Budapest is an amazing destination popular throughout the year with plenty of attractions. Cultural activities, thermal baths, nightlife and great food make it one of the best cities in Europe and for a reason! Here you’ll find a list of my suggestions with 25 interesting things to see and do in Budapest.
Visit the Night of the Museums
The Night of the Museums is an event famous across Europe. In Budapest, museums are open until 2:30 am during this annual event. For the price of 1,500 HUF (4.75 EUR) there are more than 1000 programs on offer and this also includes the bus transfer between main points of interest.
Visit Hungarian National Gallery
If you are fan of art and culture visit this gallery which is located inside the Buda Castle. Permanent exhibitions include Gothic art, Art in the 19th century, Modern Times – Hungarian art between the 1986 and World War II. There are some great temporary exhibitions too. For example gallery is housing an exhibition of Picasso’s works called Transfigurations 1895-1972.
Prices are different for permanent and temporary exhibitions. You can see the full details here.
Go to Memento Park
If you are interested in history and the Cold War visit Memento Park which is home to the biggest statues of the communist dictatorship. You’ll see the icons of the communist regime: Stalin’s Boots, the sculptures of Marx and Engels, the Red Army soldiers etc. You can sit in a real Trabant car and see a screening of “The life of an agent” film which depicts the secret police training methods in Communist Hungary. The park has a gift shop too where you can buy various souvenirs from that era.
Tickets: 1500 HUF; students: 1000 HUF
Free with Budapest Card
Visit New Budapest Gallery
This gallery is located in an amazing building called Balna. Here you can enjoy the contemporary art and have a drink in one of many bars and cafes.
Free with Budapest Card
House of Terror
This is a museum located at Andrassy avenue – one of Budapest’s biggest attractions. House of Terror is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the fascist and communist regimes in 20th-century Hungary. If you are coming as an individual visitor get an audio guide because the info sheets are not that effective and they lack information.
Have a picnic in the City Park
This park is great for relaxing and having a picnic and it’s one of Budapest’s main attractions. It’s a home to a few museums, the zoo and the Szechenyi Thermal Bath. Vajdahunyad Castle is the most beautiful and enchanting building in the park. If you happen to be in Budapest during winter you can also visit the Ice Ring or even better the Szechenyi Thermal Bath. The relaxation pools have the temperature between 32-34 degrees Celsius and the complex also houses saunas and steam rooms.
Daytrip to Szentendre
If your stay in Budapest is a long one and you’d like to leave the city for a short daily trip consider Szentendre. It’s a small town with Mediterranean atmosphere and it’s known for its museums and galleries. Szentendre is also home to Hungary’s biggest Open Air Museum which showcases architecture, traditions and way of life of different Hungarian regions.
Attend the Budapest Spring and the Budapest Summer Festival
Budapest Spring Festival has a rich program and events that are held across the city. This festival showcases some fantastic Hungarian talents but it’s also open to other cultures. Budapest Summer festival also has some events on the Margaret Island. On July 1st Shakespeare’s Globe will present The Two Gentleman of Verona. The festival has its free app that you can download.
Ride a Bike
Riding a bike is a nice way to get around Budapest. The city has many bicycle lanes and the most beautiful route is by the river as you get to see those amazing bridges!
Party at Sziget Festival
Sziget is one of the world’s most famous festival held annually in August. With more than 1000 performances you’ll be sorry to miss this one. Daily tickets start from 59 EUR.
Budapest is famous for its ruin pubs. They got this name because they are located in former abandoned buildings and have a unique interior which consists of retro pieces, old furniture etc. There are no rules, each place has its own distinctive aura and attracts a wide crowd.
Here are some good ruin pubs:
Skal – not a ruin pub but a great pub I had to mention
One of the Danube islands is also one of the nicest city parks. It has a small zoo, a Japanese garden, a swimming pool, running track and an amazing view of the city! If you drop by the Water Tower on the island you will get a fantastic 360 degrees panorama of Budapest.
Visit Botanical Garden
Budapest’s Botanical Garden called Füvészkert is home to more than 200 endangered plants, a palm house and a Japanese garden, making it one of the nicest green oasis in the city.
Entrance fee: 850 HUF
Fekete coffee shop is a sweet place for coffee fanatics. According to some they serve the best coffee in the city.
Other good cafes are:
Massolit Books & Cafe – Second-hand books, good coffee and tea
Yes, a floating bus. Budapest is the only city in Europe that has a bus which floats on water. It’s a really cool and insightful tour. First you are being shown the city’s best attractions on land and then the most interesting part occurs – the bus splashes into Danube river. 😀 I have to say this part really cracked me up because they made it really cool. I won’t reveal any details, check it out for yourself!
Go to Turkish Bath
Rudas Bath is the most famous Turkish bath in Budapest located near the Danube River. There are six thermal baths with different temperatures but also saunas and salt chambers. I’ve been to Women’s Day which is every Tuesday and it was a memorable experience. It can get a bit crowded and it’s definitely not for everyone’s taste but you don’t get to relax in a spa which was built 500 years ago every day. The bath also has a pool on the rooftop which gives you a fantastic view of the city and the river. Worth visiting for the experience.
Go to Gellert Spa
This spa is located inside the Gellert Hotel and is another fantastic place for relaxation in the city. It boasts with wonderful architecture and historical significance and spending time here is one of the best decisions you can make. The baths are great including saunas and steam rooms. There’s a fantastic indoor pool which is well maintained. It’s a little bit more on the expensive side than the other spas but definitely for good reason.
Shop at the Central Market Hall
This is city’s most famous market and it’s great for doing some shopping. Here you can find souvenirs, Hungarian food and beverages, jewelry and various trinkets. The most famous Hungarian souvenirs include Rubik’s Cube, paprika powder and goose liver. According to CNN this is one of the most beautiful markets in the world.
Take the Tram #2
This is one of the cheapest sightseeing tours you can do in Budapest as the tram stops at numerous important sights in both Buda and Pest. All this for the price of 350 HUF.
Stroll down the Andrassy Avenue
I suggest taking at least half a day to explore this lovely avenue. There are many attractions on the way, great eateries and shopping places. The avenue ends at Hero’s square which is another famous attraction. One of the best walks in the city – no wonder why it’s recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO!
Balna is a modern cultural and entertainment center of the city. It’s filled with restaurants, cafes, shops and art galleries. New Budapest Gallery (mentioned above) is located here.
Go To An Escape Room
Escape rooms are a growing trend in Budapest and a popular activity among locals and tourists. The city has more than 100 escape rooms with more appearing all the time.
See Karoly Park
Karoly Park is a small but beautiful green oasis in the center of Budapest. It has a lovely garden, it’s a good resting stop and a great photo opp too.