fun things to do in Budapest

Undisputed as one of the most photogenic cities on the continent, the Pearl of the Danube is racing up the tourist ranks, quickly establishing itself as the premier eastern European capital (sorry, Prague, not this time).

From its Disney-esque riverside Parliament Building to its collection of marvelous basilicas, trendy ruin bars, relaxing spas, mouth-watering restaurants, and non-stop entertainment, the list of things to do in Budapest never ends.

As a comparatively cheap destination (up against the western European metropolises of London and Paris), even budget travelers can treat themselves to a slice of luxury in Budapest.

So, where to begin? We can help with that.

Uncover castles dating hundreds of years back, tour royal palaces, and see architectural delights that have stood the test of time.

Step into the world of the weird and wonderful as you learn about Dracula, witness a real torture chamber or take a ride on an actual locomotive train run by kids … As you can see, there is something to delight all ages in this vibrant, historical city.

Spend your days wandering the postcard-perfect streets, snapping millions of photos as you go along, exploring the different districts or day-tripping to cities in countries nearby.

Just the tip of the iceberg, here are epic activities, attractions and places to visit in Budapest.

1 – Check out Buda Castle

Buda Castle tickets

You simply can’t miss this grand royal residence at the center of Budapest!

For 800 years it has undergone plenty of facelifts and renovations, so taking a guided tour to hear the secrets hidden in every wall and every room of the palace (and the surrounding Várhegy district) is considered a quintessential tourist activity.

If you’re feeling snackish, swing by nearby Ruszwurm for a famous sweet pastry!

2 – Step back in time and visit Budapest’s Royal Guard and Riding Hall

Royal Guard and Riding Hall, Budapest

After visiting the Buda Castle, don’t miss the chance to explore the Royal Guard and Riding Hall exhibition – taking you on a chronological journey through the 18th century to the termination of the guard.

You’ll be greeted by the grandeur of the Royal Guard’s uniforms, helmets, headwear, private objects, medals, and full personal records.

These relics offer a rare glimpse into the everyday life of the guards who protected kings and royal families, even at the cost of their own lives.

For the food lovers, their restaurant is also a must-visit.

3 – Take in the view from St. Stephen’s Basilica

St Stephen’s Basilica tickets

Filled with fine art, a mummified hand, and an antique organ for classical music concerts, this vibrant building is more than just a famous religious site — it’s also Budapest’s tallest building!

So, of course, make sure to take the elevator up to the terrace and snap a perfect Instagram post.

Many of the city’s free walking tours will stroll past this landmark, however, to appreciate its true energy, an organ concert ticket is highly recommended.

4 – Cruise down the Danube

boat tours in Budapest

Whether seated on the open-air deck or behind the comfort of the glass, cruising down one of Europe’s most famous rivers is a great way to see Budapest.

By day, enjoy a cup of coffee and listen to the live narration about the passing landmarks; by night, sip on a cocktail surrounded by romantic ambient candlelight; or even join a boat party.

Any cruise is a memorable experience, so pick your preferred style and add it to your list of things to do in Budapest!

Read more about the best Budapest river cruises.

5 – Ride the historical Buda Castle Hill Funicular

Buda Castle Hill Funicular, Budapest

Have you ever ridden a funicular before? Ditch the mundane and hop on board the Buda Castle Hill Funicular — a combination ride between a tram and a cable car built on a slope.

In operation since 1870 (with upgrades made since then to keep the original mode of transport running), if you want to see Buda Castle but aren’t set on hiking to the top of Castle Hill, this is an excellent alternative.

Built to run along a 95-meter route running up and down the hill with its 50-meter slope, it connects the Danube River and Buda Castle. There are two stations: the lower station is located by the Chain Bridge, and the upper station is at the top of Castle Hill.

Lap up the views during the journey, which lasts a few minutes, and the historic cable railway runs every ten minutes, opening from morning until evening.

6 – Find the Tree of Life in the Jewish Quarter

Jewish Quarter tickets

Budapest’s multifaceted Jewish Quarter has nightlife for party-goers, great restaurants for foodies, and dynamic tales for history buffs!

Dohány Street Synagogue is a marvel and the second-largest synagogue in the world, a mainstay attraction in private tours of the area.

The Tree of Life, another unmissable landmark, sits is in the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, commemorating World War II and the heroes who defied the German occupation.

7 – See the changing of the guards at Parliament

Budapest Parliament tickets

If you’re wondering how a House of Parliament building could top lists of things to do in Budapest, just wait until you catch sight of this architectural triumph.

With the royal crown jewels, plenty of artistic prowess, and 40 kilograms of gold on site, there are few buildings anywhere in the world that can rival this masterpiece on the Danube.

If the building isn’t striking enough (inside and out), the daily changing of the guards ceremony includes rifles, drums, and sublime choreography ought to do the trick!

During city tours, the impressive structure is never missed and guides love to bring travelers straight to the Visitor’s Center to take photographs, and to gain inside knowledge and information about the building, first built in 1904.

Investigate some of its standout features during tours like the Grand Stairway, the Dome Hall, the Lounge of the Chamber of Peers and the Béla Neÿ hall.

