31 Best Things to Do in Budapest | 2024 (with Photos)

Marvellous Oyebanjo

Marvellous Oyebanjo - Travel Writer

Published: August 31, 2023

Hey there! I'm Marvellous, and I've curated a list of the 31 best things to do in Budapest for your incredible trip in 2024. Get ready to explore this amazing city filled with rich history, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and breathtaking views. Enjoy your adventure to the fullest by planning ahead. Have a blast!

Best Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary is a beautiful city as well as a culturally significant metropolis. There is something for everyone to appreciate, from the city's magnificent buildings to the numerous ruin bars and thermal baths.

Budapest offers a lot, making it difficult to decide what to include in your schedule. Our hope is that with this list of the best things to do in Budapest you will be able to maximize your time there.

There's something on this list for everyone, whether you want to learn about Budapest's history, unwind in steam rooms, or try some authentic Hungarian wine and dishes. Let's dive in and explore this European city.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Visit Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Top Choice Hotel

Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Zeller Bistro

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Szimpla Kert

Best Time to Visit

Spring and autumn, mild weather, fewer tourists.

Average Temperature

The average temperature in Budapest, Hungary is mild.

Transportation Options

Buses, trams, metro, taxis, bikes, ferries, and walking.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Budapest is a captivating city that effortlessly marries historic charm with modern vibrancy. Take a leisurely stroll along the iconic Chain Bridge, allowing the gentle breeze to brush against your face as you take in the breathtaking views of the Danube River and the exquisite architecture that adorns both sides. Indulge in the local culinary delights, like langos, a mouthwatering deep-fried dough topped with an array of toppings, satisfying your taste buds with every flavorful bite.

Immerse yourself in Budapest's vibrant cultural scene by visiting the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, where you can unwind and rejuvenate in the naturally-warm mineral-rich waters, surrounded by stunning Neo-Baroque architecture. Venture to the enchanting Buda Castle, where you'll be transported back in time as you explore its grand halls and take in the panoramic vistas of the city. Don't forget to discover the intriguing ruin bars, hidden gems tucked away in dilapidated buildings, offering a unique atmosphere with a dash of underground coolness. Budapest is a city that promises to captivate your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.

What You'll Need to Bring

  • Valid passport

  • Adequate clothing for the weather

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Travel guide or map

  • Some Hungarian currency (Forint)

  • Adapter for electrical outlets

  • Travel insurance

  • Camera or smartphone to capture memories

  • Basic knowledge of Hungarian phrases

  • Medications and any necessary documents

  • Your favorite travel gadgets

  • Copies of important documents (passport, ID)

  • A sense of adventure and curiosity

What Not to Miss

  1. Castle Hill: Historical district with Buda Castle, Matthias Church, and Fisherman's Bastion.
  2. Hungarian Parliament Building: Iconic landmark on the banks of the Danube River.
  3. Széchenyi Thermal Bath: Largest medicinal bath in Europe, perfect for relaxation.
  4. Great Market Hall: Vibrant market for traditional Hungarian food and souvenirs.
  5. Chain Bridge: Oldest suspension bridge in Budapest, offering stunning views.
  6. St. Stephen's Basilica: Magnificent neoclassical church with panoramic views from its dome.
  7. Margaret Island: Peaceful island with parks, gardens, and recreational facilities.
  8. Heroes' Square: Major square with statues honoring Hungarian historical figures.
  9. Ruin Bars: Unique bars in old abandoned buildings, known for their eclectic atmosphere.
  10. Danube River Cruise: Enjoy the city's stunning skyline and UNESCO World Heritage sights from the water.

What to Avoid

  1. Overly touristy areas and restaurants.
  2. Using unlicensed taxis.
  3. Falling for scams and pickpocketing.
  4. Ignoring local customs and traditions.
  5. Going out alone at night in certain neighborhoods.
  6. Drinking tap water.
  7. Exchanging money at unofficial currency exchange places.
  8. Being disrespectful in places of worship or historical sites.
  9. Taking photos without permission in sensitive areas.
  10. Using public transportation during rush hours.

