The Best Things to Do in Budapest
Collected by Kimberly Bradley , AFAR Local Expert
Budapest is a historic city, full of parks, cafes, and noteworthy sights, but it isn’t always obvious where to go if you only have a few days. Treat your senses with authentic goulash and stuffed cabbage at the Great Market Hall, and check out the famous thermal baths that permeate the city. Visit the old castle, the statues at Memento Park, and the museums and myriad delights of Varosliget. If you get the chance, take a night cruise down the Danube to see the city lit up along the river.
Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary
It's an unforgettable experience: Getting up at the crack of dawn in mid-winter, walking through the large municipal park on the Pest side of town, checking in to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath (mostly with Hungarian pensioners because tourists...
Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary
This stunning 18th-century Baroque palace, a World Heritage Site perched on Castle Hill, evokes images of Hungarian kings and the mighty Hapsburg empire. Accessible via funicular or a steep walk, the castle's gardens, squares, and lavish interiors...
Budapest, Szentháromság tér, 1014 Hungary
Fisherman's Bastion was built between 1895 and 1902 on Buda's Castle Hill not to provide protection, but rather as a lookout point—and this fairy-tale castle site, with its seven spired towers representing the seven tribe of Magyar...
Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, 1055 Hungary
The splendor of this neo-Gothic parliament building—the third-largest parliament building in the world—is obvious from the outside, but consider these facts: This place has 691 interior rooms, 10 courtyards, 88 statues of Hungarian...
Budapest, Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary
Budapest, Hungary is brimming with art, culture and a touch of decadence. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Hungarian State Opera House on the luxurious Andrássy Way. If you don't have the time or money to take in a concert in this...
Budapest, Balatoni út - Szabadkai utca sarok, 1223 Hungary
Statues of Communist ideologues once dotted every city behind the Iron Curtain, but in the world's rush to forget the Cold War, such monuments are hard to find these days. Not in Budapest—once East and West came together in the early 1990s,...
Budapest, Dohány u. 2, 1074 Hungary
Dominating the intriguing Jewish quarter on the Pest side of the city, the Great Synagogue is a must-see for lovers of culture in general and Europe's Jewish history in particular. This is Europe's largest operating synagogue (the largest, in...
Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary
If you happen to be meandering through Budapest, and have the urge to do a little sightseeing, St. Stephen's Basilica is definitely a sight to see. The structure is named in honor of Stephen, the first king of Hungary. Apparently, his right hand...
Budapest, Pesti alsó rkp., Hungary
The 60 pairs of iron shoes lined up along the promenade on the Danube River's east bank are a part of the Shoes on the Promenade Holocaust Monument. Conceived by film director Can Togay and created in period style by sculptor Gyula Pauer, the iron...
Budapest, 1013 Hungary
With six thermal pools, a large swimming pool, a wellness area, and an oft-Instagrammed rooftop jacuzzi, Rudas has been a full-service spa bathhouse since its restoration and renovation in 2014. Its center, however, reveals a centuries-long...
Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary
Throughout Budapest are a whopping 123 therapeutic hot springs, but these, in the stately, slightly dusty Hotel Gellért (built in 1918) might be the most famous. The communal bath in the center of the hotel spa is for everyone, but the most...
Budapest, Liszt Ferenc tér 8, 1061 Hungary
This university for music was established in 1875 by, you guessed it, renowned Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. The building is of course primarily a school—but its lively in-house concert series, including chamber music, student ensemble...
Budapest, Liliom u. 41, 1094 Hungary
This funky venue for experimental art of all kinds—theater, visual art, dance, performance, music, even circus arts—began as a transformer station, then later sat empty for 40 years until a group of artists began squatting there in the...
Budapest, Székács u. 29, 1122 Hungary
The Budapest Design Terminal, a Bauhaus-style building dating to 1948 on the Buda side of the Danube, was once a derelict bus terminal. These days the space, renovated in the early 2010s, is a hot spot for cow-orking, "incubation," networking,...
Budapest, Teréz krt. 30, 1066 Hungary
In an age of Hollywood blockbusters and cineplexes (even in Europe), true art-house cinemas are a dying breed; Művész on the Pest side of the city keeps the faith with a wide variety of international and vintage films shown on four screens....
Budapest, Klauzál tér 5, 1072 Hungary
This project–founded as an art gallery in 2013 by curators Patrick Urwyler from Switzerland and Hungary native Boglárka Mittich—focuses on showing and promoting contemporary art from Central Europe, which, let’s be frank,...
Budapest, Komor Marcell u. 1, 1095 Hungary
Ludwig museums crop up frequently throughout Europe—the Ludwigs were avid German art collectors who were also generous enough to make large donations and establish institutions in places like Cologne since the late 1980s—and Budapest...
Budapest, Komor Marcell u. 1, 1095 Hungary
Known as the Palace of Arts until 2015, the modern, glassy cultural center Müpa opened in 2005 and is the premier venue in the Hungarian capital to take in cutting-edge jazz, dance, art, and more. The Bela Bartok National Concert Hall is...
Budapest, Széchenyi Lánchíd, 1051 Hungary
Nothing's more romantic than strolling across a bridge with a beloved, but this bridge means more than just amor—Széchenyi Chain Bridge was the first structure across the Danube in Hungary, built in the mid-1800s and, as a suspension...
Budapest, Hősök tere, 1146 Hungary
One of Budapest's most history-laden spots, the enormous Heroes' Square is framed by art museums near the City Park. But the main focal point here is Millennium Memorial, a tall column and colonnade structure completed in 1905 that commemorates...
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