The capital and most populous city of Hungary surprises us and conquers at every step. It occupies the two banks of the river Danube unifying the cities of Buda (west bank) and Pest (east bank). We had been told so much about this city … that we really wanted to live it, and that is that Budapest has nothing to envy to the great European capitals. We share 15 things to do in Budapest.
Budapest has something for everyone: for foodies, cultures, alternatives … There are lots of things to do! And we, after squeezing the city to the fullest, are going to tell you what we consider its essentials and we are going to give you, as always, more personal advice so that you can enjoy the city to the fullest. Here we go!
As I always recommend in most European cities, a very good option to not miss any detail of the city. And its most famous corners is the mythical “ free tour
“, Which has different schedules. There are several companies that offer these tours and they all have the same operation: at the end of the tour, you make the contribution that you consider appropriate.
Things to do in Budapest
This impressive building will attract your attention as soon as you see it. It is the most representative building in Budapest and, we cannot deny it, it impresses. You can see it from the hills of Buda, walking along the banks of the Danube, day or night … it will leave you with your mouth open.
Near the Parliament, ou will find a statue of Imre Nagy, which has become an icon if you go in search of a beautiful and historic photograph. The Hungarian politician turns his back on a Soviet monument and the American embassy and looks forward to the democratic future, represented by Parliament.
The Chain Bridge is the most famous in the city, always guarded by two pairs of lions that have become an emblem of the place. From there you will have beautiful views of the two banks of the Danube (and of course, also the Budapest Parliament!). When you cross it, you will be able to access the different hills located on the side of Buda, from where when you climb you can enjoy some wonderful views of Pest.
As I said, there are different hills that I consider essential visits during your stay in Budapest. In addition, you know that in Good Morning World we are in love with the viewpoints and during our trips, e always look for the best to be able to structure the city well in the head and, of course, enjoy its beauty. In Budapest, several stand out, where you can see Pest from different perspectives. It is one of the best things to do in Budapest.
Fisherman’s Bastion: this beautiful viewpoint characteristic for its seven towers is the perfect place to end the day with a wonderful view of the city. Next, o it, you will also find the famous Matthias Church, whose roof covered with colored tiles attracts attention.
Buda Castle: t is another emblematic building where you will find beautiful views of Pest. It also houses the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the Széchenyi Library. To reach the Buda Castle you can climb on foot or by taking a cable car at the foot of the hill. The climb costs 1,200 HUB (about € 3.60).
The Citadel: Although we liked the views from the Fisherman’s Bastion, this fortress is the highest point in Budapest.
Gellert Hill: very close to the Citadel is this hill where you can enjoy good views of the city.
This imposing square is a bit far from the city center, but it is one of the essentials when it comes to touring Budapest
. On one side is the Museum of Fine Arts, and inside you can see more than 100,000 works from all periods of European art.
Its price is 1600 HUF (about € 5) per adult for permanent exposure and 2,000 HUB (about € 6) if you also visit the temporary exhibition.
As a fact for the most curious, very close you can find one of the largest hourglasses in the world: it measures 5 meters and is called “wheel of time”. The ‘sand’ inside takes 365 to move from side to side, so it turns around every new year.
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The star park of Budapest is next to the Heroes’ Square and deserves a good walk. As soon as you arrive, from the bridge that gives you access, you will see Vajdahunyad Castle, which, apart from appearing from a story, is home to the largest Agriculture Museum in Europe. In this park you can have a picnic, sit in one of its bars for a drink or have fun with the different activities it offers:
Rent a pedal boat to tour the pond that, although not very large, can be entertaining. The price is about € 6 per hour.
Rent an electric car to have fun in Budapest. The price is about € 10 per hour. If you fancy the experience, take advantage.
This street is one of the main arteries of the city and here most of the great brands of the city are concentrated. Fashion lovers can’t miss it, and those who don’t (like me) can’t either. Its neo-Renaissance buildings are beautiful and the street deserves a good walk. It has also been declared a World Heritage Site as it is considered one of the most beautiful walks in the world. When finished, do not forget to go to the Basilica of San Esteban – right next door – and walk its pedestrian street (Zrínyi u.) Surrounded by wonderful terraces, shops, and restaurants. It is one of the best things to do in Budapest.
On this famous avenue, you will find some of the most classic buildings in the city, such as the Hungarian National Opera Palace, the Operetta Theater or the so-called Casa del Terror (headquarters of the secret police, full of tragic memories.
For lovers of literature and coffee, on this street, you can not miss the Alexandra Book Café, a perfect place to do A break during the walk along this avenue.
This is one of the most popular activities to do in Budapest and it is very worthwhile. Crossing the Danube observing Buddha and Pest is an incredible experience both night and day. There are different alternatives to carry out this activity and I explain them below:
Boat trip on the Danube: it will be during the day, on a panoramic boat and you will see the most famous buildings and bridges. Includes drinks. It is one of the best things to do in Budapest.
Boat trip at dusk: you will enjoy Budapest when night falls, the boat is panoramic and has uncovered parts.