1. Thermal spas

Thermal spas

The thermal spas in Budapest have been one of the most popular things to do in Budapest ever since Roman times. Tourists from all over the globe flock to Budapest to experience the city's world-famous thermal spas, including the Széchenyi Bath and Gellért Bath.

These hot spas in the center of the city are a must-see for any traveler in search of relaxation and pampering, thanks to their stunning design and calming waters. If you enjoy luxury spa treatments, Budapest won't fail you.

Gellért Bath is also close to Saint Ivan's Cave, as well as the Liberty Statue, so you can take a day trip and check all of it out.

Buda Castle

The stunning design and rich history of Buda Castle, or the Royal Palace, make it one of Budapest's most famous landmarks.

The fortress overlooks the city and the Danube River from its perch on a cliff. The Royal Palace complex is a wonderful location to learn about Budapest's past because it houses the Budapest History Museum as well as the Hungarian National Gallery.

Buda Castle's relevance and value have been further recognized by the fact that it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

3. The Danube Promenade

Danube Promenade

The Danube Promenade is a hotspot for tourists in Budapest due to the breathtaking panoramas it provides of the city and its most recognizable structures.

From this picturesque walkway, you can see the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.

The Danube Promenade is a wonderful spot to sit back, unwind, and take in the sights, sounds, and energy of this stunning city, with its charming cafés and street entertainers.

4. Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion is located at Castle Hill. It's an observation tower and balcony that offers spectacular vistas of Budapest's skyline.

You can enjoy the view and take a look at some of Budapest's most famous buildings, such as the Hungarian Parliament Building and St. Stephen's Basilica. Visiting the Fisherman's Bastion is definitely one of the best things to do in Budapest, as it's the perfect place to snap a panorama.

5. Budapest History Museum

Budapest History Museum

Budapest History Museum is a museum dedicated to showcasing the rich and diverse history of Budapest, Hungary. The museum's exhibits cover the city's history from prehistoric times to the present day, highlighting key events and cultural influences that have shaped the city.

Located in the beautiful and historic Buda Castle district, the museum is housed in a stunning 18th-century palace that has been renovated and modernized for visitors.

With interactive exhibits, multimedia displays, walking tours, and a vast collection of artifacts, it's a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the fascinating history of this vibrant city.

6. The Budapest Eye

Budapest Eye

The Budapest Eye is one of the best things to do in Budapest because it provides breathtaking vistas of the city below.

This enormous Ferris wheel is over 65 meters in height, giving riders a bird's-eye view of the city center, the Danube River, Castle Hill, Buda Castle, and other famous sites. Nearby, you can also see the Underground Railway Museum, which showcases the history of the oldest underground railway.

7. Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Connecting Buda and Pest on opposite sides of the Danube is the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. This bridge is a symbol of the city's long past and lasting character, and it offers some beautiful views of the cityscape. Close by is also the Buda Castle Hill funicular.

Additionally, the ambiance created by the illumination of the Chain Bridge at night is absolutely magical. If you're visiting Budapest, you must take a walk across this stunning bridge.

8. Central Market Hall

Central Market Hall

The Central Market Hall, or the Great Market Hall, in Downtown Budapest, is a vibrant and busy bazaar.

Fresh fruit, artisanal products, and an occasional Hungarian dish are just some of the items available to tourists. The market's food assortment is one of its main draws, with staples like goulash and funnel cake.

The Central Market Hall is the best location to get a taste of the local culture and food in Budapest.

Close by, you can also see the city walls exhibition. And if the shopping at Great Market Hall doesn't suit your needs, there's always the Szentendre central shopping street.

9. St. Stephen's Basilica

St. Stephen's Basilica

The preserved right hand of St. Stephen is considered Hungary's most sacred artifact, and it is kept in the majestic neoclassical St. Stephen's Basilica.

