15 Best Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is one of the countries with numerous fun spots that you should visit at least once in a lifetime. Hungary's capital is an excellent site with fantastic architecture, flavorsome food, good music, stunning art, and fascinating hospitality. Budapest is also known for its communist and Jewish heritage, not to mention its distinctive folk culture.

This is one city with a vast number of fun places to visit, and you can never be bored in Budapest. The atmosphere here is electric, and the views from around the Danube are absolutely stunning. Go to Budapest if you enjoy the alternative side of life, you’re on a budget, you’re interested in the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. Its super-affordable even for the budget traveler who is traveling on a shoe-string! Its still on the Forint and not on the Euro.

Looking for the perfect combination of culture and luxury, Budapest, the Hungarian capital, is the hottest spot for new couples. This place is lovingly called 'Little Paris in Central Europe'. There is no shortage of magical spots, world-class restaurants and shopping places in Budapest. The city has a rich history of thousands of years.

As soon as you reach Budapest and check in your hotel, go straight for a free walking tour around the city covering the following places - Vorosmarty square, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Castle Hill and Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, St. Stephens Basilica and finally see the Hungarian Parliament lit up at night. The fascinating places of Budapest are Chocolate Museum, Budapest Evening Sightseeing Cruise, Chain Bridge, Margaret Island, and Lake Balaton.

The best thing is how safe the area is, especially for tourists. The city holds one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe. There are around 200 museums, thermal baths, vibrant street art, alternative legendary nightlife, delicious food and lot more places.

Most importantly, there are famous ruin bars build on old buildings which became the most visited and attractive point for visitors to enjoy its cheap drinks and maze rooms. Most of the Historic destinations and the city center of Budapest lies in a walkable distance. As traffic is restricted on Castle Hill, walking is the best way to visit places in the city and so pedestrian paths are made in the Pest.

Like other cities, Budapest also has an amazing public transportation system, where most of the streets are lined up with cables, streetcars (trams), trolleybuses and efficient subway system. Well, there are many interesting places to see in this beautiful country. If you are looking for history, good food, the Danube and great architecture, you should consider visiting Budapest. The beautiful capital is home to the Hungarian Government, Buda Castle, the Hungarian Opera House, the Gercse Parish Church and many others.

Best Things to Do in Budapest

It can be hard to decide what to do and where to go, but these are the top-rated fun places that you should not miss visiting when in Budapest.

1. Margaret Island

Margaret Island is a place you should stop by if you love islands or have never been to one. You can get to the bridge by boat and have a pleasant experience - the ride is totally free! Alternatively, if you fear water, you can go by train or bus. That will cost you a small amount, but you will get to the island within no time.

Why Margret Island? This island has fun activities you can visit. If you are a swimmer, there is the Olympic swimming pool, go running, and zoo for animal lovers. Other fun activities are climbing the water tower, observing the island's landmarks, checking out the musical fountain, and wandering the Japanese Garden.

2. Shoes on the Danube Bank

Budapest offers spectacular views of the Danube River and good opportunities for lovers of opera, museums and spas.

Hungary’s Parliament Building lies on the banks of the river Danube. So visit the Danube Promenade next. Shoes on the Danube are an important memorial on the promenade. The significance of the 60 pairs of iron shoes is to reminisce the dark times of Hungarian history. It is a tribute to hundreds of those who lost their lives during World War II due to the Arrow Cross Rule.

3. Heroes' Square

Next set foot in Heroes' Square. It is a popular landmark and the largest square in Budapest. The art in Hungary is impressive, and Heroes' Square, in Andrassy Avenue, is proof of this. This is an ever-busy place, and it's advisable to book a spot in advance. This square is said to be the largest in Hungary, and it is symbolic as well.

The sculptures in Heroes Square pay tribute to the superiors of the Hungarian tribes who established Hungary. This site is lovely, especially at night. If you are a lover of fairy tales or have kids who love Disney stories, the Heroes' Square is a replica of the magical castles depicted in these stories.

4. Fisherman’s Bastion

The Fisherman’s Bastion is a startling and beautiful pillar that is found in the Buda castle.

5. Buda castle

You don’t see palaces everywhere in the world. The palaces and cathedrals in Budapest, especially Buda Castle, are breathtaking. You have to see them for yourself! The Buda Castle (Budavári Palota) is a medieval castle dating back to the 1260’s. The first king to reign from the castle was Béla the Fourth.

