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Things to do in Budapest

Things to do in  Budapest

Welcome to Budapest

Straddling a placid stretch of the Danube River, Budapest’s UNESCO-listed historic center thrums with rich culture and Bohemian flair. Explore centuries of history at St. Stephen’s Basilica, Andrássy Avenue, and Buda Castle by day, and join the revelers who pack the city’s ruin pubs until sunrise. To experience the city like a local, slip into the water at one of Budapest’s many thermal baths, which range from Ottoman-era bathhouses to art nouveau palaces with dozens of pools. And dining is a highlight of any trip to the city, from sampling aromatic paprika and rich pastries at covered markets to hunting for the perfect goulash to tasting Hungarian wines.

Top 15 attractions in Budapest

Budapest Danube River

Flowing through the heart of Budapest, the Danube River is the lifeline of the Hungarian capital, as well as its geographic center, separating the hilly Buda district on the west bank from the bustling Pest on the east bank. The striking waterfront is also part of Budapest’s UNESCO World Heritage–listed treasures, home to landmarks such as the Szechenyi Chain Bridge, the Liberty Bridge, Buda Castle Hill, Matthias Church, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and Margaret Island.More

House of Parliament (Országház)

The Hungarian House of Parliament (Országház) is one of the world’s most photogenic government buildings. Perched on the UNESCO World Heritage–listed banks of the Danube River, the mainly neo-Gothic structure features 691 rooms, a handful of which are open to the public—including the Domed Hall, where the Crown of St. Stephen is on display.More

Buda Castle (Budai Vár)

Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Danube riverfront, the Buda Castle (Budai Vár), or Buda Royal Palace, is one of Budapest’s most photographed landmarks. The magnificent palace dates back to the 13th century, but has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times throughout history, most recently in a neo-baroque style.More

Széchenyi Thermal Baths (Széchenyi Gyógyfürdo)

One of the largest and most famous thermal baths in Europe, Budapest’s Széchenyi Thermal Baths (Széchenyi Gyógyfürdo) are one of Hungary's most visited attractions. Soaking in the mineral-rich baths, with startling blue pools set against a backdrop of a grand neo-baroque palace, is a quintessential Budapest experience. It’s also a luxurious one, especially when coupled with a visit to the spa, which offers everything from saunas and mudpacks to rejuvenating massages and balneal therapies.More

Matthias Church (Mátyás Templom)

Matthias Church (Matays-templom), is a top sight in Budapest's must-see Castle Hill district. This Roman Catholic church boasts neo-Gothic architecture and intricate detailing, from ornately tiled roof and carved gargoyles, to frescoes and stained-glass windows. Visit Matthias Church as part of a Buda Castle complex tour.More

St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István Bazilika)

With everything from holy relics to frescoes, the neoclassical St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István Bazilika) is a must for first-time visitors to Budapest. Marvel at the architecture, the clock towers, the stained glass windows—and the preserved hand of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary.More

Margaret Island (Margit-Sziget)

Nestled in the Danube River, Margaret Island (Margit-sziget) is an oasis in Hungary’s capital of Budapest. This verdant park is packed with attractions, including a pool, a spa, playgrounds, and a Japanese garden. When the sun is shining, locals and tourists picnic on the island’s green lawns and, in summer, listen to free concerts.More

Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Lanchid)

It's no surprise that the Széchenyi Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Lanchid is a top Budapest attraction since this 19th-century landmark offers fantastic views of Castle Hill. You can walk across for waterfront views, pose for a snapshot with the Buda Castle in the background, and marvel at the bridge's stone towers while crossing the Danube.More

Heroes' Square (Hosök Tere)

Heroes' Square (H?sök Tere) is a grand public space at the entrance to Budapest's City Park. Visitors find sweeping columns, statues, and monuments to Hungary's celebrated statesmen. A worthy place to visit, Heroes' Square is an ideal stop for visitors wandering the park, or before stepping into Budapest's well-curated Museum of Fine Arts.More

Gellért Hill (Gellert-Hegy)

Gellert Hill (Gellert-hegy) is best known for its panoramic city views, 19th century Citadel, and historic monuments. While the hike up Gellert Hill’s stone steps can be challenging, the sweeping vistas of Budapest and the Danube River from the top are worth the climb.More


Situated atop Buda's Gellért Hill—just west of the Danube—the Citadella is a 19th-century fortress that's a prime destination for urban hikers seeking some of the best views in Budapest. You can ascend the hillside to reach the fortification, stop by the small museum on World War II history, and marvel at the unbeatable panorama from the viewpoint.More

Fisherman’s Bastion (Halaszbastya)

