We fell in love with Budapest. We’d heard so many great things about this European city and our three nights there did not disappoint!
Here are some highlights of things to do in Budapest, in no particular order. If you’re only there for 1 or 2 days, check out the sample itineraries at the bottom!
We checked out Széchenyi and thought it was awesome, especially the warmest outdoor pool (closest to the entrance). It cost about $16 each for a day time pass; it’s cheaper if you go from 6am-8am. You can also go for their “party hours” for a bit more money on Saturdays after 10pm.
Check out other thermal bath options here, a helpful blogpost we used to choose which one we wanted to visit.
We’re not museum people, so it was odd that we decided to check out House of Terror. It was relatively inexpensive (about $7) and a very interesting premise; if you’re interested in history and/or the cold war, you’ll probably find this fascinating. Open 10am-6pm; closed Mondays.
Danube River Cruise
We decided not to do this, but it looked really fantastic and we’ve heard great reviews about both the fancy dinner ones and the sightseeing ones. Go at night to see all the buildings lit up.
The tour of exploring caves under Budapest lasts about 3 hours. We decided not to go once we heard about the teeny, tiny spaces you have to pull yourself through, considering Pete is a very large person and I’m not too good with small spaces, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you should definitely check it out!
Ruin pubs & Clubs
Szimpla Kert: do not miss this fantastic ruin pub! I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it’s quirky, mesmerizing, and generally has something for everyone. I don’t think it’s possible to have a bad time here. Make sure you bring some cash because they don’t take credit card.
Instant: no cover. We arrived around 10 and when we left around 11:30, there was a winding line. To avoid the line, go around 11!
Corvinteto: opens at 10pm and charges a cover.
The first bridge to connect Buda and Pest, and considered one of the wonders of the world at that time! Enjoy a stroll across this, especially at night.
A World Heritage site dated back to 1872, this impressive street offers lots of shade, a nice pedestrian path, and gorgeous buildings along the way. Don’t miss the Hungarian State Opera House.
Located on castle hill, this place looks like something from a fairy-tale. Explore the 7 turrets; pro-tip: go outside their opening hours for free entrance!
Hike up Gellért hill to the Citadella (fortress) from Elisabeth bridge for some great views. Explore the market at the top.
This is one impressive building that offers great views across the river.
Eat & Drink
Faust wine cellar
Unfortunately it was closed when we tried to go, but we would have loved to try some Hungarian wine in this cellar that’s part of the labyrinth system under Buda castle. It’s right next to Fisherman’s Bastion (which you should definitely check out).
Élesztő craft beer bar
I’ll borrow WeLoveBudapest.com’s description of this bar: “it’s a like a mixture of a pilgrimage site for beer lovers, and a ruin-pub with 17 beer taps, a home brew bar, a theater, a hostel, a craft pálinka bar, a restaurant and a café.”
Not too friendly on the wallet, but this place has the best goat cheese salad I have ever tasted. Seriously, the goat cheese was OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD! The location is convenient – right by Fisherman’s Bastion.
1 Day Itinerary
Only have 1 day to explore? Here’s a sample itinerary for your whirlwind day:
- Soak in the Szechenyi thermal baths.
- Walk through the park to Andrássy avenue.
- Continue on Andrássy to the House of Terror.
- Walk to the Hungarian State Opera house to snap some pictures.
- Admire the views from the chain bridge.
- Continue to Fisherman’s bastion. Explore the fairy tale-esque . Pro-tip – if you go late, it’s free!
- Check out Faust wine cellar.
- Eat dinner at Pest-Buda near Faust (if your budget allows).
2 Day Itinerary (Add-ons)
If you have extra time, you can add on the following activities.
- Have some tasty beers at Eleszto craft beer bar.
- Cross the Elisabeth bridge for a photo op.
- Hike up Gellért hill to the Citadella for some great views.
- Spend some time wriggling through caves.
Note: we really loved the list from this blog to help us explore Budapest – you should check them out for more details!
What are your favorite parts of Budapest? We’d love to hear from you!