Top 21 Things to do in Budapest, Hungary

The following 21 things to do in Budapest are a roundup from my week exploring this incredible city on my first solo trip. The name Budapest comes from the two sides of the city “Buda” and “Pest” which officially merged together in 1873. There are 8 bridges connecting the two sides with the most famous and beautiful bridges being Chain Bridge and Liberty Bridge.

Having been to 30+ cities in Europe and 17 countries (& counting), I frequently get asked which destinations made it to the top of my list. Hands down would have to say Budapest was one of my favorite cities I’ve visited with the beautiful architecture, delicious food, healing bath water, and fun nightlife. The city is also very walkable, affordable, and easy to get around which is another win in my book!

Best Time to Visit Budapest

In my opinion, the best time to visit Budapest would be in the fall or winter to take advantage of the warm thermal baths after a long day of sightseeing in chilly weather. If you visit around November 19-December 31st, you can take advantage of being able to explore the festive Christmas markets!

What to Expect in Budapest

Local Language: Hungarian. As this is a high tourist destination, almost all restaurants/locals spoke English. Restaurants would also have menus available in English. However, it’s always great to learn a couple of basic phrases such as hello (helló – easy one!) or thank you (köszönöm).

Currency: Despite being a member of the EU, Hungary is one of 8 countries that is not in the
“Eurozone”. Therefore they have their own local currency called the Forint (HUF). At the date of this post being written, approximately 1 USD = 339 HUF. The conversion is very favorable to the USD and Euro making Hungary a very affordable destination.

Credit Cards & Cash Withdrawals: During my entire time in Budapest, I only found myself needing cash once (noted below when visiting the St. Stephen’s Basilica). If you do decide to withdraw cash, there are countless ATMs around the city which will offer a better exchange rate than the airport. Make sure to notify your banks prior to international travel where you will be so that there are no holds on your account.

Transportation: There are a variety of ways you can travel around Budapest including taxi, scooters, or tram. Budapest is also extremely walkable depending on your final destination. Uber does not work in Budapest, so you can download an app called “Bolt” that works the exact same way. Do NOT try to hail a taxi on your own as many of them already are en route to pick up passengers via the app or they will rip you off (from personal experience)! The tram was easy to follow how to navigate and you could purchase tickets at the station (low cost).

21 Things to do In Budapest (At a Glance)

The following rounds up my favorite 21 things to do in Budapest with more in depth summaries below including what to expect, address, cost, hours, and time needed for each activity in Budapest.

  1. Unwind in Thermal Baths
  2. Fisherman’s Bastion
  3. Matthias Church
  4. Watch the Sunset at the Citadella
  5. Szimpla Kurt (Ruins Bar)
  6. Bar Crawl
  7. St Stephen’s Basilica
  8. Walk the Liberty Bridge
  9. Buda Castle
  10. Try a Chimney Cake
  11. Central Market Hall
  12. Budapest Eye
  13. Shoes on the Danube Bank
  14. House of Parliament
  15. Try Langos (Hungarian Pizza)
  16. Walk the Chain Bridge
  17. Explore Hungarian street food at Karavan
  18. Jewish Quarter
  19. Vajdahunyad Castle
  20. Fashion Street
  21. Fat Policeman Statue

1. Unwind in Thermal Baths

Known as the “city of baths,” Budapest offers 5 unique medicinal bath locations with a total of 47 pools. The Romans were the first to discover the healing thermal waters unique to the city over 2,000 years ago. Visiting one of these baths is an absolute must during your time in Budapest and I go in depth on three of the more popular baths in Budapest: Szechenyi, Gellert, and Rudas below. I loved them all in their own unique ways as I felt like I got a different experience out of each spa. However, if you only have time to visit one of them, I would recommend Szechenyi with it being the most popular/iconic tourist bath in Budapest.

