The Best Things to Do in Budapest – The Ultimate Guide
You arrived in Hungary and you are not sure what are the best things to do in Budapest? We understand you! You can find the hidden gem of capital cities from the old continent in the heart of Europe, and the layers of cultural activities and possibilities are almost endless here. Hungary, which is the geological centre of Europe, has an extraordinary history mixing the eastern and western traditions from each side of the world.
The capital city, Budapest, is a great example of that. The old town is mesmerising: the houses and buildings are mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries, but you can find some that were built during the Turkish occupation in the late 1600s or early 1700s. Besides the historical sites, Budapest is also famous for its bars and pubs. The so-called ruin bars are authentic parts of the city popping up in the middle of nowhere. If you are in the Hungarian capital, there are some things that you just cannot miss. We collected the best things to do in Budapest for you. Here is the ultimate guide!
Fun things to do in Budapest – where to start?
City Park – Baths and the Heroes’ Square
There are several options and things to do in Budapest during your stay. Let’s begin our journey on the Pest side of the capital. The City Park is located between the two most crowded and longest tram lines in Budapest: tram line 1, and tram line 4-6. If you approach it from the town centre, we recommend going through Andrássy Street. This is a beautifully built avenue with the oldest metro line in Europe under it, the metro line M1. You can choose to go on the surface or have a ride with the classic tube which is more like an underground tram. At the end of Andrassy Street, you will find Heroes’ Square. On the square, you can see the statues of the famous and greatest kings and historical leaders of Hungarian history with the Millennium Monument in the middle.
Next to Heroes’ Square, you can have a relaxing walk in the City Park. It is the second biggest park in Budapest, and the Vajdahunyad Castle is a must-visit here. The pond next to the castle and its bridges will take you back to the Middle Ages. In the park area, the next place which is worth mentioning is the Széchenyi Bath. Entering the spa, you will feel like you just stepped into an oasis leaving behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The Turkish building with its treatments, massages, and saunas will give the feeling of a luxurious lifestyle. Also, if you fancy a party, just wait until the night falls and you can enjoy your drinks while sitting in the pool.
City Park Note: The park has been renovated and several new buildings and museums can be found here: e.g. the House of Music Hungary and the new Museum of Ethnography. The latter is a tourist attraction in itself, considering its unique design and roof.
Walking through Andrássy Street, seeing the multiple embassies alongside the avenue placed in its 19th-century buildings, discovering the museum on the two sides of Heroes Square, then moving to the City Park and the Széchenyi Bath is a whole day program. Let’s jump together to day 2 of your stay and discuss the next point of our things to do in Budapest list!
Margaret Island – Margaret Bridge and the Bank of River Danube
The river Danube offers a spectacular site with gorgeous buildings on its banks. One of the best things to do in Budapest is to travel with tram line 2 on the Pest bank of the river, which is considered one of the most beautiful tram routes in the world, and for a reason. The bridges alone are beautiful, not to mention the sight of the Buda Castle and Gellért Hill as well. If you choose to go on foot, rent a bike or a scooter, the shoes on the Danube Bank are worth a visit. It is a unique piece of art symbolising the innocent victims killed during the Second World War. Though it is a sad part of Hungarian history, it is important to remember these events. After the unique art statues, you will reach Margaret Bridge, from which you can get to Margaret Island.
Margaret Bridge itself is a good choice to enjoy a nice walk through the river, but Margaret Island will give you the feeling of peace and calm after a tiring day. Margaret Island is also a getaway for the citizens of Budapest to enjoy the beauties of nature. Cycling around the park and enjoying the light breeze in your hair is the ultimate relaxation. You can also choose a scooter, which is a bit more fun option. To find the safest and most comfortable e-rollers, browse our website.
From the Pest side of the capital, and the “in-between”, referring to Margaret Island and the bridges, we will continue our journey to the Buda side of the city. The historical sites and buildings are breathtaking here and the endless list of possibilities and things to do in Budapest continue!