Read more about Hungarian Parliament tickets price.

8 – Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour

bus tours in Budapest

With so many things to do in Budapest, boarding an open-top double-decker bus with detailed audio commentary is a great way to see all the best attractions (without tiring out those legs)!

There’s always another bus around the corner to take you to your next stop, so you’ll never have to worry about racing against the clock.

For those staying for at least a few days, the recommended deluxe ticket also includes a Danube River cruise and night-tour of the city.

9 – Tour the Royal Palace of Gödöllő

Royal Palace of Gödöllő tickets

About 40-minutes from the hustle and bustle of Budapest awaits a holiday house fit for a king!

The royal palace is a testament to Hungary’s rich history; combining the charm of old Budapest with the Italian village vibes of Szentendre, a colorful riverside town known for its museums.

Hot tip: if traveling with youngsters, take them to the nearby Lipizzan farm, home to animals and an amazing horse show!

Read more about the best day trips from Budapest.

10 – Put on your sneakers and enjoy a walking tour

walking tours in Budapest

With so much to see in this sprawling, historic metropolis, it’s often hard to decide where to begin.

Travelers often choose to start their trip by walking the vibrant streets on a walking tour, with a knowledgeable guide who will delve into the culture, history, and gastronomy of the lively city.

With a plethora of epic walking expeditions to choose from, you don’t just have to opt for a regular sightseeing tour — unless, of course, that’s your vibe.

For example, choose an eerie vampire and dark history walking tour in the evening, or foodies can take a dedicated culinary walking tour around the city.

Spend 90 minutes being shown around to classic monuments and must-see city attractions, or set aside three hours and explore both Buda and Pest districts by foot.

Walking tours range from a 40-minute walkabout to four-hour adventures.

11 – Zip through Budapest at night on an e-scooter

scooter tours in Budapest

A scooter tour is a unique way to quickly see Budapest’s main attractions and hidden gems all in a night’s work!

For an experience you won’t get on any run-of-the-mill tour bus, e-scooter adventures allow guests to see the city shine at night, with discounts offered at restaurants and bars across town.

Best of all, there’s often complimentary goulash and drinks!

12 – See the Millenium Monument at Heroes’ Square

Millenium Monument at Heroes’ Square, Budapest

The focal point of Budapest’s biggest town square is the 36-meter pillar topped with the Archangel Gabriel — you can’t miss it.

Locals love taking their picnics to dine under the grandiose statues of former statespeople and rulers, while tourists often put this iconic spot at the top of their list of things to do in Budapest due to the unbeatable views of the river below.

13 – Savor the excitement of a Formula One race at the Hungarian Grand Prix

Formula One race in Budapest

Just 20 minutes northeast of the city, the Hungaroring, which is known for its twisty layout and challenging corners, welcomes racers to the Hungarian Grand Prix every year in late July.

The event lasts for three days, with practice on the Friday, qualifying on the Saturday and finally, the exhilarating race taking place on Sunday.

Besides the roaring cars whizzing around the track, the event also offers a range of entertainment, from live music to food and drink stands, evening fireworks and more.

Whether you’re a motorsport enthusiast or just looking for an exciting weekend, Budapest’s Grand Prix is the perfect opportunity to experience a totally different side of Hungary.

14 – Take a trip back in time on a communism tour

communism tour in Budapest
Photos of victims of fascist and communist regimes outside House of Terror

History buffs, listen up.

Uncover Hungary’s turbulent 20th century with a historical tour of a city that spent the Cold War being pulled between East and West.

Budapest is full of buildings, bullet holes, and brilliant stories from this era, all of which will be presented by a knowledgeable guide who will make the sites and sounds of the past come alive.

15 – Solve an Escape Room

escape rooms in Budapest

Grab your hostel buddies, get your detective hat and your magnifying glass, and try to solve the puzzles at one of the many escape rooms around the city.

As the door locks behind you in the fully interactive rooms, the clocks start to tick — with only an hour to uncover the clues, not everyone has what it takes to escape in time.

A popular choice is the Gingerbread House room, where challengers must solve the puzzle for a recipe to endless chocolate!

16 – Delight your taste buds on a foodie tour

food tours in Budapest

No trip to Hungary is complete without trying a hearty goulash soup, its local wine and cheese pairings, or lángos (deep-fried flatbread with cottage cheese).

For the meat-lovers, take it up a notch with local smoked duck breast, water buffalo salami, Mangalica pork sausages, and grey beef sausages with traditional pickled vegetables on the side!

Whatever your preferred palate, there’s a food-centric tour for everyone.

17 – Day trip to Danube Bend and Esztergom

Danube Bend tours

A few hours out of Budapest, the picturesque city of Esztergom was once Hungary’s capital and today boasts stunning views of the mighty Visegrád Castle, the Danube River, and the sprawling European countryside.

For the adventure-seekers, set out on foot to the river for vistas of volcanic hills, waterfalls, and canyons!

In fact, hiking in these parts is extremely popular, particularly around the Danube Bend — a section of the river lined with traditional villages and towns comprising their own historical attractions from medieval castles to ancient fortresses.

