Budapest an East European liberal city now politically conservative


Budapest, Hungary’s capital, is bisected by the River Danube into Buda & Pest districts of the city. 

City Overview

Budapest is Europe’s ninth largest city and second largest city on the Danube river after Vienna.

The history of Budapest started as a Celtic settlement which was transformed from this Roman settlement. This city was divided and only by Hungarian battles was the establish of Budapest created. There was Ottoman rule by the Turks for 150 years. After the reconquest of Buda in 1686 the establishment of a global city after the unification of Buda, Óbuda and Pest on 17 November 1873, with the name 'Budapest' given to the new capital.

Budapest was governed by a Austro-Hungarian Empire but after the 1st world war was re-establish by the Hungarian Revolution in 1956.

Budapest was famous for commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education and entertainment in the region and was one of the second richest capital and city in the region after Bucharest.

Budapest is home to the headquarters of many European institutes for innovation, technology as well as numerous colleges and universities.

Hungary was considered an relatively open minded society with a visible LGBTQ community but in last 5 years the government changed and current leadership has adopted many anti-LGBTQ policies using false narrative connection for protection of family values which has create a hostile environment for LGBTQ community.

Gay travellers in Budapest should take special care in terms of public displays of affection where many residents are now more uncomfortable LGBTQ culture and hold more conservative attitudes, and outright homophobia due to government political stance on LGBTQ community rights.  

Getting Around

Public transport in Budapest is managed by the Centre for Budapest Transport which is amongst the largest in Europe operating a good service. There are 4 metro line on of which is the oldest underground railways in continental Europe. In addition to the metro lines there are 5 suburban railway lines, 33 tram lines, 15 trolleybus lines, 264 bus line of which many operate at night, 4 boat services and a smart bicycle sharing network. The quality of public transport and Budapest transport companies’ policy is to discourage use of private cars as much as possible other than taxis.

Airport Transfer

Budapest is served by Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD) which is one of the busiest airports in Central and Eastern Europe, located approximately 16 kilometres east-southeast of the centre of Budapest in the District XVIII. The airport can be reached via public transportation from the city centre using Metro line 3 or an airport bus.

In addition to taxis there are shared minibus services where the driver will drop you off at your hotel or Airbnb that are very popular and depart regularly depending on the hour which can be reserved for your return journey.

Places to stay

Most LGBTQ visitors to Budapest prefer to stay on the Pest side of the Danube, since it is closer to all the main attractions and to the city’s gay nightlife. The most booked hotels are all around the city centre in the 3 Districts V, VI and VII. From each of these districts you can walk to most of the tourist attractions and gay Budapest nightlife.

Of the 3 districts if you are a light sleepers then avoid District VII as this is where majority of nightlife and late night activity happens. If you choose to stay in District VIII the check careful the hotel reviews as some area are not so pleasant at night. 


Budapest has a similar feel to Paris with the Seine as a result of the Danube river. 

Chain Bridge is the first bridge to span the Danube River in Hungary which when completed united Buda and Pest as one city for the first time. There is an interesting local food market close to the bridge worth visit to see local foods, drink and other products

Andrassy Avenue in the heart of Old Budapest is a street featuring Neo-Renaissance mansions and the city’s main shopping district. Take a stroll along its storied streets and pop into cafés, restaurants, museums as well as many boutiques.

The Hungarian parliament building is the world’s third largest Parliament building with an iconic Neo-Gothic façade. The interior of the building feature stunning frescoes, statues, stained glass mosaics and the Holy Crown of Hungary.

Bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants

The majority of the LGBTQ or LGBTQ friendly bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants are in the District V close to each other. Given the government restrictions of LGBTQ rights search on the internet before your trip to identify one closest to your hotel to visit where you should find flyers for other business and parties in the city,

Saunas & Cruise Bars

The are two gay saunas which are both men-only. LGBTQ girls should visit the thermal baths.

Magnum sauna was the first gay sauna in Hungary. It’s a popular sauna for both locals & tourists but if you go at the wrong time can be empty. On Friday and Saturday evenings the sauna hosts themed parties.

Szauna 69 which like to promote itself as a party sauna is frequented by gay and bi men with mixed ages of both young and older men. 

The men-only gay club Coxx is a cruising club with multiple bars, cages, dark rooms etc etc. Action Bar is another cruising bar with drag shows at the weekend.

Rudas Thermal Batch is a beautiful, historic spa that is over 400 years old. Since the baths were founded during the time of Turkish Ottoman rule it has many of the key elements of a Turkish bath remain including a Turkish dome and octagonal pool.  This is not a gay sauna but they only welcome men on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. As you can imagine it is a mostly gay crowd. This is not a place to play around due to security but worth a visit if you have time. 


Budapest has a bohemian feel in many of the central shopping area of the city with lots of small  boutique style shops selling locally made products. In addition there are local food market selling local food stuff and for stopping for lunch of just for snacks or a refreshment break to rest your feet.

Main LGBT Events

Budapest Pride it the biggest LGBTQ event held annually in July since 1997, which is one of the biggest in Eastern Europe. The event is focused to campaign for social equality, LGBTQ rights as well as celebrating queerness via a fun street parade and other associated events. However in recent years due to political opposition LGBTQ right the event as has face opposition with the police separating marchers and those protesting against our right to political expression.


Currency – Hungarian Forint (HUF)

Language – Hungarian

Visas – Not needed for travellers from the US, Canada and Europe

Best Time To Visit – March - November

Timezone – Central European Time (GMT+2)

Homosexual Activity – Legal but political situation is anti LGBTQ. Be discreet !

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