Things to Do in Budapest
This post will touch on some of the best things to do in Budapest, Hungary, if you’re ever able to make it out there. It’s a hidden gem in the sense that not enough Americans, and people in general across the world, know about this spectacular city. Before I recommend some of the things to do in Budapest, like I’ve said in previous posts, I’m a huge fan of having no agenda and just walking around the city. Don’t feel obligated to see or do anything – simply enjoy the moment and see where the day takes you. The architecture of Budapest is stunning, and while I lived there one of my favorite things to do was to walk down the streets and admire the scenery, with no end destination in mind. With that said, there are some places in Budapest that are particularly stunning, that I’d like to recommend to you.
The Danube River cuts the city of Budapest in half, with the downtown “Pest” on one side, and the gorgeous hills on the “Buda” side.
The Fisherman’s Bastion is on the Buda side of Budapest, in the Castle District. If you make it to the Castle District, spend at least a few hours up there, as there are all sorts of historic destinations. There is the Matthias Church and great statues. I joke with people that when I’m in Fisherman’s Bastion, I literally feel like I’m in the Harry Potter world, half-expecting to see Hogwarts.
The Chain Bridge
Budapest has many bridges connecting the Buda side of the city to the Pest side. One of the most famous and historic ones is the Chain Bridge and is a must on our list of things to do in Budapest.
The iconic lion statue from the Pest side, with the Castle District in the background:
The Chain Bridge from the Buda side:
Click here to see a quick video I made after crossing the Chain Bridge, before heading up to Fisherman’s Bastion. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for more great travel videos!
Margaret Bridge and Margaret Island
The next item on our list of things to do in Budapest is crossing the Margaret Bridge. Behind me is the historic Parliament Building on the left, and on the other side of the bridge (not in the photo) is Margaret Island. The island is stunningly beautiful, and a popular workout destination for many Hungarians when they get off work – there’s a track surrounding the island. It’s also a fun party destination, especially during hot summer nights. I went for a jog around the island a few weeks ago shortly after landing.
We saw a faraway view of Parliament in the last photo. This next photo shows a much closer view, which was taken while we were passing the Parliament building on a dinner river cruise. It’s one of the oldest buildings on the European continent, and you can take a tour of the building.
The following destinations I didn’t visit on my 2017 visit to Budapest, but I visited on previous times I was in Budapest, like when I lived in the city from 2009 through 2010, and when I visited it in 2012. Here are more things to do in Budapest:
- Gellért Hill: One of the tallest points in Budapest, this hill offers an incredible view of the city of Budapest below.
- Heroes Square: A famous square with stunning statues (also near several museums).
- János-hegy: The tallest of the Buda hills, this hill is farther removed from the center of the city of Budapest than Gellért Hill. The view from the top is awesome.
- The House of Terror: Located on Adrássy út, this building offers a tribute and memorial to the innocent Hungarians who were killed in the 20th century by surrounding countries who invaded Hungary.
- Stephen’s Basilica: a Roman Catholic basilica named after Stephen, the first King of Hungary.
- Bath Houses: Budapest has a number of bath houses, also known as thermal baths. You can visit them during the day. There are also, periodically, “bath house parties” that happen in the evening. I went to one of those parties at the Géllert Thermal Bath while I lived in Budapest in 2010, and it was a blast. Music blasting and people dancing!
Click here to see a video I made in Budapest while I was living there in college. In the very beginning and ending of the video, I’m at the top of Gellért Hill.
Jeff Davis, JeffDSpeaks.com | July 19, 2017
Jeff Davis is the author of Traveling Triumphs: The Improbable in Budapest and Beyond.