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A Guide to Budapest: the best things to do in the Hungarian capital

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What are the best things to do in Budapest? Top sights, activities, museums and must-see monuments

Nicknamed the “Pearl of the Danube”, Budapest is a tourist capital with plenty of things to do!

Rich history, grandiose architecture, incomparable thermal baths, lively bars, colorful markets, incredible museums … Visitors passing through the Hungarian capital will find plenty of things to do in Budapest!

What are the top sights & activities in the city? Captain Ulysses has drawn up a list of the best things to do – activities, museums, monuments, etc. – in Budapest: feel free to pick out ideas to make up your own bucket list!

Top tours, sights & activities in Budapest:
👉 First of all, how to get around Budapest?
👉 Quick reminder of the city’s layout
👉 The best monuments in Budapest
👉 The best museums in Budapest
👉 Budapest’s must-see churches & synagogues
👉 The most iconic squares and streets in Budapest
👉 The must-see parks in Budapest
👉 The Danube (cruises, bridges, nautical activities, etc.)
👉Experiencing Budapest like a local (thermal baths, ruin bars, gastronomy …)
👉 The surroundings of the Hungarian capital


Accommodation, flights, activities, citypass …
Find all the Captain’s suggestions in the section
The Captain’s favourites at the very end of the article!

First of all, how to get around Budapest?

Good news: Budapest is a city that’s very easy to get around! You can easily explore the majority of the capital’s city centre on foot, and use public transport when your legs get a little stiff from all the walking!

Budapest’s public transport system is very handy and relatively inexpensive. The single ticket is priced at 350 forints (around € 1), but there are also rather interesting packages if you plan to use public transport several times a day. Metro, bus, tram, trolleybus or even funicular … there are plenty of options!

To get around Budapest freely, you can also opt for the hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses (audioguide included). Find out more here.

Finally, if you want to get out of the beaten tracks, you can also explore the city in a tuk tuk , a russian jeep or a Trabant!

👍 The Captain’s tip 👍
Captain Ulysses highly recommends this Budapest free tour.
You’re free to choose how much you want to tip the tour guide at the end of the tour!

Quick reminder of the city’s layout

The city of Budapest was founded in 1873. It is the result of the unification of three municipalities: Buda (on the right bank of the Danube), Pest (on the left bank of the Danube), and Óbuda (north of Buda).

The main tourist monuments of the capital are located in the former municipalities of Pest and Buda:

  • Pest : the Parliament of Budapest, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Great Synagogue, the Budapest Opera House, the Great Market Hall, Vadjahunyad Castle, the Széchenyi Baths…
  • Buda : Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Matthias Church, the Gellért Baths…
🤩 Top activities in Budapest 🤩

The best monuments of Budapest

The Hungarian Parliament

Largely inspired by the Palace of Westminster in London, the Budapest Parliament is one of the most iconic monuments in the Hungarian capital.

Inaugurated in 1896 during the Millenium Festivities celebrating the 1,000th anniversary of the Hungarian nation, the Parliament is a neo-Gothic gem with a total floor area of 18,000 m². At the time of its construction, it was also the largest parliament in the world! (it is now the 3rd biggest after the Parliaments of Romania and Argentina).

The interior of the building -which is partly open to visitors – is as grandiose as the exterior, particularly the main staircase!

In short, it’s one of the top sights in the Hungarian capital!

💡 Practical information 💡
Location : left bank of the Danube, in the district of Lipótváros
Address : Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, 1055 Hungary
Entrance fee : 3,200 forints (≈ 9 €) for the full price
Opening hours : English tours of the Parliament start at 10 am, 12 pm, 12.30 pm, 1.30 pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Tours are also available in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian or Hebrew.
Guided tours : it is impossible to visit the Parliament of Budapest without a tour guide, you will have to book a guided tour
Book your tickets : Be careful! Fake tickets for the Hungarian Parliament are for sale on the internet. To avoid scams, be sure to purchase your ticket on this official site or from a trusted reseller like GetYourGuide , Civitatis or Tiqets.

