15 Best Things To Do in Budapest Hungary

Top 15 Things To Do in Budapest Hungary

1. Visit the Thermal Baths of Budapest

One of the things Budapest is most famous for is its thermal baths.
The baths have a long tradition in this city. The most popular baths are: Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Gellért Bath, Lukacs Bath and Rudas Bath.

Szimpla Kert” by Jorge Franganillo is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

2. Go to a Ruin Bar

Another very popular thing in Budapest are ruin bars. They are a mixture of a demolition site, street art funky, and yet a somehow cozy atmosphere.
If you’re interested in experiencing Budapest’s ruin bar scene check out Szimpla Kert and Instant-Fogas Complex!

3. Ride the funicular or the oldest subway line in continental Europe

I know it’s a little strange for me to recommend using public transportation as a must-see, but it’s actually exciting to use something so old.
You can take the funicular to reach the Royal Palace (next item on this list) and the M1 metro line has several stops around the city. Some say the price of the funicular is too expensive for the short ride, but you’ll have to decide for yourself. When I was in Budapest for the first time, I didn’t know that special metro system is something special. So when I got out of my station, I was really surprised. I remember how confused I was. Is this my stop? Where am I? Did I accidentally take the wrong exit to an amusement park? It’s really not much more than old wooden doors and white tiles on the walls. But it just felt so different.

So much excitement to use the metro…. It’s not so spectacular and spectacular at the same time. One station you can just walk down to and see for yourself is the “Vörösmarty tér” station in the city center.

Royal Palace in Budapest” by heatheronhertravels is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

4. Visit the Royal Palace

Once you have taken the funicular (or the cheaper bus) up the mountain, you can visit the Royal Palace of Budapest. The Royal Palace is the largest building in Hungary and a landmark of the capital Budapest.
Up here you will find beautiful courtyards, stunning architecture and museums full of art and history.
Among the museums you will find here are the Hungarian National Gallery, the History Museum and the Széchenyi National Library.

Great Market Hall, Budapest” by alex.ch is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

5. Shop at the Great Market Hall

The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall, Market Hall (“Nagyvásárcsarnok”) is the largest and oldest market hall in Budapest. It was opened on February 15, 1897. Here you can find a variety of different types of food and fascinating architecture.

Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest” by tm-tm is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

6. Visit Fisherman’s Bastion

The Fisherman’s Bastion (“Halászbástya”) is a neo-Romanesque structure built between 1895 and 1902 by Frigyes Schulek. It rises on the castle hill on the site of the medieval fish market of Buda. Due to its unique design, it is definitely a must-see for any architecture fan.

Hungarian Parliament Building” by @bdthomas is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

7. See the Hungarian Parliament Building

The Parliament Building (“Országház”), is the seat of the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest. The 268-meter-long building, located directly on the banks of the Danube, is one of Budapest’s landmarks. It was modeled after the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament in London. The construction lasted from 1885 to 1904 and was designed by architect Imre Steindl in a neo-Gothic style.

8. Visit Dohány Street Synagogue

The Dohány Street Synagogue (“Dohány utcai zsinagóga”) is the largest synagogue in Europe with a seating capacity of 3,000 people. The synagogue represents the center of neological Judaism. It was built between 1854 and 1859 in the Moorish Revival style. The Viennese architect of the synagogue, Ludwig Förster, deliberately used architectural forms inspired by oriental architecture.

紐約咖啡館” by wongwt is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

9. Enjoy Hungarian delicacies at Café New York

Café New York is one of the most beautiful historic cafés in Europe. 

Originally built by the New York Life Insurance Company and opened in 1894, the magnificent building is definitely worth a visit, although you should bear in mind the high prices.

10. Stroll through the Castle Quarter

The Caste Quater is a historic district with a lot of things to see. I’ve already mentioned the Royal CAstle and Fisherman’s Bastion which are located here but there is even more to explore. For example the Vienna Gate, “Táncsics Mihály utca” (significant street) and Matthias Church.

You can also visit the Castle Garden Bazaar (“Várkert Bazár”), which forms one of the entryways to the Castle District.

11. Explore Memento Park

Memento Park (“Szobor Park”) is an open-air museum displaying monumental statues and sculptures from Hungary’s communist period (1949-1989). Among others, there are statues of Lenin, Marx and Engels, as well as of several Hungarian communist leaders. 

Ákos Eleőd, the Hungarian architect of the parc, said about this project: “This park is about dictatorship. And at the same time, because it can be talked about, described, built, this park is about democracy. After all, only democracy is able to give the opportunity to let us think freely about dictatorship.”

House of Terror, Budapest” by tm-tm is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

12. Visit the House of Terror

Another place that recalls difficult Hungarian times is the House of Terror (“Terror Háza”). The historical museum, designed as a memorial, is intended to commemorate both the rule of the fascist Arrow Crossers (1944-1945) and the Marxist-Leninist dictatorship of the Communists (1949-1989) in Hungary and contrasts the two regimes in its exhibition.

13. See Margaret Island and the Musical Well

Enjoy a walk through the green island and watch a show at The Bodor Fountain (Zenélő kút). Hidden in the well are loudspeakers, from which you can hear every full hour music typical of the previous turn of the century. It is one of the two music fountains on Margaret Island, located at the northern end of the island, opposite the Árpád Bridge (the other music fountain is located at the southern end of the island, opposite the Margaret Bridge).

14. See a performance at the Hungarian State Opera House

The Hungarian State Opera (“Magyar Állami Operaház”) is the largest opera house in Hungary and one of the most magnificent examples of neo-Renaissance architecture. Here you can see a variety of different performances, from opera to concerts and ballet.

15. Try Langos at Drum Cafe

Langos is one of the most popular specialties of Hungarian cuisine. Fried dough with different, but mostly savory toppings. For example, sour cream and cheese. A good place to try them is the Drum Cafe.

If you’re wondering what else to eat when you’re in Budapest, read my post about the 15 Must Eats in Hungary.

Bonus

Szentendre” by Jorge Gobbi is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

16. Take a cruise to the picturesque town of Szentendre

The proximity to Budapest, the charming baroque townscape and the location on the Danube make the town of Szentendre one of the most popular destinations in Hungary.

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