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25 Things to Do in Budapest - Budapest Travel Guide

The history of Budapest takes us back to the time of Roman times when it used to be a Roman Town. The Hungarians arrived in the territory in the late 9th century and it was destroyed by Mongols in 1241. 


Over the years, the city was ruled by the Hungarian Kingdom, Ottoman Empire, and Habsburg Monarchy and witnessed the rise and fall of these empires. In the architecture of the city, you can mainly see the reflection of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


Budapest
Budapest

Budapest used to be two separate cities Buda and Pest and they got united in 1873. Now, it’s one of the most populous cities in Europe and it’s the largest city on the Danube River. 


Nowadays, Budapest is a hub of culture and resistance of Hungarians. Every step in the heart of Budapest reflects a new chapter in history. 


Things to do in Budapest
Várkert Bazár

Budapest is one of the most vibrant cities in Europe and it’s famous for its crazy nightlife. It must be on your list of must cities to visit. 


You might be thinking what would be the best time to visit Budapest - It’s Spring and summer. 




How to reach Budapest:


By Air: 


Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport is well-connected with all over the world including within Europe. If you’re coming outside of Europe, Budapest has an International Airport which accommodates flights from all over the world. There are also lots of local flights with Europe. 


Things to do in Budapest
Budapest at night

By Train: 


There are many different train connections from different European cities to Budapest and it’s highly accessible reaching by train. You can check the train tickets using the app called Omio. 


As we traveled to Budapest from Munich, we took a train for 7 hours and it cost us around 50 euros for a one-way trip. 


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By Bus: 


There are lots of different buses from European cities coming to Budapest. It’s a cheaper way but much more time-consuming. 


Budapest Guide
Budapest Guide

How to reach Budapest City from Budapest International Airport using Public Transport:


The airport is around 20 km from the city center of Budapest and there’s a bus 100E express bus runs Budapest Airport and the city center and it takes around 40 minutes reaching to the city and it costs 900 HUN for a one-way ticket. 




How to use Public Transportation in Budapest:


Public Transportation in Budapest:


Budapest has a well-connected public transport system and all the main tourist landmarks are easily accessible by public transport. Many of the attractions in Buda and Pest are within walking distance of each other.


Public Transportation in Budapest
Public Transportation in Budapest

I would like to suggest downloading the app called BudapestGo to check out the connections to different places. A single Journey ticket costs 450 HUF but it’s suggested to buy either 24 hours or 72 hours ticket depending on your stay. You can find the details of the ticket here.




Hop on Hop off Bus in Budapest:


If you want to experience all the main attractions of Budapest, you can get a Hop on Hop off Bus Budapest which takes you to the different Landmarks of the city. It’s much cheaper than a taxi and there are frequent connections if you hop off at one stop, you can catch up to the next bus in 15 minutes to continue your exploration.


Hop on Hop off Bus tour in Budapest
Danube River

There’s also a guided recording available in different languages and you can get the chance to learn about the history of different landmarks. Note that, this Hop on Hop off Bus doesn’t take to the Buda Castle District. 


Are you also planning to do a day trip from Munich? Check out our blog on Best Day Trips from Munich, Germany.


Szechenyi Chain Bridge
Szechenyi Chain Bridge

Instead of buying a ticket for a day, we bought a 3-day package which included a free walking tour and river cruise. 


Bolt: 


The Bolt is an alternative to Uber in Budapest and it’s also quite cheap to use in Bolt in Budapest. It normally takes less than 5 minutes for the driver to pick you up. 



Where to stay in Budapest:


It’s highly suggested to stay either in the main tourist center or places which are accessible by public transport. Based on our experience, we recommend two of the following hotels:


Hotels to stay in Buda District
Buda District

Baltazar Hotel Budapest:


Baltazar Hotel Budapest is an award-winning and family-owned boutique hotel which is located in the World Heritage Buda Castle district.


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The hotel is owned by the Zsidai Family and they have been a part of the gastronomy industry for more than 37 years.


Hotels in Buda Castle
Baltazar Hotel Budapest


Impulso Fashion Hotel: 


Impulso Fashion Hotel is the ideal base for exploring Budapest whether you like to explore the city on foot, by bus, tram, or Metro station.