Buda Castle

Nestled in the Castle Quarter, Buda Castle (aka Royal Palace or the Royal Castle) is also definitely worth a visit!

Built in the 13 th century and enlarged in the following centuries, the palace was almost completely destroyed in the 16 th and 17 th centuries during the wars between the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary and the House of Habsburg. Rebuilt in the Baroque style in the 18 th century, it was destroyed again during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 before being rebuilt in the neo-classical style… and destroyed a third time during the Second World War!

The castle was refurbished in the 1960s, but major renovations are on the agenda to restore it to its former glory.

💡 Practical information 💡
Unfortunately, Buda Castle is not open to visitors. But you should still walk by the castle to take a look at it from the outside.
Location : right bank, Castle Quarter
Address : Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary

The Fisherman’s Bastion

Nestled on the right bank of the Danube, the Fisherman’s Bastion is one of Captain Ulysses’ favorites in Budapest!

Built at the end of the 19 th century on the occasion of the ‘Millenium Festivities’ commemorating the 1,000th anniversary of the Hungarian nation, the Fisherman’s Bastion seems to have come straight out of a fairy tale! It offers breathtaking views over the river, particularly at sunset.

Designed by Hungarian architect Frigyes Schulek, the building was later renovated by his own son, Janos Schulek, following the Second World War.

With its incomparable white silhouette perched above the Danube, the Fisherman’s Bastion has become one of the emblems of the Hungarian capital.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: right bank, Castle Quarter, a few steps from Buda Castle and the Matthias Church.
Address: Budapest, Szentháromság tér, 1014 Hungary
Opening hours: every day from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Entrance fee : visitors are required to purchase an entrance ticket to access the towers (1000 forints full price), the visit of the rest of the Fisherman’s Bastion is free of charge. The Budapest Card gives a 10% discount on the entrance tickets.

The Budapest Opera House

Inaugurated in 1884 and designed by Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl (also known to have contributed to the construction of St. Stephen’s Basilica), the Budapest Opera House is world famous, both for its wonderful neo-renaissance architecture and for its extraordinary acoustics.

The building is as grandiose inside as it is outside and is undoubtedly worth a visit. You can attend performances at the Budapest Opera House at very affordable prices. But be warned: proper dress required!

💡 Practical information 💡
⚠️ : The Budapest Opera House is under renovation until 2021. Until then, the theatrical performances are transferred to the Erkel Theater, located in the 8th district of the capital. Guided tours of the opera house (shortened and in English only) run daily at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Location: left bank, district of Terézváros, on the very glamorous Andrássy Avenue, a few steps from Saint Stephen’s Basilica and the Great Synagogue of Budapest.
Address: Budapest, Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary
Book your guided tour: online here or directly on site.

The Great Market Hall of Budapest

Attention, foodies and gourmet lovers! Built at the end of the 19th century, the Great Market Hall of Budapest houses the largest indoor market in the capital.

Blending art nouveau and neo-gothic influences, the building alone is worth a visit! The market’s roofs, covered with colored tiles, and steel frame are particularly remarkable.

Inside, tourists and locals naturally cross paths to do their shopping or discover the local gastronomy. You’ll also find souvenir shops and street food stalls where to eat on the go.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: in the former municipality of Pest, on the left bank of the Danube, a few steps from the Liberty Bridge and the Váci utca shopping avenue.
Address: Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary
Opening hours: Monday: 6 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Tuesday to Friday: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Saturday: 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Sunday: closed
Guided tour: incorrigible foodies can opt for a Food Tour of the Great Market Hall of Budapest (in English) .

Vajdahunyad Castle

A few steps from Heroes’ Square, in the heart of the City Park of Budapest (Városliget), Vajdahunyad Castle is a vast architectural ensemble built by architect Ignác Alpár as part of the great celebrations commemorating the country’s Millennium.

Inspired in part by the Hunyadi castle in Transylvania, Vajdahunyad Castle blends diverse and varied influences in homage to the different architectural movements in Hungary: you’ll distinguish Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and even Renaissance elements.