Esztergom, Vác and Visegrad are some of the towns located along the riverbanks, and Szentendre is a tiny town on a little island in the river (loved for its Mediterranean feel).

If you’re keen to spend the day out in nature, there are half and full-day hiking tours around the region.

While you could rent your own car, a pre-organized tour is the easiest and most popular choice.

18 – See Portrait of a Young Man at the Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

With over 100,000 pieces of art from across all time periods, this striking building that focuses on fine art and sculpture is an art-lover’s paradise!

While notable pieces line each and every wall, one particularly emotive piece is Giorgione’s self-portrait, a priceless work stolen from the museum in 1983 and recovered by police in Greece.

That, along with the Esterhazy Madonna also on display, are two of the crowd favorites.

19 – Visit the galleries at Szentendre

day trips to Szentendre

Known as the Artists’ Village, Szentendre is just beautiful.

The Old City’s famous galleries and museums are diverse, sure to excite any art-lover; while the cobblestone streets are vibrant and artistic in their own right!

Many travelers couple it with the Royal Palace of Gödöllo; so sign up for a day trip, let the knowledgeable guides lead the way, and simply enjoy yourself as the 18th and 19th centuries come alive around you!

20 – Get a little tipsy on a wine-tasting tour

wine tastings in Budapest

Anyone thirsty? As you’ll quickly discover, Hungary definitely holds its own in the wine department!

A couple of regions worth checking out are the Tokaj region, which specializes in sweet white Tokaji wines, and Etyek, which specializes in Hungarian ‘Champagne’ with more acidity.

There are plenty of tours that escort you to those regions (designated driver included) and, of course, allow you to sample the blends to your heart’s content!

21 – Take a day trip to Lake Balaton

day trips to Lake Balaton

Missing the beach? The expansive, shimmering Lake Balaton is where landlocked Hungarians longing for a swim go to take a dip!

At any time of year, it’s a beautiful spot to visit, with travelers particularly fond of the promenades of Balatonfüred and the famous porcelain factories of nearby Herend.

Most visitors prefer to take the hassle out of the trip and simply book a tour. It’s often the most affordable option too (unless you go for the VIP experience).

22 – See a horse show in the Puszta region

horse riding in Budapest

Around the nearby historic city of Kecskemét, the fabulous fields of Puszta really know how to put on a show!

After sampling a traditional barack pálinka and pogácsa (apricot schnapps and a salty scone), you’ll ride in a retro horse carriage to a stunning equestrian display that features a range of jaw-dropping stunts.

Post-performance, why not take up the chance to ride a horse yourself?

23 – Keep your balance on a Segway tour

segway tours in Budapest

Don’t worry, with a quick introduction to your zippy ride you’ll be a natural!

On a segway tour — of which, throughout this beautiful city there are many — you’ll be part of an intimate group of travelers, shadowing a local guide who will give you the lowdown on all the essential tourist sites, eateries, and hidden gems.

By the end, you’ll know all the ins and outs of the city!

24 – Eat and shop at the Lehel Market

Lehel Market, Budapest

Is it a ship? … An Art Deco attempt? … No, it’s the Lehel Market — one of the best places to stock up on all sorts of yummy (and interesting) traditional Hungarian goods.

Selling mainly food at this indoor market in District XIII (District 13), there are two levels that comprise the shopping space.

Foodies particularly find themselves in a slice of heaven, moseying between stalls and vendors selling a variety of fresh local produce, from fruits to veggies to herbs to meats, as well as plenty of authentically procured goods, like cheeses, honey, pickled items, and more.

If you haven’t yet tried out the city’s baked goods selection, munch down on langos, biscuits and pastries.

The one level is where most vendors set up shop the old-school way, and the second floor is where you can also buy other random products, from clothing to pet accessories. There are a few Hungarian and one or two Vietnamese restaurants on this floor too.

25 – Explore Budapest’s creative side on a street-art tour

street art tours in Budapest

Admiring the bustling bohemian street-art is a really cool way to discover the city’s creative side, as well as understand the lesser-known issues and themes affecting the locals.

Tour groups are usually limited to small numbers, so it’s also a great way to meet a handful of like-minded travelers and check out some parts of town off the beaten path in District 7 and the Jewish Quarter.

For the cherry on top, free drinks at a ruin bar are usually included too.

26 – Get on a bike!

bike tours in Budapest

What’s more European than exploring a city on two wheels? Exactly.

Plenty of tours offer the opportunity to zip through the bike-friendly town with a local guide — a wonderful way to get into the smaller streets and alleyways, ditch the tourist crowds, and discover those little-known gems that hide in between all the major attractions.

If you prefer exploring solo, self-guided bike tours are also available.

27 – See Budapest from above

airplane tours in Budapest

Unless you’re scared of heights, an aerial view of the Hungarian capital city is essential. The only decision you have to make is whether you’ll get that view in a plane, helicopter, or both?

Flights may include a guided audio tour, hotel transfer, and complimentary drink.

Make sure to snap an unforgettable picture as you fly by the sites!

