18 Best Things To Do in Budapest + Hidden Gems 🇭🇺

Let me show you the best things to do in Budapest and some of my favourite hidden gems.

best things to do in budapest

If you are going to Hungary’s capital and want to get as much as possible out of your trip, I recommend you take a closer look at these awesome things to do in Budapest.

Planning a last minute trip to Budapest? 🇭🇺
Here are my top tips to Budapest:

🛌 Places to Stay (I've stayed there myself):
1. Anantara New York Palace (luxury hotel with a world famous breakfast café)
2. Continental Hotel Budapest (4-star hotel with a nice rooftop pool)
3. H2 Hotel Budapest (affordable hotel close to everything in the city centre)

🇭🇺 Top Activities & Tours:
1. Szechenyi Baths (the most famous thermal baths in Budapest, well worth a visit)
2. Unlimited Prossecco Cruise (sightseeing boat tour on the river Danube, as seen on TikTok)
3. Budapest Card is a great option to get 'free' public transport and access to a lot of attractions

In this article, I have collected some of the best sights and things to do in Budapest. There is something for everyone, whether you are travelling with your partner or the whole family.

Budapest is the perfect destination for an extended weekend trip, with lots of fun things to do. And the city’s many sights, make it very easy to make a terrific schedule for a weekend trip.

budapest things to do

The list also include several culinary experiences for those who want to taste the real Budapest and don’t just want to go to the same restaurant chains you also find in many other big cities.

Budapest offers many unique dining experiences you must take advantage of if you want a different experience than just another burger restaurant.

Save money on transport with the Budapest Card

budapest transport

If you want to easily get around the city when you are in Budapest, it is a good idea to get the Budapest Card. The card can be easily and quickly bought online, giving you a wide range of advantages when you go to Budapest.

With a Budapest Card, you can ride public transport throughout Budapest for free. This makes it incredibly easy to get around, and you don’t have to spend money on bus tickets, taxi rides or anything else to get around from one attraction to another.

In addition, you also get many other benefits. Among other things, the card gives you free access to 19 museums around the city and free luggage storage in a central location in the capital if you need it.

It also works as a discount card, which gives you up to a 50% discount on, among other things, thermal baths, restaurants, bars and boat trips.

You can buy the Budapest Card online here.

Read more: how to get from Budapest Airport to city centre

1. Buda Castle

Buda Castle, one of the best things to do and see in Budapest

The first attraction in Budapest that I have chosen to include here on the list is Buda Castle, located right on the Danube river – of course, on the Buda side of the city.

The castle was first built in the 13th century but has since undergone rebuilding and renovations. Most of the building today dates from the mid-18th century.

The castle hides several different experiences. Here you will find, among other things, the country’s most extensive library, the Historical Museum in Budapest and the National Gallery of Hungary, which will be described in more detail in a separate section.

It is, of course, most interesting to visit the castle during the day. You can also easily enjoy it from a distance in the evening when it lights up in a great light.

Especially if you stand on the opposite side of the bank and enjoy the view of, e.g. the castle. Buda Castle will be a perfect place to start your trip in Budapest.

Read more about the castle on the official website.

I’m also showing the whole Castle District in my Budapest video:

2. The Hungarian Parliament Building

The Hungarian Parliament Building

Another incredibly fantastic building, which, like the castle, also lies right down to the Danube river, is the Hungarian Parliament Building.

The Parliament of Hungary has met in the building since 1902.

Hungarian Parliament Building
Yours truly by the Hungarian Parliament Building

Today, they only use a small part of the building for this purpose, while the rest functions as a tourist attraction, among other things.

If you wish, you can have a guided tour of the parliament. That way, you can see what is officially Hungary’s most prominent building with your own eyes from the inside.

In addition to being the largest building in Hungary, it is also the third-largest parliament building in the entire world.

You can book your ticket for the tour around the parliament from home. The tour lasts 45 minutes, giving you plenty of time to take in the neo-Gothic building.

Book a guided tour of the parliament here.

By the way – have you found a place to stay in Budapest? If not – check out my guide on the best areas and where to stay in Budapest.