Tours of the cathedral are available, as are ascents to the dome for breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding city center. You can't miss St. Stephen's Basilica on your visit.

10. Városliget Park

Városliget Park

Several of Budapest's most recognizable sites can be found in Városliget Park. Beautiful landscapes and historical sites encircle this city park, making it a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle.

One of the park's most notable attractions is the Gothic-Renaissance Vajdahunyad Castle. It was built in 1896 to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the Hungarian state.

That's what makes Vajdahunyad Castle an important part of the city's history. Guests can also unwind in the luxurious Széchenyi Thermal Bath, which is one of the most popular things to do in Budapest.

11. The Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine Arts

The works of European painters from the Middle Ages to the present day are on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, which houses a world-class collection. This museum is located in the City park, close to Vajdahunyad Castle.

The museum houses works by Rembrandt, Raphael, and El Greco, among other icons. The permanent collection is complemented by the museum's outstanding temporary displays.

12. Hungarian State Opera House

Hungarian State Opera House

The Hungarian State Opera House, a beautiful Neo-Renaissance structure that has served as a cultural center for more than a century, is one of Budapest's most recognizable landmarks. This building was created by Miklós Ybl, the same architect who made St Stephen's Basilica.

The luxurious interior features an elegant design and lavish decorations. There's also a guided tour, which allows the guests a rare glimpse into the world of opera and Hungarian culture while leading them through the opera house's various rooms, such as the grand auditorium and the grand staircase.

You can get there easily via public transport, and St. Stephen's Basilica is also close by.

13. The Jewish Quarter

Jewish Quarter

The Jewish Quarter in Budapest is a dynamic area steeped in history and culture. Many churches and sanctuaries can be found in the neighborhood, including the magnificent Dohány Street Synagogue, the biggest in all of Europe.

On top of that, you can also grab a drink at a ruin bar in this gorgeous neighborhood. Definitely don't miss this Jewish district on your visit to Budapest.

14. The House of Terror Exhibit

House of Terror Exhibit

The House of Terror Museum in Budapest is a chilling look back into the turbulent history of Hungary. The cruel methods used to quiet political opponents and record the history of fascist and communist regimes, especially in World War II, are the focus of the display at the House of Terror.

Those interested in the persecution and imprisonment of Hungarians during this era can visit the House of Terror Museum and read about it in the different exhibits.

Any history buff will love this place, as it serves as a required reminder of the horrors of World War II and the significance of democracy, freedom, and human rights.

15. Andrássy Avenue

Andrássy Avenue

Andrássy Avenue is a grand boulevard in Budapest that is lined with stately trees and some of the city's most impressive buildings. Andrássy Avenue is also a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The Hungarian State Opera House and the House of Terror aren't the only landmarks worth seeing here, as the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Hungarian State Treasury are also beautiful examples of architecture from different periods.

The avenue is a favorite among both travelers and locals for its abundance of chic boutiques, cafes, and dining options.

16. The Dohány Street Synagogue

 Dohány Street Synagogue

Located in the center of Budapest's Jewish Quarter close to the most popular ruin bars, the Dohány Street Synagogue, or the Great Synagogue, is a historical marvel.

You will be awed by the spectacular Moorish Revival architecture of Europe's biggest temple. The Dohány Street Synagogue is not only notable for its stunning design but also for housing an exhibit devoted to the past of Judaism in Hungary.

The museum celebrates the artistic, musical, and literary achievements of Hungary's Jewish community.

17. Margaret Island

Margaret Island

Located in the middle of the Danube River in Budapest is the tranquil Margaret Island. The island is home to many different types of flora, including a rose garden, and tourists can enjoy leisurely strolls through the island's greenery.

In addition to Margaret Island's natural beauty, it is home to a soothing melodic waterfall. There are numerous jogging and biking trails on Margaret Island, making it a wonderful place to exercise.

