7 Things to do in Budapest

7 Things to do in Budapest

February 26, 2024 0 By travelyoutopia

There are plenty of things to do in Budapest, Hungary’s alluring capital. Whether you want culture, nightlife, history, food & drink or shopping, spend a few days in Budapest to discover a fascinating mix of old meets new. With similarities to Berlin and its Austrian neighbour, Vienna, Budapest is probably best known for the mighty River Danube, its healing thermal springs and for being home to the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube. So what are the best things to do in Budapest:

  1. Ride a tram

    Trams have been in operation in Budapest since 1866. Tram number 2 takes you along the River Danube with great views of some of Budapest’s best sights. Cheap, easy and a great way to see the city. But remember to validate your ticket or you might get a fine, particularly on the more popular routes.

2. Spend an afternoon at Gellért Thermal Bath

I’m not a fan of public swimming pools (too many bodies, hairs, dirty changing rooms) so I thought I’d hate it here, but this complex of 10 indoor and outdoor geothermal pools was a highlight of my trip. Designed in an Art Nouveau style Gellért has been in existence since 1918 and offers pools of varying temperatures, steam rooms, saunas, cold plunge pools and massages. You could also try Széchenyi Thermal Bath or Rudas Thermal Bath.

3. Eat cake at a coffee house

Budapest is known for its grand cafes and historic coffee houses. Probably the most well-known is New York Café. We opted for the famous Gerbeaud Cream Cake and fizz at Gerbeaud. Is it touristy? Yes. Did we enjoy it? Yes.

4. Party at a ruin bar

Part bar, part live music venue, part nightclub, part cultural hub, Hungary’s capital is famous for its lively ruin bars. The biggest and arguably the best is Szimpla Kert in the Jewish Quarter in District VII. It feels like you’re drinking in an abandoned block of flats filled with graffiti, quirky artwork, performance spaces and an outdoor garden. Other popular ruin bars in Budapest are Kőleves and Instant-Fogas.

5. Walk from Buda to Pest on the Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Cross the River Danube on Budapest’s prettiest bridge, built in 1849. When darkness falls it looks particularly lovely all lit up. Question is, which side of the city will you prefer? Buda or Pest?  

6. Explore Buda Castle District

Head up to the top of the hill on foot or take the Buda Hill Funicular. We walked up as it’s around 10 euros per person, expensive for a two-minute ride. The UNESCO-protected district is home to sights including The Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church.

7. Eat Hungarian food & drink Hungarian wine

Whether you want to eat lip smacking goulash laced with Hungary’s most famous spice, paprika, sample chicken paprikash, try the street snack lángos or sample some excellent Hungarian wine or beer, it’s all here. Like anywhere, you need to do your research before you go and book ahead otherwise you could end up hangry in a disastrous tourist trap. So where are the best restaurants in Budapest? Tati is an excellent choice if you want Hungarian farm to table food in convivial surroundings. Borkonyha is a Michelin-stared restaurant serving excellent food and Hungarian wines in surprisingly relaxed surroundings.

If you’d like more information about travel to Budapest or need help planning the perfect trip to Hungary, get in touch. Working as an independent travel advisor for Travelwise, I can find you the best hotels at the best rates and plan the ideal Hungary itinerary based on what you want. All trips are fully ABTA/ATOL protected. Contact me at: info@travelyoutopia.com.