What to Bring to the Baths:

  • Swimsuit (One or two piece both work fine)
  • Flip Flops/Sandals (Note the Teva’s aren’t the best if you have smaller/narrow feet)
  • Towel
  • Swim Cap (If planning on swimming laps in pool)
  • Change of Clothes

*If you do not have all of these on hand, do not stress, as you can purchase most items on site for reasonable prices!*

Széchenyi Thermal Bath

This is a must see at least once in everyone’s life. By far, the most popular and well known bath in Budapest with where they also host a weekly “sparty” bath party. You should visit Szechenyi if you are looking for a more upbeat vibe where you can unwind with a cold beer after a long day of sightseeing. Make sure to head inside as well as there are a ton of additional pools, saunas, and steam rooms that are really cool to explore!

  • Address: Budapest, Állatkerti körút 9-11, 1146 Hungary
  • Hours:
    • Daily: 7am-8pm
    • Sparty: Saturday’s 9:30pm – 02:00am
  • Cost:
    • Weekday Daily Ticket (with locker): 5,900 FT/ ~$17 USD
    • Weekend Daily Ticket (with locker): 6,200 FT/ ~$18 USD
    • Towel: 5,000 FT/ ~$15 USD
    • Bathrobe: 9,900 FT/ ~$29 USD
    • Bathing Suit: 7,000 FT/ ~$20 USD
    • Swim Cap: 2,000 FT/ ~$6 USD
    • Sandals: 4,000 FT/ ~$12 USD
  • Time Needed: You can stay as long as you’d like but ~4-5 hours is a good estimate to give you enough time to enjoy all of the baths they have to offer and explore other rooms.

Gellert Baths

This was a nice in between of pace from Szechenyi and Rudas. Gellert has a variety of thermal baths with water coming from Gellért hill’s mineral hot springs. Temperatures in the baths can range from 35°C to 40°C (95°F to 104 °F).

  • Address: Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary
  • Hours:
    • Daily: 9am-7pm
  • Cost:
    • Weekday Daily Ticket (With Locker): 5,900 FT/ ~$17 USD
    • Weekend Daily Ticket (With Locker): 6,200 FT/ ~$18 USD
    • Towel: 5,000 FT/ ~$15 USD
    • Bathrobe: 9,900 FT/ ~29 USD
    • Bathing Suit: 5,000 FT/ ~$15 USD
    • Swim Cap: 2,000 FT/ ~$6 USD
    • Sandals: 4,000 FT/ ~$12 USD

Black One Piece Swimsuit: Linked Here


If you are looking for a relaxing getaway, far away from the masses of tourists, then this is your spot. To get to these baths, just cross over the Elisabeth Bridge, and the building is at the end of the bridge on the Buda side. Rudas Thermal Bath has two different sections: the Turkish Baths and the Wellness Spa. I only visited the Turkish Baths which I felt was plenty during Ladies Only Day.

  • Address: Budapest, Döbrentei tér 9, 1013 Hungary
  • Hours:
    • Daily: 6am-8pm
    • Night Bathing: Fri/Sat from 10pm to 3am
  • Cost: You can purchase tickets here or in person (note they offer a 10% discount if purchased online)
    • All In (Bath & Spa): 4,900 FT/~$14 USD
    • Turkish Bath: 3,400 FT/~$10 USD
    • Wellness Spa: 3,400 FT/~$10 USD

Turkish Baths at Rudas

Mon/Wed/Thurs is Men only, Tuesday is Ladies Day (which I took full advantage of), and Fri from 1 pm, Sat/Sun is co-ed. (Now that I am typing this though, I am disappointed that the number of Men/Women only days are not equal). However, I found the Turkish baths incredibly relaxing and enjoyed hopping around the 5 different temperature pools along with alternating between the steam room and sauna. It was pretty quiet inside when I visited, and there were moments where I could be the only person in a pool. The center bath is a comfortable 36ºC (97ºF) and the surrounding 4 pools range from 28-42ºC (82-108ºF). I enjoyed hopping from hot and cold baths to shock my system a bit.