18. Ride the Castle Hill Funicular

Castle Hill Funicular

The Buda Castle Hill Funicular, also known as the Castle Hill Funicular, is a cable car that has been in operation since the late 1800s and is a historical landmark in Budapest.

Taking the Buda Castle Hill funicular is a great way to see Budapest and get to Buda Castle in an exciting manner.

19. The Matthias Church

Matthias Church

One of Budapest's most recognizable structures, the Matthias Church, can be found in Downtown Budapest. There have been many royal coronations and royal weddings held in the Matthias Church, making it a significant part of Hungarian history.

The church's interior is just as breathtaking as its exterior, with exquisite paintings, stained-glass windows, and an altar. If you're even remotely interested in Hungarian history or architecture, you need to see the Matthias Church.

20. Memento Park

Memento Park

Located in the suburbs of Budapest, Memento Park is an open-air exhibition. It is home to many memorials from the communist period in Hungary, including a replica of the country's most well-known statue of Lenin.

These memorials have been removed from their places of honor and placed outside of the city as a somber reminder of the past. Both a self-guided and a guided tour of the park are available for those interested in learning more about this era in Hungary's past.

21. The Hospital in the Rock

 The Hospital in the Rock

The old nuclear bunker and hospital known as "The Hospital in the Rock" is now an exhibit. The exhibit provides a rare look into the past of Hungary during the Second World War and the Cold War.

The subterranean facility, which houses patient chambers, operating rooms, and a bunker, is open for a walking tour or a guided tour.

22. Gresham Palace

Gresham Palace

Gresham Palace is a beautiful building that was designed in the Art Nouveau style. Despite its name though, it isn't tied to any Hungarian kings.

In 1906, the structure was constructed as a mansion for a British insurance firm. The Four Seasons Hotel currently occupies the structure, but guests and outsiders alike can still marvel at its architectural splendor.

Beautiful stained glass windows, intricate ironwork, and a stately stairway are just some of the palace's many opulent features. It also offers an amazing view of the Chain Bridge and the Fisherman's Bastion.

23. The Hungarian National Museum

Hungarian National Museum

If you're interested in Hungarian history, you should definitely check out the Hungarian National Museum. Just a short walk from the Great Market Hall, the museum stores relics and records that chronicle Hungary's long and eventful past.

Both self-directed and guided tours are available so that guests can learn as much as they like about Hungary's history and culture. Artifacts from the Roman city, the Ottoman Empire, and the 1848 Hungarian Revolution are on display at the Hungarian National Museum.

24. The Hungarian Parliament Building

Hungarian Parliament Building

In the cupola chamber of the Parliament Building, visitors can take in breathtaking panoramas of the Danube Bank, the Fisherman's Bastion, Margaret Island, and the city below.

You can see the hall, along with the Grand Staircase, the Dome Hall, and the Hungarian Crown Jewels, on an organized walk of the House of Parliament.

The chambers of the Hungarian Parliament are also part of the tour, providing an opportunity to gain insight into the country's legislative system and past. It's definitely one of the more exciting things to do in Budapest.

25. Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden

Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden

Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, located in the city park, is a fantastic place to take kids and anyone who enjoys animals. Over a thousand different kinds of creatures, such as lions, tigers, bears, and rhinos, call the zoo home.

The zoo and garden complex is also a wonderful place to learn and have fun because it hosts numerous instructional programs and activities all year long, and its location in the city park allows for endless play potential. It's one of the most fun things to do in Budapest with kids.

26. Heroes' Square

Heroes' Square

Located in the city center, Heroes' Square is an important historical and cultural monument.

Sculptures of the seven leaders of the Magyar tribes, who established Hungary, adorn Heroes' Square. These magnificent sculptures are symbols of Hungary's long and illustrious past and culture.

Two of Budapest's most important cultural organizations, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art, are situated at the southern end of Heroes' Square, making them easy to reach for tourists.

For those curious about Hungarian heritage, a visit to Heroes' Square is essential.

