Are you planning a trip to Budapest and want to know all about things you can do in Budapest? Take a look at the tips on this page and make the most out of your holidays in the beautiful and romantic Hungarian capital.
#1 Visit a thermal bath
Budapest is famous for its thermal baths. The city is lying on natural warm water sources and this resulted in the appearance of over 125 bathhouses. And thanks to this huge amount of spas the city is sometimes referred to as ‘the city of spas’. As you can image bathing is a very important part of the Hungarian culture. And some of the bathhouses exist since the Ottoman reign in the 16th century. The more modern bathhouses which were being build in the 20th century showcase more wealth and beautiful architecture. Its not only a pleasure for the body to visit a spa, but also a pleasure to the eyes. If you are in Budapest and you have some time to spare visiting a spa is a must do. Do you want to know where to go? Read the article best thermals baths in Budapest.
#2 Walk across the chain bridge when it’s dark
The chain bridge was once designed to connect Buda and Pest – the two sides of the city – and nowadays it has become an iconic landmark. Not only is the bridge a convenient way to cross from Pest to Buda or viceversa, but it’s also just a beautiful bridge. But the magic happens when the sun has set. Why? Simply because Budapest is wonderfully lit during night. The Hungarian Parliament Building looks amazing with all its little lights. And also the Fisherman Bastion, the Budacastle look gorgeous when its dark. During these hours you can see the city in its full glory. Go for a romantic stroll across the chainbridge with your loved one, or simply enjoy the view on your own.
#3 Take a ride in one of the most beautiful tramlines
For less then a euro you can step on board of Tram 2. It’s at number 7 of National Geographic’s Top 10 of most beautiful tramlines in the world. And once you get in you will understand the appeal of this tramline. It takes you past the banks of the Danube and offers you an amazing view of the Pest-side of the city. Where you can see the Fishermanbastion and Buda castle. You will also pass the Hungarian Parliament Building and you will be able to spot the above mentioned chainbridge.
#4 Buy fruit on the most beautiful market in Europe
Not only can you experience one of the most beautiful tramrides of the world in Budapest, but you can also enter the most beautiful market in Europe. The Great Market Hall has been officially given this title and has won lot of awards and prices for its architecture. And as soon as you step into the markethall you will understand why. The big arched windows, the unique structure of the building, the steel construction and the pretty lightfall will surely impress you. Add up to this the colors of the vegetables and fruits, the sight of the fresh fishes and the little store with typical Hungarian products and you can probably imagine the beauty of this place. Stroll past the stalls and buy some fruits on you way.
#5 Drink local beer in a ruin bar
One of the things you should check out in Budapest are the ruin bars. I hear you thinking: ‘what’s a ruin bar?’. This is a bar in a building which was on the list of being demolished. But instead of demolishing it smart people decided to make bars in there. The most unique bars you have ever seen! The interior of most of those bars looks like its from a thrift shop. But that makes them quirky, artistic and a bit crazy. I bet it’s like something you have never seen before. And where can you find a better place to drink an local beer, wine or pálinka (Hungarian schnapps)? It’s also possible to go during day if you prefer that. The most famous ones is Szimpla Kert
#6 Enjoy the view on Gellért hill
In Budapest you have a lot of spectacular views. But the one from Gellért hill is unbeatable. At least if you consider the viewpoint closest to the city. The peek of the hill is 771ft (235m) high and from here you have an a splendid view over the danube and over both the Buda and the Pest-side of the city. You’ll find here also the statue of liberty. Make the wonderful walk to the top and you will understand why this hill is on the Unesco World Heritage List.
