Things to Do in Budapest – 30 places you must see and visit
There are so many Things to Do in Budapest! There is no other city in Hungary that would be so beautiful, rich, full of monuments and architectural treasures, just like its capital city – Budapest.
It is the administrative, commercial and cultural center of the country, which is famous for its spas and winery. Budapest is known as the “Queen of the Danube” and is the popular destination among the tourists.
Budapest – city panorama, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Maurice
Budapest is full of Baroque, Classical and Art Nouveau buildings. The city attracts visitors with its monuments, culture, but also delicious spicy food, czardas, and Tokaji wines.
Budapest is located in north-central Hungary, about 250 km southeast of Vienna (Austria). Thanks to its location, the city became the transport hub. Here are the most beautiful places in Budapest that no tourist would want to miss.
Castle hill, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Fanch Sans colorant et Sans conservateur
Things to Do in Budapest – Sights and attractions
Stroll through the castle, explore the landmarks of the city, led by the majestic Parliament or wander through the Jewish Quarter!
Budapest boasts a range of sights. From majestic over smaller ones with an interesting history. Here are the most beautiful of them:
The seat of Hungarian parliament is one of the symbols of Budapest and the largest and grandest buildings in the country. Parliament has truly mammoth proportions. It is 268 meters long, 96 meters high and has 691 rooms.
Famous Parliament, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Moyan Brenn
The building was constructed with London’s Parliament in mind, that served as the inspiration. The construction took 22 years and was completed in 1896.
The entire building is located on a concrete slab with a thickness of more than 2 meters, otherwise, soft bedrock could not be enough and the whole building could slide into the nearby Danube River.
Parliament Building in Budapest, Hungary by Julie Lyn
Parliament is richly decorated. From outside you can see 88 statues of significant Hungarians, while the interior is decorated with more than 44 kilograms of processed gold.
Dome inside Parliament Building, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Dom Crossley
2. St. Stephen’s Basilica
Construction of St. Stephen’s Basilica began in 1851 but it was in 1868 when one of the domes collapsed. The whole building was then completed in 1905. The building has a main dome which is 96 meters high and it is as high as parliament.
With more than 8,500 people that can enter St. Stephen’s Basilica, it is the largest religious building in the city. Inside you can see exceptionally large pipe organ with more than 6,500 pipes, the largest pipe measures 10 meters while the smallest one only 6 millimeters.
Inside of St Stephen’s Basilica, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Dom Crossley
The most admirable inner attraction is the mummified hand of King Stephen, which is stored in the Chapel of the Holy Right. The building was consecrated in 1990 and since 2001 belongs to the Roman Catholic Church.
Saint Stephen’s Basilica, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Hans Põldoja
3. Andrássy Avenue
Near the St. Stephen’s Basilica begins Andrássy Avenue. This is probably the most impressive street in the city with its width of 45 meters in some places. It is 2.3 kilometers long and leads up to the Heroes Square (Hősök tere).
Heroes Square in Budapest, Hungary by Esther Lee
4. 2nd oldest metro in the world
Just beneath Andrássy Avenue surface runs the second oldest metro in the world (just after London’s Subway). Some of its stations are worth visiting as well.
The original cars were in operation for nearly 100 years until 1973. One of these cars can be now seen at the Museum in the Deák Ferenc tér station.
Old metro ticket office, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Guillaume Speurt
5. Opera House
While strolling through Andrássy Avenue you will see many ornate buildings, courtyards, museums, and shops. The most important building here is the Opera House.
It is one of the architectural pearls of the city. The building is the life work of renowned Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl. It was built with the aim to be nicer than opera houses in Paris, Dresden as well as in Vienna.
State Opera House, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Jason DeRose
6. Széchenyi Baths
Andrássy Avenue ends up with Heroes Square and the entrance to the city park, where you can find Széchenyi Baths. The whole Hungary is a thermal spring paradise and Budapest is not an exception.
Széchenyi Baths are one of the largest spa complexes in Europe. Founded by mining engineer Vilmos Zsigmondy in the 19th century, they became one of the biggest attractions in Budapest over the years.
