Budapest is such an amazing city, and the really good news is that you can do lots in Budapest with only a couple of days. Find in this post the best things to do in Budapest. I also include what to eat, where to drink, what to see, and how to make the most out of your Budapest trip.
Best things to do in Budapest
Relax in the thermal baths
The thermal baths were an absolute plus of my visit to Budapest. I really wasn’t expecting this super relaxing attraction. Szechenyi is the most popular thermal batch as it does the best pictures, followed by Gellert & Rudas. Szechenyi & Gellert get really busy so I recommend booking in advance. I leave you skip the line tickets here: Szechenyi – Gellert. A local also recommended me Kiraly bath, although I didn’t go.
Get amazing views of the city from Fisherman’s Bastion
Fisherman’s Bastion was one of my favorite places in Budapest. The architecture of this fort is amazing. Pair that up with great views and you’ve got some pretty amazing pictures. The fort is in Buda and not far from Buda Castle.
Marvel at the Hungarian Parliament building
Also in Buda, make sure you walk by the Hungarian Parliament to admire it’s architecture. It looks amazing both by day and by night. If you can, take some time to admire the Parliament’s architecture from the inside by taking this 45 minute tour.
Drink at ruin bar Szimpla Kert
Szimpla Kert is the first ruin pub to open in Budapest. It’s called this way because it’s located in what used to be abandoned apartments that were going to be demolished, but a pub was set up instead. Some might say it’s super touristy but I loved both the bar due to its appearance and atmosphere. It’s unique.
See the shoes on the Danube Bank
The Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial created on the east bank of the Danube to honour the Jews who were killed during WWII. Jews were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. The memorial represents their shoes left behind on the bank. A moving Budapest attraction.
Cruise along the Danube River at night
Enjoy the lights of the city of Budapest from a river setting in a night cruise. If you are looking to splurge, then book a 4-course dinner river cruise. And if you are looking to have a little fun, then make if a craft beer cruise!
Eat Gulyás (goulash)
Hungarian goulash is the most traditional dish you can try in Budapest. Vegans, you are in luck, there are some amazing vegan restaurants in Budapest where you can try this dish. I recommend Napfényes.
Take the funicular to Buda Castle
A lot of people like to take the funicular to Buda castle to enjoy the great views! Otherwise you can take the stairs or a bus. Once there, there are two museums: the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.
Step inside St Stephen’s Basilica
St Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest is very beautiful and worth seeing from inside. It’s free, you only need to pay if you want to go to the observation deck and get panoramic views of the city.
Visit one of the world’s most beautiful McDonalds
One of the prettiest McDonalds you have ever seen is in Budapest in Nyugati. Believe me, it’s gorgeous.
Walk up Gellert Hill to the Citadel
Before or after going to Gellert baths head up to Budapest’s Citadel via Gellert Hill and get more panoramic views of the city.
Visit the Hungarian State Opera House
A highly respected Opera house, it is well worth it to buy a ticket to a show when you are visiting Budapest. Ticket prices start as low as 500ft. If you don’t end up going to a performance, you can book a tour which includes a mini Opera as it’s inside is very impressive.
Cross the Chain Bridge
The chain bridge was the first bridge to connect Buda with Pest and is deemed the prettiest one in Budapest. Pay attention to the lion sculptures that guard the bridge when you cross it.
Try tasty Lángos
Lángos is another Hungarian food specialty you can try in Budapest. It is essentially fried dough with toppings, typically sour cream, cheese or others. Retró Lángos Büfé does the best langos, and even has a vegan version.
Step inside Dohány Street Synagogue
Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. Book a skip-the-line ticket here.
Try Kürtőskalács (chimney cake)
Kürtőskalács is a delicious chimney shaped pastry which I will tempt you to try when in Budapest. A sweet, delicious goodness. You can find a vegan version of it in Körösfői Kürtőskalács.
Shop at the Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall is the largest indoor market in Budapest. You can just browse the stalls and get some food or some souvenirs.
Where to stay in Budapest
I stayed at FIFTEEN Boutique Rooms Budapest and loved it. This boutique hotel is in Buda right besides the metro station Széll Kálmán tér. The hotel is very well connected so getting to and from the hotel was very easy, either from the airport or from the Pest side.
I had the Superior Room which had a comfy double bed, mini bar, tea/coffee, beautiful high ceilings and great light. Staff were lovely and helpful and there were so many options for breakfast some even suitable for vegans or gluten-free. I particularly loved that it is in Buda which is a lot cleaner and quieter than Pest so if you are looking for something comfortable and peaceful, then FIFTEEN is perfect. Last, the Gellert thermal baths, the Citadel and Castle Hill are all a short walk away. You can reserve FIFTEEN Boutique Rooms Budapest here.
How to get there and around
I managed to score a super cheap flight to Budapest using Momondo. Once in Budapest — getting around using public transport is super easy and very reliable. I used a combination of metro, bus and tram during my trip and bought a block of 10 single tickets to share with my friend. Please note single tickets are not valid for transfers and make sure you validate them before travel.
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This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a small commission, at no extra cost to you in order to help support my blog. My stay at FIFTEEN was complimentary whoever as always, my opinions are my own.