3. Fisherman’s Bastion

fisherman's bastion budapest

On your trip to Budapest, don’t miss out on a visit to the Fisherman’s Bastion, which is probably one of the city’s most well-known sights and trademarks.

From the Fisherman’s Bastion, you have a fantastic view of the city, where you can take some terrific pictures.

The Bastion should therefore be considered both from the outside and especially from the inside as well, if you have the time and opportunity to do so.

There is an entrance fee to enter, but it is one of the things to do in Budapest that you get a discount on if you have a Budapest Card. Here you get 10% off an adult ticket.

Around the building, you will find, among other things, many cafes where you can have a cup of coffee or a light lunch at the end of your trip to the Bastion.

4. Heroes’ Square

If you love history, you should stop by Heroes’ square. The Heroes’ Square also serves as the main entrance to City Park, the city’s extensive public park.

The main attraction on the square is undoubtedly the Millennium Monument, which was erected back in the late 1800s for Hungary to celebrate its first 1000 years here.

Construction started in the 1890s, but the monument was not completed until 1929.

In addition to the possibility of combining a trip to the Heroes’ Square with a trip to the park right next to it, you should also consider combining it with a trip to either The Museum of Fine Art or The Budapest Hall of Art, which is located on the right and left side of the monuments and which help to frame the hero’s square.

The square itself doesn’t have much to offer besides its monuments, but if you have time and still want to visit some other things to do nearby, I recommend a trip.

5. Matthias Church

budapest matthias church

One of the absolute most beautiful things you can see in Budapest is the Matthias Church. It is right next to the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Buda Castle.

Therefore you can advantageously explore that city area on the same day.

The church is magnificent from the outside, but if you want to have a complete experience of the church, you should also take a look inside.

If you come at the right time, you may even be lucky to experience a church service.

There is an entrance fee to enter the church, but if you have chosen to get a Budapest Card Plus, an upgrade to the regular Budapest Card, you get free entry.

There are also several events in the church that you can experience. Among other things, you can go to classical music concerts in the church if you want to.

6. Walking tour in Budapest

budapest walking tour

If you want to avoid planning your trip by yourself and just want the easy solution, you can also book a guided tour around the city.

With a guide, you also get a little deeper, as you are also told about every place you pass.

It’s the perfect option for you who want to see the most critical places in the city but don’t want to spend a whole day wandering around, getting lost and exhausted.

These tours usually last a few hours, but then you have also seen all the most essential elements of the city. Then you have the rest of the day to relax, enjoy the food or taste the local beer.

Book a guided tour around Budapest here.

7. St. Stephen’s Basilica

Saint Stephen's Basilica

Another attraction in Budapest that also exudes grandeur and history is Saint Stephen’s Basilica.

It is the third largest church building in the country and, among other things, very well known for its promotion of classical music in particular. You also have the opportunity to hear a classical concert in the basilica.

During the summer, there is a concert every Sunday in the building, which is also named after Hungary’s first king, Stefan 1.

The basilica also houses the Basilica Choir, which, in addition to frequently performing in the basilica, also tours around and gives concerts during the rest of Europe.

If you want to pop in and see this magnificent building, you can skip the line by getting a ticket online.

8. Géllert Hill – best view of Budapest

If you are up for a longer hike, you can take a trip up Géllert Hill, the large hill on the Buda side of the city. From here, you get the absolute best overview of the town. And if you can also combine it with a sunrise or sunset, it’s really fantastic.

On Géllert Hill, you will find, among other things, the over 150-year-old Citadel and an extension of this former military building.

A Statue of Liberty is also erected in honour of the Soviets and Hungarians who lost their lives in the fight to free Hungary from the Nazis.

Later, I will also go into more detail about the Géllert bath at the foot of the high hill.

Géllert Hill rises a good 235 meters into the air, so it takes a pair of good legs to get to the top. But once you get up there and see the view, you won’t regret it.

9. The Great Synagogue

The Great Synagogue

The last attraction in Budapest I would recommend before we jump on to the more active experiences is The Great Synagogue.

It is the largest synagogue in all of Europe and the second-largest synagogue in the world and can accommodate over 3,000 seated guests.