It’s just a few steps away from public transport and you can reach the Danube, Vásárcsarnok, Váci Street, and Gellért Fürdő by public transport in just a few minutes. 


Best hotels in Pest
Best hotels in Pest


25 Things to do in Budapest:


1. Roaming around Buda District: 


The Buda District has cobblestone streets with charming squares that take back to medieval times. The district has houses, shops, cafes and restaurants. You can also walk along the wall and enjoy the beautiful view of the city. 


Things to do in Buda District, Budapest
Things to do in Buda District, Budapest

Begin your exploration by ascending Castle Hill, where you'll find the iconic Buda Castle at its summit. The cobbled streets and charming squares contribute to the district's medieval ambiance. Stroll through the Castle District, lined with picturesque houses, artisan shops, and cafes.


Buda District, Budapest
Buda District, Budapest

The Matthias Church, with its unique architecture and vibrant roof tiles, is a must-visit. Nearby, the Fisherman's Bastion offers panoramic views of the Danube River and Pest across the way.


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Castle District in Budapest
Castle District in Budapest

In the district, there are many landmarks which include Buda Castle, Hungarian National Gallery, Fisherman's Bastion, Matthias Church, and underground Caves.




2. Fisherman's Bastion:


One of the most picturesque places in Budapest is Fisherman's Bastion, also called Halászbástya in Hungarian. The Fisherman's Bastion is an absolutely beautiful architecture located in Buda District in the 1st district of Budapest.


Fisherman's Bastion ticket
Fisherman's Bastion

It’s also famous due to its breathtaking lookout from the terraces with a view of the city and landmarks like the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, and Danube River. The name of the landmark has been derived from the Medieval fishermen who used to be responsible for defending this part of the city during Medieval times. 


Fisherman's Bastion
Fisherman's Bastion

The unique architecture was built between 1895 and 1902 and it has 7 towers and each represents the sever Magyar Tribes who founded Hungary in the 9th century.



The towers are connected by the walkway which looks very magical especially early in the morning when it’s not crowded. 


Things to do in Buda district
Fisherman's Bastion

It’s an ideal place to enjoy the sunrise and sunset. One of the days, we went there to enjoy the sunrise and we were pretty surprised to see that even at that time, there were so many people who came to enjoy the sunrise. This spot is also very famous for the romantic photoshoots and weddings. 


Things to do in Buda district
Fisherman's Bastion Ticket

There are several bus connections which take you to the Fisherman's Bastion from different parts of the city. 



3. Matthias Church:


The Matthias Church is also located in Buda District next to Fisherman's Bastion. The church has a rich artifacts and religious relics. This church was built in Romanesque style in 1015 and it also holds an important place in history. The two kings of Hungary were crowned in the church. 


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Matthias Church
Matthias Church

During the Ottoman rule in 1526, it served as a mosque and worship place for the Muslims but it was changed into a church when Budapest was retaken from Ottoman Empire. 


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4. Buda Castle:


Buda Castle was completed in 1265 and now it’s one of the World Heritage sites. it has historically significant castles and palaces of Hungarian Kings. The castle now serves as the Hungarian National Gallery and Budapest Historical Museum. 


Buda Castle, Budapest
Buda Castle

The castle also came under the Ottoman Empire's influence in the 16th & 17th centuries but in 1686, the castle was heavily damaged besieged by the Holy League's army, and captured by the Christian army. 





Things to do in Buda Castle, Budapest
Buda Castle, Budapest

The castle was reclaimed by the Habsburgs in the 17th century and started the reconstruction and expansion in the Baroque style. During World War ll, the royal palace was highly impacted and it was again extensively restored to revive the castle's formal glory after the war. 


You can take a Castle Hill Funicular to reach the castle or you can also climb up the hill. It’s not a tough hike. 


Buda Castle ticket, Budapest
Buda Castle, Budapest

Moreover, you can also take a tour of Budapest Caves and there’s an outdoor cafe from where you can enjoy the beautiful view of the city's main landmarks and the Danube River.


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Things to do in Buda Castle
Buda Castle

The main castle is surrounded by Castle quarter and there are cobblestone streets. Check out the tickets online to set the experience of exploring Buda Castle.





