What to Do and See in Budapest

A visit to Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is an unforgettable experience that blends a bustling cultural scene, gorgeous architecture, and a rich history. Budapest, also referred to as the “Pearl of the Danube,” is home to many tourist destinations and activities.

The stunning architecture in Budapest is one of its highlights. The city features a variety of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau buildings. The Buda Castle, St Stephen’s Basilica, and the Hungarian Parliament Building are a few of the well-known sites that display the city’s magnificent architecture.

Another well-liked attraction is the city’s thermal baths. Being able to bask in the therapeutic waters of the Széchenyi or Gellért Baths, two of Budapest’s most well-known natural hot springs, is a refreshing experience not to be missed.

It is possible to explore a wide variety of museums, galleries, and theatres in Budapest. Two cultural treasures that highlight the city’s creative history are the Hungarian National Museum and the Hungarian State Opera House.

Budapest’s gastronomic offerings will please food lovers. The city’s diverse food culture offers something for everyone, from substantial Hungarian meals to cosmopolitan cuisines.

Budapest provides a magical journey through one of Europe’s most alluring cities with its distinctive blend of history, architecture, culture, and gastronomic pleasures.

In this article, we will give you what you should do and see when you visit Budapest.

  1. Visit Buda Castle and Castle Hill

The Buda Castle complex, perched atop Castle Hill in Budapest, is a regal representation of the city’s extensive history and magnificent architecture. For anyone interested in getting a glimpse into Budapest’s past, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit location.

The Royal Palace, commonly known as Buda Castle, has been present for centuries of Hungarian history. Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architectural elements are combined to create its spectacular architecture. The courtyards, gorgeous façade, and complex embellishments of the castle are evidence of the city’s rich creative and cultural history.

Beyond only seeing Buda Castle, Castle Hill can be explored. The mediaeval ambience, lovely houses, and cobblestone streets transport visitors back in time. The experience is further enhanced by seeing historical places like Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Vienna Gate.

Castle Hill offers stunning vistas that will take your breath away. The magnificent setting created by the Danube River, the recognizable Chain Bridge, and the Pest side of the city enthralls every tourist.

A trip to Buda Castle and Castle Hill is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the beauty and history of Budapest, whether strolling through the castle grounds, seeing the museums, or taking in the panoramic views.

  1. Visit Stephen’s Basilica

One of Budapest, Hungary’s most important sights is the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica, which is situated in the city’s center. The basilica, which bears St. Stephen’s name, is a marvel of architecture, displaying a fusion of Neo-Classical, Renaissance, and Baroque styles.

The basilica’s massive façade, which is embellished with elaborate sculptures and a towering dome that dominates the city skyline, reveals its magnificence. Visitors are welcomed inside by a gorgeous interior that includes magnificent stained glass windows, elaborate decorations, and a tasteful fusion of marble and gold accents.

The expansive view from the observation deck of St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of its features. Climbing the dome provides a breathtaking vantage point from which to take in the expansive cityscape, which includes the Danube River and the famous Parliament Building.

St. Stephen’s Basilica is not just a stunning piece of architecture, but it is also a revered place of worship. The venerated relic of St. Stephen’s mummified right hand is kept there.

St. Stephen’s Basilica is a mesmerizing experience that enables visitors to appreciate the beauty, history, and spirituality of Budapest, whether admiring the basilica’s façade, marveling at its exquisite interior, or taking in the panoramic views from above.

If you would like to book a tour to see St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, click here or on the Get Your Guide image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Visit Parliament Building in Budapest

The Parliament Building is a spectacular architectural masterpiece that captures the majesty and elegance of the city and is a well-known emblem of Budapest, Hungary. One of the biggest parliamentary buildings in the world, this spectacular Neo-Gothic architecture is located on the banks of the Danube River.

With its elaborate spires, arches, and artistic ornamentation, the Parliament Building’s design blends Gothic and Renaissance elements. The building’s outside is decorated with statues, carvings, and intricate reliefs that represent important people and occasions in Hungarian history.

The Parliament Building’s interior is similarly magnificent. Guests can explore all the magnificent halls, opulent staircase, and priceless furnishings. The building also serves as home to the Holy Crown of Hungary and other Hungarian Crown Jewels, which are open to the public for viewing.

The Parliament Building radiates majesty both inside and out, representing Hungary’s long history and commitment to democracy. It is a must-see destination while visiting Budapest due to its great location along the Danube River, which offers a gorgeous backdrop for tourists and photographers alike.

If you would like to book a tour to see the Parliament Building in Budapest, click here or on the Viator image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Visit Hero’s Square in Budapest

Hero’s Square is a colossal square in Budapest that honors the country’s great people and celebrates its rich heritage. It is situated at the end of Andrássy Avenue. It is a well-known and important landmark in the city.

