There's more than one way to discover Budapest. Whether you are a first time visitor or just looking for new things to see and do in Budapest, we have a top 10 list for you. Take a dip in one of the city's famous baths, savor the local cuisine, check out some of the cool, funky shops featuring homegrown designs, walk across the Chain Bridge or just sit, relax and people-watch at one of the great downtown cafés.
What's your fancy? First time visitor | Off the beaten path | Best views | Free things to do | Best Budapest tours | Traveling with kids | Food & wine lover | Art & culture | History buff | Best side trips | Top Hotels in Budapest
First Time Visitor’s Top 10
- Discover historic Castle Hill with a walking tour.
- Take a Danube cruise for beautiful panoramic views of Buda and Pest.
- Enjoy a performance at the world famous Budapest Opera House.
- Shop with locals or try some traditional Hungarian food at Central Market Hall.
- Take a dip and relax in one of Budapest's famous baths.
- Walk across Chain Bridge, the first bridge to connect Buda and Pest.
- Visit Hungary's Parliament Building, see the amazing architecture and the Hungarian Crown Jewels.
- Take a stroll on Andrássy Avenue to Heroes' Square and you'll understand why Budapest is often called the Paris of the East.
- Try an authentic Hungarian dish paired with vintage Hungarian wine. Best enjoyed at one these award winning Budapest restaurants.
- Window shop and people watch on Váci utca (grab a coffee but look elsewhere for restaurants).
Top 10 Off The Beaten Path
- Discover the architecture, streets and courtyards of District 8's palace neighborhood, along with the charming Mikszáth tér and the nearby Ráday utca.
- Find unique treasures on Budapest's Antique Row.
- Mingle with the locals at one of Budapest's Ruin Pubs.
- Take a stroll along Városligeti Fasor, connecting the city center with City Park.
- Visit WAMP, Budapest's monthly design market to meet Hungarian contemporary designers and check out their creations.
- Go window shopping along Király utca, lined with funky boutiques and galleries.
- Explore Óbuda, the oldest and lesser known part of Budapest.
- If you decide to venture out to Óbuda take a lunch break at the 100-year old Kéhli Restaurant for a Hungarian meal.
- Take a unique guided tour of Budapest to meet locals and learn about the culture.
- Treasure hunt at the Ecseri Flea Market.
Top 10 Views of Budapest
- Take in the beautiful panorama from the top of Gellért Hill.
- You will love the vistas of Pest from Fishermen’s Bastion.
- Take a Danube cruise for beautiful panoramic views of both Buda and Pest.
- Climb the stairs (or take the elevator) to the Basilica's observation deck for some of the best views of Budapest.
- Whether it's day or night you will enjoy the views from the Danube Promenade.
- Walk up the spiral staircase of the historic water tower on Margaret Island for some beautiful panoramic views.
- Track to the Elisabeth Lookout on János Hill for a full view of Budapest.
- For the best street views of Budapest join a unique guided tour by locals.
- Take a helicopter tour for a bird's eye view of the city.
- Magnificent sunsets are included with cocktails served on the deck of Spoon Cafe.
Top 10 Free Things To Do in Budapest
- Walk across Chain Bridge and you will understand why Budapest is often referred to as the 'Pearl of the Danube'.
- Take a free walking tour.
- Walk up to the summit of Gellért Hill for panoramic views of Budapest.
- EU citizens bring your passport for a free tour of Budapest's Parliament Building.
- Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, the largest church in Budapest. It's free to enter the church and there is only a nominal fee of HUF 500 to go up to the observation deck.
- Go for a jog or take a stroll around Margaret Island and/or City Park.
- Enjoy the views from the Danube Promenade at night.
- Relax in Károlyi Gardens, Szabadság Square or the Millenáris Park.
- Visit museums with one single ticket during the 'Night of the Museums', held annually in June.
- Celebrate with the locals and enjoy the fireworks from the banks of the Danube on St. Stephen’s Day on August 20th.
Top 10 Guided Tours in Budapest
- Experience the real Budapest and immerse yourself in the local culture with a Go Local Tour.
- Discover Budapest's beautiful Art Nouveau and Eclectic-style buildings with UniqueBudapest's Art Nouveau, Eclectic and Culture Tour.
- Try all the delicious desserts, cakes, pancakes, strudels and sweets the Hungarian pastry kitchen is famous for with a Sweet Budapest Walking Tour.
- Discover the Secrets of the Jewish Quarter along with some hidden treasures and stories from the past.
- Take an Easy Breeze Bike Tour.
- Discover the once slummy 8th district of Budapest with a Socio-cultural Walking Tour.
- Tour Budapest’s bustling markets with Taste Hungary's Culinary Walking Tour.
- Discover Budapest's 'Retro' hot spots and journey back to the 60s and 70s with a Retro Tour.
- Explore the famous Ruin Pubs with a Tipsy Budapest Tour.
- Learn to cook Hungarian with a Chefparade Cooking Class.
Top 10 Budapest with Kids
- Visit the Palace of Miracles for a day of fun and education.
- It's all fun at Aquaworld for the entire family.
- Your kids will love the baby animals in the 'Kindergarten' at the Budapest Zoo.
- Explore the Buda Hills on the Children’s Railway operated by kids.
- There are zip-lines, climbing walls and labyrinths at Challengeland. Need we say more?
- Let your kids conquer the Buda Castle.