5. Várkert Bazár:


Várkert Bazár is an architectural masterpiece that has lush green gardens adorned with sculptures, and fountains and it's also known as Castle Garden Bazaar located beneath the Buda castle.


Várkert Bazár
Várkert Bazár

6. Gellért Bath:


The Gellért Baths has just a beautiful and elegant architecture and was constructed in 1918. The baths are part of the Gellért Hotel and offer a stunning view of the Danube River and the Liberty Bridge while enjoying the therapeutic waters. 


The water in the bath comes from Gellért Hill's mineral-rich springs and it has a variety of indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and plunge pools. 




As we explore the district of Buda, now it’s time to explore the eastern side of the Danube which is known as Pest. It’s a relatively modern area with grand boulevards and neoclassical architecture. 


Exploring Pest:


Pest is characterized by a mix of architectural styles with modern buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries. You'll find grand boulevards, neoclassical buildings, and Art Nouveau structures.


The Hungarian Parliament Building along the Danube is one of Pest's most iconic landmarks.


Panoramic view of Budapest
Panoramic view of Budapest

We started exploring Pests from one of the main attractions of Pest which is St.Stephan’s Basilica.


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7. St. Stephan’s Basilica:


St. Stephen's Basilica is located in the heart of the city and it’s also known as Szent István Bazilika in Hungarian. It’s one of the masterpieces in terms of architecture and a symbol of religious affiliation. 


St. Stephan’s Basilica
St. Stephan’s Basilica


The church has valuable religious relics and magnificent artwork on the glass windows.



Most people, visit the church from the inside but one of the highlights of this dome is its observation deck.


View from St. Stephan’s Basilica
Observation deck St. Stephan’s Basilica

We climbed up to the top of the dome and enjoyed the lovely panoramic view of the Danube River, Buda Castle, and the Hungarian Parliament Building.


St. Stephan’s Basilica Budapest
St. Stephan’s Basilica Budapest

You can either buy the ticket online from this official website or you can buy the ticket shop located in front of the Basilica. 



8. Fashion Street:


The center of the city of Budapest had different shopping avenues and pedestrians. Vaci Street is a bustling street with different restaurants, cafes fashion brands, and souvenir stores.


St. Stephan’s Basilica Ticket
St. Stephan’s Basilica Budapest


The main historic Vörösmarty Square is located near the street. 


Fashion Street in Budapest
Fashion Street in Budapest

Andrássy Avenue is also one of the streets that is very popular for luxury shopping and it has brands like Gucci, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and The North Face. 


If you are also planning to visit the capital of Berlin, check out our blog on Explore Berlin like a True Berliner, Germany.


Fashion Street in Budapest
Fashion Street in Budapest

Apart from the fashion districts, there are also shopping malls like Arkad Budapest, Arena Mall, and Westend Shopping Center. 




9. Skywheel:


The giant Skywheel is located in right-center of the city. The ticket costs 5300 HUF and you can buy it on the spot but it might be a little time-consuming. You can skip the ticket queue and buy the ticket online here.


Skywheel in Budapest
Skywheel in Budapest

In our case, we bought the ticket on the spot. It’s also suggested to take a ride in the evening or daytime to enjoy the beautiful view of the city. There are also several restaurants located nearby.


10. Street Food Garden: 


If you want to enjoy the street from different areas, you can get some food in the cozy garden. This is the place where locals meet and enjoy delicious food. 




11. City Walking Tour:


There are several city walking tours offered by different tour operators in Budapest. Most of the guided tours start from St.Stephan’s Basilica. As we opted for a 3-day package of Hop-on Hop-off bus, our City Walking Tour was included in the package.


Cruise in Budapest
Cruise in Budapest

There are different tours with a guide in different languages. The guide walks into the old town and explains the history and interesting facts about the different landmarks. 


Best view of Budapest
View of Budapest

Even though, the walking tour was included in our package a tip is always welcomed and appreciated by the guide at the end of the tour. 