The castle now houses the museum of agriculture. For the record, in the wintertime, the pond at the feet of the castle is turned into an ice rink.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: City Park of Budapest (Városliget), next to the Heroes’ Square
Address: Budapest, Vajdahunyad stny., 1146 Hungary
Opening hours: October – April: every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | November – March: Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Mondays
Entrance fee: 1600 forints (≈ € 4.5) full price

The Citadella

Nestled atop Gellért Hill, on the right bank of the Danube, the Citadella (‘Citadel’ in English) is a former fortress built by Emperor Franz-Joseph following the Hungarian revolt against the domination of the Habsburgs in 1848-49.

Today, the Citadella houses a hotel, a restaurant, two cafes, a photo exhibition and a museum located inside an authentic bunker from the Second World War.

The Citadella also offers incredible views over the Hungarian capital!

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: atop Géllert Hill, in the former municipality of Buda
Address: Citadella sétány, 1118 Budapest
Opening hours: the exterior of the Citadella is permanently open, the interior is closed during the Covid crisis
Entrance fee: 1200 forints full price

The Shoes on the Danube Memorial

Between the Hungarian Parliament and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the Shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial is poignant memorial honouring the Jewish victims of the Shoah in Budapest.

Between 1944 and 1945, the Arrow Cross Party, a pro Nazi organization, executed hundreds of innocent Jews before throwing their bodies in the Danube. Before massacring them, the executioners forced the victims to remove their shoes.

Can Togay and Gyula Pauer created the Shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial in 2005 so that the victims would not be forgotten.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: halfway between the Hungarian Parliament and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
Address : Budapest, Id. Antall József rkp., 1054 Hungary

The best museums in Budapest

⚠️ Be careful not to confuse the Hungarian National Museum (which is history museum), the Hungarian National Gallery (which is dedicated to Hungarian art) and the Museum of Fine Arts (which houses international collections).

The Hungarian National Museum

Located on the left bank of the Danube, the Hungarian National Museum traces the long history of the country, from prehistory to the 20 th century. A welcome reminder, given that most visitors know little about Hungarian history.

That’s why Captain Ulysses strongly recommends stopping by the Hungarian National Museum when you first get to Budapest. so you’ll have the country’s history in mind when you later explore the capital!

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: left bank of the Danube, in the former municipality of Pest, in the district of Józsefváros.
Address: Budapest, Múzeum krt. 14-16, 1088 Hungary
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Monday
Entrance fee: the entrance ticket is included in the Budapest Card. Otherwise, tickets are priced at 2,600 forints (≈ 7 €) full price.

The Hungarian National Gallery

Located in Buda Castle, the Hungarian National Gallery ( Magyar Nemzeti Galeria or MNG) houses an extensive collection of Hungarian works. It is particularly famous for its Gothic altarpieces and its works of art dating from the 19 th and 20 th centuries (painting, sculptures and photography).

From the terrace located at the feet of the dome, the Hungarian National Gallery also offers panoramic views of Budapest.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: inside Buda Castle, left bank, Castle Quarter
Address: Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Monday
Entrance fee: admission is included in the Budapest Card. If you do not plan on investing in this travel pass, entrance tickets are priced at 3,200 forints (for full price tickets).

Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest

Located on Heroes’ Square, the Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest has recently been completely refurbished.

In this brand new modern setting, the museum exhibits Hungary’s largest art collection, from Egyptian mummies to European masterpieces.

The museum displays paintings from Monet, Toulouse Lautrec, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, Delacroix, Corot, Gentile Bellini, Canaletto, Raphael, Correggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Tiepolo, Pieter Bruegel, Rubens, Frans Hals, El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Picasso … And the list goes on!

In short, the Museum of Fine Arts is a must-see for any art lover!

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: Heroes’ Square, left bank of the Danube, a few steps from the City Park (Városliget) and the Széchenyi Baths.
Address: Budapest, Dózsa György út 41, 1146 Hungary
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Monday: closed
Entrance fee: entrance tickets are priced at 3200 forints, but the Budapest Card gives a 10% discount.

