Budapest, Hungary has a plethora of nightlife options throughout the city (especially in Pest), whether you’re in the mood for a simple glass of Hungarian wine or ready to hit the dance floor all night long. Although I didn’t go out nearly as much as I thought I would during this trip, I do want to share 3 nightlife experiences that stood out to me. Keep on reading for ideas to get your nightlife planning started!
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Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar
Szimpla Kert is szimply a must-do while in Budapest, even if it’s a quick visit.
Why? Well, Szimpla is Budapest’s most well-known ruin bar, and for good reason: it was the first one to be built, back in 2004.
A unique feature of Budapest’s nightlife, ruin bars are casual spaces to eat, drink, and/or dance built in formerly abandoned buildings located primarily in the Jewish District. Szimpla in particular has a really cool atmosphere, with a sizable dance floor in the center of the ground floor and multiple rooms offering food, drinks, and places to gather.
The music was largely a mix of Top 40s hits, with some retro songs thrown in and a heavier emphasis on 90s/2000s pop. It was fun to bop to for a bit, but I honestly preferred the music at Instant Fogas more because there was a wider variety to dance to. Which brings us to…
Instant-Fogas is not for the faint of heart, but if you like to dance, then this is definitely your spot! Instant is a 7-in-1 dance complex, and I loved this place because it has multiple rooms with different music choices. You can head-bang to heavy metal; bop to some modern pop; vibe to electronic dance beats, and more!
Instant Fogas does tend to be crowded, and there are a LOT of people who smoke in the outside area (which I didn’t like at all). So just be aware of these factors when you go, and be prepared to keep your purse close to you as you navigate the crowd. Otherwise, prepare for an awesome night of dancing and fun!
Danube River Party Boat
Another fun nightlife option in Budapest is dancing the night away on a party boat that floats along the Danube River. This particular activity is one for which I signed up via my hostel in Pest, but there are multiple companies that throw this kind of shindig such as Budapest Boat Party.
I will note that the boat party will be filled with mostly, if not only, tourists; but the river is so gorgeous at night that you can combine seeing the city lights with having a good time. And to me, that made it well worth it!
There were drink specials included in our tickets as well, so the party passed by in a pleasant blur of boarding, grabbing initial drinks, socializing on the top deck while taking in the views of the city (Parliament was the best), and getting down on the dance floor.
This could actually be a great option for your first night out in Budapest, as it will help you meet more people with whom you can plan the rest of your night!
Overall, even though I got a mere sampling of what Budapest has to offer nightlife-wise, it was still a thoroughly enjoyable time! There is so much more to discover beyond these 3 places above; but I hope they help you jump-start the planning process for your own Budapest trip.