12. Hungarian Parliament Building: 


The Hungarian Parliament is not only the prominent landmark of Hungary but it’s one of the most famous Parliament Building in the world. The masterpiece is located on the bank of the Danube River and it’s a Neo-Gothic architecture designed by Imre Steindl in 1885. 


Hungarian Parliament Building
Hungarian Parliament Building

The Hungarian Parliament is the third largest parliament building in the world. It has a lovely Promenade walk alongside the Danube, especially after sunset when the Parliament Building lights up with the lights and you can walk alongside and enjoy the beautiful view. 


Are you looking for tips on exploring Germany? Check out our blog on 17 must-visit places in Germany.


Hungarian Parliament Building tour
Hungarian Parliament Building

The parliament house is open to the public through guided tours that highlight the significance of democracy in the country.



It provides a sneak peek into history, architecture, and legislative functions. You can check the tickets here.


Hungarian Parliament Building
Hungarian Parliament Building


The square near the parliament house is also always crowded with people. 


13. Heroes' Square:


The Hero Square is one of the iconic monuments and squares of the city. It features the Seven Chiefs of the Magyars and there’s also a Tomb of unknown soldiers.


Heroes' Square Budapest
Heroes' Square Budapest


There are also museums like the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art located near the square. The square also witness many political events and rallies. 


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14. City Park:


City Park is located right next to the main entrance of Heroes' Square and it’s quite popular in summer among locals and tourists. The park has a fairytale Castle called Vajdahunyad Castle which exhibits agriculture and rural life.


Heroes' Square Budapest
Heroes' Square Budapest

 


During the winter, the city park also offers the largest outdoor ice rink in Europe. There are also many Concerts, cultural festivals, and outdoor activities that take place in the City Park.



15. Dohány Street Synagogue:


Dohány Street is one of the Jewish districts which has the 2nd largest Synagogue in the World and the largest one in Europe. The Synagogue was built between 1854 and 1859 and it’s a blend of Moorish, Romantic, and Gothic Revival. It has many artifacts and religious relics defining the history of the Hungarian Jewish community.


Dohány Street Synagogue
Dohány Street Synagogue

16. Ruin bars - Szimpla Kert:


Budapest is famous for its vibrant and unique nightlife and one of the areas you shouldn’t miss is Ruin bars. Szimpla Kert is located in the Jewish Quarter and has an artistic space.


The concept of a ruin bar was introduced in the early 2000s and gained popularity internationally. The bars have vintage furniture, mismatched decor with bohemian ambiance colorful graffiti, street signs, and vintage television. 


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Ruin bars, Budapest
Ruin bars, Budapest

There are multiple interconnected spaces from open-air courtyards to cozy indoor with a unique style and vibes.




There are also many events like music performances, art exhibitions, film screenings, and cultural festival takes place.


Ruin bars, Budapest
Ruin bars, Budapest

It’s also one of the spots where you can mingle with locals and travelers. There are many bars and unique places nearby. We visited the open-air street to enjoy the street food. 


Szimpla Kert in Budapest
Szimpla Kert

It gets very crowded during the weekend, so it’s highly recommended not to take any valuable belongings there. You might also get approached by the people who are selling drugs near the area. 


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Szimpla Kert in Budapest
Szimpla Kert in Budapest

17. Danube Promenade and Shoes on the Danube Bank:


One of the things you shouldn’t miss in Budapest is walking alongside the Danube River. There are lots of places where you can sit and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city.



 It’s highly recommended to walk on both sides of Buda and Pest of the river, so you can enjoy the view on both sides. We also rented an e-scooter and ride along the river.


Danube Promenade in Budapest
Danube Promenade in Budapest

While walking on the Danube Bank, we can also find the Shoes on the Danube Bank on the Pest. It’s a memorial in honor of Jews who were massacred by the Hungarian military during the Second World War.


Shoes on the Danube Bank, Budapest
Shoes on the Danube Bank

They were ordered to take off their shoes as the shoes were valuable and could be resold. They were shot at the edge of the dinner so their body could go away by the river. 


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18. Cruise in Budapest:


The Danube Cruise is magical and mesmerizing and there are different options to take the open and close tour.



As the weather was amazing, we took the Open Air cruise. We booked the Combo ticket with Hop on and Hop off and a city walking tour.