11 Best Things to do in Budapest | Complete Guide


The city of Budapest is filled with castles, historical sites, amazing food and numerous viewpoints overlooking this beautiful city. From Buda castle to the Hungarian Parliament building, to the Fisherman’s Bastion, to the historic city center, this city boasts architecture marvels wherever your eyes go. Needless to say, there is a lot to to in the beautiful city. Following are the best things to do in Budapest.


1. Hungarian Parliament Building

  • This is probably one of the most beautiful parliament building in the world. The architecture of this building from both inside and outside is simple spectacular.
  • Too see the building from inside, you will have to sign for a guided tour which will also fascinate you with the history of this majestic building.  Make sure you book tickets at least a couple of days before as they can get sold out! Also to see this building in the best of its beauty, sign up for an evening river cruise in the evening to see the parliament all lit up!
  • Don’t forget to stop at the bank of Danube River where there are a lot of abandoned shoes kept in memory of those who lost their lives during the Second World War. Cost for a 45 min guided tour is around €30. For additional information, please visit the official website.


2. Thermal Baths

  • Budapest is famously known as the city of spas as it is located over various thermal springs. Thus thermal baths is one most popular thing to do here. And what can be more perfect than a thermal bath on your vacation?
  • Though you will be spoilt for choices, Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the place to be. They have multiple bathing areas with different temperature controls. An extra ticket here is around €20 and one with massage is around €55.
  • If you don’t like bathing with another person of the opposite gender, you can check out other spas that have specific days for women only and men only!


3. Chain Bridge

  • The Chain Bridge is Budapest’s most famous bridge. It runs between Buda and Pest over the Danube river. This bridge was built in 1849 and was the largest bridge in the world at the time.
  • If you are out exploring Budapest, we recommend you get off your mode of transport on one side of the bridge, walk over the other side and then board your transport again. The bridge is so iconic that walking on it is definitely a bucket list thing to do. Should time permit, try to see the Chain Bridge at night when it’s all lit up. It’s beautiful beyond words.
  • Another angle of seeing the bridge is the river cruise or an inexpensive local transport of the water bus. It makes for a great spot for insta photos!

4. Fisherman’s Bastion

  • This beautiful place was built in the end of 19th century as a watchtower to protect Budapest from invaders. It was also home for fisherman at that time.
  • Being a watchtower, it offers gorgeous views of the whole city.  Plus, the architecture of this building will amaze you. It is one of the best thing to do in Budapest.
  • There are in all 7 towers and the view from all of them is amazing. Right behind the main statue in the center, you will see a beautiful church which was used for the coronation of many rulers.

5. Buda Castle

  • The Buda castle is located above a hill overlooking the city. It offers probably one of the best views of Budapest. The castle itself boasts stunning baroque architecture which is a treat to the eyes. To reach the castle, you can either hike or take a convenient funicular.
  • There is a children railway that goes up the hill. So you if travelling with children, you can try this super fun train with your kid.
    • There are plenty of picnic spots dotted around so that you can enjoy a lovely packed lunch.
    • Buda Castle is right next to the Fisherman Bastion so you can plan it together.

6. Ruin Pubs

  • Ruin pubs in Budapest are probably the most famous place for clubbing or just to get a drink. These pubs offers a vintage vibe, cheap drinks and great crowds and music. Not only these pubs are great for a nightout, they have a very interesting history behind why they are called Ruin Pubs.
  • After the WWII, the area which is now to Ruin Pubs was a Jewish Ghetto. This ghetto was left with nothing abandoned buildings in the early 2000. This when the first bar, Szimpla, was started in an abandoned here with the target of bringing back life to this area and providing the people of the city with cheap drinks. People loved the vintage vibe of the place and with time, it became Budapest’s nightlife hub. The other ruin pubs just followed.
  • You can either just go to one of the pubs and get a drink or you sign up for a guided tour which also explains the history i mentioned above and show you numerous such pubs.

7. Gellért Hill and the Citadel

  • The Gellert Hill in Budapest overlooks both the parts of this city(Buda and Pest) and offers breathtaking views of the same. Apart from the views, this hill is filled up with many attractions. These include the Citadel & Liberty monument, and the Cave Church.
  • Citadel & Liberty monument: As the name suggests, Citadel is a fortress on the top of the Gellért Hill.  It was used by the Hungarian-Austrian military in 19th century with the purpose of fortification of the city. Today, the fort is converted into a museum which exhibits the stories and weapons used at that time. In the center of this citadel is the Liberty monument, which shows the Hungarian freedom from teh Nazi rule. This monument can be see from almost anywhere in the city. And ofcourse being top of hill, this place offers the best view of the city.
  • Cave Church: It is a beautiful church on the foot of the Gellért hill and it is located inside the cave system of the hill.
  • To reach to the top, you either hike around 20 mins or you can take a convenient bus.

8. House of Terror

As the name suggests, House of Terror is a building with a very dark history. This building was used by few fascist and communist groups in 19th century to interrogate and kill the detained people. This building is converted into a museum which contains the exhibits depicting stories of these dark time in the countries history. For a history buff, it is very interesting.

9. Great Market Hall

The Great Market Hall is paradise for foodies! Its a great place to feel and eat like a local! This is a huge 3 storey market place filled with food and fruit shops, restaurants and cafes. This market has a beautiful Gothic architecture with a lot of natural light.


  • The market hall is located at the end of the famous shopping street and hence it makes a great place to stop and eat local food.
  • There are some great souvenirs you can pick up from here. I’m sure the prices here are much better than any other tourist traps around the city.

10. City Park

  • Budapest City Park(also known as Városliget Park) is a gigantic public park in the center of Budapest. It’s ideal for those looking to unwind and enjoy the sun.
  • This park is much more than a normal public park. It is filled with numerous attractions including the Budapest Zoo, amusement park, the Széchenyi thermal bath (the best thermal spa in my opinion), Vajdahunyad Castle, Palace of Arts, Botanical garden and much more.  With so much to see and do here, a day would pass by in a blink of an eye.
  • Out of all of the above attractions, the unmissable one’s include the Széchenyi thermal bath(mentioned above) and the Vajdahunyad Castle. The latter is a 19th century castle which was made to celebrate 100 years of Hungary. To exhibit the same, a mixed architecture(Roman, Gothic etc.) was used depicting several buildings of Hungarian kingdoms around the world.

11. Try a Kürtoskalács

People in Prague say it originated in Prague and people in Budapest say it’s a Budapest thing! Kürtőskalács is basically made up of a long strip of dough wound round to form a cone. It’s topped with sugar and cinnamon. You can choose the filling you want, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate, fruits, etc, etc. I lost count of the number of these I ate during my time in Budapest and Prague. They cost anything between € 2 to 3 depending on the toppings you choose.

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