The Millennium Monument, a tall column topped with the Archangel Gabriel bearing the Hungarian crown, is located in the middle of Hero’s Square. The Seven Chieftains of the Magyars, who are thought to have guided the Hungarian people to their country, are depicted in statues and sculptures that surround the monument.

Additionally, two majestic colonnades that house statues of significant figures in Hungarian history surround the square. These sculptures feature famous people who have made important contributions to the country, including kings, politicians, and other notable figures.

Hero’s Square hosts significant national festivities, ceremonies, and events and acts as a symbolic and patriotic meeting spot. For people who want to comprehend and appreciate Hungary’s cultural and historical legacy, it is a must-visit location because of its great grandeur, stunning sculptures, and historical significance.

  1. Hop on Hop off Bus Tours in Budapest

The greatest way to visit Budapest’s top attractions at your own pace while hopping on and off buses is to take a tour. By hopping on and off the bus at various spots along the route, you may tailor your itinerary and spend more time at the locations that most interest you on these tours.

The tour typically includes stops at the city’s famous landmarks, such as Buda Castle, the Parliament building, Fisherman’s Bastion, Heroes’ Square, and St Stephen’s Basilica. The vehicles are fitted with multilingual audio tours that provide fascinating insights into the city’s past and present.

Usually, the ticket comes with a 24- or 48-hour pass that enables you to leisurely explore Budapest. Another choice is a night-time tour, which provides a distinctive perspective of the city thanks to its illuminations and lights.

Budapest Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours, in general, offer a convenient and straightforward approach to explore the city’s finest sights, especially for those with limited time or mobility.

If you would like to book a hop on hop off bus tour in Budapest, click here or on either the Big Bus Tours or CitySightseeing image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Visit the Thermal Baths and Saunas in Budapest

Budapest is renowned for its hot springs and saunas. These baths are popular with both visitors and locals. Budapest is situated on top of a network of hot springs, therefore thermal baths have long been a significant part of the city’s culture.

One of Budapest’s most well-known thermal baths is the Széchenyi Bath. It is located in City Park and features 18 pools of varied sizes and temperatures. Numerous ailments are known to respond well to the mineral-rich Széchenyi water. Another well-known thermal spa is the Gellért Bath, which contains an outdoor wave pool and is located in a spectacular Art Nouveau building.

Saunas are another feature of the Budapest thermal baths and are highly well-liked. They offer a variety of saunas, from mild to extremely hot, including steam, infrared, and Finnish saunas. One advantage of using saunas is improved circulation, which also helps with body purification.

Overall, Budapest’s hot baths and saunas offer a superb and relaxing way to experience the vibrant history and culture of the city.

  1. Walk Around the Old Town of Budapest

Budapest’s old center is like entering a dynamic museum where history, culture, and charm are intertwined. With its spectacular architecture and mediaeval lanes, the Castle Hill neighborhood provides an enthralling look into the city’s past.

Visitors can explore historic sites like Matthias Church, a beautiful Gothic masterpiece, and Fisherman’s Bastion, an ornate terrace affording panoramic views of the city, while meandering through the winding cobblestone streets. In addition, there are attractive cafés, boutiques, and galleries in the old town where one may sample regional cuisine and buy for regional handicrafts.

When you cross the famous Chain Bridge, which connects the Pest side to the old town, you can feel the bustling vitality of Budapest’s city center. Explore the splendor of St. Stephen’s Basilica and the energetic Váci Street nearby. Views of the river and the stunning Parliament Building are appealing while strolling along the Danube promenade.

Strolling around Budapest’s historic streets offers an immersive experience that captures the essence of this enchanting city. Every corner of the old town carries stories of the past.

  1. Visit Budapest’s Markets

Budapest’s markets are a sensory delight that let tourists get a taste of the vibrant local culture and culinary scene of the city. The biggest and most well-known market in Budapest is the Central Market Hall, which is situated at the end of Váci Street.

The market’s lively interior is home to stalls selling a wide range of fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, spices, and classic Hungarian treats. Visitors are enticed to try regional delicacies like lángos (deep-fried dough) or chimney cakes by the perfume of freshly made pastries and robustly brewed coffee filling the air.

Investigating the market offers the chance to speak with welcoming merchants, discover Hungarian ingredients and traditional dishes, and take in the vibrant ambiance. Browse through one-of-a-kind handicrafts, trinkets, and traditional folk art for a genuine look at the nation’s history.

Budapest has a number of lovely marketplaces in addition to the Central Market Hall, including the Great Market Hall on Fvám Square and the Hold Street Market. Each market has its own unique personality and regional delicacies, making them ideal vacation spots for both foodies and culture fans.

