Budapest is in my book, one of the Top 3 most beautiful cities in Europe. Sometimes I even think it’s my very favorite one! There is something so special about this city, something Imperial that I can’t really explain but leaves you in awe every time you visit. And it makes you want to come back for more!
Maybe it’s the Danube, majestic and classy, or maybe it is the castles and palaces on the river banks or the hills, and the elegant thermal Baths, the spicy and gourmet food, or perhaps it’s the youthful and trendy vibe that floats in the city.
If you are wondering what is the best way to get to know Budapest better, might I suggest you just start walking? You won’t believe how wonderful and friendly the city is. And my next, very best suggestion, is to board one of the many sightseeing cruise trips! You will love it, especially at night!
There’s no doubt in my mind that each of the Danube’s capitals is majestic and stylish in its way, with Vienna and Budapest being on top. But for now, let’s begin the adventure with the 30 Very Best Things you can do in Budapest.
1. The Hungarian Parliament
Probably the most emblematic building, the Hungarian Parliament is a landmark in the Pest part of the city. Incredible is the word! The Neo-Gothic masterpiece is the largest building in Hungary and one of Budapest’s calling cards! It’s also one of the most photographed sites in the city, for that matter.
There is so much beauty in Budapest, that it’s hard to choose where to head next. But if you need some inspiration, you can also head to Framey’s collection Exploring Budapest!
2. Buda Castle
On the other side of the Danube, on the top of Varhegy Hill, sits another symbol of Budapest: the remarkable Buda Castle. The Castle offers some of the greatest views you can hope to capture.
The entire Buda Castle complex is a landmark with its incredible architecture, narrow streets, and breathtaking views. It is linked to Szechenyi Chain Bridge, while the castle houses Hungarian National Gallery, The Budapest History Museum, and the Szechenyi Library. But the truth is that I can not imagine a better-suited venue for any of the prestigious institutions.
3. Szechenyi Chain Brigde
There are 8 bridges in Budapest that link the Buda and Pest parts of the city. Each of them is built in a different style, but the most famous of them all is the Szechenyi Chain Bridge.
The Chain Bridge is also the oldest, dating back to 1849. Casualty of Nazy destruction, the bridge had to be reconstructed a century later. But, to this day, it is the most picturesque bridge in Budapest! No doubt about it.
4. Fisherman’s Bastion
The white lookout seems to have descended straight from a fairy tale. The Fisherman’s Bastion is constructed in the same Neo-Gothic style as the Parliament, mixed with a touch of Neo-Romanesque.
From the Bastion’s seven towers you will get some of the best views of the Danube, the Parliament, and Margaret Island, so make sure to give yourself time to admire the beauty of Budapest.
5. Buda Hill Funicular
Step back into time with the Buda Hill Funicular. Just imagine that it has been in service since 1870, taking you from Adam Clarke square at the end of the Chain Bridge up to the Buda Castle.
It’s not just that it will get you there faster and without all the legwork, but it is one of the very best things you can experience in Budapest! Not a lot of World Heritage Funiculars lying around the world so get onboard of this historical experience!
6. Budapest Eye
London is not the only city with an iconic Ferris Wheel. Budapest has its own Eye!
Located in Erszebeth Square, the 65m Ferris Wheel is the highest one in Europe, and stepping inside one of its 42 cabins will grant you some surprising views of the city, especially at night!
7. The Vajdahunyad Castle
Budapest’s City Park is one of the most romantic and idyllic locations for a castle. Located on a small island the castle stands guarded by the lake’s waters, while 4 bridges lead you into the magnificent building.
The Vajdahunyad Castle is a blend of different architectural styles from all over the Austro-Hungarian Empire, from Medieval Romanesque to Gothic and Baroque that somehow forms an exquisite unity!
8. Szechenyi Thermal Bath
Budapest is famous worldwide for its richness in natural thermal bathwaters.
It’s hard to choose which is the best but, for sure, Szechenyi Thermal Baths is one of them. It has stunning neo-gothic architecture, inside and outside pools, and great spa services, even for the most demanding clients. You can not miss this experience!
9. Matyas Church
Wow is the first thing that comes to mind when looking at the Matyas Roman-Catholic Church.
The same Neo-Gothic style that dominates most of the Buda Castle’s District can be discovered in the monumental church.
Being around for so many centuries, the Matyas Church has seen its share of royal weddings, and coronations and it’s also the royal place of Hungarian kings so make sure to see it and feel the royal vibe in the air.
10. Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall and the Central Market Hall are one and the same. This particular Market holds the rank of both the oldest and the biggest in the city. Its history witnessed total destruction during World War II, some abandonment years, but today it’s once again one of the most visited places in Budapest, for tourists and locals alike.
11. St. Stephen’s Basilica
Another remarkable piece of architecture, St. Stephen Basilica, is not just one of the most magnificent churches in Budapest, but also one of the biggest and highest. The church’s name honors the name of Hungary’s first king, Stephen, and holds inside one of the most precious relics: the king’s right hand.
The Church’s majestic Dome and Towers make it one of the most photographed and visited monuments in the city and one of the best places to admire the spectacular views in the city center!
12. Shoes on the Danube
60 pairs of 40’ style shoes, on the Danube’s river bank, at a walk-away distance from the Parliament building… I am sure you’ve seen the image before but do you know what the unique monument stands for?
The iron Shoes on the Danube Promenade is a powerful statement of pious commemoration honoring the Hungarian Jews that were shot down into the Danube by the fascists back in 1944 -1945. Somehow this place is about feeling more than just admiring what is around!
