24 Matters to See and Do in Budapest

The skyline of Budpapest, Hungary during a summer day
Posted: 1/13/2020 | January 13th, 2020

I’ve at all times had a love affair Budapest (although town could not understand it). Rising up, Budapest appeared like this historic but mysterious place closed off by the Soviets however stuffed with historic grandeur. Once I first visited, the gritty, rundown streets charmed me. Budapest felt edgy in sharp distinction to, say, Prague’s extra sanitized historical past. IT was a metropolis of underground bars in deserted buildings, hearty meals, and critical individuals.

Over time, I’ve seen town change because the vacationers go to in droves. And, whereas now not as edgy (these smash bars are now not hidden), Budapest continues to be one thing else. It provides a few of the finest nightlife in Europe, tons of spas and sizzling springs, gorgeous historic buildings and museums, and plenty of inexperienced area.

Budapest is a metropolis with layers. It doesn’t matter what you’re excited by, you’ll be capable of discover it right here. That will help you take advantage of out of your subsequent journey, listed here are my high 24 matters to see and do in Budapest.
 

1. Take a Free Strolling Tour

The historic old town of Budapest, Hungary and its many churches and monuments
Each time I arrive in a brand new vacation spot, I at all times take a free strolling tour. It’s a budget-friendly technique to see the principle sights, be taught in regards to the vacation spot, and ask any questions it’s important to an area professional. They’re a fast and straightforward technique to get an summary of a metropolis, which can make it easier to plan the remainder of your journey. Budapest has numerous good free excursions accessible. Listed here are a couple of you possibly can take a look at to get began:

 

2. Soak on the Baths

Budapest is understood for its thermal spa baths (it’s among the best matters about this metropolis). You’ll discover greater than 100 mineral sizzling springs right here, many relationship again to the Roman Empire.

The preferred is the Széchenyi Baths in Metropolis Park. With 18 swimming pools, it’s the most important and most well-known in Europe. The historic buildings that home the spa had been in-built 1913, and it’s a well-liked spot for locals and vacationers alike. Don’t neglect your bathing go well with and flip-flops (you possibly can lease towels and lockers).

Állatkerti krt. 9-11, +36 1-363-3210, www.szechenyifurdo.hu. Open day by day 6am-10pm. Admission begins at 4,900 HUF.
 

3. Smash Bars

The interior of Instant Bar, a ruin bar in Budapest
The nightlife in Budapest is among the finest in Europe — and smash bars are a giant cause why. Positioned within the outdated Jewish Quarter, a lot of the neighborhood was left to decay after World Battle II. In the course of the 90s, bars started to appear within the deserted buildings within the space. Now, this underground scene is effectively on the map. However that doesn’t make this eclectic, arty, and funky areas any much less enjoyable. Szimpla Kert, On the spot, and Fogasház are my three favorites however, for a extra detailed record of what’s sizzling proper now, take a look at my submit on the very best smash bars in Budapest!
 

4. Fort Hill

This historic space is house to baroque homes and Habsburg monuments. Cobblestone streets and slender alleys that hark again to town’s medieval roots parallel panoramic views of Pest and the Danube. This part of town is definitely a UNESCO World Heritage Website, with the Outdated City within the north and the huge palace to the south, which dates to the 13th century.
 

6. Buda Fort

Within the Fort Hill space, you’ll additionally discover Buda Fort (it’s extra of a palace complicated than anything). The unique complicated was constructed within the 13th century, nonetheless, the large Baroque palace that exists right this moment was really constructed between 1749-1769. Initially supposed for the the Aristocracy, the palace was looted by the Nazis (after which the Soviets) throughout World Battle II.

Enjoyable reality: Beneath the fortress, Vlad the Impaler (colloquially often known as Rely Dracula) was imprisoned for 14 years. Within the dungeon space, there’s additionally a labyrinth that vacationers used to have the ability to discover — at the hours of darkness, no much less — although it’s now closed. You’ll additionally discover some museums right here as effectively (see beneath).

Szent György tér 2, +36 1 458 3000, budacastlebudapest.com. The courtyards are open 24/7 whereas the fortress is open day by day from 10am-8pm.
 

5. Hospital within the Rock

This museum served as a hospital, bomb shelter, jail, and nuclear bunker. Right here you’ll be taught in regards to the impacts that World Battle II, the 1956 revolution, and the Chilly Battle had on town and its individuals. Opened in 2008, it’s one of the vital common sights on the town. Admission features a one-hour guided tour of the museums, which has all kinds of wax figures, instruments, gear, and furnishings.

