20 things you must do in Budapest

budapest-deluxe1Before I came to Poland, I decided to follow some blogs, where people wrote about Poland, so maybe I can get something from them in the future, during my stay. Yesterday I was just surfing on the Internet and I got an email notification, that one of the girls is taking a trip to Budapest. She wanted to have some tips about the city, so I was totally up to help her. Not a long time ago I posted a 1 day itinerary for Budapest, but all of us know that Budapest cannot be seen in only 1 day.

But what can we do in Budapest for more days? Here is my must to do list for Budapest for travelers who are planning to visit Budapest one day.

  1. Visit the most beautiful building of Hungary: the Hungarian Parliament

Located at Pest side, at Kossuth Lajos tér. You can go there with Metro line 2 (Red one) or tram line 2. It’s the highest building in Budapest, and also the largest as well. In front of the Parliament you can find the Museum of Ethnography. As far as I know you can visit the Parliament only in groups, but individuals cannot go inside. You can have a nice walk around the Parliament and make a lot of pictures.

  1. Have a nice walk, do picnic and play outdoor games in Margaret-Island.

A very beautiful island between Buda and Pest. Easy to reach it with Tram line 4 and 6. The Margaret-island is a 2.5 kms long and 500 ms wide, it’s a typical recreational area for people. On the island you can find a mini zoo, a Japanese garden, a „music fountain”, and a water tower. The last 2 are protected UNESCO sites.

  1. Cross some of the bridges of Budapest

Budapest has 7 bridges: the Rákóczi Bridge, the Petőfi Bridge, the Liberty Bridge, the Elizabeth Bridge, the Chain Bridge, the Margaret Bridge and the Árpád Bridge. In my opinion the best bridges to pass are the Chain Bridge and the Margaret Bridge.

  1. Visit the most beautiful basilica of Budapest, the St. Stephen’s Basilica

The basilica is located in Pest side, not that far from the Parliament. You can go there by Metro line 3 (Blue one), from Arany János utca. St. Stephen’s Basilica is as high as the Parliament, and it’s the 3rd biggest church in the country. The admission is free, and you can go to the top as well, though it’s not free anymore.

  1. Visit the biggest park of Budapest, the Városliget with the Vajdahunyad Castle

The park is located at Pest side, behind the Heroes’ Square. You can easily go there by Metro line 1 (Yellow one). There is a very beautiful castle in the park called Vajdahunyad Castle. Sometimes they organize some special markets, where you can buy some souvenirs. The theme always change, when I was there, once there was some Hungarian market, on the other day there were international foods’ market. The park is perfect for daily picnic, and for outdoor games.


  1. Walking to Heroes’ Square from the Opera House through Andrássy út

To see the unique Opera House, you can take the Metro line 1 (Yellow one). Afterwards you can start walking straight through the Andrássy út, which has the most expensive shops (it’s the Hungarian 5th Avenue), and later you can find the most expensive living area of Pest side. There are also quite many embassies. At Heroes’ Square there is the Museum of Fine Arts as well, if you’re interested, you can plan a visit. Heroes’ Square, or “Hősök tere” is one of the major squares in Budapest. It’s an iconic statue complex showing the seven chieftains of the magyars and some other national leaders.

  1. Hike up to Gellért Hill to have a panorama to Pest side

Gellért hill is in the Buda side, it can be easily reached from the Szent Gellért tér by Metro line 4 (Green one), or various trams. it’s the best if you do this hike in dark, as the view is more beautiful at evening time in my opinion. The view includes many bridges and the Pest side. When you walk down, go on the opposite route where you came from. You’ll end in front of the Erzsébet Bridge, so you can make a picture about it as well. The hill is connected to the legend about the death of St. Gerard. The saintly bishop was killed by the pagans during the great pagan rebellion in 1046. He was put in a barrel and rolled down into the deep from the top of the hill.

  1. Get to know more history about Budapest from the Buda Casle and Fisherman’s Bastion

On the Buda side, you can find the beautiful Buda Castle and the Fishermen’s Bastion. You can reach the Buda Castle firstly from Clark Ádám tér. If you’re lazy to climb up, you can also take the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular. The Budapest Castle has several medieval, baroque and 19th century houses, churches and public buildings. The area is the part of the World Heritage. Not far from the Castle you can find the neo-gothic and neo-romanesque “terrace”, where you can have a panoramic view to the Danube, the Parliament and Pest area. You can go to the terrace for free. At the Fisherman’s Bastion there is a very beautiful church, the Roman Catholic Matthias Church. The church was the scene of many coronations, including the last Habsburg king, Charles IV. There is an entrance fee to the church, which holds the Ecclesiastical Art Museum as well.