Wellness Spa at Rudas

I did not get a chance to explore this part of Rudas as I felt like the Turkish Bath on ladies day was sufficient. However, this has the more famous rooftop pool with a great view of the Danube River worth checking out. If you are looking to swim laps in a pool then you should check this section out. There are additional saunas rooms as well to explore.

Rudas thermal baths: tickets, price, timetables and useful information for  the visit -

2. Fisherman’s Bastion

The Fisherman’s Bastion is primarily designed as a viewpoint of the city with the most incredible views of the Danube River, the House of Parliament, Buda Castle, and Castle Hill. Built between 1895 and 1902 and designed by architect Frigyes Schulek, the Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the top visited attractions in Budapest. This is a highly photogenic spot, and packed with tourists. If you want to visit with less crowds, I recommend going during sunrise.

  • Address: Budapest, Szentháromság tér, 1014 Hungary
  • Cost:
    • Free for bottom level
    • Top Turrets: 800 FT/ ~$2 USD (I did not find these necessary to pay to go up)
  • Hours:
    • 24/7 Bottom Level
    • Top Turrets: 9am – 8pm
  • Time Needed: ~1 Hour Max

There are a variety of theories behind the significance of the name, however none are 100% certain. The most popular theory is that the city was protected by the guild of fishermen during the Middle Ages.

3. Matthias Church

Right next to the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Matthias Church is another beautiful architectural building to walk by and explore. A fun fact about the Matthias Church is that it used to be used for past King’s coronations. You do have to pay a small fee to enter the church summarized below.

  • Address: Budapest, Szentháromság tér 2, 1014 Hungary
  • Cost:
    • Adult: 2,000 FT/ ~$6 USD
    • Student: 1,500 FT/ ~$4 USD
    • Child (under 6): Free
    • Senior (60+): 1,500 FT/ ~$4 USD
  • Hours:
    • M-F: 9am-5pm
    • Sat: 9am-1pm
    • Sun: 1-5pm
  • Time Needed: ~30 Minutes Max

4. Walk up to the Citadella for Sunset

This was one of my favorite activities I did in Budapest. Walk up here for some of the most stunning views of Budapest that no pictures can ever do any justice. The sun sets really early in the fall (around 4pm) so make sure you plan out your day to give yourself enough time to not only make it to the top in time for sunset, but to also secure a good viewing spot. Note it can be a bit confusing to initially find where to walk up, so when in doubt, be sure to ask people around you! Most people were super friendly when asked for help.

(Unfortunately do not have links but hat is & Other Stories, Sweater is J Crew, Coat from Mango, and jeans Abercrombie).

  • Address: Budapest, 1118 Hungary
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: 24/7

5. Szimpla Kert (Ruins Bar)

With over a million visitors a year, this is another must visit in Budapest. Every room you go into has a quirky, unique style with a few photos highlighting the decor below. Open since 2001, Szimpla Kert also hosts concerts, theatre shows and many different cultural events. I recommend visiting during the daytime where it is significantly less crowded, otherwise expect long lines at nighttime (still heard it can be fun though then just more crowded).

  • Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary
  • Hours:
    • M-F: 3pm-4am
    • Sat: 11am-4am
    • Sun: 9am-4am
  • Cost: Free to Enter

6. Bar Crawl

Another one of my favorite activities I did in Budapest. Joining a Bar Crawl was such a fun way to meet new people as a solo traveller that also made me feel safe and comfortable doing so. Budapest offers a bunch of bar crawls you can check out that are all pretty similar in style with different starting points, and all finishing at the same maze club called Instant Fogas.