Széchenyi Baths, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Petr Vilgus
7. Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden
Right next to the Széchenyi Baths you can find Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden. It is one of the oldest zoos in the world. On the area of nearly 110,000 square meters, you can see thousands of animals and plants.
With more than million of visitors per year, Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden became one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country.
Lemur from Budapest Zoo, Hungary by Sami Pyylampi
8. Holnemvolt Park / former Vidampark
Located in the same park as Széchenyi Baths and Zoo & Botanical Garden, Holnemvolt Park is Hungary’s best-known amusement park. It offers more than 50 attractions, five of which are already considered as historical monuments.
The oldest fully functional attractions include a carousel horse, chain-carousel from 1906, as well as a cave with a toy train track. The biggest attraction, however, is the 30 meters high wooden roller coaster called Hullámvasút.
Hullámvasút wooden roller coaster, Holnemvolt Park, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Avayak
9. Heroes Square (Hősök tere)
The first thing you find on Heroes Square is a huge column known as the Millennium Monument. The construction of the square took 30 years and was completed in 1926. On the top of 36 meters tall column is a statue of the Archangel Gabriel standing above seven dukes led by Prince Árpád.
Millennium Monument, Heroes Square, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Dennis Jarvis
10. Museum of Fine Arts, Heroes Square
On the Heroes Square, you can further visit Museum of Fine Arts. This eclectic-neoclassical building has been completed in 1906 and now houses around 100,000 pieces of European and other international fine art.
Museum of Fine Arts, Heroes Square, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Lukemn
11. Hall of Art, Heroes Square
On the opposite side of Museum of Fine Arts, you can see the Hall of Art. Built in 1895 also in eclectic-neoclassical style, this building now serves as a museum of contemporary art. It is also known as Palace of Art or as Műcsarnok in Hungarian.
Hall of Art, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Nickshanks
12. Castle hill
City of Buda on the opposite side of the river started to form around the Castle and Matthias Church in the 13th century. 60 meters high hill above the Danube river was ideal for establishing the settlement here.
Castle hill and Danube river, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Dennis Jarvis
13. Church of Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene church is one of the main monuments at the Castle hill. Its construction began in 1248 as a church but it was later transformed into a mosque by the Turks in the 16th century.
In the years 1874 – 1896 it was transformed back, but some details have not been preserved. Its roof is now covered with the colorful glazed tiles. After the 2nd World War, the church was almost completely destroyed except tower and gate.
Mary Magdalene church, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Guillaume Speurt
14. Matthias Church
Matthias Church is one of the most famous landmarks of Budapest. It is also located on the Castle Hill. It is elegantly towering above the old city. The original church was built in the 13th century, but during the Turkish occupation, it was converted into a mosque.
The church was several times damaged and rebuilt to its present form and in 1867 served as a place where Francis Joseph I was crowned as Hungarian king, whose wife was Elizabeth, popularly known as Sisi.
Matthias Church, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Thaler Tamas
15. Fishermen’s Bastion
Right behind the Matthias Church is another great sight – Fisherman’s Bastion. It offers stunning views of the entire Budapest. Fishermen’s Bastion resembles a fairytale castle and is probably the most visited place in Budapest.
It was built in 1895 – 1902 of white sandstone as look-out terrace. Statue of King St. Stephen was added here in 1906.
On Fishermen’s Bastion, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Alistair Young
16. Buda Castle
Buda Castle also known as Royal Palace Budapest has undergone a number of changes during its existence. There was a Gothic palace before, which was later reconstructed into the current castle. During renovations in the 20th century, the remains of the palace from the 15th century were discovered.
They were left uncovered during archaeological excavations. On the northeast courtyard is Matthias fountain which is one of the most beautiful sculptural fountains in Budapest. Today the palace is a home to a museum, gallery, and library.
Chain Bridge, Buda Castle, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Daniel Edwins
17. Gellért Hill
Gellért Hill rises steeply right from the Danube and is considered one of the most beautiful parts of Budapest. The hill is named after the St Gellért, who was thrown to death from the hill.
On the very top of the hill is the citadel from the 19th century. Its walls are even 3 meters wide at some places. Today the citadel is used as a lookout terrace and a relatively overpriced restaurant.