The synagogue played a significant role during World War II when the synagogue and the surrounding buildings were used to imprison and detain Jews.

On this occasion, memorials have also been set up for the fallen who died in and around the synagogue during this period, including the Emmanuel memorial tree.

Get Skip the Line Tickets here.

The area around the Synagogue is one of the best areas of Budapest for nightlife and restaurants.

I’ve been to the Bakelit Café (just down the road from the Synagogue) a few times now, and I’m continually shocked at how cheap it is for a guy from Copenhagen like me 😀

10. Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Széchenyi thermal best, best spa experience in Budapest

One of the things that Budapest is very well known for, among other things, is its thermal baths.

One of the most popular baths is undoubtedly the Széchenyi Bath, which consists of 3 indoor and 15 outdoor pools.

If you are going on a city break in Budapest, it is a must to get into one of the thermal baths you will find in the city. The Széchenyi Bath is just one of them, but it is probably also the most famous thermal bath in the world.

You can skip the queue by getting a ticket for the bath here.

11. The Gellért Spa

The Gellért Spa

Where the Széchenyi Baths are located on the Pest side of the city, you’ll find the Géllert Baths on the Buda side.

As previously mentioned, the bath is at the foot of Géllert Hill, so you may want to consider jumping into the water after you’ve been up and enjoying the view from the top of the hill.

With a ticket to the Géllert bath, you can access several indoor and outdoor pools, many saunas and a steam bath.

I recommend you visit only one of these thermal baths in the city, as the experience is pretty much the same regardless of which bath you choose.

You can also buy a ticket for the Géllert bath online, so you skip the queue.

12. The Great Market Hall

If you love to go to the market abroad, you must not cheat yourself on a trip to The Great Market Hall or Nagyvásárcsarnok as it goes by in Hungarian.

If you want to experience the market hall, I would recommend also enjoying a walk up and down Váci Utca, which is probably the main street in Budapest, where you will find a lot of restaurants and shops, which are also worth spending time on if you have a shopping heart.

At the end of the street, you will find the market hall.

You can find everything from small cosy food stalls to the traditional tourist stalls with t-shirts, caps and other copy products, which you can find at all other markets in probably the whole world.

If it’s quality you’re looking for, you should look more in the direction of the food stalls than the tourist stalls, and then it certainly can’t hurt to haggle over the price in a place like this.

13. Budapest Chocolate Museum

If you have a sweet tooth, consider inviting the whole family to the chocolate museum in Budapest.

Few people probably know that Hungary has a long and old tradition of making chocolate. Still, you can experience that by visiting this tasty museum.

During your tour, you will have the opportunity to taste the product, but you can also make your own chocolate.

You will also be offered cookies, tea and hot cocoa, so you don’t have to be afraid that you won’t be able to satisfy your sweet tooth during this trip.

Read a review of the chocolate museum here. Then you might find out whether this experience in Budapest is something for you.

14. The Hungarian State Opera

If you love opera or just want a grand experience, even if opera might not be your home turf, you can take a trip past the Hungarian State Opera.

Shortly after the city was merged into a unified Budapest in the mid-1800s, plans were made to create a majestic opera house.

And that plan was completed with the Hungarian State Opera, which, even if you don’t have to experience a performance, is also worth the trip just for the magnificent view from the outside.

But entering the building is, of course, the most fun. Buying tickets for the performances is easy, as you just have to go to Opera.hu, where you will find the program and the option to buy a ticket for the performance you want to see.

You will find musicals, ballets, operettas and much more on the poster. Undoubtedly an exceptional experience in the Hungarian capital.

15. House of Terror

house of terror, best thing to do in Budapest for history geeks

If you want an insight into some of Hungary’s bloody history, you can take a trip by The House of Terror, a newer museum in Budapest.

The museum was established in 2002, and it hides some of the gruesome truths and realities that the Hungarian citizens had to go through in the dawn of time when the country was under the leadership of both fascist and communist fronts.

If you intend to visit the museum, it is a good idea to get an audio guide so that you have the opportunity to have the information read out in English.

Many of the texts in the museum only appear in Hungarian, so if it is not your strong suit, you will get the best experience with an audio guide.

