When you ask people to name some of the most beautiful cities in the world, they might not openly name Budapest. But once they get to see what the city has to offer, they will definitely change their minds.
Budapest is a chronically underrated city that is definitely one of the most beautiful Europe has to offer. Once you pick up a guidebook or start poking around online, you’ll quickly see there are many amazing things to do in Budapest during your visit.
There are a hundred exciting tours to do in Budapest– some of them are popular among a lot of tourists, and some of them are rather underground.
We spent 4 days in the city and quite frankly, it’s nowhere near enough. We felt rushed as we spent long days in the city seeing the sites and capturing its beauty with our cameras.
These are just a very few things to do in Budapest out of the many that will steal your heart. Hold on, you’re in for a ride.
Don’t leave home without: Top 10 Budapest (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide)
Things To Do in Budapest
Walk Across the Bridges
Budapest is a city divided into two parts- Buda and Pest. The Danube serenely flows between these two parts of the city, which are connected by bridges.
There is no lack of bridges for you to cross, and all of them will give the Brooklyn Bridge a run for its money. The Chain Bridge, Elizabeth Bridge, Petofi Bridge, Margaret Bridge all connect the two parts of the city and have an incredibly interesting history.
When the sun goes down, head out for some night photography as the city comes to life in a completely different way. We spent all 4 nights staying out in the wee hours of the morning, capturing the city lights from all the different vantage points.
Stretch your legs and see the sights on a Budapest walking tour. Your local guide will lead to the jewels of the city, including UNESCO World Heritage sites like Heroes’ Square, where iconic statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars sit, as well as the beautiful Buda Castle.
Go to the Fisherman’s Bastion
The first thing you’ll observe about Budapest is its sheer beauty. The mind-blowing architecture and beautiful cobblestone roads will definitely blow your mind.
If you want to get the view of a lifetime, make sure that you visit the Fisherman’s Bastion.
This spot is on the Buda riverside, atop the Buda Castle. It’s a steep climb, but you will get amazing bird’s eye views of Chain Bridge, Houses of Parliament and Pest city.
By far one of the most iconic things to do in Budapest.
Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica
No matter what you believe in, the moment you walk into St Stephen’s Basilica, you will start believing in a higher power. It’s a grand cathedral, with incredibly intricate carving work.
You will definitely be astonished by the rich gold detailing on the pillars, and the beautiful religious paintings, and the cupolas that look like a kaleidoscope.
The basilica serves as the center point of the city and it seems like no matter where you go, it acts as a beacon, drawing you back to the center of the city.
Lucky for us, we stayed at the beautiful Aria Budapest Hotel, right next to the basilica. So we enjoyed views of this structure at all hours of the day and night.
Add a fun twist to your sightseeing tour in Budapest and see the sights aboard a motorized tuk-tuk. Glide around the Buda Castle District; hop off to take photos of Heroes’ Square, Matthias Church, and the Garden of Philosophy; and see the Chain Bridge, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the Hungarian Parliament building.
Grab a Cuppa at New York Café
Budapest is full of charming architecture, why would you want to spend time in a café? The moment you enter New York Café, at the Boscolo Hotel, you will understand why it comes so highly recommended.
It’s the most beautiful café in the world- complete with high vaulted ceiling, gilded pillars, and huge frescoes.
It looks more like a palace than a hotel! The food is not that great though, so just grab yourself a coffee, observe your beautiful surroundings, and slip out somewhere else for goulash.
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Enjoy a Romantic Walk at Tomb of Gül Baba
Romantic walk and a tomb do not seem like things that go well together. But the Tomb of Gül Baba will prove otherwise.
This 16th-century tomb is surrounded by a beautiful, and romantic rose garden, and enjoys a great deal of peace throughout the day. A perfect setting for a post-date walk, don’t you think?
The entrance to the place is free, but if you want to go inside the tomb, you have to get a reservation earlier.
Do Not Miss Matthias Church
This church is probably one of the most spectacular pieces of architecture we have ever seen.
Many of our friends recommended it to us and as seasoned travelers, we were prepared for an over-hyped reaction of the building.
Fortunately, this is not the case with Matthias Church. It is absolutely stunning with colored tiles and impressive architecture. Hands down one of the best things to do in Budapest.
Admire the beautiful Buda Castle District on a 2.5-hour walking tour in Budapest. You’ll follow a local guide around the cobblestone streets and hear stories of the city’s rich history. See UNESCO World Heritage sites like the Royal Palace, as well as the lesser-known landmarks such as Vienna Gate.
Shop at Gozsdu Courtyard
Whether you’re a fan of window shopping, or you want to actually load up on Hungarian trinkets, the Gozsdu Courtyard is a wonderful place for you to visit.
The entire place is like a festival, with people selling beautiful wares everywhere. The courtyard is between Kiraly Street and Dob Street. It would be better for you to enter from Kiraly street- that way, you get to observe the true beauty of the market.
Reminisce at the Jewish Shoe Memorial
Hungary definitely felt the brunt of the Second World War, and they have definitely not forgotten the pain. The Jewish Shoe Memorial is a dedication to the Jews that were put to their death on the riverside, during the war.
The memorial is on the banks of the Danube, between the Parliament and the Chain Bridge. Walk up there, spend some time reminiscing about history, and say a prayer for the souls that lost their lives at the same spot.
Go to the Parliament Building
The Parliament Building is a prime example of neo-gothic architecture. If you went to the Fisherman’s Bastion, you probably got a bird’s eye view of it.
Now, you can get a worm’s eye view. The building is over 100 years old and is the third-largest parliament building in the world. You can even see the insides for a fee.
We didn’t go inside, but we spent the better part of an hour wandering the gardens outside of the building and capturing the building from every angle with our cameras.
We even parked out on a bench and just took in the scene. Good people watching to be had here too.
Take a Free Walking Tour
The best way to observe any city is by walking through it. That way, you get to observe the locals, spot the small hotels and shops that make every city unique, and you get to make wonderful friends.
There are dozens of free walking tours of Budapest- and some of them have different themes as well. It will be a piece of cake to find the tour you’d be interested in.
We had a difficult time finding the right free walking tour to take but lucky for you, we wrote about our experience so you won’t make the same mistake. Budapest is a city that will take a lifetime to explore, but this list will set you off on a good start.
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