A lovely way to indulge in regional flavors, discover traditional crafts, and feel the pulsating pulse of the city’s gastronomic and cultural life is to visit the markets in Budapest.

  1. Festivals in Budapest

Budapest, Hungary’s vivacious capital, is well known for having a year-round, dynamic and diversified festival culture. These events highlight the city’s artistic talent, vibrant atmosphere, and cultural diversity.

The Budapest Spring Festival, a multidisciplinary celebration of music, theatre, dance, and visual arts, is one of the most well-known festivals in Budapest. Artists from present a diverse programme of performances and exhibitions across the world and the local community.

One of Europe’s biggest music festivals, the Sziget Festival, which takes place on Buda Island, draws fans of music from all over the world. This week-long festival includes a wide variety of musical styles, including rock, pop, electronic music, and world music, as well as art installations and different activities.

Hungary’s wines are delightfully celebrated during the Budapest Wine Festival. Visitors can savor a wide range of wines, take part in wine tastings and workshops, and take in live music and cultural acts at this event, which is held at the Buda Castle.

The Budapest International Documentary Festival, the Budapest Fringe Festival, and the Budapest Christmas Market, which animates the city during the holiday season, are additional noteworthy festivals.

Budapest has an extensive calendar of cultural events and entertainment throughout the year, making it a special and unforgettable experience for both inhabitants and tourists.

  1. Do a Cruise of the Danube

Budapest’s spectacular beauty may be seen from a different angle as you embark on a boat along the Danube River, which is a magical experience. The Danube, known as the “Queen of European Rivers,” flows right through the center of Budapest, and a cruise along its calm currents provides breath-taking views of the city’s famous sites and picturesque surroundings.

You will pass famous locations like the Chain Bridge, Buda Castle, Matthias Church, and the Hungarian Parliament Building as you travel lazily along the river. Before your eyes, the city’s skyline expands, displaying a fascinating fusion of architectural splendor and unspoiled landscape.

As the city’s lights reflect on the water, a Danube cruise also offers the chance to view Budapest’s illuminated landmarks at night. This creates a magnificent environment. Even live music, food, and entertainment are sometimes included on cruises, which enhances the overall experience.

A Danube boat in Budapest offers a fascinating tour through the city’s history, culture, and picturesque landscapes, leaving you with long-lasting recollections of this unique location, whether it is a romantic twilight cruise or a midday excursion.

If you would like to book a Danube Cruise in Budapest, click here or on the Cruise Direct image below to select from one of our preferred suppliers. 

  1. Nightlife in Budapest

Budapest’s nightlife is renowned for its vibrant, dynamic atmosphere that accommodates all tastes and inclinations. After dark, the city comes to life with a wide range of possibilities for a wonderful night out.

For anyone looking for a distinctive and unusual experience, the lively ruin bars are a must-visit. These energetic locations, each with its own unique quirky décor, live music, and a bustling ambiance, are housed in decaying buildings and courtyards.

Budapest’s nightlife provides a variety of possibilities for clubbers. There is something for everyone, from hip clubs playing the newest electronic and dance music to establishments featuring live bands and DJs. Club goers congregate in the seventh district’s party district, especially around Kazinczy Street.

Wine lovers can indulge in the burgeoning wine bar culture in Budapest, where they can try a selection of Hungarian wines and unwind with a classy evening of discussion.

Budapest also hosts a range of cultural events and festivals, such as concerts, theatre productions, and art exhibitions, to enhance the experience and offer a variety of possibilities for an educational night out.

Night owls and partygoers will have infinite opportunity to discover the city’s lively energy and have a fantastic night out thanks to Budapest’s really active and diversified nightlife.

  1. Walk Down Andrássy Avenue in Budapest

The wide boulevard Andrássy Avenue, sometimes known as the Champs-Élysées of Budapest, runs from the center of the city to City Park. This famous boulevard is a tribute to Budapest’s architectural and historical splendor because it is lined with exquisite Neo-Renaissance structures, opulent boutiques, cafes, and historical sites.

The Hungarian State Opera House, a breathtaking architectural marvel renowned for its exquisite interior and top-notch performances, can be seen as you stroll along Andrássy Avenue. The House of Terror, a museum that chronicles Hungary’s ghastly history during the Nazi and Communist eras, is also located on this Boulevard.

In addition to being a center for high-end shopping, Andrássy Avenue is a destination for history and culture. The boulevard is lined with high-end shops, designer boutiques, and international fashion houses, making for an opulent shopping experience.

Additionally, the avenue is a UNESCO World Heritage site and features lovely pavements bordered with trees that are ideal for leisurely strolls and people-watching. Both tourists and locals should visit Andrássy Avenue because of its grandeur and elegance, which serve as a tribute to Budapest’s rich legacy.