The capital and the most populous city of Hungary, Budapest has an aura like no other. A truly fascinating place for friends, couples, and backpackers, this mad party town will give you bliss, unmeasured. The ruin bars, storied market halls, history, and architecture of Budapest cater to people of diverse interests. From going to classy outdoor spas to exploring the exotic nightlife and tasting fantastic food, there are so many things to do in Budapest. We assure you – you will want to return for more!
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Best time to visit Budapest
The best time to visit Budapest is between March and May, and between September and November. This time is when the weather is pleasant, and the city has not filled with tourists.
Did you know?
The currency of Hungary is the Forint (HUF). 1HUF = 0.24 INR
25 Best Things to do in Budapest, Hungary
Here is a list of the 25 best things to do in Budapest, Hungary
1. Party at Szimpla Kert
A huge, dilapidated building with many rooms, Szimpla Kert must be on your list of must-visit places in Budapest. Decked with exciting artwork, communist memorabilia, and classy furniture, this famous and fantastic ruin bar is the best to explore what Budapest nightlife has in store for you. This bar has been the standard of Budapest nightlife since 2001. After this, several copy-cat bars have come up, but Szimpla Kert has never lost its position as the original and most famous ruin bar.
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Tip: Do not forget to order Unicum while you are here. It is the traditional herbal liqueur of Hungary whose taste is sure to linger in your taste buds for a long time.
2. Visit Fisherman’s Bastion
To enjoy great views in a fairytale-like setting, Fisherman’s Bastion is the place to be. As one of the tops must-visit places in Budapest, this is a fabulous neo-Gothic viewing terrace that is located on Castle Hill, on the Buda bank of the Danube. A structure that was built between the years of 1895 and 1902, Fisherman’s Bastion was a celebration of the thousandth birthday of the state of Hungary. You can climb over one of the ornate turrets and gaze at the boats slowly moving down the Danube.
Tip: Drop by one of the most famous patisseries of Budapest, Ruszwurm Confectionery, that is about 200 years old.
3. Relax with a Szechenyi Spa Bath
Amidst the hustle and bustle of Budapest, the Szechenyi Baths are an oasis of tranquillity. With provisions of luxury spa treatments, massages, and saunas, this is an experience worth having while in the city. Located in the splendour of an expansive 20th-century Turkish building, weekend nights here turn into something more debauched with the Sparty. For relaxed pampering and preening, visit Szechenyi during the day. If you want to indulge in a wet and wild night, the Sparties are what you must look forward to.
Fun fact: Szechenyi is the brainchild of a famous Hungarian party producer. Night-times offer unlimited alcohol, live electronic music, and an open bath.
4. Taste Lángos at Langosh
A traditional snack of Hungary, Lángos is a disc-shaped bread that is deep-fried and coated with cream cheese and garlic, salt, and Bolognese sauce or herbs. The best places to try this delicacy are from a street-side vendor or from the party vortex of Gozsdu Courtyard downtown where Langosh serves only Lángos until early hours. If fried bread and cheese are your favourites, we assure you, you will not stop with just one of these doughy delicacies.
5. Shop at the Great Market Hall
A restored Neo-Gothic tunnel, the Great Market Hall is the best place to shop for the local produce and beautiful handicrafts of the city. This place is ideal for architecture lovers as well because this structure is sure to be a sensory overload! You can purchase unique souvenirs and taste some irresistible dishes of Hungary. From fresh vegetables and pickles to meat, seafood, and so much more, everything that you will find here are worth every penny of yours!
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6. Stroll across the Chain Bridge
The Chain Bridge is a marvellous suspension bridge that has been operation since 1849 in Budapest — connecting the Buda (West) and Pest (East) sides of the city, the bridge arches over the Danube. The Chain Bridge was designed by an English engineer and built by a Scot, and is a symbol of economic progress and national pride. A stroll across this structure of architectural impressiveness and historical importance can give you some magnificent views that stretch for miles on both sides of the Danube.
Tip: Visit the Bridge at night for some fantastic views and lights.
7. Pay your respects to the Shoes on the Danube bank.
The Shoe on the Danube bank is a memorial to the tragic killing of 3,500 people during the Second World war by fascists in Budapest. A beautiful sculpture on the Danube bank that is made up of 60 pairs of cast iron shoes, it was designed by Can Togay and Gyula Pauer. The fascists who killed the civilians were the Arrow Cross militiamen in the city. The victims were ordered to remove their shoes before they were shot and their dead bodies fell into the river.
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8. Visit Flippermúzeum
Flippermúzeum is the famed pinball museum of Budapest that holds a ravishing collection of 115 pinball machines and 30 more old-school arcade games. Situated in a windowless basement in the city, the museum is illuminated only by the bright light of the pinball machines. The pinball parlour has a very hipster-like vibe to it and is definitely unlike every other museum you will ever visit. It is also the largest interactive pinball exhibition in Europe.
9. Visit the St. Stephen’s Basilica
As the largest Church in Budapest, the St. Stephen’s Basilica can hold about 8,500 people. It is one of the most iconic structures of Hungary. The first king of Hungary and the patron saint of the Church, St. Stephen’s mummified right hand has kept in a glass case on the left of the main altar. If this does not interest you, you can always admire the fantastic neoclassical architecture. You can also enjoy some great views from the cupola.
Fun fact: The top feature of the Church is its 96-metre high dome that is adorned on the inside with intricate religious beliefs.
10. Explore Margaret Island
The most appealing green space of Budapest, Margaret Island is a serene parkland on the Danube. A 2.5 kilometre-long island, it is connected with Buda and Pest by bridges on both sides. A peaceful space, you can explore what the island has to offer. You can also witness the spectacle of the musical fountain near the Margaret Bridge that comes on four times in a day. You will also find a zoo and a few cafes.
