Planning a trip to Budapest and don’t want to miss out on anything? Then this is your go to list! I have been to Budapest now more than 20 times and this city never stops to amaze me! Here you will find a list of the top 10 things to do and the places to see when you are visiting this magical city! If you like this list make sure to subscribe to my blog to get all the latest updates and leave a comment below!
1. Walk up Gellert Hill and enjoy a scenic view over the Danube
This might be a steep walk but the view over Budapest that you get in return makes the climb that much more sweeter! If you are visiting in spring make sure to stop along the way and enjoy all of the trees and flowers blossoming.
Top Tip: Best to visit before sunrise!
Top Tip 2: If you climb up from the side of the Liberty Bridge make sure to get down on the other side so you will end up at the Sissi Bridge!
2. Relax at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths
Have you actually been to Budapest if you haven’t seen this place? Known for it’s waters healing powers this thermal bath is a must-see and experience when you are visiting the city! For the fair amount of 20 Euro you can relax as long as you want and explore all of the facilities this place has to offer. If you would also like to go for a swim in the main pool, make sure to bring your swimming cap with you since otherwise you can’t enter!
Top Tip: Go between 6am and 8am to beat the crowds!
Top Tip 2: Bring flip flops and a towel! If you want you can also buy an original towel from the Szechenyi Spa but the price is around 18 Euro.
Top Tip 3: Rent a cabin! They are super cute and easily fit two people in it!
3. Walk alongside the Danube at night
While Budapest is an amazing city to explore during the day, it’s true beauty shines through after sunset. All of the monuments are lit up and make for the perfect backdrop for a romantic walk.
Top Tip: Go up to the Buda Castle during sunset to enjoy the best view of the Chain Bridge!
Top Tip 2: The parliament looks way more beautiful from across the Danube. So if you are looking for that perfect shot make sure to stay on the Buda side!
4. Visit the Fisherman’s Bastion
This is by far my favourite place to visit over and over again! You can find this majestic building on the Buda bank of the Danube across from the Parliament. If you don’t want to walk up you can also take the fenicular at the Buda castle and walk from there.
Top Tip: If you really want to enjoy this place go before 8am in the morning! After that a swarm of tourist busses will arrive!
Top Tip 2: Don’t forget to walk down the stairs as well to get a spectacular overview!
Top Tip 3: If you have the time also visit it during the night!
5. Try some of Hungary’s delicacies at the Central Market Hall
This place is located on the Pest side right after you’ve crossed the Liberty Bridge. If you want to visit this place, keep in mind that it is closed on sunday! The market itself is divided into three floors where you can go either shopping or eating. On the ground floor you will find mainly food and liquor stalls for if you want to take home some paprika, Tokaji or Palinka! The first and second floor contains souvenir shops and eating stalls.
Top Tip: Go here to have a quick and delicious lunch after you’ve visited Gellert Hill!
6. Go for an icecream and enjoy St. Stephens Basilica
One of the prettiest ice creams I have ever seen you will find at Gelarto Rosa right in front of St. Stephens Basilica! Perfect for indulging after going up the basilica. The view it provides over Budapest is one of a kind. If you prefer this view with a cocktail in your hand instead of an ice cream then head up to the rooftop terrace of the Aria Hotel! It will definitely cost you more but this hotel is a must-see anyway!
Top Tip: If you only wish to take photos here ask them nicely, they are already used to the instafame.
7. Visit Vajdahunyad Castle
It’s lesser known cause it’s not situated in the heart of Budapest but it’s perfect to combine with your trip to the Szécheny Spa! Surrounded by a beautiful park you can find this gem right behind the Freedom Square. During the summer a lot of events are hosted here which makes the place always exciting. If you are planning your visit during wintertime the lake in front of the castle serves as an ice skating rank!
Top Tip: If you want to go skating go there 30 minutes before opening time to avoid long queues!
Top Tip 2: If one of the festivals is going on definitely indulge in a typical Hungarian lángos.
8. Rent a car and explore beyond Budapest
No one ever said that you have to stay in the city! There is so much more to Hungary than just Budapest! The easiest thing to do here is rent a car and go for a day trip. For instance, a trip to Bory Vár and Lake Bokod will only take up a few hours! Both of them are in the same area and only 45 minutes away from Budapest and from each other!
Top Tip: Start your trip at Bory Vár, if you leave around noon you will have plenty of time to explore the castle and make it in time to Lake Bokod to enjoy the sunset.
Top Tip 2: When driving to Lake Bokod make sure to approach it from the little town Oroszlány. Just follow the main road through the town and you can park your car down 2 minutes walking from the lake.
9. Visit during Christmas time
Of course every city is dolled up in it’s finest during this festive season but Budapest really pulls out all the stops. Literally every street is decorated with the most beautiful fairy lights and you will find around 10 different Christmas markets spread out across the entire city. My favourite one is situated in front of St. Stephens Basilica where during the evening a beautiful light projection takes place across it’s facade. Not to forget, there is mulled whine on every street corner as soon as it’s December!
Top Tip: Once in your life you should celebrate NYE in this city. The entire city goes nuts, there are fireworks everywhere and people are actually standing on top of the Chain Bridge!
Top Tip 2: When visiting during this season the Széchenyi Spa looks even more magical in the morning and is opened everyday!
10. Take it all in and WANDER around!
Sometimes you have to stop planning and simply just take in whatever comes your way. And might I say Budapest is the perfect city for this. There is something for everyone: vegan restaurants, ruin bars, historical museums, art museums. This city has so much to offer that I could write a “100 top tips post” about it! So just enjoy it and save some free time to just wander around!
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