  1. Walk through the edge of Danube at Pest side

Starting from the Parliament, walk down to the way of Chain Bridge. On the edge you can find several nice monuments, and many beautiful hotels. After Liberty Bridge there are several benches, so you can have a sit and enjoy the atmosphere.

  1. Hunting souvenirs at Main Market Hall

Even you don’t like souvenirs, the Main Market Hall is must to see in Hungary. It has 2 storeys, on the first one you can buy mostly vegetables, fruits and meats, and on the 2nd one there are only souvenir shops and food stalls which sell Hungarian traditional foods.

  1. Start walking on the Grand Boulevard

The main tram line runs through Nagykörút, where you can see several shops, bars, cafés and restaurants. On the other hand you can wonder the old buildings. The Grand Boulevard is 4.5 kms long (in Pest side), but it’s not necessary to go through the whole. I can suggest you to start at Margaret Bridge (Pest side) and go till Blaha Lujza tér. On your way you can see some old hotels like Corinthia (former Grand Hotel Royal), and Boscolo Budapest Hotel (the old New York Café).

  1. Do picnic on Liberty Bridge

When the weather is nice, a lot of peole go out to the Liberty Bridge and do picnic on the Bridge. If you’re fit enough, you can hop on the lower parts and you can spend there some hours with wandering, chatting and eating.

  1. Visit bars on the Grand Boulevard

Nearby Blaha Lujza tér there are a lot of bars to visit on the Grand Boulevard. All of them have a very nice athmosphere in the evenings, with a lot of people. In case you want to see some of the mainest matches, they broadcast them.

  1. Try one of the thermal baths

Hungary is famous about its healthy thermal water. Don’t miss the chance to visit one of the main thermal baths in Budapest. In my opinion the Széchenyi Thermal Bath (nearby Heroes’ Square) is more unique, but Rudas Thermal Bath (nearby Gellért hill) is also very nice. The admission is quite high for Hungarians, therefore you might see mostly tourists in the baths.

  1. Visit the Zoo

It can be reached easily by Metro line 1 (Yellow one) in Pest side. Budapest Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world (opened in 1866). It houses several iconic establishments, like Palm House, the Elephant House. There are about 1000 species of animals, including Komodon dragon and wombat. It’s nice to spend there a whole afternoon.

  1. Look for local markets at Deák Ferenc tér

In Pest side, you can find a very nice square at Deák Ferenc tér. You can easily go there by Metro line 1, 2 and 3 (Yellow, Red and Blue). Through Deák Ferenc utca (you can see it from the church) there are usually markets where they sell local stuffs, like souvenirs and foods. Although it’s kinda expensive, it’s nice to have a look at the products and enjoy the atmosphere. If you keep walking on the road, you can reach the Vörösmarty tér, which is also a nice place to hang out. Sometimes you can join a free walking tour from this square, where the guides can introduce Budapest better probably, than me 😀

  1. Take the Metro Line 1.

The Yellow metro line, or Metro line 1 runs in Pest, between Vörösmarty tér and Mexikói út. It’s the oldest metro line in Budapest, and it’s totally visible on its stations. In the world, this is the 3rd oldest metro line, and it was also listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  1. Try some Hungarian cuisine

Hungary is also famous about its cuisine. Don’t miss trying the Goulash soup, lángos, kürtős kalács, túró rudi, and many more. Lángos and Goulash soup are sold in Main Market Hall. If you want to buy kürtős kalács, don’t buy it in touristy areas, but try to buy it in front of the Nyugati Railway station or at Blaha Lujza tér. There is a small stall where they sell kürtős kalács (chimney cake) on half price than in touristy areas. In case you like cottage cheese, there is a Hungarian dessert called „túró rudi”, which you can buy in any grocery stores, from the fridge. The most popular brand is the „Pöttyös”.

  1. Visit the synagogue and the Jewish district

At Pest side, at Astoria, you can find the most popular Jewish synagogue. You can easily go there by Metro line 2 (Red line). It’s the largest one in Europe, and the second largest in the world. The Dohány Street Synagogue complex consists of the Great Synagogue, the Heroes’ Temple, the graveyard, the Memorial and the Jewish Museum, which was built on the site on which Theodor Herzl’s house of birth stood. Dohány Street itself, a leafy street in the city center, carries strong Holocaust connotations as it constituted the border of the Budapest Ghetto.

  1. Take a boat on the Danube

A river cruise in Budapest will let you see the most fascinating sights of the historical city of Budapest, which is often called the Pearl of the Danube or the Paris of East.

How many of them have you done already? 🙂 Write about your experience!

Special thanks to László Faragó Photography for the pictures.


5 thoughts on “20 things you must do in Budapest

  1. pip_says

    Oh wow, this is a great guide. I’ve always wanted to go and now i’m really excited to plan a trip there, it looks so much fun x


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