Buda Castle – The Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church
The Buda Castle and the first district of the capital have their origins in the 13th century, as the first building on Buda Hill was built during the reign of King Béla IV. The oldest part of the palace, which you can see today, was built in the 14th century. In the area, you will find the Castle Quarter, Clark Ádám Square, the Castle Hill Funicular (which is worth a ride), the Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Matthias Church. This unique site, full of baroque, neo-gothic, and neoclassical buildings, is a part of the World Heritage. So, Buda Castle is definitely one of the most important sites in the city, and one of the best things to do in Budapest is to have a tour in the castle and the first district of the capital.
The Matthias Church is one of the centrepieces of Buda Castle. The present-day building was constructed in the 14th century. Nowadays it’s a popular tourist attraction and a preferred wedding location as well. The church itself is a majestic building, and the inside of it is full of beautiful paintings which will for sure leave you speechless. Next to the Matthias Church, you will find the Fisherman’s Bastion. The view is gorgeous from the towers and the whole capital lays before your eyes. The Fisherman’s Bastion was built at the turn of the 20th century in a neo-gothic style. The atmosphere of the Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Matthias Church feels like stepping into a fairy tale or world of wonders. While you enjoy the view, you can also try one of the oldest confectioneries in the city. Delicious patisseries, breathtaking views, and a relaxing time. What else would you need?
Inside tipp: After 8pm, you can walk up to the Fisherman’s Bastion without having to pay an entrance fee, so you can enjoy the breathtaking night panorama of Budapest – this stop is also included in the route of our Night tour!
How to find the best things to do in Budapest?
The first we would recommend is the internet of course. Besides reading and scrolling through tons of articles on this topic, the different Facebook pages, Instagram sites, TikToks, and stories will also give you several ideas on how to spend your holiday in the Hungarian capital. Not to mention the fact that there are our guided tours as well to choose from, and they are a great option if you prefer exploring the city in a group rather than wandering alone. Last but not least, asking locals is also a good idea, as they will probably know about the best places you otherwise would never find without their help.
E-Magine Tours guides are also experts when it comes to city knowledge. Every tour will give you a comprehensive insight to the life of locals and their everyday life. If you want to dive deeper into the Hungarian customs and the best places to visit during your stay, the 3 hour long tour will be the best choice. You can also book personalised tours, so if you prefer history over the locals’ fancied party locations and entertainment sites, or the other way around, we have just the right tour guide for you.
Things to do in Budapest if you have only a few hours
Enjoying a long holiday or at least a few days in this city should be one on your bucket list, but if you only have a few hours, we can give you some tips as well. Buda Castle is a day-long visit, just like Margaret Island and the City Park. However, to get the feeling of the atmosphere and the idea of living in Budapest, rolling through the centre and the old town in Buda and the Pest side should do the job. Starting from Deák Ferenc Square, exploring Váci Street, then going through Liberty Bridge, the Chain Bridge or Elisabeth Bridge to the Buda side is an amazing experience. You can see the Parliament on the bank of the Danube, see the castle, Gellért Hill and have a glimpse of Margaret Island too. Renting an e-scooter should help you with this trip: stop at the sites, grab some food, and then continue the ride! More details about the means of E-Magine Tours transportation are down below.
Options to get around the city?
In this article we mentioned a lot of different options: if you prefer to see the city and explore it on foot, great, put your sneakers on and let’s go; if you prefer to travel as the locals, try public transportation; the third option is to go around the city on wheels. No, not cars! Bicycle or e-scooter! The e-scooters from E-Magine tours could accompany you through your adventures in the city. Our MonsteRollers’ top speed is 25 km/h, and you can use them on bicycle paths in the city. As the batteries can last for about 30 kms, all the major sights in the city are within your reach with these e-scooters. We also offer several guided tours, so it is definitely easier to go around the capital when the route is carefully planned for you and you’re guided by a local. Hop on, enjoy the freedom and roam around the city!