Budapest Card – the Best Things To Do Free & with Discounts
Is it worth buying the Budapest Card planned for tourists visiting Hungary, can you do so many things included in the card? The discounts and free vouchers of the Budapest Card offer free or discounted entries to major attractions, minor sights, tours, experiences and restaurants.
The actual list of places of acceptance included in the Budapest Cards change every year. How much can you save by using the official tourist card and travel pass of Budapest is dependent on what things you like to do during your Budapest visit, and how long you plan to stay.
Free Transport with Budapest Card
Undoubtedly the best part of the Budapest Card is that it includes a free Budapest travel pass for all zones in Budapest, in the inner and outer districts within the city boundaries.
You can jump on as many metro lines, buses, streetcars, trolleys, as you wish. Even use the cogwheel and suburban train for free, or the train to and from the airport in Budapest.
But the Funicular on the Buda Castle Hill is extra, you cannot use your card on the Funicular (Budavari Siklo), or the Chairlift in the Buda Hills.
Free Thermal Baths with Budapest Card
Lukacs Baths is a 19th century classical bath palace, with various thermal pools indoor and outdoor. The baths is most popular among locals who love it for its fantastic hot spring tubs and pools, and for its relaxed atmosphere.
Very few tourists got here before Budapest Card picked it as a central tourist destination, as the more popular, and consequently more touristy, Budapest baths are Szechenyi Baths and Gellert Spa, without a doubt.
The free entry is a good value for those who want to see a local thermal bath and stay away from the crowds of tourists. The building is far from being as pretty as either Szechenyi Bath palace of the Art Nouveau wonders of Gellert Spa. If you are a first timer visitor in Budapest and only see Lukacs Baths, you will miss out on two great thermal baths.
To put it bluntly, staying in a 3 star hotel and a 5 star hotel can be worlds apart. But, if you have already been to Szechenyi Bath and Gellert Bath, or Rudas & Kiraly Baths, it may be a nice Budapest secret gem to explore.
Free Guided Tours with Budapest Card
You can get two free guided tours – both walking tours – of 2-2 hours in Budapest: the walking tour on the Buda side will show you the Buda Castle Hill attractions and things to do on the hillier Buda side of the city. The walking tour on the Pest side, in contrast, will guide you through the inner city center attractions, the Hungarian Parliament building, St Stephen Basilica, Vaci Street, the Great Budapest Market Hall, the Dohany Street Synagogue. The entries to the attractions are not included though (you need to have tickets to visit the Parliament inside, likewise the Synagogue).
Free Buda Castle Visit with Budapest Card
The Royal Palace of Budapest, more known as the Buda Castle is currently the home of the Budapest History Museum, and the century old exhibits of Hungarian fine arts in the Hungarian National Gallery. Both are an excellent choice for tourists who love cultural things to do and arts exhibitions.
However, if you are bored by museums, you can walk into the courtyards of the Buda Castle free of charge to enjoy the views and the royal courts with beautiful statues, fountains, medieval ruins. In short, the Budapest Card discount in the Buda Castle is useful for curious visitors who love cultural tourist attractions, but does not give an extra to tourists who would rather skip historical and art exhibits. Note: if there is a weekend festival in the Buda Castle, you may not necessarily be able to visit the Castle with your Budapest Card only with a festival ticket, which includes free entries to the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. Please check if there is any festival in Budapest on the days of your visit to find out about the festival rules / inclusions.
Museum of Fine Arts Free with Budapest Card
Free entry to the Museum of Fine Arts, the richest and most expensive collection of fine arts in Hungary, featuring many international artists (Degas, Goya, etc.) If you love classical fine art exhibitions, you will make good use of your Budapest Card free ticket to the permanent exhibitions.
The temporary art exhibitions can be very exciting, world class exhibits (Van Gogh, Dali, etc.) but unfortunately the Budapest Card can only give you free entry to the permanent exhibits. The Museum is on Heroes’ Square in Budapest at the Hungarian Millennium Monument.
National Museum Free with Budapest Card
If you have a Budapest Card, you can get a free entry to the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest: the comprehensive history of Hungarians with amazing objects, dresses, tools and other exhibits (medieval furniture, Communist flags, etc.). The National Museum is most appealing to tourists who love historical attractions. One of the Hungarian Crown Symbols is also on exhibit, the Coronation Mantle (the rest of the Crown Jewels is in the Hungarian Parliament, while their copies are on display in the Matthias Church).