Little of the old castle remains today, as a large Baroque palace was built between 1749 and 1769, completely with a dome and numerous rooms for the Royal Family. This beautiful castle houses the Museum Of History and the National Gallery now. The castle was built in the 18th century, and it is always open for visits at any time and day. The entrance fee is also very affordable. This is an excellent location to take charming and likable photos.

6. Gellért Thermal Bath

Budapest is a spa mecca of all varieties baths from healing waters, Turkish bath, water and natural sources. Budapest is famous for its various indoor and outdoor pools and is also the city of spas.

Gellert baths is the best thermal spa baths worldwide. What makes it unique is that Gellert baths is a naturally existing hot spring bath. This is a good relaxation point that helps to relieve stress. Aside from its stunning hot water, the place also has incredible landscapes and architecture. Visit Gellert baths for cosset massage therapies and spa treatments at cost-friendly prices.

7. Szimpla Kert

Having come out from behind the iron curtain 30 years ago, Hungary has quickly gone about carving its own post-soviet path. Nowhere is this better encapsulated than in Budapest, and in particular in the city’s Jewish Quarter. The area’s ruin bars, where drinks are served in repurposed factories, offices, garages and homes, offer an amazing experience, and street art is found everywhere.

Jewish Quarter is ideal for a number of fun activities. This place has a fascinating and colorful history which you can learn when you get there. The Jewish Quarter has excellent restaurants like Dobrumba with amazing delicacies. This Quarter is bright-colored and beautiful, especially at night. You can buy fashionable clothes and other stuff at relatively low prices.

Finally, end your day have fun at one of the Ruin Bars. They are super cool. Visit this place called Szimpla. One of the characteristics of Budapest is its crowd of ruin bars. They have become a symbol of the Hungarian capital and a full-fledged tourist attraction, as well as being the cornerstone of the nightlife in the city. The name is due to the poor state of the buildings in which these bars are located.

The building is not officially in ruins (since it would be totally illegal to set up any kind of business here). It's just old, disheveled, with chipped walls, retro furniture and screaming for reform. But that is the essence of all this. Many times the whole building works as a bar. In other cases it is only a part, but in general there are usually many rooms and nooks or hiding places with tables and chairs reused, old and different from each other.

There are furniture and vintage and retro objects, and decorative objects that range from bicycles, computer cathode monitors, bathtubs and even Trabants. The first Ruin Bar was the Szimpla, the most famous of all Budapest, so famous that most of its visitors are tourists, in fact many just go to take the photo and take a tour of the bar without consuming anything.

The tourist boom has pushed up prices a lot and the usual clientele has almost disappeared and marched to the new Ruin Bars that have sprung up in the capital like mushrooms after the rain, and which are cheaper and less saturated. In spite of everything, Szimpla Kert in the Jewish Quarter in Erzsébetváros is a must on a trip to Budapest, and it is still advisable to have a beer, a shot of Palinka (the typical Hungarian brandy), or a cappuccino.

With an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, Szimpla Kert is a pub and a tourist attraction. It is loved for the cheap priced drinks and its peaceful environs. This famous ruin bar in Budapest became popular because it was established in a deserted place.

Szimpla Kert is definitely for everyone, and the place is harmonious, and the people there are amiable. Szimpla Kert is crowded mostly at night with lovely people- it's an excellent place to meet and make new friends. This bar offers drinks, tasty street food, baked products, and other mouth-watering delicacies. This amazing place also randomly offers free weekly concerts to people.

Start with ‘Warm-Up’, a dog-friendly cocktail bar to ‘warm-up’ before a big night and head on to Anker’t, a large ruins pub/club with a great outdoor area.

One of the most famous ruin bars in Budapest is the Kőleves Kert. Very near there is Anker't, in the VI district, also well known in the Hungarian night. On the festive Király Street, is another famous Ruin Bar, so is Fogas ház, on Akácfa Street. In recent years they have multiplied, not only in Budapest, other Hungarian cities such as Szeged or Pécs also have their ruinbars.

8. House of Terror

Next, go sightseeing to the State Opera and the House of Terror. Nothing is terrifying yet exciting at the same time as horror. The House of Terror in Budapest is a museum that explores horrifying historical memories. This museum is located at Andrassy út 60, and it commemorates all the evil and suffering that took place in Hungary during the 2nd world war.

The House of Terror is a place for people to learn the harsh reality of war and brutality. This place is not for the weak-hearted because the museum exhibits frightening happenings that are not so pleasing to the eye. All in all, the museum is legendary, and it opens from Tuesday to Sunday.