Dinner cruise and live music: dining on a boat, with music and crossing the river Danube is something you will always remember. To book here.
Cruise with pizza and an n bar: enjoy the views of Budapest, choose your favorite pizza and go for a beer and soft drinks bar.
Discover the most alternative Budapest
As we said before, Budapest has something for everyone. It does not lack its bohemian and alternative environment. If you go in search of original places, charming restaurants, and kitchens from all over the world and in short, that “I don’t know what” that we always end up falling in love in the cities, in Budapest you will find it and much.
When we talk about the environment we like in Budapest, we must refer to the “district VII” ( Erzsébetváros) and the Jewish Quarter. Here we can find bars, cafes, restaurants, and discos. In the streets, really and Nagymezo dozens of bars and pubs crowd with their terraces in summer and winter. On Madách Imre street you will find a lively square full of terraces and bars and, without a doubt, you should not miss the eternal passage of Gozsdu Udvar, full of more restaurants, terraces, and bars on both sides. It has really impressed me with the atmosphere of Budapest and the infinite number of alternatives it offers.
If we talk about the alternative environment and the different proposals that Budapest offers we can not stop talking about the already famous ruin pubs. These are old abandoned premises that have been rehabilitated as bars and their decoration will not leave you indifferent. If you have time I recommend you to take this tour through the best ruin bars in the city. It will be a fun night. It is one of the best things to do in Budapest.
If you do not have that time but without a doubt, this type of bars attract your attention and you would like to be able to enjoy them and discover them on your own, I recommend you not to miss the mythical Szimpla Kert, Fogas Haz, Kuplung or Koveles kert. Go have a drink and hallucinate, because in these places everything is allowed.
Taste Hungarian cuisine
Hungarian cuisine is rich in spices and condiments, with Paprika or pepper as its main ingredient. Both sweet and spicy – that is used in most of its typical dishes.
Without a doubt, the most typical dish in Hungary is goulash or goulash. Whose origin is very old and humble since it comes from the peasants. It is a stew prepared with meat, accompanied by cereals, legumes and of course paprika. You will find it both in restaurants and in street stalls and in one of the Central Market stalls, itis exquisite.
Another characteristic dish, although also well known in several of the neighboring countries, is the lobsters. It is not a typical dish of restaurants (although with the current gastronomic revolution …), but of street stalls. It is fried bread, usually flat, whose base consists of a dough of flour with fresh yeast, milk, sugar, and salt. Above, they put as many ingredients as you want: cheese, bacon … Do not leave without trying it!
Fall in love with your Central Market
When I thought that nothing could surprise me more in the Hungarian capital, I discovered its Central Market. It has two floors: in the first one the locals buy all kinds of fruits, vegetables, sausages or meats while the second one is focused on the tourist, with stalls where you can taste the typical Hungarian culture dishes (do not miss their goulash and lobsters ) and also – how not – others where to buy different souvenirs. It is one of the best things to do in Budapest.
We have been told that, on the second floor, the Bridge-Tours restaurant organizes Hungarian cooking classes. If you are interested and you attend … tell us everything!
Stroll through the Jewish Quarter
As we have told you before, in the Jewish quarter of Budapest, apart from sad memories, one of the most alternative areas of the city is currently located. This area has become a lively cultural center and you should not miss Kazinczy utca street, known as “the cultural street”, where in addition to finding some of the most famous ‘ruin pubs’, you can visit alternative art galleries, bars that you will be surprised or various stores that will get your attention.
Once here, you cannot leave without visiting the Budapest Synagogue, as it is the largest in Europe. If you are interested you can book a tour through the synagogue with a guide in Spanish, and if you want to know this neighborhood with history.
Relax in a Spa
Did you know that Budapest is a thermal city? Spas are one of the most famous attractions in the city, but we recommend them only if you have had time to discover the city before. If so, a thermal tour will be wonderful and, in Budapest, they are considerably cheaper than in other European cities. If you are determined, we recommend you relax in the swimming pools of the Széchenyi baths.
Tour Margarita Island
This island is located on the Danube river, between Buda and Pest. It is the largest park in Budapest, with two and a half kilometers in length, a place to find nature and tranquility. We love to disconnect from the city or cycle through its tracks and parks. You can go to see as ruins of the Convent of Santa Margarita, remains of small churches, a small zoo … It also has thermal spas and swimming pools (with water slides!) And, in summer, bars and restaurants open and can enjoy music live.
Margarita Island is linked to the city by two bridges through which it can be accessed by public transport or on foot: the Margarita Bridge and the Arpad Bridge.
Discover other charming neighboring cities
More or less near Budapest, you will find some beautiful cities that are well worth a getaway. If you have more days, take advantage and discover Vienna, Prague or Bratislava. You can also book a 4-day tour with departure and arrival in Budapest that includes transportation, accommodation, and activities in Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague.
These are my 15 essentials to see and do in Budapest according to my tastes and experience. What is your favorite? What other wonderful places in Budapest would you add to this decalogue? Share it with us! We will love to read from