28 – Feel the wind in your hair on a speedboat

jet boat in Budapest

For a new way to see Budapest, try seeing its famous cityscape and major attractions from the Danube River on a high-speed, hair-raising jet boat!

One moment you’ll be peacefully admiring the lights of Chain Bridge; the next, the boat’s captain lets loose on the throttle and you’ll be holding on for dear life!

It’s the perfect combination of sightseeing and adventure, especially in the summertime.

29 – Climb to the top of Gellért Hill

Gellért Hill, Budapest

At 235 meters high, looking over the sparkling city from the 1st and the 11th districts, Gellért Hill is the perfect excuse to lace on those hiking boots!

After tackling the scenic hike, enjoy the view and keep an eye out for a unique church in a cave.

At the top, the Citadella fortress is worth exploring, and if time permits, make sure to hang around for sunset!

Standing proudly at 14 meters high, the Liberty Statue is another monument to investigate once you summit the top of the hill, representing an important part of local history. Here, a bronzed statue was erected on top of a 26-meter-tall pillar, and so it soars into the sky.

Constructed in 1947, it was built in remembrance of the soldiers who lost their lives during the Soviet liberation of Hungary during WWI, signifying the country’s liberation.

Remaining as one of the few major Communist statues left in Budapest, snap photographs and then drink in the views overlooking the city before making your way back down the hill.

Directions in Google Maps

30 – Take a cooking class

cooking classes in Budapest

Travelers love the local cuisine, so learning a few recipes to take home is a surefire way to impress the family and friends back home.

Led by a local chef, you’ll learn about both the flavors and stories behind the country’s treasured dishes, while sampling fresh ingredients and strong drinks the whole way through.

If you can perfect the goulash, we promise your future dinner-party guests will be… Hungary for more.

31 – Indulge in some self-care at the spas

spas in Budapest

After spending so much time exploring Budapest, putting your feet up at either Széchenyi Spa or Gellért Spa is a great way to unwind. While there are countless spas around the city, these two are the most popular among tourists.

The indoor Gellert is known for its art nouveau-style architecture, while the indoor-and-outdoor Széchenyi is one of the largest spa baths in Europe.

Not the typical spa gal or guy? With both medical and wellness services available, the Rudas Bath Rooftop Hot Tub has an ancient Turkish-style thermal pool as the main attraction. Built in 1896, it has been open to the public since 1936 — originally only for men.

Night bathing is available here too, however, guests only older than 14 years old can use the therapeutic springs.

Thermal pools, massage, and spa sessions are available to soothe any sore muscles (or help with headaches from the ruin bars the night before).

Even if you’re not here for the spa-time, it’s worth popping in just to see these unique Hungarian spas.

32 – Find a bargain at the Grand Ecseri Flea Market

flea market tour in Budapest

This expansive flea market has more collectibles, knick-knacks, and quirky items than anywhere else in central Europe!

There are a mix of serious stalls and lone traders trying to offload a few things — either way, it’s great for a souvenir if you can haggle the price down!

Hot tip: Bring cash (so you can haggle) and come early before the best items get swept up.

33 – Drive a Trabant through Budapest

Trabant tours in Budapest

Known as the paper Jaguar, the quirky 1960s Trabant 601 was the car of choice for Communist-era Hungarians.

So, riding one through the preserved period neighborhoods inside of your very owm paper Jaguar is sure to take you back to the Budapest of a by-gone era.

While cute, they’re not exactly fast: with its roaring 26-horsepower engine, this bad boy goes from 0-60 kilometers per hour in 21 seconds!

34 – Try not to tilt at the Budapest Pinball Museum

Budapest Pinball Museum tickets

Gamers, get excited. With over 150 pinball machines from the 1800s until today available to play —including the first-ever machine with flippers — Budapest’s Pinball Museum is a delight for kids and adults alike

So grab something from the snack bar and entertain yourself the way they used to before Minecraft and PlayStation came around.

35 – Treat yourself at the Chocolate Museum

chocolate tastings in Budapest

Now this is a museum you’ll want to sink your teeth into!

Indulge in chocolate tasting, get an introduction to how chocolate is made, make your very own sweet treat, and watch films about the history of chocolate with a hot mug of cocoa in hand!

If you’re not already full of cavities, don’t forget to pass by the gift shop for a few souvenirs!

36 – Visit the Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker Museum

Hospital in the Rock tours

This is no regular museum: it started life as a hospital and bomb shelter during World War II, during which it was filled to 10 times its capacity during the 1944-45 Siege of Budapest.

After that, it was briefly a prison before quickly becoming a nuclear bunker.

Clearly, it’s a fascinating story — the museum’s dramatic displays give visitors a glimpse into all of its chapters.

37 – Admire the view from Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion tours

The locals call it Halászbástya, tourists call it Fisherman’s Bastion, but after checking it out first-hand you’ll be calling it the best view of Budapest!

After snapping a few selfies, nearby, the stunning Matthias Church is worth checking out too — fitted with stained glass windows and a colorful roof, and housing the tomb of King Bela, it adds to the ambiance of this truly unique city.