Lovas ut 4/c , +36 70 701 0101, sziklakorhaz.eu/en. Open day by day 10am-8pm. Admission is 4,000 HUF.
 

6. Hungarian Nationwide Gallery

Opened in 1957, this museum focuses on Hungarian artists and historical past (of which I knew little or no earlier than my first go to). The gallery is situated in Buda Fort, house to work and sculptures from the renaissance and center ages, together with picket altarpieces from the 1400s. You can even tour the constructing’s huge dome. The gallery hosts rotating momentary displays too so test the web site to seek out out what’s on throughout your go to.

1014 Budapest, +36 20 439 7325, mng.hu. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm (final tickets offered at 5pm). Admission is 1,800 HUF and audio guides can be found for 800 HUF.
 

7. Budapest Historical past Museum

Buda Castle on the edge of the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary
This museum covers 4 flooring of Buda Fort and gives a complete overview of town’s whole historical past. It’s a should for anybody trying to get a extra detailed have a look at town’s 2,000-year previous. My favourite exhibit was the “1,000 Years of Budapest” show. Be sure you get the audio information because it gives loads of good supplemental data. It’s value the fee.

+36 1 487 8800 , budacastlebudapest.com/budapest-history-museum. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm (6pm in the summertime). Admission varies by season (2,000-2,400 HUF). An audio information is out there for 1,200 HUF. Admission is free on nationwide holidays.
 

8. The Cave Church

Within the 1920s, Catholic monks constructed this church in a big cave system that had been beforehand utilized by a hermit monk. Generally known as Saint Ivan’s Cave, the cave was used as a hospital throughout World Battle II. When the communists got here to energy after the struggle, they lined the doorway in concrete and executed the top monk. In 1989, because the Iron Curtain fell, the church was reopened and is now a well-liked place for vacationers in addition to a spot of worship for locals. Get the audio information to take advantage of out of your go to. There’s loads of historical past right here.

Sziklatemlom út Gellért Hill, sziklatemplom.hu/net/fooldal.html. Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-7:30pm. Admission is 600 HUF.
 

9. Matthias Church

This neo-Gothic Roman Catholic church is among the most unusual church buildings in Europe. I’ve actually seen a whole bunch of church buildings and cathedrals throughout the continent and this is among the most authentic. The unique church on this spot was constructed within the 11th century, although nothing stays of it (the present constructing was constructed within the 14th century and was closely renovated within the 19th century).

In the course of the Turkish invasion of the 16th century, it was transformed to a mosque, which is why its vibrant colours and designs that aren’t widespread in European church buildings (the church has a colourful roof that just about makes it appear to be it was constructed from Lego). As soon as inside, you’ll see the large vaulted ceilings and ornate décor.

Szentháromság tér 2, +36 1 355 5657, matyas-templom.hu. Open 9am-5pm on weekdays, 9am-1pm on Saturdays, and 1pm-5pm on Sundays. Admission is 1,800 HUF. Guided excursions can be found for two,500 HUF.
 

10. Fisherman’s Bastion

A solo female traveler sitting at Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, Hungary
Constructed between 1895 and 1902, this terrace is comprised of seven towers that look out over the river. Each is supposed to signify one of many seven Hungarian tribes that based town. The terrace was designed by the identical architect who created the Matthias Church and gives gorgeous panoramic views throughout the Danube River. Competing legends say that the identify comes from both the truth that the terrace overlooks the outdated fishermen’s guild or that the fishermen’s guild was liable for defending that space of the wall. Nobody is kind of sure which is correct.

Szentháromság tér, +36 1 458 3030, fishermansbastion.com. Open day by day 9am-11pm. Admission is free, with an extra cost of 1,000 HUF to go to the higher turrets.
 

11. Hungarian Presidential Palace

The Hungarian Presidental Palace has been the office of the president since 2003. Generally known as Sándor-palota (Alexander Palace), it’s not practically as spectacular as the encircling buildings, however in the event you time your go to proper you possibly can see the altering of the guard ceremony on the high of every hour from 9am-5pm (excluding Sundays). Generally the palace will likely be open for excursions (however this hardly ever occurs so don’t get your hopes up).

Szent György tér 1-2, +36 1 224 5000. Admission to the altering of the guard is free.
 

12. Buda Tower

This reconstructed “tower” is all that continues to be of the Church of Mary Magdalene, which was initially constructed within the 13th century however was destroyed throughout World Battle II. When the Turks occupied town between 1541-1699, the church was transformed right into a mosque. It reopened in 2017 and now you can climb the 172 steps that result in the highest. That mentioned, the views from Fort Hill are simply nearly as good — and free — so I’d skip climbing the steps and simply admire this historic tower from the skin.

