down now. Other halal food options that you can check out in Budapest city center are Al-Amir restaurant, Curry House, Pappa Roti Café and Titiz Turkish Restaurant which all have good reviews online. Just make sure to check the halal certification and keep in mind that many of the restaurants, even the halal ones, serve alcoholic drinks.

Shopping in Budapest

When we arrived in Budapest, we checked in and went to a café for a small lunch and headed out to see the town center, the shopping district is called Váci Utca (or Váci Street) and is on the Pest side of town. The shopping street starts at Vörösmarty tér (Vörösmarty Square) and stretches all the way to the Great Market Hall.

I really enjoyed walking around the shopping district. The Great Market Hall is a recommended sight to see in Budapest; the market hall dates back to 1897, here you can find fresh goods such as fruits and vegetables, a large range of souvenirs, Hungarian paprika, bags, clothes, and Hungarian snacks.

The market hall tends to get busy around lunchtime, with locals looking for a lunch spot, so its recommended to go at quieter times (before 12pm and after 2pm on the weekdays), the market is busy all day on a Saturday and is closed on a Sunday.

Top Sights of Budapest for Muslim Travellers

Now onto the best part of Budapest for me, THE SIGHTS!

Budapest was one of my favorite places for photography because of the beautiful sights, around Budapest you might notice a lot of couples doing wedding photo shoots – definitely a great destination for Muslim couples to get some great shots- and a lot of photographers in general as the sights and views are astounding.

1. River Cruise

One of the things I really enjoyed in Budapest was the river cruise, we opted for a snack cruise where we were given Pizzas and a drink whilst floating around the Danube, taking in the beautiful sights. There is a range of different cruises you can choose online such as an evening cruise, candlelit dinner cruises, day cruises etc. I would really recommend a cruise as you get to know some history about Budapest and see most of the city’s main sights. A few sights you’ll notice on cruise tour are:

The House of Parliament,

The Chain Bridge,

Buda Castle,

Fisherman’s Bastion

The statue of St. Gellert.

Here is my favorite picture from the cruise, this is the House of Parliament.

2. The House of Parliament

We decided to visit inside the House of Parliament too, there are guided tours available throughout the day but make sure you book online in advance as this can get sold out quickly.

I took some photos inside the House of Parliament, however, photography wasn’t allowed everywhere and the guards do not mess about.

One guy on our tour group got too close to one of the swords on display and the guards rushed in to push him back so quickly that he hadn’t even realized that he had crossed the line (quite literally), so just remember to be respectful of their wishes inside.

3. St. Stephens Basilica

When we went to St Stephens Basilica, we decided to go inside too as it’s a very famous sight. After this, we walked along the promenade and across the Liberty Bridge to climb to Gellert Hill. From this hill, you can see amazing views of Budapest, the Citadella and the amazing Liberty Statue.

There’s also a cave church you can visit but unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time for this (or energy). The hike up takes around 20 to 30 minutes and you need to have some comfortable walking shoes on as there are around 200 steps to get to the top along with walkways.

At one point we decided to cut up the side of the hill by holding on to tree roots to get to the top faster (the hill is quite steep), then we saw a man slip back down through the mud so we quickly decided to use the walkways as it is much safer. The scenery was phenomenal from the hill, check out some of the shots I got below:

One of my favorite places in Budapest was the Fisherman’s Bastions and Matthias Church, I felt like I was in a fairy-tale, it is one of the prettiest places to see in Budapest and definitely ‘insta worthy’ as you can see from the shots below. We saw a lot of couples doing their wedding photoshoots here, it was quite busy and to visit the top of the bastion you need to pay extra.

Although it looks like Hogwarts, this is a picture of Matthias Church that I took from an evening walk along the promenade.

These are just some places we visited in Budapest, there are also other places you can visit such as Buda Castle, Margaret Island, Heroes Square, The Royal Palace and the Plaza Arena (shopping centre).

FYI: Another one of Budapest’s popular sights are the thermal baths, we didn’t visit these they are mixed gender so bear that in mind if you decide to book these.

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