38 – Put on your thinking caps during Scavenger Games

scavenger games in Budapest

Do you think you have what it takes to be the next Sherlock Holmes? Put your detective skills to the test AND have fun city sightseeing whilst doing so during these epic Scavenger Games in Budapest.

If you’ve never tried this type of city tour before, here’s how to play the game: Using a mobile phone, your team is given a storyline and a set of clues — each clue is at a designated city monument or attraction.

As you solve one puzzle, receive the next clue to point you in the right direction to follow, ticking off must-see places en route. Having fun all along the way, you get to learn the history behind the sites you pass by whilst cracking the mystery.

Scavenger games are awesome bonding experiences for families, couples and a group of buddies after a great time.

39 – See Dracula at Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle tours

Believe it or not, there was actually a real Dracula, and his name was Vlad Dracul the Impaler!

Born in Budapest’s Vajdahunyad Castle, which holds spooky tours for any history buffs or vampire-enthusiasts (or Team Edward supporters), Vlad’s reputation is now etched into history.

Besides the fangs and black capes, in the courtyard you’ll find a statue of Anonymus — Hungary’s first history author — and an informative exhibit on Hungarian architecture.

40 – Pay your respects at the Shoes on the Danube Bank

Shoes on the Danube Bank, Budapest

One of Budapest’s most tragic tales occurred during World War II when 3,500 people, including 800 Jews, were ordered to remove their shoes and stand by the river, after which they were executed.

The poignant and powerful memorial along the Danube river immortalizes the shoes left on the riverbank — a stark reminder to never forget the past.

Directions in Google Maps

41 – Hear the bell ring at Matthias Church

Matthias Church, Budapest

As well as hosting occasional Friday night organ concerts, this over-500-year-old church has orchestral bells that ring out every day at noon!

But there’s plenty to see as well as hear: inside, you’ll find a plethora of frescos, stained-glass windows, decorative roof-tiling, and a throne used to coronate kings!

Before leaving, be sure to climb to the top for more breathtaking Budapest views.

42 – See the Komodo dragon and wombat at Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden

Budapest Zoo tickets

A surefire hit for visitors young and old, the popular zoo boats over 1000 different animals and over 2000 species of plant from Australia to the Americas and everywhere in between!

While the wombats and tigers are always exciting, visitors also love the shimmering colours of the butterfly garden and the cute creatures of the Madagascar Zone.

If the zoo is a little busy, the Botanical Garden is a quieter spot to relax or reflect among the greenery.

43 – Take a dip at Margaret Island

Margaret Island, Budapest

This island in the middle of the Danube river is a treasure trove of rose gardens and archaeological ruins (not to mention all of the fuzzy squirrels!).

On a hot summer’s day, head to Palatinus Strand to cool down in the swimming pools, wave pools, water slides, and kids pools — there’s plenty of fun for adventurers of all ages!

Directions in Google Maps

44 – Follow your nose (and your stomach) at Central Market Hall

Central Market Hall tours

Enthusiastic foodies are obsessed with the Central Market Hall — 5 minutes inside and you’ll see why.

There are plenty of opportunities to smell and sample the freshest Hungarian ingredients and dishes; feel free to grab a few for a picnic in one of Budapest’s pristine parks — and don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine and a hand-crafted souvenir!

For the ultimate foodie experience, combine it with a cooking class or VIP tasting tour!

45 – Stop by the Aquincum Museum and its ruin garden

Aquincum museum and ruin garden, Budapest

Travelers fascinated by ancient history, stepping inside the Aquincum Museum will transport you back in time in an instant.

Fun fact: Óbuda, now commonly known as District III, was once a separate town from Budapest hundreds of years ago, and a Roman city first laid its foundations here.

Today, have the chance to see some of the Roman ruins in person at this special museum located in District III and around the original sites.

Permanent exhibitions to investigate are ‘Rome in Aquincum’, ‘House of the Painter’, ‘TEGVLARIVM’ (diving into the role of ceramics in the Roman period), ‘Mithras in Aquincum’ and ‘Thermae Maiores’ (a 2,000-year-old spa).

Apart from the life-size museum features, the museum houses different archaeological items and collections.

Investigate the Prehistory Photographic Archive, animal bones, the Lapidarium to see famous stone monuments, different materials used throughout the ages from bricks to coins, to mosaic to wood, learn about the Migration Period, and so much more.

The on-site Archaeological Park contains a ruin garden, and other spots around the grounds worth seeing are the Hercules Villa, Military Town Museum, fortresses, amphitheaters, aqueducts and ancient walls.

46 – Get a selfie with Lenin at Memento Park

Memento Park tickets

At the fall of the communist regime, Budapest preserved most of its totalitarian statues and symbols at Memento Park.

These days, it acts as a large, open-air museum perfect for locals and tourists to pause and reflect, while bringing the old relics to life.

Travelers often take a moment to appreciate the symbolism of the statue of Lenin, sitting next to the retro Trabant car.

47 – See all of Budapest at the Miniversum Museum

Miniversum Museum tickets

How can you see an entire city in an afternoon? Miniversum!