- Take your kids on a caving adventure in one of Budapest's Caves and labyrinths.
- The entire family will enjoy the Hungarian Natural History Museum, one of the most kid friendly museums.
- Not only will your kids eat their meal, they won't want to leave VakVarjú Restaurant.
- Are you afraid of clowns? Find out at the Municipal Circus.
Food & Wine Enthusiast’s Top 10
- Try some traditional Hungarian food, like lángos at Central Market Hall.
- Take a Hungarian cooking course and impress your friends back home.
- Sample some of the best Hungarian vintages at the Budapest International Wine Festival held annually in September and/or visit one of the city's wine bars.
- You know you are in good hands at Bock Bistro, the creation of an award winning chef and a celebrated vintner.
- You will want to take the bus to the Budapest Pálinka & Sausage Festival held annually in October.
- Food enthusiasts will be happy to know that Budapest has two Michelin Star restaurants, Costes and Onyx.
- After all the spicy Hungarian food, have a shot of Unicum, the famous digestive, and learn about its history at the Zwack Museum.
- Take your designated driver on a day trip to the Etyek-Buda Wine Region, best during the Etyek Cellar Festival held annually in May.
- Szamos Marzipan is a must try, it even has it's own museum.
- Visit Mangalica & Társai Húspatika, a deli dedicated to the curly-haired mangalica pig. Try the cured ham and the tasty sausages and salamis.
Top 10 Art & Culture
- Enjoy a performance at the world famous Budapest Opera House.
- Visit the Museum of Fine Arts and enjoy a day amongst famous European art.
- Classical music lovers will appreciate a performance at the Academy of Music.
- Visit the Palace of Arts, Budapest's new cultural hub. Check out the contemporary art collection at the Ludwig Museum or book a free guided tour to learn more about the building and its architecture.
- Sziget Festival is one of the biggest musical events in the world attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every August. You could be one of them.
- The Mai Manó House of Photography is for all photo enthusiasts and want-to-be's.
- Learn about great Hungarian masters and their works at the Hungarian National Gallery.
- Sign up for a Contemporary Art Tour to visit the the best galleries of the city.
- Experience contemporary Hungarian art at its best at the Kogart Gallery or the Trafó Gallery.
- If you are into handicrafts check out the Festival of Folk Arts, held annually in August in Castle Hill, and you may even learn Hungarian folk dancing.
Top 10 For History Buffs
- Have your photo taken with Lenin at Memento Park - Statue Park.
- Take a walking tour and discover historic Castle Hill at your own pace.
- The House of Terror Museum provides an insight into how Fascism and Communism affected life in Hungary.
- Discover Hungary's Jewish heritage at the Jewish Museum in Budapest.
- Visit Matthias Church to get a glimpse of 700 years of history.
- Enjoy the magnificent architecture and view the Crown Jewels in Budapest's Parliament.
- To learn about the history of Budapest visit the Budapest History Museum.
- Set foot on part of the Ancient Roman Empire in Aquincum.
- The history of the first metro on the continent is on display at the Underground Museum.
- We know you love Hungary, so learn more about its history at the Hungarian National Museum.
Top 10 Side Trips from Budapest
- Art, history, fashion, marzipan and langos. Everyone enjoys a day trip to Szentendre.
- The scenic Danube Bend provides the perfect getaway for nature lovers.
- Feel like a king in Esztergom, the first royal seat of the Kingdom of Hungary.
- You will want a designated driver when visiting Etyek in the Etyek-Buda Wine Region.
- Lake Balaton, aka the Hungarian sea, is always busy in the Summer.
- The Tokaj Wine Region is a must (in every sense of the word).
- Bull's Blood in the Valley of Beautiful Women. Did we pique your interest? Visit Eger.
- A historic town in the foothills of the Mecsek Mountain and some of the best vintages in Hungary. Pécs & the Villány Wine Region.
- Aching for some Wiener Schnitzel? Vienna is so close to Budapest you can go for lunch.
- Beer is the only thing that's better in Prague than in Budapest. Can you tell we are biased? OK, Prague is actually pretty cool too.
Top Hotels in Budapest
- A bit of a hidden gem, Hotel Palazzo Zichy**** tops this list with super-stylish rooms, housed in a historical building, attentive service and great prices.
- The best luxury hotel in Budapest? According to Tripadvisor's Travellers' Choice 2013, it's the Four Seasons Gresham Palace***** - and we couldn't agree more.
- Opera Garden**** offers stylish apartments in the heart of Budapest, just a few blocks away from the Opera House and Andrássy Avenue.
- One of the newest hotels on Budapest's boutique scene, Bohem Art Hotel**** comes with an artsy vibe and a great location.
- Upholding the tradition of the European grand hotels comes naturally to the 5-star Corinthia Royal, one of the most beautiful properties in the city.
- Budapest's best kept secret is Brody House, a unique boutique hotel that's also a cultural hub, showcasing the works of various artists across its bohemian-style rooms.
- For spectacular Danube River views book your stay at Hotel Victoria****, just a few steps away from Castle Hill and Chain Bridge.
- Budapest has everything, even a little bit of Paris: Gerlóczy Rooms deLux.
- Best Western Premier Hotel Parlament****. Yes, a BW and you will be surprised.
- For a stylish boutique hotel located in the historic Castle District, check out the Buda Castle Fashion Hotel****.