9. Szechenyi Thermal Bath

Have lunch and to ease yourself, take a dip in the waters of Szechenyi Thermal Bath. Well known Széchenyi Thermal Bath holds Europe's largest thermal baths. Experience the Sparty, spa and party in one. Szechenyi Spa Baths is the largest thermal baths in Europe with 15 indoor baths and 3 large outdoor baths. Do not miss this when visiting Budapest.

10. Hungarian State Opera

This opera house is located in Andrássy út, Budapest. The architectural design of this opera house is just out of this world. All people who love opera should visit the place. Even those who don't should visit this opera house because it might change your mind about opera music.

The first activity in the Hungarian State Opera House is a guided tour in various languages throughout the fantastic building after the tour comes a short period of opera concert, which is optional.

11. Central Market Hall

This is yet another excellent tourist attraction site in Budapest. Budapest has different markets like Central Market (Great Market Hall), Szimpla Kert Sunday Farmer’s Market, Hunyadi Square Market, Belvárosi Piac (Hold Utca Food Market), Fromage.

There are also delicious food at restaurants. Langosh is the place to explore and taste the best traditional Hungarian food. This is a best-rated hotel and the best option for a tourist because of its exclusive hospitality. Why should you go to Langosh? Good cheese and bread, the best you will ever taste. If you ever feel hungry in Budapest, drop by Langosh, and you won't regret it.

The traditional food of Budapest is Goulash and Stropachka (a Hungarian version of spaetzle). Langos is the popular street food of Budapest with ingredients such as fried dough, shredded cheese, and sour cream. The weirdest thing is Jewish cuisine is readily available in the city but not in Jewish quarters.

Budapest is generally expensive in terms of food as compared to many other places in Europe but there are many restaurants which are comparatively cheaper than other restaurants. The restaurants that offer low-cost food for the one with less food budget in Budapest are Bors GastroBár, Buddies Burger, Pizzica, Retro Büfé, Lángos Papa, TöLTő, Budapest Bagel, Street Food Karavan.

The Ecseri Flea Market, also known as Ecseri Bolhapiac, is a place to buy reasonably priced unique antiques and goods that will help you remember your trip to Budapest. This market has a variety of exciting vintage merchandise like jewelry, toys, furniture, paintings, and other things from the previous centuries.

If You are a lover of history and culture, you should visit the Ecseri Flea market and purchase a unique piece of worldly goods.

12. Gellert Hill

Wake up in the wee hours of the morning and hike up the Gellert Hill. It is a long walk with a considerable number of stairs, through the view makes it worthwhile. Next visit Matthias Church and finally take a stroll around the Central Market Hall. Since Budapest is home to a large Jewish community, make sure to visit Dohany Street Synagogue. End your day exploring cafes and fashion places at Vaci Street.

13. Széchenyi Chain Bridge

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is a 375-metre long chain bridge connecting the shores of Buda to Pest, the old two “halves” of modern-day Budapest. Under this magnificent bridge runs the Danube river. Opened in 1849, it served as an important connection and became a landmark. It was destroyed in World War II, but rebuilt and reopened in 1949.

Budapest has a great tram system, however the city has fantastic walk-ability, its very easy to hop from Buda to Pest just by walking over the Chain Bridge. Highly recommended. Not only great exercise to banish the ‘travel bloat’ from the long-haul flight and European carbo-dense cuisine, you see more when you walk.

14. Hungarian National Gallery

Famous for Opera, many visitors to Budapest from other parts of Europe visit the city just for that. If art is you bag, then the Hungarian National Gallery is worth a look, housing works from famous Hungarian sculptures and painters. Very easy to spend an afternoon wandering through. The HNG holds different exhibitions.

15. Buda Hills

As part of the honeymoon celebration, newlyweds can go for a walk in the garden of St. Park with their hands on the water. Buda Hills can be chosen if you want to spend some time alone. There are opportunities to control stress and enjoy the charming nature of motorcycle rental. It might be nice to go to the Stalagmite Cave there.

There is bus transportation available also in Buda Hills. There are some night buses run which are marked with alphabet ‘E’ on it.

Budapest is indeed a fun place with a variety of exciting activities. These are just but some fantastic places in Budapest because there are hundreds of interesting sites in Hungary. Budapest is ideal for enjoyment since it accommodates all kinds of interests and people. Budapest is in good proximity to other parts of Central, West and Eastern Europe. 2 hours to Austria, 5 hours to Italy and 2 hours to Croatia. Slovenia is a neighboring country and worth a look.
Kalyan Panja