Panorama view of Budapest, Gellert Hill, Hungary by UltraView Admin
18. The Church of St. Anna
The Church of St. Anna with two towers on the front side is one of the most beautiful examples of Baroque in Budapest. Its construction started in 1740, but already in 1763, it was severely damaged by an earthquake.
The church was consecrated in 1805. Inside is a magnificent Baroque pulpit with gilded details.
Church of St. Anna, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Szilas
19. The Great Synagogue and Jewish quarter
Jewish quarter was founded here in the 19th century by a large Jewish community. There are several established synagogues, but only one is the best of all. The Great Synagogue is Europe’s largest synagogue and one of the largest in the world. It was built in 1959 in Moorish Revival style.
The Great Synagogue known also as Dohány Street Synagogue consists of three halls and according to Orthodox tradition has separate halls for women and men. It can hold a total of 3,000 people.
Great Synagogue, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Lennart Tange
20. Chain Bridge
Budapest did not have a bridge for a long time. There was only one, makeshift pontoon bridge which had to be dismantled at the beginning of every winter. It was such until 1849 when the Chain Bridge was built here.
Chain Bridge, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by zhouxuan12345678
21. Central Market Hall
Do you want to buy something to eat, drink, or just need to buy a souvenir or gift for a loved one? It is not a problem in Budapest and you can even combine shopping with sightseeing here. You only need to enter the huge 19th century Central Market Hall. It is definitely one of the top things to do in Budapest! For some gift ideas check tips from ThatSweetGift.com.
Central Market Hall, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Dd-ang2s
22. Vienna Gate
The Old town at Castle Hill has been secured by the Vienna Gate since its construction in 1936. It is another amazing sight you cannot miss on your walks around the hill.
Vienna Gate in Budapest, Things to Do in Budapest by teofilo
23. Hungarian National Museum
If you want to learn something more about Budapest and Hungarian history, then you must visit Hungarian National Museum. It was founded back in 1802 thanks to Count Ferenc Szechenyi, who donated his coin collection, a library and a variety of art objects.
24. Hungarian National Gallery
Hungarian National Gallery is a huge complex within Buda Castle. Here you can see up to 100,000 works of art from the times of state establishment up to the present day.
Hungarian National Gallery, Things to Do in Budapest by Civertan
25. Aquincum Museum
Aquincum Museum is one of the largest archaeological parks in Hungary and is already more than 110 years old. It shows a history of the 2,000-year old city of Aquincum when it was a part of the Roman Empire. Here you can see a collection of frescoes, water organ, a statue of Fortuna Nemesis and mosaic floor among others.
Aquincum Museum, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Kaboldy
26. Eötvös Loránd University Library
If you would like to see one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, you have to go to the Eötvös Loránd University. Furthermore, with around 1,5 millions of books and periodicals, you will never get bored here. 🙂
Eötvös Loránd University Library, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Thaler
27. Váci Street
Váci Street is a great pedestrian area in the city center with lots of things to do and see here. It is probably the biggest shopping mall in Budapest with the most prominent shops, restaurants, and cafes. Your tour to Budapest would not be complete without visiting this place.
Váci Street, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Clay Gilliland
28. Vörösmarty Square
One of the most popular squares in Budapest is that of Vörösmarty Square, especially during Christmas time when this place is covered with Christmas market, Christmas tree and crowds of people.
Christmas market on Vörösmarty Square, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Paul Mannix
29. National Archives of Hungary
National Archives of Hungary is another amazing building that worth a visit. You can also see its interior as a part of a small group tour on Tuesday or Thursday, but you have to book your time prior your visit. Look for Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár for further information.
National Archives of Hungary, Things to Do in Budapest by József Rozsnyai
30. Danube Promenade
Once you have enough of sights and need to find some relaxing place, then Danube Promenade will be the best option. It is situated well in the middle of the city center so you are never far away. Sit here for a while and watch people strolling around and boats cruising the Danube river.
Danube Promenade, Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary by Moyan Brenn
These are just few of Things to Do in Budapest. If you want to explore more places in Hungary, we have few more tips on where to go! You can e.g. explore most beautiful towns and cities in Hungary or visit amazing Baradla Cave in Aggtelek National Park!