This unique installation offers a perfect 1:100 scale model of Hungary, complete with interactive screens, sounds, and lights bringing it all to life!

With lots of interesting information about the area and its history, it’s a solid option for a rainy or snowy day.

There’s also a full-sized playhouse for the kids, making it one of the more family-friendly things to do in Budapest.

48 – Go stand-up paddleboarding at sunrise

paddleboarding in Budapest

What’s more relaxing than a gentle paddle on calm water? We’ll tell you: doing so at sunrise on the Danube, before the city wakes, in the crisp, fresh Hungarian air.

For any total newbies, there’s minimal river traffic in the morning, making it a great opportunity to try it for the first time!

Set that alarm and make yourself a coffee, it’ll be worth it.

49 – Browse through the Hungarian National Museum

Hungarian National Museum, Budapest

Hungary’s vast, grand, and often turbulent history needs a museum every bit as vast and grand as it is; luckily, their National Museum fits the bill!

With exhibits spanning from ancient times through the middle ages, focusing on themes like the Hungarian struggle for independence, its submission to totalitarianism, and its current state of freedom, there’s plenty to be learned within these walls.

50 – See a real torture chamber at the House of Terror

House of Terror tours

The House of Terror lets visitors discover the dark side of the Hungarian dictatorships.

With no shortage of eye-opening displays, the torture chambers, jail cells, and execution room make for confronting yet fascinating viewing for visitors who want to understand what it was really like living under an iron fist.

51 – Investigate the tomb of Gül Baba and its rose garden

Gül Baba and Rosegarden, Budapest

As one of the last few remaining monuments that date back to the Turkish occupation of Europe during the Ottoman Empire, the Tomb of Gül Baba and its wonderful rose garden is an interesting one.

Starting with some background history; Gül Baba, an Ottoman-Turkish soldier-monk, arrived in Buda in 1541 and was a well-respected dervish who accompanied the army. He was well-known for his turban decorated and adorned with a rose (hence his nickname, Father of Roses).

After his passing, his body was buried and an octagonal-shaped mausoleum was erected in his honor. Hundreds of years later, excavators discovered a skeleton inside the tomb — believed to belong to Gül Baba.

Today, the interiors contain a wooden coffin designed with a replica of the iconic Rose turban.

In the 1800s, the property was privately sold and the owners built a villa around the mausoleum. Surviving wars, since then the grounds have been renovated, and recently in 2018, lavender and magnolia gardens were grown beside the existing rose garden.

The former villa was also transformed and now houses a cultural center with an exhibition space, workshops, a souvenir store as well as an authentic Turkish cafe.

52 – Pet the stingrays at Tropicarium

Tropicarium, Budapest

Tropicarium is not just an aquarium!

Tucked away in Campona Mall with shopping and a food court, it also has animals from alligators to little swinging monkeys!

Visitors love the giant shark aquarium where brave handlers hand-feed the sharks, and the rays touch tank where the friendly rays rub up against your arm!

53 – Sightsee in between Hűvösvölgy on the Children’s Railway

Hűvösvölgy Children's Railway, Budapest

Holding the (Guinness World) record for the ‘longest children’s railway line’ in the world, there’s probably no activity more unique (and exhilarating) for the little ones than the Children’s Railway.

Connecting the Hűvösvölgy and Széchenyihegy neighborhoods, the line officially runs for 11.2 kilometers between the two destinations, however, what makes it so extra special is that the train is run by little humans!

That’s right … from the purchasing of tickets at the booth to checking the dockets onboard to providing train hand signals, older kids and teens are the ones in control here. Not to fear though — the conductor is an adult!

Veering along the Cogwheel Railway, chug through forests and past points of interest like lookout towers.

The Children’s Railway Museum and Souvenir Shop is worth popping into whilst you’re here and is found on platform 1 at the Hűvösvölgy station. Through its interactive exhibits, learn of the history of this narrow-gauge style railway first built in the late 19th century.

54 – Be entertained whilst learning something new during a Folklore Show

Folklore Show in Budapest

From whirling red and white skirts to an evening of traditional dance and song; a folklore show is a brilliant way to get an up close and personal look at Hungarian history.

Over the course of 1.5 hours, sit back, relax and enjoy the entertainment whilst learning about local traditions and customs through the performance show at the Aranytíz Kultúrház.

Translating to the ‘Aranytíz Cultural Center’, the theater is housed inside a neo-Renaissance style building that was first constructed between 1879 to 1880, adding more ambiance to the show.

Either dancing troops from the Rajkó Folk Ensemble, Danube Folk Ensemble or the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble take to the stage for the evening, dressed in embroidered shirts, splendid skirts, and classic headpieces.

The performance is based on local mythology, folk performances and dancing rituals carried out in local villages throughout the centuries across Hungary.

55 – Sample the local brews with Beer Tastings

beer tastings in Budapest

Discover what the beer scene is like in Budapest with a beer-tasting experience around the city.

Brewing the alcoholic beverage for over 1,000 years, the country does know a thing or two when it comes to beer, and there’s an abundance of beer tastings to choose from, depending on the vibe that you’re after.