Kapisztrán tér 6, budatower.hu/en. Open day by day 10am-6pm (however solely on the weekends in January and February). Admission is 1,500 HUF.
 

13. Stroll Throughout the Chain Bridge

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge connects Buda with Pest and is a wrought-iron and stone suspension bridge. The bridge initially opened in 1849 however was broken throughout World Battle II and needed to be rebuilt. Spend a while strolling throughout the bridge and taking within the view. Don’t miss Gresham Palace, situated on the Pest facet. It’s an Artwork Nouveau constructing that’s now an expensive 4 Seasons resort.
 

14. Go to Parliament

The parliament building in Budapest, Hungary lit up at night
In-built 1902, that is the most important constructing within the nation and residential to the nationwide meeting. This huge construction — which covers over 18,000 sq. meters — took virtually 20 years to construct. You’ll be able to take guided excursions of the constructing the place you possibly can be taught in regards to the historical past of town and the way the federal government of the nation works. (When you plan to go to, buy your tickets prematurely because the strains can get fairly lengthy.)

Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, +36 1 441 4000, parlament.hu. Open day by day 8am-6pm. Admission is 6,000 HUF.
 

15. Stroll Alongside the Danube


After visiting Parliament, take a stroll alongside the river. Head south to take a look at the promenade and its many inexperienced areas and sculptures, together with the sobering “Footwear on the Danube Financial institution,” a memorial honoring the Jews who had been shot right here throughout World Battle II. You probably have a ebook or simply need to take within the view, it is a reflective place to cease and chill out.
 

16. Nice Market Corridor

That is the oldest and largest indoor market within the nation. In-built 1897, you’ll discover largely produce, meats, baked items, and sweet on the bottom ground whereas the higher ground is house to eating places and memento outlets. It has loads of conventional locations to eat, so be sure you stroll round and discover first. Sure, it’s touristy (it’s the central market, in any case), however I nonetheless discovered the meals fairly good (and inexpensive). Even in the event you don’t plan on shopping for something, it’s nonetheless value a fast go to to stroll round.

Vámház körút 1–3. Open Monday 6am-5pm, Tuesday-Friday 6am-6pm , and Saturday 6am-3pm. Closed on Sundays. Admission is free.
 

17. St. Stephen’s Basilica

That is the most important church in Hungary. Named after Hungary’s first king, the church is comprised of ornate structure, beautiful art work, and is topped by an enormous dome. It was accomplished in 1905 after taking 50 years to construct. Be sure you take a look at all of the little chapels in addition to the reliquary that’s (allegedly) house to St. Stephen’s mummified proper hand.

Szent István tér 1, +36 1 311 0839, bazilika.biz. Open weekdays 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-1pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm. Entry to the basilica is by donation, although it’s 600 HUF per individual for the tower/remark deck.
 

18. Dohány Avenue Synagogue

Also referred to as the Nice Synagogue, that is the second-largest synagogue on the planet (it seats 3,000 individuals). In-built 1854, the synagogue provides guided excursions that make clear the constructing and its place within the metropolis’s historical past. You’ll be taught all in regards to the building of the synagogue, Jewish life within the metropolis, and rather more. As a follow-up to your go to, take a look at Wallenberg Memorial Park (proper behind the synagogue) and the close by Hungarian Jewish Museum.

Dohány u. 2, +36 1-343-0420. Hours fluctuate from month to month; name forward for particulars. Admission is 4,000 HUF.
 

19. Gellért Hill

Gellert Hill on a sunny day in Budapest, Hungary
Gellért Hill, simply south of Fort Hill, is the very best place to look at the sundown (in the event you go for the sundown, take a flashlight for the journey house). There are additionally a number of monuments on the hill, such because the Liberty Statue, a bronze statue was erected in 1947 to have a good time the liberating Soviet forces who defeated the Nazis; the Statue of Queen Elisabeth, the Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary who married Franz Joseph I; and the Statue of King Saint Stephen, Hungary’s first king, who helped set up the nation as a Christian nation and offered a interval of relative peace and stability.

20. The Museum of Terror

Life in Budapest below the fascist and communist regimes was brutal. The constructing that homes this museum was utilized by the ÁVH (Secret Police) and Arrow Cross Celebration (the Hungarian Nazi get together) throughout their reigns of terror. Over 700,000 Hungarians had been killed or imprisoned by the Soviets, and the museum does a wonderful and shifting job of highlighting simply how horrible their day by day lives had been. The museum’s everlasting displays are unfold over 4 flooring and home all kinds of propaganda, weapons, and informative multimedia shows. Additionally they host momentary displays too (for data on these, test the web site for essentially the most up-to-date data).