16. Boat tour on the Danube River

boat tour in budapest

Since the Danube River runs directly through the city, it is also a must to take a trip out to sail on it. Fortunately, there is plenty of opportunity for that, as there are many sightseeing boats on the river.

On the trip, you have ample opportunity to study up close some of the historic and iconic buildings from the city, which lie right down to the river.

You can book a day, evening or night trip on the river. It is easiest to plan a trip in the middle of the day. Still, it is also a unique experience when the light startlingly bathes the beautiful buildings in attention.

You can easily book tickets for boat tours on the Danube River here.

17. Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens

In the heart of Budapest is also located Budapest Zoological and Botanical Garden. Here you can greet the many animals, or you can go exploring in the magnificent botanical garden.

All in all, there are over 1000 species of animals here, so there is plenty waiting for you if you decide to take a trip to the Hungarian Zoo.

It costs 3300 HUF to enter for adults, but if you have a Budapest Card, you can save 25% on the entrance. Once again, getting the Budapest Card can be a wise decision.

And at the same time, transport to the zoo is also covered with the card.

The garden is divided into several sections, including Australia Zone, Savannah Zone and America Tropicana.

The perfect place to take the kids if they are tired of walking and looking at churches and parliament buildings.

18. National Gallery of Hungary

As mentioned in the section on Buda Castle, you will find it at the castle National Gallery of Hungary. The building is enormous, so unless you have plenty of time, you’ll probably have to accept that you won’t be able to study all the work closely.

Here you will find almost all historical works from Hungary. The origins of the pieces span all the way back from the Middle Ages up to the present day.

The museum recommends setting aside 1.5-3 hours for a visit to get the full experience. With the Budapest Card, there is the option of free entry.

I hope you can use this travel guide for experiences and the best things to do in Budapest and that you will have a great trip to Hungary.

Check out all our Budapest travel guides.

FAQ:

What are the top tourist attractions in Budapest?

The main tourist attractions are probably:

– Buda Castle
– Fisherman’s Bastion
– Hungarian Parliament Building
– Széchenyi Thermal Bath
– St. Stephen’s Basilica
– Heroes’ Square

In this guide I’ve shared some of the more hidden gems and my personal favourite things to do in Budapest.

What are some free things to do in Budapest?

Walk along the Danube Promenade and take in the river and city skyline views. Visit one of Budapest’s many parks, Margit Sziget is my favourite – especially in the summertime. Explore the Jewish Quarter and see the famous street art. Check out the Central Market Hall and sample local foods. Take a stroll through Városliget, one of Budapest’s largest public parks.

How many days do you need in Budapest?

I recommend spending 3-4 days in the city to get a good feel. This will give you enough time to visit the top tourist attractions, explore different areas of Budapest, try traditional Hungarian food, relax in thermal baths, and experience the nightlife.

What thermal bath in Budapest is the best?

Here are some of the best thermal baths in Budapest. The first 2 are definitely the most famous, but it’s hard to say which are the actual best ones – I guess it comes down to personal preferences.

Széchenyi Thermal Bath: This is one of the largest and most popular thermal baths in Budapest. It has both indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and massage services.

Gellért Thermal Bath: Located inside the beautiful Gellért Hotel, this bath has a stunning Art Nouveau interior. It features indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and a variety of wellness treatments.

Rudas Thermal Bath: This bath dates back to the 16th century and features an octagonal pool with natural hot spring water. There are also several smaller pools with different temperatures, as well as saunas and steam rooms.

Király Thermal Bath: This bath is one of the oldest in Budapest and has a unique Ottoman-style architecture. It offers indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and massages.

Lukács Thermal Bath: This bath is located in Buda and has been popular since the 12th century. It offers indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and therapeutic treatments.

Websites I use to book my trips 👇

Booking.com has the best offers on hotels and unique places to stay
GetYourGuide is the best place to book tours & activities with free cancellation
This power bank is the one thing I never travel without
Welcome Pickups is the best & safest place to pre-book airport transfers

Psst 👀 Have you subscribed to my Youtube channel and my Instagram where I provide more useful travel tips?