For an extraordinary crusade, visit a private brewery within a monastery and sample beers made by the monks who live there. Or get this; stop by a Hungarian beer spa and unwind in a traditional wooden spa bath with unlimited beer at your disposal.

Craft beer aficionados; enjoy tasting the local craft beers during private tours, where you will stop at pubs and drinking holes as you venture around the city and do a bit of sightseeing.

A second way to tour the city whilst staying merry is on a super fun electric beer bus, sipping back on Hungarian drafts while cruising around to must-see attractions, viewpoints and monuments.

Beer tastings range from one to eight hours.

56 – Take a ride on the M1 – Continental Europe’s Oldest Metro Line!

M1 Continental Europe’s Oldest Metro Line , Budapest

Don’t pass up the chance to ride on the oldest underground railway, the M1 (located at Oktogon Station underneath the historic Andrássy Avenue).

Its placement suits this beautiful neighborhood — renowned for its bygone architecture — and it feels as if you’re traveling through Budapest in the late 1890s the moment you walk down the steps to enter Europe’s first electric underground line.

Dripping in character and old-world charm, the metro tram line was built between 1894 and 1986, opening to the public that same year.

Climb into the original yellow carts and travel along the five-kilometer line, running from Mexikoi út (Mexican road) to Vörösmarty tér (Vörösmarty square) with 11 stops in between.

The M1 isn’t the only underground line, and there are lines M2 (red), M3 (blue) and the M4 (green) operating daily.

57 – Sip coffee at New York Cafe

New York Cafe, Budapest

Ever wondered, “what if the Sistine Chapel was a coffee house?” Wonder no more!

The world’s most dazzling cafe, found in one of the world’s premium luxury hotels, will leave you in awe — you’ll be gazing in every direction at marble columns, elegant paintings, and sculpted angels in this grand Rennaisance-themed cafe.

The good coffee is just a bonus.

58 – Dine at the best Michelin-awarded restaurants

best restaurants in Budapest

Wondering where the best places are to fill your belly in Budapest? The capital city is home to multiple Michelin-awarded restaurants, so take your pick of the very best in town.

Sophisticated and refined, from the food to the interiors, Costes Downtown is not only a one-star winner but was the first restaurant in Hungary to win a Michelin award. Naturally, it’s one of the best dining spots in the country.

Sublime presentation and modern gastronomy, whether it’s the ingredients or the cooking style, Babel Budapest is another one-star Michelin treat.

Intimate and inspiring, take your place around the 21-seater dining bar and watch the chefs in action at Rumour.

The plates of food that arrive out of the kitchen at Borkonyha Winekitchen (almost) look too pretty to eat and pop with color and classy, creative flair.

Combining Portuguese and Hungarian flavors, ingredients and cooking techniques, book a table at Essência Restaurant for a fusion like none other in town.

As the only restaurant in Budapest with a Michelin two-star, Stand celebrates and highlights Hungarian ingredients and its cuisine, but with a contemporary twist.

59 – Catch a show at Hungarian State Opera House

Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest

Before the show even starts, the Opera House captivates its audiences with its glimmering marble staircases, bright chandeliers, and striking architecture.

The likes of Gustav Mahler have conducted here, so it doesn’t matter if you catch an opera, ballet, or classical music performance; you’re in for a world-class performance with world-class acoustics!

60 – Adventure through the city via Jeep Tours

jeep tours in Budapest
Credit to Retro Tour

Jump into a vintage Russian military Jeep and hit the roads (less traveled) during exciting Jeep tours, winding through the streets of Budapest and beyond the city walls.

Adding three hours to your schedule clock, this adventure is ideal for travelers hunting down different things to do in Budapest and when it comes to touring the city.

Be shown off-the-grid locations and unusual attractions usually not covered in ordinary city tours, such as the “Champs-Élysées of Budapest”, i.e. Andrássy Avenue, Heroes’ Square (Hosok Tere) and Budapest-Nyugati, nicknamed the Western Railway Station.

There are also jeep tours for tourists keen on a classic city tour by vehicle, instead of trekking the streets on foot.

Lasting two hours, be driven around to iconic monuments and not-to-miss sights like Buda Castle, Gellert Hill, the Hungarian Parliament Building, the House of Terror Museum, Liberty Bridge, Vajdahunyad Castle and plenty of others.

61 – Walk across the Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

One of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks actually has a rather sad backstory.

Originally, the bridge was conceived by a man who could not cross the river to see his father; years later, during the War of Independence, The Austrians unsuccessfully bombed the bridge.

Then, a century later, the Germans did so successfully in World War II.

Incredible views aside, walking across the bridge is a walk through history itself!

62 – Lose yourself at Szimpla Kert

Szimpla Kert, Budapest

What started as a pub in an old factory is quickly becoming the heartbeat of the city.

This bohemian center still slings drinks but also screens movies, hosts concerts, displays art, contains a library, and turns into a market!

Hot tip: make a point of visiting on different days and times because it always has something different happening!

63 – Dine in style on the river

dinner cruise in Budapest

The only thing more intoxicating than the complimentary glass of champagne you get as you board a river cruise is the view of Budapest’s skyline (particularly the majestic Parliament building) reflecting off the water.