27. Check Out the Ice Rink

City Park Ice Rink

If you need things to do in Budapest during the winter season, don't miss out on the City Park Ice Rink. It's a beautiful place to go ice skating and one of Europe's biggest open rinks.

The magnificent Vajdahunyad Castle and the Museum of Fine Arts flank the arena, providing a picturesque backdrop. Throughout the winter, the rink plays home to ice dancing performances and other activities.

28. The Shoes on the Danube Bank

The Shoes on the Danube Bank

Along the Danube Waterfront in Budapest is a moving tribute known as the Shoes on the Danube Bank.

Sixty pairs of iron shoes symbolize the Jews who were told to take off their shoes by the fascist Arrow Cross party soldiers before being executed into the Danube River during World War II. People can come here to remember the victims of this tragic period in history.

Pay your homage to the victims of the Holocaust by pondering this monument on the banks of the Danube River.

29. Vací Street

Vací Street

If you enjoy shopping or simply want to soak up some of Budapest's vibrant culture, a trip to Váci Street is a must. Stylish boutiques, souvenir shops, and cafés dot the fashionable structures that line the delightful street.

Eat your fill of authentic Hungarian food at one of the street's many cafes and eateries while people-watching in the lively setting. If you only have a few hours to spend in the capital, Váci Street is where you should be.

30. Sunset River Cruise on the Danube

Sunset River Cruise

In Budapest, nothing beats winding down the day with an exploration of the city center by sailing down the Danube River as the sun goes down.

The Parliament Building, Buda Castle, Margaret Island, Shoes on the Danube, Chain Bridge, and Fisherman's Bastion are just a few of the Budapest attractions that can be seen on the river cruise.

The tour's enchanting atmosphere will follow you long after it ends, thanks to the city's illuminated cityscape and the river mirroring the lights.

31. The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble

The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble

If you're interested in seeing Hungarian national music and performance, you have to check out the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble and its incredible shows.

The group has been actively supporting Hungarian folk music since its founding in 1951. This is not going to be one of the typical classical music concerts, but their shows will blow your mind with their elaborate costumes, upbeat music, and breathtaking dancing.

The Budapest Opera House and the Palace of Arts are just two of the many locations in the city center where you can see one of their performances.

FAQs About Things to Do in Budapest

Now, let's take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about things to do in Budapest.

What is Budapest most famous for?

Budapest is most famous for its stunning architecture, including iconic landmarks such as the Hungarian Parliament Building and Buda Castle, its thermal baths like Széchenyi and Gellért, and the picturesque Danube River flowing through the city.

Can you do Budapest in 3 days?

Yes, you can experience Budapest in 3 days. Start with exploring the historic Buda Castle and Fisherman's Bastion, soak in the thermal baths, take a cruise along the Danube, visit the Hungarian Parliament Building, and enjoy Hungarian cuisine in the lively ruin bars and local restaurants.

What can I do in Budapest as a tourist?

As a tourist in Budapest, make sure to visit the majestic Hungarian Parliament Building, relax in the famous thermal baths, stroll along the Danube promenade, explore the historic Castle District, try traditional Hungarian dishes, and experience the vibrant nightlife in ruin bars like Szimpla Kert.

What can I not miss in Budapest?

In Budapest, you cannot miss visiting the historic Castle with its stunning panoramic views, soaking in the thermal baths, taking a scenic Danube River cruise, exploring the Jewish Quarter and its magnificent synagogues, and indulging in traditional Hungarian cuisine, including goulash and chimney cakes.

Summing Up: The Best Things to do in Budapest

Budapest, Hungary is a fascinating city with a wide range of activities and attractions for tourists to enjoy. Whether you're interested in exploring historic landmarks, relaxing in thermal baths, or trying local cuisine and drinks in ruin bars, there's something for everyone in Budapest.

This list of 31 best things to do in Budapest, Hungary offers a diverse and exciting array of experiences that are sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.