#7 Pay a visit to a Hungarian coffeehouse
Hunary has a rich tradition in coffee and coffeehouses. In the beginning of the twentieth century coffeehouses started to appear everywhere. They became important meetingplaces for writers and poets. But also the average Hungarian liked to go to a coffeehouse to enjoy some time there and to here the latest news and gossips. Unfortunately a lot of them got destroyed during the second World War. But the goods news is: you can still visit some of the most beautiful coffeehouses. Maybe you’ve heard from New York Café? If you walk in here you have the feeling that time hasn’t passed and you step in back time. It’s been chosen as the ‘most beautiful coffeehouse in the world’. Other famous ones are Ruszwurm and Café Gerbeaud.
#8 Walk around the Fisherman’s Bastion
Just like the Hungarian Parliament building and the chainbridge, Fisherman’s Bastion is iconic in Budapest. This sight is located next to the Danube and is drop dead gorgeous. It’s build for the 1000th anniversary of Budapest in 1896. The assignment was to build a panoramic that would remind people of the past. And that’s worked out pretty well. Not only is the building magnificent, with its staircases, little towers and beautiful pilars but its function as panoramic terrace has worked out perfect. From here you have a lovely view on the Pest-side of the city. It’s a very romantic and photogenic spot. You can’t go to Budapest and skip Fisherman’s bastion!
#9 Make a cruise on the Danube
There’s already some nice viewpoints on this page. But the best viewpoint in Budapest is… from the water. It’s the only way to have an unblocked view of the bridges, the incredible Parliament Building, the Fisherman’s Bastion and lots more. Plus it’s a great way to just sit back and relax when you are tired. On most boats you’ll find audiotours, so while you unwind you will learn a lot about Budapest and its background. Check out this article with the best Budapest cruises.
#10 Eat strudel in the oldest strudelhouse
The preparation of strudel is very important in the Hungarian cuisine. So where else should you go and eat strudel then in the oldest strudelhouse in Budapest! You will be completely satisfied. Whether you prefer sweet or savory doesn’t matter, this place has something for everybody. Just to mention some examples: salmon, cabbage, apple, cherry, apricot and poppy seeds. If you can’t decide just take 2 pieces, since it’s light on the stomach and one piece will cost you not even a pound. While you are waiting for your order you’ll see cooks preparing the strudel, which is an interesting process. Check their website for the adress and other information about this place.
#11 Climb up the St. Stephen’s Basilica
Yes, again a view. But I wouldn’t mention it if it wouldn’t be worth it. This time it’s on top of a building: the St. Stephen’s Basilica to be precise. This building is next to the Hungarian Parliament Building the highest in the city. And what better place to enjoy a pretty view? It’s quite a climb to the top (no worries, there is also an elevator if this is causing you problems) but once you step outside you have some time to catch your breathe and to enjoy the spectacular 360° view. This view is also nice because offers you a different perspective because you are literally more inside the city.
#12 Go for a picnic on Margaret island
Margaret Island is a green jewel in the city. It’s an island in the middle of the city, which you can reach via a bridge. Take a book, or a picnic basket and enjoy the green surroundings. There is also a lot to do on the island. Go watch the music fountain, climb the water tower or visit the petting zoo. If you like to run this is also a great spot for you. Around the island runs a 3.6 miles long trail designed for joggers.
#13 Be amazed by the Hungarian Parliament Building
The Hungarian Parliament Building is really impressive from the the outside. But not only from the outside. Also from the inside it’s quite spectacular. With it’s golden staircase, the crown jewels on display and it’s nicely decorated rooms this building is openly displaying signs of wealth. You can buy your tickets here.
#14 Visit an opera
Unfortunately the Hungarian State Opera House is currently closed. But as soon as it opens again it’s a great opportunity to watch an opera in stunning surroundings. The magnificent renaisscane style auditorium in combination with perfect acoustics will blow your mind. A special night is guaranteed.
Also interesting to read
- How to get from Budapest airport to the center
- Is Budapest cheap?
- These Budapest attractions you musn’t miss
- A complete guide to public transport in Budapest
If you have a question please let me know in the comments below. I will come back to you as soon as possible. Be aware you will not get an e-mail so you have to come back to this page to check the answer.