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11. Go clubbing in the Jewish Quarter.
The exuberant Jewish Quarter is also known as the seventh district. It is the centre of the edgiest bars, restaurants, and cafes. From the old Szimpla Kert to the newly merged eight-bar Instant and the party wonderland, Fogas Ház, the energy keeps going until 6 AM here. It also has some of the best food spots in the city.
Tip: For 24-hour snacks, you can check the Street Food Karavan, which is situated beside Szimpla Kert. Visit Kőleves, which is a Hungarian-Jewish spot for an exciting menu.
12. Visit the House of Terror
Once a feared place, Number 60, Andrássy Avenue was the headquarters of the secret police. Since 2002, the townhouse is home to a museum that commemorates those who suffered under the communist and fascist regimes. Spread across four floors, this museum has a blend of installations and interactive screens. You can even listen to first-hand accounts from survivors.
Fun fact: The basement of the museum is where the fascist Arrow Cross Party interned political prisoners.
13. Marvel at the Buda Castle
A 13th – century spectacle, the Buda Castle is situated over the Castle Hill. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Buda Castle also holds the National Gallery of Hungary, the National Széchenyi Library, and the Castle Museum. For those who wish to understand the Hungarian culture, visiting Buda Castle is one of the most exciting things to do in Budapest.
14. Take a boat ride down the river Danube.
Relax with a boat ride down the Danube for an hour. There is nothing better than to sip on a cocktail in hand below the starlit sky while you enjoy the views. Go onboard and see what nights at Budapest have to offer to you. The boat ride is one of the best things to do in Budapest for couples or for those who enjoy a night cruise.
15. Indulge in prayer at the Dohany Street Synagogue
The Dohany Street Synagogue is the largest place of worship in Europe for the Jews. Opened in 1859, the incredible architecture and interiors of the Great Synagogue will guide you through the Jewish history in Hungary. The Hungarian Jewish Museum & Archives and the Holocaust Tree of Life Memorial must be visited.
16. Dine at Mazel Tov
Budapest is always thriving with excellent restaurants that are situated in old aesthetic buildings. The summers allow you to dine in breezy courtyards or cosy terraces. Dining at Mazel Tov is one of the most beautiful things to do in Budapest. This is the best terrace in the city from where you can watch people go by and catch some pleasant sunshine. An expansive ruin bar that is lined with trees, Mazel Tov serves delicious Israeli / Mediterranean food.
17. Relax at Memento Park
An open-air park that showcases statues of Communist leaders such as Marx, Lenin, and Engels, the Memento Park will tell you how Hungary was under the dictatorship of Stalin. There is also a provision for cinema where you can view some old propaganda films.
18. Take a tour of the Parliament House.
One of the most well-known landmarks of Budapest, the Parliament House can be toured in about 45 minutes. It is a building with 691 rooms that is popular for its Gothic Revival architecture, elegant painting, and intricate statues. The political history of Budapest can be traced with the anecdotes of a tour guide.
Did you know?
The Parliament House is the third largest Parliament building in the whole world!
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19. Tour Budapest on a bike
One of the most fun things to do in Budapest, going on the Budapest bike tour is very informative as well. You can cover a distance of about 16 kilometres. There are several scenic routes and many open roads free of traffic that can be covered with a bike. A bike tour led by experts will give you much insight into the history of the city while you pass by famous landmarks such as St. Stephen’s Basilica, Szechenyi Baths, and the Vajdahunyad Castle.
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20. Take the funicular railway.
A short cable car ride that connects the Chain Bridge to the Adam Clark Square, the funicular railway is at river level to the Buda Castle on top. Taking the railway gives you a fun and easy way to explore the castle without making an effort to climb to the top by foot. The ride is only for 10 minutes at the cost of EUR 5.50 for an adult return. You can comfortably take this ride and your adverseness to exercise will not cost you much either!
21. Go on the secret walking tour.
A tour where you can explore the quirkier, lesser-known sights of Budapest, going on the secret walking tour is one of the most exciting things to do in Budapest. Witness the hidden parts of the city, including some tranquil private gardens while listening to some fascinating tales from your tour guide. This activity is ideal for families and for those who are curious to know how the magnificent city sprouted up.
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22. Visit Gellert Hill
Situated at a great height, the Danube Gellert Hill holds a Citadel and the Liberty Statue. It was built to mark the liberation from the Nazis. After the end of the Second World War, the inscription of the Liberty Statue has changed. This happened when Communism fell in 1989 in Hungary. The Hill also has the Gellert Hill Cave Church which is the setting of a natural cave where a church has established. The Pauline monks built it.
23. Chill at the New York Café
Famed as one of the most beautiful cafes in the whole world, the New York Café gives some great vibes in the city. Being here is like having a drink at the Sistine Chapel while you watch the décor of the Italian Renaissance in the form of the ornate ceilings and walls throughout your visit.
24. Visit the Hospital in the Rock
Situated right below the Buda Castle, the Hospital in the Rock used to be a secret emergency hospital. It was a nuclear bunker which served as the treatment spot for thousands of patients who were treated here during the Second World War.
Tip: You can visit the Hospital in the Rock only on a guided tour.
25. Savour Ice-cream at Gelarto Rosa
One of the best ice cream parlours in the city, Gelarto Rosa is a must-visit place. The Gelarto Rosa ice-cream cones are rose-inspired. Make sure to stop by and taste the fantastic ice-cream here.
Budapest Tourist Information
Visit the following website for official Budapest tourism information
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Go ahead, explore all that this fantastic city of Budapest has in store for you!