Andrássy út 60, +36 (1) 374 26 00, terrorhaza.hu/en. Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Admission is 3,000 HUF.
 

21. Heroes’ Sq.

Heroe’s Sq. (Hosök Tere) is the most important sq. in Hungary. Right here you’ll discover statues of Hungarian kings and different historic figures, together with the seven chiefs who led the Magyars (modern-day Hungarians) within the ninth century. The monument was in-built 1896 to have a good time Hungary’s 1,000th anniversary and initially included Hapsburg monuments (because the Hapsburgs dominated the nation at the moment). The sq. can be house to the Millennium Monument, a big stone cenotaph dedicate to those that gave their life for Hungary’s independence.
 

22. Go Island-Hopping

There are a couple of islands on the Danube you can go to to flee town. The preferred is Margaret Island. It’s linked by the Margaret and Árpád Bridges and has a big park, swimming swimming pools, and a musical fountain. Óbuda Island is understood for its out of doors actions, together with wakeboarding, jet snowboarding, and golf (there’s a driving vary right here). In August, they host the Sziget Competition of music and tradition.
 

23. The Home of Houdini

Born in 1874, Harry Houdini was a well-known escape artist and illusionist. He was finest recognized for his elaborate and sensational escape tips, together with escapes handcuffs, chains, and even a grave the place he was buried alive! Born in Hungary, that is the one museum in Europe devoted to the Budapest native. The museum, which requires you to unravel a small thriller earlier than you possibly can even go to, is house to authentic Houdini props and items of memorabilia, in addition to props from the Houdini movie starring Adrien Brody.

11 Dísz Sq., +36 1-951-8066, houseofhoudinibudapest.com. Open day by day from 10am-7pm Admission is 2,600.
 

24. Educate your self as you stroll!

One of the many historic old buildings in Budapest, Hungary
Past exploring by yourself or taking a free strolling tour, Budapest has tons of different excursions value trying out from in-depth area of interest strolling excursions, to meals excursions, historic excursions, and pub crawls. Whereas they aren’t free, you’ll get to be taught rather more in regards to the metropolis, its previous, and its tradition. Listed here are a couple of corporations value trying out:

***
From its wild smash bars to its stress-free spas, Budapest provides every part you will discover in Western Europe — however for a fraction of the worth. Plus, it additionally sees a fraction of the crowds you’ll discover in cities like London, Paris, and Prague.

With tons to see and do and budget-friendly costs, it ought to come as no shock that Budapest retains turning into increasingly more common.

 

Get Your In-Depth Finances Information to Europe!

Nomadic Matt's Guide to EuropeMy detailed, 200+ web page guidebook is made for price range vacationers such as you! It cuts out the fluff present in different guidebooks and will get straight to the sensible data you must journey and get monetary savings whereas backpacking round Europe. You’ll discover urged itineraries, budgets, methods to save cash, on and off the overwhelmed path matters to see and do, non-touristy eating places, markets, and bars, and rather more! Click on right here to be taught extra and get began!
 

E book Your Journey to Budapest: Logistical Suggestions and Tips

E book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite serps, as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe, so that you at all times know no stone is being left unturned.

E book Your Lodging
You’ll be able to ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the most important stock. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use Reserving.com because it persistently returns the most affordable charges for guesthouses and low cost resorts. My favourite locations to remain in Budapest are:

  • Retox – A giant get together hostel situated subsequent to Budapest’s largest nightlife space. This one is for critical partiers!
  • Carpe Noctem – The workers right here will find yourself feeling like household, and there are organized journeys out in town each evening.
  • Wombats – One other get together spot, but it surely’s clear and cozy, and certainly one of my all-time favorites.
  • Hostel One – Nice rooms, nice workers, and loads of widespread area to socialize in. The workers will even prepare dinner for you!
  • Large Fish – This hostel is situated proper on the principle boulevard of Budapest. It has new beds, an enormous kitchen, and a comfy widespread room!

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes improper. I by no means go on a visit with out it, as I’ve had to make use of it many instances prior to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that provide the very best service and worth are:

Searching for the very best corporations to save cash with?
Try my useful resource web page for the very best corporations to make use of once you journey! I record all those I take advantage of to save cash — and I feel they may make it easier to too!

Picture Credit score: 3, 8 – Visions of Domino

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