Discover the best things to do in Budapest for the ultimate Hungarian holiday.
Budapest is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities full of history and culture with a vibe unlike any other. Despite this, it is not nearly as popular as other stunning European cities like Paris, Amsterdam, or London. This is great for exploring and enjoying the city in its most authentic form without huge crowds of tourists swarming the sites. Another great thing about Budapest is that it is one of the cheapest cities in Europe which is ideal for travelers on a budget or those who want to get more for their dollar.
Keep reading to find the 12 best things to do in Budapest.
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12 Best Things to do in Budapest, Hungary
Explore Fisherman’s Bastion
Exploring Fisherman’s Bastion is easily one of the best things to do in Budapest. This ornate hilltop monument offers some of the most stunning views of the city and the Danube river in the city. In addition to the beautiful views, the stone castle-like structure is breathtaking! With the arched windows made of stone and Neo-Romanesque lookout terraces – it really is one of the most beautiful structures in Europe.
Ideal for exploring and learning history, taking beautiful photos, and admiring the city, Fisherman’s Bastion is a must-see while in Budapest. The best thing? Most of it is 100% free! You can pay to walk on top of the wall of the structure but I don’t think this is a necessary extra.
With so much beauty comes people. This is one of Budapest’s busiest attractions and it is best to get here early in the morning to avoid the crowds that come as the day progresses.
View Matthias Church
Matthias Church is located in front of Fisherman’s Bastion and only adds to the beauty and charm of this part of Budapest. The church was constructed in light stone and is elaborately decorated to make it a truly unique and ornate church. Heading to Matthias Church is one of the best things to do in Budapest to see and experience one of the greatest pieces of architecture in the city.
You can also enter the church and admire the interior designs and decor for a price of 1000 Hungarian Forint (3€).
Visit The Hungarian Parliament Building
The Hungarian Parliament Building is the grandest building in Budapest and a sight you cannot miss. It is one of the best pieces of gothic-style architecture in the city and is the most photographed building in Budapest. It is best admired at sunset when the sun turns the building golden and bright. Visiting this stunning and unique piece of architecture is one of the best things to do in Budapest.
You don’t just have to view the parliament building from the outside but you can also tour the inside. The tours last 45 minutes and give you a full briefing on the history of the building and other historic facts. Adult admission tickets are 8 euros.
View The Shoes on the Danube Bank
The Shoes on the Danube is an impactful and meaningful memorial for the victims of anti-Semitism during World War 2. The shoes represent the innocent Jewish victims who were ordered to take off their shoes and then murdered on this spot along the Danube. Going to the Shoes on the Danube to give your respect and to give remembrance to a past not so long forgotten is one of the best things to do in Budapest with an intangible impact.
Shopping in Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall is Budapest’s restored neogothic hall where you can find all sorts of local goods and products. It is the perfect place to experience Hungarian foods, cultures, and traditional. The hall is full of locals selling specialty souvenirs, meats, cheeses, chocolates, and more! If you are looking for a special souvenir to bring home you should get a bag of paprika spice!
Walk Through Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter is a small hilltop neighborhood in Budapest with many historic and cultural sites and attractions. This area was desolate after the Holocaust but started to change and turn around at the turn of the 21st century.
Now you will find trendy cafes and streets amongst historic buildings like the Western Wal, Siebenberg House, Hurva and Ramban synagogues, and more. While here be sure to visit the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue that was built in the 1800s.
Go on a River Cruise
Going on a river cruise is one of the best ways to see and experience Budapest. There are cruises running throughout the day and night where you can cruise down the famous Danube River and admire the stunning sights from all directions. One of the best times to take a river cruise is in the evening when the city lights make everyone look super magical.
Visit Buda Castle
Buda Castle is a large castle and palace complex of the Hungarian Kings. The castle was first constructed in 1265 and was completed in 1749 and 1769. The castle grounds are home to various different buildings all with their own unique features. Visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the top things to do in Budapest.
Cross The Széchenyi Chain Bridge
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is Budapest’s most famous and beautiful bridge that spans the Danube River. The Brooklyn Bridge of Budapest connects the two parts of Budapest – Buda, and Pest. Walking across the bridge is one of the best ways to see and experience the city on one of the top attractions.
Relax at a Thermal Bath
Budapest is a city known for its various thermal baths all around. This is because the city was built over thermal hot springs and these have been turned into thermally heated pools scattered around the city. The most popular and famous thermal bath in Budapest is Szechenyi, however, there are much more amazing, less touristy thermal baths in Budapest.
Heading here is one of the best things to do in Budapest to relax in the healing waters and enjoy a wonderful natural attraction. Admission for the thermal baths varies depending on which one you go to but ranges from 7100 Ft (17.48€) to 8200 Ft (20.19€).
Admire St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest Roman Catholic Church in Hungary and a beautiful place to visit. Admiring the exterior and interior of St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of the best things to do in Budapest. The ornate architecture, towering size, and beautiful detailing are a feast for the eyes.
The interior is stunningly embellished with paintings, murals, statues, and stone designs, from floor to ceiling. The best thing about this church is that it is free to enter!
Go to Hero’s Square
Hero’s Square is one of Budapest’s most famous squares. Here you will find ornate and complex statues from various notable Magyars and Hungarian National Leaders. It is one of Budapest’s most notable places to learn about contemporary Hungarian history. Heading here is one of the best things to do in Budapest for history lovers.
Where to Stay in Budapest
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There are so many amazing things to do in Budapest, find your favorite and get planning your memorable holiday.
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