A couple of Budapest Bar Crawls worth checking out:

  • The Original Budapest Bar Crawl
    • Meeting Time: Daily 9:30pm
    • Meeting Location: Grandio Party Hostel, Nagy Diófa U. 8, 1072 Hungary
    • Price: €20 Euros
    • Includes: One hour free drinks, drinking games, VIP Entry, 4 ruin bars & 1 club
  • Pub Crawl Budapest
    • Meeting Time: Daily 9pm
    • Meeting Location: Oktogon, Burger King
    • Price: €11 Euros Online or €20 Euros In Person
    • Includes: Free welcome shots at each bar, VIP Entry, 4 ruin bars & 1 club, Money back guarantee if not satisfied

7. St. Stephen’s Basilica

The Basilica was named in honor of Stephen, the First King of Hungary and is currently Hungary’s third largest church. It is also the highest building in Budapest next to the Hungarian Parliament Building. The interior is absolutely stunning, and I got chills walking through during a service with the congregation singing. Church entry is free (donations encouraged), and you can pay to walk or elevator up to the tower viewpoint.

  • Address: Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary
  • Hours (Church):
    • Mon: 9AM – 4PM
    • Tues – Fri: 9 AM – 5 PM
    • Sat: 9 AM – 1 PM
    • Sun: 1 PM – 5 PM
  • Hours (Tower – Viewpoint):
    • Nov – Mar 10 AM – 4:30 PM
    • Apr, May & Oct 10 AM – 5:30 PM
    • Jun – Sept 10 AM – 6:30 PM
  • Cost
    • Church: Free (donations recommended)
    • Tower: 1000 HUF/~$3 USD for adults and 800 HUF/~$2.4 USD for students (cash only)

*NOTE the tower is CASH ONLY to go up, so if you want to see the view from above, plan accordingly and bring cash! I made that mistake and didn’t have time to get cash before the sun set.*

8. Walk the Liberty Bridge

One of my favorite bridges I walked across while in Budapest with beautiful scenery for photos. You can also climb on top of the bridge for a fun photoshoot. The Bridge is located near the Central Market Hall on the Pest side and connects to the Gellert Thermal Baths on the Buda side of Budapest. Fun fact, it is actually the shortest bridge in Budapest.

  • Address: Fővám tér M 1093 Budapest Fővám tér Hungary (You can search on map as well but this is a dropped pin address close to Pest side entrance).
  • Cost: Free
  • Time Needed: ~10-15 min to cross depending on how frequently you stop for photos

9. Buda Castle

The Buda Castle is located in Castle Hill with a beautiful courtyard and statues. The castle was destroyed by fire in WW2 and has since been reconstructed. When walking through, there was a free exhibit you could walk into sharing more of the castle history with photos and videos. A popular way to see the castle is integrated into a walking tour. Inside the castle there are a variety of wings containing the Hungarian National Gallery, The National Library, and Budapest History Museum.

  • Address: Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary
  • Hours:
    • Gardens & Courtyards: Open Daily 24/7
    • National Gallery: Tues-Sun 10am – 6pm
    • History Museum: Tues-Sun 10am – 6pm (4pm in fall/winter)

10. Try a Chimney Cake

Chimney cakes originated in Hungary and can be found all over Budapest along with many other cities across Eastern Europe. You can smell them a mile a way and absolutely a must try! Chimney Cakes are made from a sweet yeast rolled into a long rope and baked around a cylinder. There are a variety of traditional flavors to choose from such as cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, walnut, and coconut. Then there are specialty options to add add ice cream and additional toppings inside. I tried a handful of places around Budapest and my favorite Chimney Cake I tried was hands down from Kató Néni Finomságai.

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy chimney cake and that’s pretty much the same thing!” – Auntie Kató

Kato Neni has two permanent locations, one by St Stephen’s Basilica and the close to Széchenyi Thermal Bath along with a truck. I recommend the permanent locations as they offer more options. Their Instagram can be found here.