Fisherman’s Bastion, or Halaszbastya, is one of Budapest’s most picturesque lookouts. Nestled high on Castle Hill, the neo-Romanesque terrace was built between 1895 and 1902, in celebration of millennial Hungary. Though today’s structure is decorative, it sits on fortified walls that were used to defend the city throughout its early history.More

Andrássy Avenue (Andrássy Út)

Andrássy Avenue (Andrássy Út is an elegant Budapest thoroughfare not unlike Paris' Champs-Élysées or Madrid's Gran Vía. The avenue is known as an upscale area full of art nouveau buildings, ritzy shops, and chic eateries. Among them all, the State Opera House (Magyar Állami Operaház stands as a grand testament to times past.More

Central Market Hall (Nagycsarnok)

Budapest’s largest indoor market is a hub of activity, with hundreds of stalls spread over three floors. Housed in a striking 19th-century building, it’s a place where local chefs shop for fresh produce, tourists haggle over traditional handicrafts, and the upstairs food court serves delicious Hungarian cuisine.More

Hungarian State Opera House (Magyar Állami Operaház)

This neo-Renaissance opera house (Magyar Állami Operaház) has an illustrious history as one of Budapest’s greatest cultural venues, with legendary composer Gustav Mahler having once served as director here. Behind the Miklós Ybl–designed facade, which features statues of Puccini, Mozart, Liszt, and Verdi, is a plush interior with gilding, marble, and chandeliers.More

Trip ideas

An Insider's Guide to Budapest

An Insider's Guide to Budapest

Top activities in Budapest

Budapest Evening Sightseeing Cruise
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Budapest Private Luxury Sightseeing Tour
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Budapest Private Luxury Sightseeing Tour

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Budapest Tuk Tuk City Tour

Budapest Tuk Tuk City Tour

Budapest Danube Bend Full-Day Tour with Lunch
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Candlelit Dinner Cruise by Legenda City Cruises, Budapest
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Night-Time Dark History and Vampire Walking Tour in Buda Castle District
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Budapest Culinary & Wine Walk

Budapest Culinary & Wine Walk

3 course Dinner Cruise with Piano Battle Show

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3 course Dinner Cruise with Piano Battle Show

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Recent reviews from experiences in Budapest

Beautiful Budapest❤️
Janice_K, Nov 2022
Budapest Private Luxury Sightseeing Tour
What a wonderful way to see the highlights of Budapest.
Loved it!
Ethan_W, Nov 2022
1-Hour&30-min Budapest Evening or Night Sightseeing Cruise & Unlimited Prosecco
Great way to see Budapest from the river, we really enjoyed this tour and would definitely recommend it!
Great tour with Victoria
Tamara_G, Nov 2022
Budapest Historical Sightseeing - Walking Tour
Tour guide Victoria helped us to see a lot of interesting parts of Budapest in short time, it was worth it.
Fun family tour
AnaMaria_G, Oct 2022
Budapest ️Highlights️ Live Guided Segway Tour
A recommended family activity with kids older than 8 years old.
Not the best
Julie_W, Oct 2022
Big Bus Budapest Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Was a good way to see Budapest but did not find the commentary helpful.
The ride was fun and very...
Karen_M, Oct 2022
Premium City Tour in Budapest with Vintage Royal Car
We did get to see a lot of Budapest this way.
In depth, informative!
Holly_S, Oct 2022
Comprehensive sightseeing tour
We learned so much about Budapest and I recommend to anyone, especially if you want to see the highlights in a day
We had a great time with...
Emily_O, Oct 2022
Budapest Night Walking Tour with Danube River Cruise
It was beautiful to see the city at night; I felt like I learned so much and got a taste for all Budapest has to offer!
Good experience at the right price!
Joni_Q, Oct 2022
70 minutes Budapest Danube Sightseeing Cruise
Good way to see the beauty of Budapest.
Best way to see Budapest!
Kelley_S, Oct 2022
Budapest Tuk Tuk City Tour
We truly appreciated being able to see the Buda side and parts of the city we couldn’t see from a tour bus.
Great guides. Excellent tour. Very accommodating of our needs!
Katherine_G, Oct 2022
Private Budapest tour by car!
This experience allowed my dad, who has limited mobility, to see Budapest!
Berci Rocks!
JTracy_T, Oct 2022
Budapest Tuk Tuk City Tour
It was the perfect way to see the sites of Budapest and learn about the many historical monuments.
Lovely tearoom tour
Mark_B, Sep 2022
Budapest All in One Walking Tour with Cafe Stop
He took us on the small underground and buses to cover a big area of Budapest which was a great way to see the city.
Fun quick way to see the sites
Maria_K, Sep 2022
Budapest All in One Walking Tour with Cafe Stop
Nice way to see Budapest when you are here for only a couple of days.
Great Tour of Budapest
Conor_K, Sep 2022
Budapest Historical Sightseeing - Walking Tour
I would highly recommend this tour if you want to see many of the major monuments in Budapest while learning about its past.
A Must DO activity!
Gina_K, Sep 2022
1-Hour&30-min Budapest Evening or Night Sightseeing Cruise & Unlimited Prosecco
The narration was a bit difficult to hear, but it was in English.
Great private tour
hvalkenberg54, Sep 2022
Private Budapest City Tour by Car
You get to see all the Budapest highlights.
Great overview of Budapest!
Daphne_D, Sep 2022
Budapest Private Luxury Sightseeing Tour
Joseph did a great job driving us to the sights we wanted to see including, Gellert hill, the Castle District, Fisherman’s Bastion, St Gellert Thermal Bath and the Central Market.
Great night in Budapest
Shirley_H, Aug 2022
Night-Time Dark History and Vampire Walking Tour in Buda Castle District
Overall it was a great way to see more of the city and to spend a few hours hearing dark history and vampire stores.
Budapest at night
Rosalie_R, Aug 2022
Budapest Danube River Sightseeing Night Cruise by Legenda City Cruises
I would definitely recommend this for a wonderful way to see Budapest at night.
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All about Budapest