With live Hungarian music playing in the background and a scrumptious four-course dinner, it’s a surefire hit for romantics.

64 – Pub crawl through the ruin bars

pub crawls in Budapest

The recent craze in Budapest is the ruin bars, built in the ruins of abandoned buildings like stores and factories.

Many of them look like normal homes, so a guided tour with a local guide is the best way to discover them!

With drinks flowing — cheap drinks, we might add — it’s a fantastic chance to meet other party-goers, score a few free shots, and let your hair down!

How to get to Budapest?

Forget about trying to decipher Hungarian and haggle with cab drivers. For the most seamless, hassle-free arrival experience, it’s recommended to book an airport transfer in advance.

As you arrive at the airport, your private driver awaits you ready to transport you to your accommodation in Budapest. After a lengthy flight, sit back and be driven to your stay in style.

Where to stay in Budapest?

One thing is for certain, your accommodation can either make or break a holiday. Make sure that your stay during your time in Budapest is all that — and a bag of Hungarian candy — at any one of these fabulous hotels.

Classy yet ultra-trendy, Kozmo Luxury Hotel is ideal for couples. Boasting gorgeous finishes and features on all fronts, relax at the spa or dine at the world-class restaurant.

Certainly feel like royalty at the grand Aurea Ana Palace Hotel. From the floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms to the underground spa, the service and set-up are all-round impressive.

Loved for its location, on-site facilities and bright, spacious and extra comfy interiors, rooms and suites at the 5-star Kempinski Hotel exude warmth and luxury.

Donned in tips of gold here and there and rich finishings, the Anantara New York Palace Budapest goes the full nine yards.

With a close eye and attention to detail, the adults-only Hotel Clark Budapest is a boutique-style setup and absolutely dreamy.

Living up to its name’s reputation, stay in absolute style at The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest. It’s got excellent on-site facilities, incredible dining options and a fabulous location — naturally.

Feel like a celebrity at Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, fusing the past and present in the most perfect way possible.

Take a step back in time and stand in awe from the moment you enter the Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest. This is old-world elegance at its finest.

Visiting Budapest on a budget?

Traveling around Europe can become a pricey endeavor, however, there are ways to save money and be wise with how you spend your vacation savings.

One of the easiest ways is to opt for free walking tours when traveling to Budapest. Costing you absolutely nothing, be guided around to monuments, attractions and iconic sites with the help of a knowledgeable guide.

Moving from one place to the next, learn about each site you pass thanks to the titbits given by your expert local.

If your Budapest bucket list is long, and if you plan on getting around town using mostly public transport, then the Budapest Card might just be the best option for you.

The tourist card includes free public transport all over the city, offers discounts to some of the city’s premier attractions, free entry to 12 museums (like the Museum of Fine Arts and Budapest History Museum), and also slashes prices on a range of spas and restaurants.

To find out more and all you need to know about the best free walking tours in Budapest, take a squiz through our informative read.

Where to go next?

Situated in Eastern Europe, there are plenty of other neighboring countries to see while you’re in this part of the world or, make your way to a completely different side of the continent like the Mediterranean, for example.

Whether you’re an island-gal or more of a metro-man, here are some of the best places to visit in Europe from Paris to Santorini.

If you’re keen on traveling nearby, there are many things to do in other countries close by like Bratislava — the capital city of Slovakia, and a two-hour drive from Budapest.

Passing Bratislava, drive a further 30 minutes until you reach Vienna, Austria where there are many things to do, and both destinations are ideal for a day excursion. Tourists especially love taking a day trip to Vienna.

Head south and reach Belgrade, the bustling capital of Serbia, with a strong blend of modern vitality and ancient traditions. Step into the charming past of Belgrade Fortress and Kalemegdan Park, or discover the vibrant atmosphere of Skadarlija, the city’s bohemian neighborhood.

If your time in Hungary is limited, multi-day trips are a fabulous way to conveniently see a multitude of neighboring countries in a few days. There are excursions that last two days and travel to Vienna, or longer adventures journeying through to Bucharest in Romania.

Final thoughts

From castles to river cruises to weird and wonderful history learnings, there is so much to see, you might find a few days in the capital is not nearly enough!

Have you traveled to Budapest before and are back for more? What are your favorite things to do in Budapest, or places to visit? Share with us in the comments.

As always, happy and safe travels.

Evan Bryce Riddle is a versatile and ambitious content producer whose passion for globetrotting runs deep. When he’s not crafting travel content, Evan is the Content Executive at Australia’s leading digital marketing agency, managing end-to-end video production and written content to build brands to 7 and 8 figures. Evan has also spearheaded content for world-leading digital media channels (TheRichest, TheTravel), written multiple published books, photographed weddings, and hosts the coveted MegaMinds podcast – a handful of highlights from his 10+ year content and marketing career. Where does the love for travel come from? Born in Melbourne, Australia but having grown up in Hollywood, Evan fell in love with international jetsetting from a young age. Fast forward to today and he’s visited 30+ countries, highlighted by a 4-year stint in vibrant Montreal.