11 Things to do in Budapest

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

Divided into two by the Danube, the hilly Buda and the Pest with all of its boulevards, form the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Although there had been a Roman settlement in the first century on the same spot, the city of Budapest wasn't officially established until 1873. Since then it's Hungary's cultural, political and commercial heart.
It's therefore not surprising that millions of travelers arrive here for a city trip to Budapest every year.

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Hi, I'm Sam, the blogger behind CheckOutSam!

Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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    1. Buda castle

    Of the many sights in Budapest, the castle of Buda is undoubtedly the most well-known eye-catcher. Undoubtedly, the castle is one of the highlights of Budapest and thus it’s not possible to visit Budapest without seeing this monument. The historic castle complex is located on a hill and is separated by the Chain Bridge from the rest of the city. Especially in the evening there is a fairy-tale like atmosphere around the castle.

    buda castle things to do in Budapest

    The gorgeous Buda castle can be seen from far away, but once you stroll through the majestic palace it gets even more beautiful!

    2. Thermal baths

    The thermal baths are one of the best things to do in Budapest. The many underground thermal springs have made dozens of thermal baths spread throughout the city. The Széchenyi bath is the biggest medical spa in Europe and, thanks to its impressive architecture, it feels like you’re swimming in a palace. That this is one of the most important sights of Budapest is easily seen from the crowds that are often present.

    széchenyi bath - sights in Budapest

    There are quite some thermal baths in Budapest, but the most famous one is the Széchenyi bath.

    3. Danube cruise

    What to see in Budapest if you only have a weekend in Budapest? Perhaps… Everything? With a Danube cruise you won’t only see the entire city in one day, but you’ll also get to see it in a very relaxing manner. A boat cruise on the river is an excellent way to explore the city during the daytime, but also in the evening when the lights change the city into a magical place. Along the way you’ll see not only the most important sights of Budapest, but also the various bridges connecting Buda and Pest, such as the Chain Bridge, Liberty Bridge and Elisabeth Bridge.

    danube cruise things to do in Budapest

    A cruise along the Danube gives you unprecedented viewpoints of the beautiful city.

    4. The Heroes Square

    The Heroes Square is one of the highlights of Budapest that you can’t skip. This square is located at the end of the Andrássy Boulevard and is dominated by the Millennium Monument. This monument consists of a high pillar with on top the archangel Gabriel holding the national symbols of Hungary. In front of it, the statues of seven Hungarian tribal chiefs are showing off. In the semicircle you’ll see statues of famous Hungarian and heroes of the Hungarian history. The Heroes Square is considered to be one of Budapest’s most notable things to do.

    heroes square budapest activities

    The Heroes Square is one of the most loved sights among locals. Perhaps you’ll love it just as much as they do?

    5. Margaretha Island

    The Margaretha Island is an island located in the middle of the Danube in Budapest. Walking around the island is described as one of the nicest activities if you wonder what to do in Budapest. The island isn’t immediately one of the most visited places by tourists who spend a city trip in Budapest, but it’s a nice change from the busy city if you’re staying for a weekend in Budapest. The landscaped gardens, lovely ponds and pools and ruins of an ancient monastery are often also the place where the local residents come and enjoy themselves in good weather.

    things to see in Budapest - Margaretha Island

    Do you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of Budapest? Spend some time on Margaretha Island!

    6. Great Market Hall

    Whether you are looking for fresh ingredients to make gulyás or you just want to shop with locals, the Grand Market Hall is a great way to spend your day in the Hungarian capital. It’s the largest covered market hall and also one of Budapest’s most popular attractions. You will find a large variety of sausages, meat, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. On the second floor there are even places where you can taste some local dishes. Anyone who really wants to experience this city must add a visit to the Grand Market Hall to their list of things to do in Budapest.

    great market hall Budapest - things to see in Budapest

    The great market hall of Budapest isn’t known among the masses, but definitely was one of the best things to see for me!

    7. Andrássy boulevard

    The Andrássy boulevard, recognized as UNESCO World Heritage, is a boulevard that was built to connect the city to the city park. The boulevard can be compared to the Champs-Elysées in Paris, as it also has a lot of architecturally beautiful buildings. But it’s especially known as the place where the most expensive brands have installed themselves. Even if you don’t have the budget to purchase these expensive items, an afternoon of window shopping here is one of the best things to do in Budapest.

    Andrassy boulevard budapest sights

    Expensive brands don’t really mean anything to you? No problem! Just do some people watching. Always fun!


    8. Gellért mountain

    Whoever visits Budapest will be keen to know that there’s quite a few lookout points to see the city from above. However, the best way to see the city is of course from the highest point of the city, the Gellért mountain. I recommend that you plan a walk to the top of the mountain, located in the Buda section, on the first day. This way you will get a great view over Budapest before you go exploring all the sights from a little bit closer. From the Gellert mountain you can recognize all of Budapest’s major sights.

    gellert mountain view over Budapest things to do

    From the Gellert Mountain you’ll get the best views over Budapest. Don’t go there when it’s misty, because then the view might get blocked…

    9. Night of the Museums

    Visiting all museums during a city trip can get very tiring very soon. Especially when traveling with children. Therefore, it may be interesting to book your stay in June during the annual event ‘Night of the Museums’. With a single ticket you will have access to almost every museum in Budapest. Spend the night in one of the many museums and find out if everything in the museum does come alive after all. This is definitely one of the most enjoyable things to do in Budapest.

    budapest highlights night of the museums

    Have you ever wanted to spend the night in a museum? Then you must go to Budapest for this event!

    10. Aggtelek National Park

    There are plenty of places of interest in Budapest, but if you have have a few days left, you might spend one of them in the vicinity of the capital. Escape the concrete jungle to the Aggtelek National Park, for example. This gorgeous par lies about two and a half hours from Budapest.
    The main attraction here is the Baradla cave, one of Europe’s most impressive cave systems. The cavern is about 25 kilometers (15,5 miles) long and shows you the result of rain dropping down for thousands of years.

    aggtelek national park things to do in Budapest and surroundings

    The caves in the Aggtelek National Park are amongst the top sights of Europe!

    11. Szentendre

    The town of Szentendre is about twenty miles north of the capital, and is an ideal day trip if you have seen enough of Budapest’s many attractions. In the small village there is a Mediterranean atmosphere where many tourists come to unwind. The fact that there is a lot of history intertwined with the romantic cobbled streets is of course fun. Spend your time in one of the museums or cafes, depending on your preference. The peaceful setting with traditional houses, windmills and churches will undoubtedly make you forget the hustle and bustle of the Hungarian capital.

    things to do in Budapest and surroundings Szentendre

    Are you looking for something to do in the surrounding of Budapest? Then head to Szentendre!

      Excursions in Budapest

      Would you like to buy tickets for the thermal baths in Budapest? Or do you prefer a guided tour through the Hungarian capital? Perhaps you even want to arrange a day trip from Budapest? Look at these options:


      » All tours and excursions in Budapest

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      1. Budapest is on my bucket list, of course! I really like markets like that and the city has a lot of attractions! Thank you for sharing!

      2. I’ve forgotten to mention the Aggtelek National Park. I haven’t been in one of those since I was 13! It’s certainly a must-to-see place! Thanks!

      3. Your photos are awesome Sam. I think thinking about the time I spend walking around Budapest and missing my trip.
        You inspire me to travel more with your post and Insta!
        Looking forward to more post.
        Happy New Year 2019!
        All the best Sam. Happy travels!

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