When to visit

Summer is festival season in Budapest, and highlights include the Budapest Summer Festival, LGBT Pride, and weekend festivities on the Chain Bridge. To see Budapest’s UNESCO-listed monuments covered in a dusting of snow, visit in winter. The cold season is the perfect time to tuck into goulash, warm up at the thermal baths, and visit festive Christmas markets.

Getting around

In addition to being supremely walkable, Budapest has a public bike-sharing system called MOL Bubi, which makes it easy to reach central landmarks. The metro system—running since 1896—covers most of the city. You can take buses or trams, and private taxis or ride-shares will get you even further afield. To skip the schlep up to Castle Hill, hop on the funicular from Széchenyi Chain Bridge. And don’t forget water taxis: The Danube boasts four separate boat lines.

Traveler tips

Don’t miss Budapest’s quirkier attractions: Memento Park, an open-air collection of Soviet statues, the Children’s Railway, a working locomotive staffed entirely by kids, or the delightfully niche Hungarian Museum of Trade and Tourism in Buda’s historic Óbuda district, whose dry-sounding name belies a fun, kitschy history of the city’s hospitality industry and a rotating collection of worthwhile temporary exhibits, all easily accessible by tram.

People Also Ask

What is Budapest famous for?

Originally three distinct cities— Buda and Óbuda, and Pest on the other side of the Danube River—Budapest is the elegant and historic capital of Hungary, famous for its steaming thermal baths, savory goulash stews, and iconic sights like the lion-guarded Chain Bridge, the Hungarian Parliament building, and panoramic Castle Hill.

What are the do's and don'ts in Budapest?

Don't see any turnstyles in the metro station? Don't assume you can ride for free; tickets are frequently checked by hand at the exit. And when hitting the baths, do remember to bring your own towel and sandals. Those that arrive empty handed are often made to purchase an exorbitant entry package that includes a paper-thin cloth.

Can you do Budapest in 3 days?

Yes, you may only be scratching the surface, but three days in Budapest is enough to tackle the major sights. Plan a walk up Castle Hill to see the Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle, take a dip in one of the city’s historic bathhouses such as Széchenyi Baths, and visit the ornate Dohany Street Synagogue.

What is there to do in Budapest at night?

Lukas and Rudas bathhouses offer late-night opening hours on weekends, letting you squeeze in a soak before bedtime. And don’t be sure to miss the city’s romkocsma, or ruin bars—originally makeshift pubs and dance clubs created in derelict buildings and disused factories, they are now quirky and vibrant tourist hotspots.

What should I not miss in Budapest?

Hungary was under Ottoman occupation for 150 years, and hilly Buda formed its cultural and administrative center. Don’t miss traces of Ottoman heritage, including the city’s oldest bathhouse—16th-century Kiraly Bath—and a serene hilltop shrine and fascinating museum both dedicated to a Turkish-born Sufi dervish, Gul Baba.

What language is spoken in Budapest?

Hungarian is spoken in Budapest—not a Slavic language, as is often thought, but one actually related to Finnish. While English is undersood within popular tourist areas, you’ll do well to memorize a few basic words and greetings, like szia (hello or goodbye), köszönöm (thank you), and bocsánat (I’m sorry).

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