13. Gellert Hill
How many great spots to view Budapest and the Danube from are there? A lot of them! And Gellert Hill is right there on the list of the very best of them.
On the Buda side of the city, right across from the Elisabeth Bridge you can climb Gellert Hill all the way to the top and admire the famous Liberty Statue. The path might feel steep sometimes but the views from the top are so worth it!
14. Heroes’ Square
Downtown Budapest holds the record for beautiful and impressive spots to admire! And Heroes Square is one of the main ones. The Statues around the Square tell the story of the seven tribes and their leaders who founded Hungary. You can also admire its central piece, the sculpture of Archangel Gabriel.
15. Hungarian National Gallery
The Buda Castle houses the prestigious Hungarian National Gallery. And to be honest it is the perfect location for the extensive art collection that takes you from Middle Ages to Modern times in all that Hungarian art has to offer.
It is one of the best experiences art-lovers can get in Budapest!
And since there are so many uplifting and inspiring venues here, you can always see Framey’s Collection of Best Museums and Monuments in Budapest!
16. Liberty Bridge
You can recognize Liberty Bridge from afar by its unique iron ornate green silhouette.
What else can you do on Liberty Bridge? It’s also one of the best places to stand and admire the passing ships on the Danube. Linking Gellert Hill to the Great Market area, Liberty Bridge is great to pass day or night!
17. Váci Street
No self-respecting traveler would go through Budapest without checking its famous Vaci Street.
The charming pedestrian area is one of Budapest’s main shopping streets. A mix of Boheme architecture with elegant cafes and gourmet restaurants, this is one of the most touristic areas in the city.
18. Hungarian State Opera
One of the very best things to do in Budapest is attend one of the ballet or opera performances at the Hungarian State Opera.
The striking building, ornated with sculptures of famous composers and musicians is one of Hungary’s best examples of the neo-renaissance.
19. Kossuth Lajos Square
The Danube’s banks hide another tourist spot, the Kossuth Lajos Square. The Square has the mighty Houses of Parliament overseeing it, and it is considered to be the very center of Budapest. Statues of great political and art personalities are all around the Square for you to admire and photograph.
20. Gresham Palace
The iconic Art-nouveau Palace is today one of the most famous luxury hotels in Budapest. Its central location on the Danube River is so close to The Chain Bridge and Szekeny Square making it a landmark for tourists and historians alike.
21. Statue of Stephen
St. Stephen’s Statue is a powerful symbol of Hungarian undying respect for its founding father. The Statue, stands next to the Fisherman’s Bastion, up the Buda Castle, ever since 1906. It is indeed of the most worshiped personalities in Hungary and the beautifully sculpted statue shows it.
22. Gellert Hill Cave
Another one-of-a-kind location, the Gellert Hill Cave, is also known as St. Istvan’s Cave. It’s a part of the Hills cave network. The famous thermal waters of the Gellert Baths seem to have been around for such a long time and are what the monk used to use to cure the sick.
Nowadays, you can also see the Cave Church that centuries of both adulations and later on strong oppression.
23. Pesti Vigadó
Hungarians love impressive buildings, traditions, and folklore! The Hungarian State Folk Ensemble has as its home stage the beautiful art-nouveau venue, the Vidago, one of the most emblematic concert Halls in Budapest. It’s very easy to find as it is located right of the Danube’s bank, in the charming little Vidago Square!
24. Little Princess Statue
In front of the Vidago building, you can stop another one of Budapest’s iconic symbols. This time it is little in size but big in the effect it has on people.
Sitting there on the fence you can spot the Little Princess Statue. The Buda Castle panoramic view in the back and the Danube make this a happy spot for a photo session.
25. Gellért Thermal Bath
The Gellert Thermal Baths might be even more famous than the Szechenyi one. For sure the interior swimming pool has something of a grand appearance, and I mean movie-famous like.
Sure that it is a matter of which spa you prefer but it’s always good that Budapest has a lot of options for you!
26. Margaret Island
Over the years, the little Margaret island turned into one of Budapest’s main green oases.
You can walk in the beautiful gardens, admire the Water Tower or the ruins of St. Margaret’s convent. It’s just a charming place to spend a few hours in and bonus points for being so very close to all the city’s main attractions.
27. Metropolitan Ervin Szabo Library
The 19th-century neo-baroque Wenckheim Palace houses one of the most stunning libraries you will ever get the chance to see. If you don’t believe me, just look up the Metropolitan Ervin Szabo Library. Each room is spectacular in its own way, with decorations everywhere.
Quite a magical experience to have!
28. Castle Garden Bazaar
At the foot of Castle hill, you get to another Unesco World Heritage Site. The Castle Garden Bazaar was initially designed, like its name suggests, to have more of a commercial nature. Today the beautiful neo-renaissance complex houses exhibitions and events and it is just one of the places you have to see in Budapest.
29. Aquincum Museum
The ancient ruins of Aquincum Roman city make for the biggest archeological site in Hungary. Shops, baths, and market-places make up just a small part of the entire city, that is to be uncovered. There is also a small Museum so take your time and stroll back and forth.
30. Elizabeth Lookout
The Elizabeth Lookout tower on Janos Hill is a snow-white wonder building. The stunning lookout offers 360° views over Budapest and the lovely park surrounding the lookout. It is quite a steep climb up to the top but honestly worth it.
There is no way to see Budapest with its beauty and style and not fall in love with the city! It’s always surprising, majestic, and vibrant. It’s no wonder, why the hardest part was choosing, what are the 30 Very Best Things to do in Budapest.
And on this note, I invite you to download your free Framey App (available on Google Play and App Store) and see what other holiday destinations are trending in the world.