Top Ten Things To Do in Budapest
If it is your first visit to the city of Budapest, you may find that there are lots of things to do, maybe too many. What can you sensibly squeeze into 2-3 days for a short trip?
Top 10 Budapest
Buda Castle & Castle Hill
Visit the Buda Castle District of Budapest atop the Castle Hill to see a bunch of top Budapest attractions: Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, Ruszwurm Confectionery, Hospital in the Rock, the Funicular Railway, Changing of the Guards at the Presidential Palace, etc.
You can spend a whole day or half a day on Buda Castle Hill.
Excellent option for first time visitors, tourists staying in Budapest for 3 days or more, for history buffs, and couples on a romantic getaway.
Overview of Budapest
Get a general overview of Budapest in a guided tour that best suits your needs.
Bus, walking, bike, Segway, private tours are all available.
You can take a Budapest hop on hop off bus tour in the city if you don’t want to exercise too much. You will get a quick overview from a comfortable seat, and the prices are very low and favorable. HoHo buses in Budapest run every half an hour (even in winter time, but with fewer buses).
Walking tours, bike tours are very popular, as are two-wheeler gliders on Segway tours, which are one of a kind.
Needless to say, you can do a very good job in a self-guided tour too, as Budapest is a city for walkers and explorers. Get a Budapest travel pass with a good travel book or a mobile travel app, check Budapest tourist map for locations, and plan your itinerary.
Budapest’s Heart & Vein: the Danube
Enjoy the Danube in the city of Budapest. You can walk along the promenades (the Buda side promenade is less touristy), climb the hills of Buda to marvel at the long river of Europe, or take a Budapest Danube river cruise, possibly at night, when all the UNESCO World Heritage sites are lit up beautifully along the riverfront of Budapest. Budapest a la carte dinner cruises are highly recommended for special celebrations, birthdays, anniversaries too.
Does it sound too boring? How about a Boat Party in Budapest? Or a night show on the ship? Or just some good drinks / dinner?
The river Danube divides the city of Budapest into two panoramic sites, the hills and sights of Buda, and the wonderful buildings of Pest (originally two towns until the 1870s). An ideal early or late night program (some boat tours leave at 10 pm). Budapest cruises run several times a day.
Budapest Hot Spring Baths
Budapest is the city of thermal baths with many naturally hot spring waters. Relax in the thermal waters of Budapest baths, or get a refreshing medicinal massage at the fraction of a cost you would pay at home. Cannot choose which bath is the best in Budapest? Start with Szechenyi Baths, open all year round (indoors and outdoors too) and offers mixed bathing, plus bath parties.
For a less crowded experience visit Gellert Spa, and get a good massage, or sink deep into the century old Turkish baths!
Sounds like just a pool in a palace? Check out the cool bath parties in Budapest for an unforgettable experience! Nightlife as you have never known it.
Budapest Parliament Building
The Parliament is the most special symbol of Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Walk around the Parliament, or if time allows, book a guided tour online to see the opulent interior of the Hungarian Parliament as well as the Crown Jewels. Hungary may now be a small country, but its Orszaghaz is one of the poshest parliament in the world.
The Hungarian Parliament is like a huge lavish palace, the 3rd largest parliament in the world. The Hungarian Crown Jewels are part of the tour, as is a visit to the Cupola Hall with fascinating Neo-Gothic celiling.
Opera House in Budapest
Visit the Budapest Opera House to see a great opera or a ballet show.
The building is a 19th century red and gold themed amazing theater. Like in an old film. Take a time travel and get immersed in quality music, and quality ballet shows.
Opera shows run from September to June. In July and August you can listen to the Opera House singers on the Budapest Opera & Operetta Cruise (cruises with music shows from May to October)
Opera tours are run by the Hungarian Opera House in many languages.
Markets of Foods and Arts in Budapest
Try traditional Hungarian foods, snacks, fruits, salamis, cheeses, etc. at the most well know Budapest Market Hall, the Great Market Hall (Vasarcsarnok).
The market hall is special. Picture and Eiffel style building filled with buzzing and bustling market life on the ground floor, food stands and souvenir vendors on the 1st floor.
Want to get a nice tour in the market hall and try local foods? There is a superb value option, and a small group tour for more serious food lovers and gastro tourists: Budapest Market Tour info and booking.
History of Hungary
Learn about the history of Hungary, the medieval royalty, WW2, the Communism, the 1956 Revolution.
Visit some of the historical museums of Budapest: the National Museum, the House of Terror, the Hospital in the Rock or the open air Communist Statue Park (Memento Park) are amazing museums where you won’t get bored.
The latter three museums go against traditional museum style. Do give them a chance.
Heroes’ Square Budapest
Get off the metro on Deak Square, take a drink in Aquarium Club, walk through Andrássy Avenue, take a cuppa in the Paris Department Store (breathtaking interior), up to the heroic Heroes’ Square by the City Park. There are about ten more attractions just in this area, so pick the one that suits your style best: castle, zoo, restaurants, huge trampoline, boat lake (skating rink in winter), museums, picnic or football in the park, etc.
Tasting Hungarian Foods & Drinks
Enjoy a traditional Hungarian meal with a matching Hungarian wine.
We all love eating, but our budgets and design preferences differ. For cheap restaurants and eateries, see this interactive map of Budapest Budget Dining. For a special treat, you can either try one of the Michelin restaurants in Budapest, or one of the best restaurants voted by restaurant guides, visitors.
Another way to try Hungarian foods and gain insights into Hungary’s culinary culture is to try a tasting tour, like the Budapest Market Tour with Lunch and Wine Tasting, or the Budapest Market and Food Tour with Unicum and Wine Tasting.
For a special treat, you could even take a wine tasting river cruise on the Danube in Budapest!