  • Address:
    • Budapest, Október 6. utca 6. (downtown)
    • Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 11. (close to Szechenyi)
  • Hours:
    • Daily: 11am-10pm
  • Cost:
    • Traditional Chimney Cake: 1,200-1,400 Ft/ ~$3.5-$4 USD
    • With Ice Cream: 1,600-1800 Ft/ ~$4.7-$5.3 USD

11. Central Market Hall

Built in 1897, the Central Market Hall is the largest and most beautiful market halls in Budapest. You can walk around a ton of different shops selling a variety of trinkets and food, and there are also food vendors upstairs with sit down tables to try traditional Hungarian food. Due to the crazy long lines, I ended up instead trying the famous Langos deep fried flatbread pizza at Retro Langos which hit the spot 👌. Be sure to also check out this blog post on 3 Tourist Traps to avoid while walking exploring the hall.

  • Address: Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary
  • Cost: Free to Enter
  • Hours:
    • Mon: 6am-5pm
    • Tue-Fri: 6am-6pm
    • Sat: 6am-3pm
    • Sun: Closed
  • Time Needed: ~1-1.5 Hours if you eat here

12. Budapest Eye

This is one of the tallest mobile ferris wheels in Europe with panoramic views of the city. For 10 additional Euros you can upgrade for a priority champagne ride. I did not end up taking a ride on the Budapest Eye, however this would be a cute activity to do with a significant other or family. I did enjoy walking past it to admire how pretty it was! Note that I did not see any lines while visiting in November.

  • Address: Budapest, Erzsébet tér, 1051 Hungary
  • Cost (You can purchase tickets here):
    • Adults (18+): €10 Euros/€13 for Priority
    • Babies to Students range from €1 to €8 Euros
    • Family Ticket (2 adults & 2 kids): €29 Euros
    • Priority Cabin (Up to 6 people): €78 Euros
  • Hours:
    • Sun-Thur: 11:00-23:00
    • Fri/Sat: 11am-12am
  • Time Needed: 15 Minutes (10-12 min ride)

13. Shoes on the Danube Bank

This memorial of sixty pairs of iron shoes is located on the Pest side of the Danube River. This was created as a remembrance to the people, majority of them Jews, who were shot into the Danube by fascist, Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during WW2. No man, women, or child was spared when this happened and the shoes resemble that with a variety of shoe types. They were all forced to remove their shoes prior to being shot into the river. At different points along the memorial reads in Hungarian, English, and Hebrew: “To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45. Erected 16 April 2005.” It is a simple, chilling, and moving exhibit honoring so many lives lost. The views of the Danube river at sunset are beautiful as well turning it into a great spot for reflection.

  • Address: 1051 Budapest V. kerület Széchenyi István tér 9. Hungary
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: 24/7 Open (best time to visit is definitely sunrise or sunset)
  • Time Needed: ~20 minutes

14. House of Parliament

The House of Parliament is one of the most prominent building in Budapest. Completed in 1905, it is the tallest building in the city tied with the St. Stephen’s Basilica. I personally did not go inside, however it looks absolutely stunning inside and I would definitely try to go next time I visit Budapest. You can purchase tickets here and I highly recommended to purchase ahead of time as there are limited tickets available. There are only specific time slots run in different languages (aka not all time slots will be in English). So plan accordingly!

  • Address: Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1, 1055 Hungary
  • Cost (outside European Economic Area – if inside you receive a discount):
    • Adults: 6,700 Ft (~$20 USD)
    • Students: 3,500 Ft (~$10 USD)
  • Hours:
    • Daily: 8am-4pm
  • Time Needed: ~1 Hour (45 min tour)

15. Try Some Lángos (Hungarian Pizza)

Langos is famous Hungarian street food, and ohhhhh so good! One of my favorite restaurants I came across selling delicious langos was Retro Langos (came back twice I loved it so much). Langos is Hungarian fried dough and can be topped with a variety of goods such as sour cream, cheese, chicken, tomatoes, tsatziki, arugula, onions, etc. You can also find dessert style langos around the city. Oh and check the price ranges below to see just how crazy cheap they were!

