February 4, 2019

13 Things to Do in Budapest

Budapest is one of those cities where you could spend your entire trip just wandering around, discovering amazing new places. If you have plenty of time then you can do exactly that, but if you’re limited to a day or two then you might want to suss out the best places before you go. So to help you plan your trip, here’s my guide to the top 13 things you need to do in Budapest!

Read more: Budapest Travel Guide

Central Market Hall

Our very first stop of the trip was to Central Market Hall, a huge building filled with market stalls selling fresh produce on the ground floor and a row of restaurants and Hungarian food shacks on the first floor. Even if you don’t buy anything there, it’s fun to just explore amongst the hustle and bustle.

Where: Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary

When: pre or post lunch-time rush

Price: free (unless you buy food, of course!)

Read more: Budapest Cheap Eats

Gellért Hill 

This hill is a bit of a climb at 235m high, but the views from the top are worth it. There are plenty of photo stops along the way, and once you’re at the top you’ll find the Citadella and Liberty Statue. Then the climb back down begins! I’d recommend heading down the opposite side to head over to your next stop.

Where: Gellért Hill, Budapest, 1016 Hungary

When: anytime

Price: free

Buda Castle

Buda Castle is the building and complex of the Hungarian kings of Budapest. It sits right up on the hill overlooking Pest, and is home to huge grounds which you can walk right around to see different parts of the royal buildings. We didn’t go inside the castle, but if you have more time to do so it’s meant to be beautiful.

Where: Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary

When: anytime (see opening times)

Price: free to explore though you can pay for a guided tour (note: you can walk up for free or pay £5 for the funicular which runs from 7.30 – 22.00 everyday)

Matthias Church & Fisherman’s Bastion

Walking on from Buda Castle you’ll come across my favourite spot in Budapest, the 13th century Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. This area is absolutely beautiful and the views over to Pest (specifically the Hungarian Parliament) proved to be amazing photo opportunities.

Where: Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary

When: anytime (see opening times for Matthias Church)

Price: free explore the grounds, £5 to explore Matthias Church and £2.75 to go up to the main tower of Fisherman’s Bastion (though the turnstiles were open when we went!)

Chain Bridge

Once you’re done on the Buda side of the city, you can wander over the 19th century Chain Bridge to Pest. This is just one of the many spectacular bridges in Budapest which you’ll probably cross during your trip. They’re pretty majestic as the river is so wide.

Where: Budapest, Széchenyi Lánchíd, 1051 Hungary

When: anytime

Price: free

Shoes on the Danube

The Danube is Europe’s second largest river and is home to the ‘Shoes on the Danube’, an iron trail of shoes displayed as a tribute to those executed along the bank in WWII. This is a little eerie but an eye-opening experience. Once you’ve seen the Shoes on the Danube, you can stroll along the promenade for as long as you like.

Where: Budapest, Id. Antall József rkp., 1054 Hungary

When: anytime

Price: free

Danube River Cruise

We didn’t have time for this unfortunately, but if we had we absolutely would have booked a dinner river cruise. Many of the cruises also have live music on the boat. Booking a cruise could be a good idea if you’re celebrating a special occasion!

Where: various locations along the Danube River

When: evening to see the city light up

Price: prices vary depending on who you book with

Hungarian Parliament

The Hungarian Parliament is the most stunning building in Budapest. We first saw this from Fisherman’s Bastion and then up close on day two when we explored the Pest district. I wish we’d seen it at night too as it lights up with the rest of the city! We didn’t go inside but you can do if you’d like a tour.

Where: Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, 1055 Hungary

When: anytime (see opening times)

Price: free to explore the grounds or you can book tickets to go inside on arrival for roughly £6.50

Margaret Island

Margaret Island is a small island in the centre of the Danube River accessible by bridge. Described as “the green gem of Budapest”, Margaret Island (locally known as Margit-sziget) is a great spring or summer spot with parks, a zoo, swimming pool, water park and more.

Where: Margit-sziget, Budapest, 1138 Hungary

When: anytime though best during spring/summer

Price: free

St. Stephen’s Basilica 

We stumbled across St. Stephen’s Basilica which is another of Budapest’s beautiful historical buildings. Again because we were short on time we didn’t go inside, but we stopped for a photo on route to our next stop.

Where: Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary

When: anytime (see opening times)

Price: tickets are roughly £4.50 and can be bought on arrival

Heroes’ Square

Heroes’ Square is home to a gigantic monument featuring national leaders, and is essentially a very grand entrance to another part of Budapest, which sits about an hour’s walk back from the Danube River.

Where: Budapest, Hősök tere, 1146 Hungary

When: anytime

Price: free

City Park Ice Rink

This was such a random find, but just beside Heroes’ Square was this gigantic outdoor ice risk which sits in-front of City Park. It’s not open all year round as its usually a lake, but if you visit in winter make sure you go and check it out!

Where: Budapest, Hősök tere, 1146 Hungary

When: anytime from November to February (see opening times)

Price: roughly £4 (but tickets here or on arrival)

Széchenyi Thermal Baths

A trip to Budapest isn’t complete without a visit to the famous thermal baths! I was sceptical about this at first but wow, what an experience. I actually had a bruised ankle from all of the walking, but an hour in the warm, thermal baths really helped ease the pain. We chose the cabin package which meant we had our own private changing space, before venturing out to the 20+ indoor and outdoor thermal pools. You can do your own thing, book treatments or even the Thermal Beer Spa experience for an extra cost.

Where: Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary

When: morning or late afternoon for quieter periods (see opening times)

Price: costs range from £14 to £85 depending on what package you go for, the cabin package for two is roughly £15 (buy tickets here or on arrival)

See more posts from Budapest here!

We had the best time on our whirlwind 48-hour trip to Budapest and I hope these top tips have helped you plan your perfect trip to the Hungarian capital city!

Have you visited any of these spots before? What else do you love about Budapest?

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