  • Address: Budapest, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 25, 1065 Hungary
  • Hours: Daily 11am – 10pm
  • Cost: ~1-2,000 Ft ($3-6 USD)

16. Walk the Chain Bridge

Unfortunately, the Chain Bridge was under renovation during my visit to Budapest. However it looks beautiful from the photos and connects Buda and Pest closer to the Northern side. On the Pest side it is close to the Basilica and on the Buda side it connects close to the Buda Castle. Renovation work began in March 2021 and was estimated to take a year to be completed. Crossing the bridge will take around 10-15 minutes depending on how frequently you stop for photos.

Photo Courtesy of Budapest.Org

17. Explore Hungarian street food at Karavan

Close to Szimpla Kurt, Karavan has a variety of food stands with local Hungarian dishes including burgers, curry, and chimney cakes. It was super cute to walk around and highly recommend checking out (especially if hungry)!

  • Address: Budapest, Kazinczy u. 18, 1075 Hungary
  • Hours:
    • Sun-Tues: 11:30am-11pm
    • Wed-Sat: 11:30am-12am
  • Cost: Free to enter & food varies by stand

18. Jewish Quarter Synagogues

The Jewish Quarter is a fun & vibrant spot to explore where all the ruin bars are located, great restaurants/cafes (such as Mazel Tov – personal favorite), and three synagogues to explore: Dohány Synagogue (largest in Europe and second largest in the world), Kazinczy Street Orthodox Synagogue, and Rumbach Street Synagogue. Rumbach was built based on the plans of the Austrian architect Otto Wagner and used for religious purposed until WW2. The history then turns dark, however the building has since been restored for a variety of purposes including concerts and exhibitions. Note that you must be covered to enter (men included).

19. Vajdahunyad Castle

I am bummed I didn’t get a chance to make it to this castle as it is a bit further out of Budapest close to the Szechenyi Baths. As I was there in the fall, the sun set by 4pm so we barely made it to the baths to beat sunset. This castle looks absolutely stunning though and definitely a must see for when I return to Budapest! The castle was built in 1896 and now home to several festivals, concerts, and exhibitions.

Photo Courtesy of
  • Address: Budapest, Vajdahunyad stny., 1146 Hungary
  • Cost to enter:
    • Courtyard: FREE
    • Museum of Agriculture inside the Castle:
      • Adults: 1,600 Ft ($4.7 USD)
      • Students/Seniors: 800 Ft (~$2 USD)
  • Hours:
    • Courtyard: Open 24/7
    • Museum
      • Monday: Closed
      • T-Sun: 10am-5pm

20. Fashion Street

Sometimes you just gotta love a good shopping spree while traveling. Fashion street has a variety of stores and restaurant chains including Zara, Cos, Oysho, Bershka, Lush, Nobu, Massimo Dutti, Starbucks, Mac, Calzedonia, H&M, Adidas, Mango, and more! Plus around the holidays it was so pretty with all of the lights and tree set up (pictured below)!

Address: 1052 Budapest V. kerület Deák Ferenc utca 15. Hungary

21. The Fat Policeman Statue

This is a quick site to pass by when exploring the Basilica with a fun backstory. The fat belly on the policeman signifies hearty Hungarian cuisine and legend has it that rubbing the belly brings good luck in love! So definitely swing by to give a quick rub for good luck!

  • Address: Budapest, Zrínyi u., 1051 Hungary (Zrinyi utca street right by the Basilica)
  • Cost: Free
  • Time Needed: 5 Minutes Max

Shop My Favorite Travel Essentials

I hope you enjoyed this roundup of 21 things to do in Budapest, Hungary! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, shoot me a DM, or send over an email ( Have the most amazing trip!

Also be sure to check out some additional posts for your next European getaway:


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hi, I'm Katya -- former D1 tennis player, certified CorePower Yoga Sculpt teacher, & soon to be IIN Certified Health Coach. Welcome to my page where I share all things wellness, real food recipes, and fitness. Thanks for stopping by and be sure to explore all things recipes, travel, yoga sculpt, wellness hacks, & shop all of my faves!


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