The House of Terror of Budapest

Created to retrace the history of totalitarianism in Hungary, the House of Terror opened in 2000. The museum documents two movements in particular:

  • The Arrow Cross Movement (a fascist pro-Nazi party, in power in Hungary between 1944 and 1945)
  • The Soviet regime, which seized power in Hungary in 1945 and committed countless atrocities between 1945 and 1956

⚠️ : the visit is immersive and intentionally disturbing.

⚠️: Before visiting the House of Terror, you should know that it is quite controversial in Hungary.
Its detractors accuse the museum of mixing up the atrocities committed by the Nazis and those perpetrated by the communist regime. They accuse Viktor Orbán of having created the House of Terror for personal and political ends, with the aim of harming the Communist Party, which remains a major player on the Hungarian political chess and therefore one of Orbán’s main political opponents.
While only a small section of the museum is dedicated to the Arrow Cross Movement, the crimes perpetrated by the communist regime are described much more extensively …

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: in the former municipality of Pest, on Andrássy avenue.
Address : Budapest, Andrássy út 60, 1062 Hungary
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Entrance fee: 3000 forints for full price tickets, the Budapest Card also entitles holders to a 20% discount.
+ : if you are curious to learn more about the Soviet regime in Hungary, Captain Ulysses recommends this guided tour of Budapest with a historian tour guide (in English) .

Memento Park

If you like to get off the beaten tracks, Memento is a must-see! Located in the south-east of Budapest, Memento Park is an open-air museum created in 1993 and exhibiting the ancient statues erected to the glory of the communist regime during the Soviet era.

The museum displays statues of Marx, Engels and even Lenin. It also houses a small museum documenting the history of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Visitors can watch a film dedicated to the secret political police of the Soviet regime in Hungary.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: south of Budapest’s city center
Address Budapest, Balatoni út – Szabadkai utca sarok, 1223 Hungary
Opening hours: every day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Entrance fees : 1,500 forints. The entrance to Memento Park is included in the Budapest Card.
Book your tickets : here

Budapest’s must-see churches & synagogues

St. Stephen’s Basilica in Pest

Located a ten-minute walk from the Parliament of Budapest, St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in the Hungarian capital (and the 2 nd largest in the country, after Esztergom Basilica).

Inaugurated in 1906, 55 years after the start of construction, the basilica was the work of 3 architects: József Hild, who died in 1867, Miklós Ybl who died in 1891 and Jozsef Kauser who oversaw the end of the construction works.

Famous for its monumental dimensions (87.4 m / 286.7 ft long, 55 m / 180.4 ft wide, the dome culminating at 96 meters / 315 ft), St Stephen’s Basilica harmoniously blends neoclassical and neo-Renaissance influences. The interior of the basilica is decorated with works by renowned Hungarian artists such as Mór Than, Bertalan Székely, Gyula Benczúr, Károly Lotz and sculptor Alajos Stróbl.

Before leaving, take a moment to admire the incredible panorama from the terrace at the foot of the dome!

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: district of Lipótváros, a ten-minute walk from the Parliament and the Chain Bridge.
Address: Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary
Opening hours: weekdays: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Saturday: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Sunday: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Entrance fee : free of charge but you’ll have to pay 500 forints per person to access the dome and 400 forints per person to visit the treasury.
Concerts: St. Stephen’s Basilica is also famous for hosting numerous organ and classical music concerts. Find out more: Organ concert at St. Stephen’s Basilica | Classical music concert at St. Stephen’s Basilica

Matthias Church (Church of the Assumption of the Buda Castle)

Located in Buda’s old town, the Matthias Church, also known as the Church of the Assumption of the Buda Castle, is one of the most iconic historical buildings in Budapest.

Built in the 13 th century, the church underwent countless modifications over the following centuries. Despite these changes (destruction, renovations, extensions, etc.), the silhouette of the Matthias Church remains surprisingly harmonious thanks to the major reorganization carried out by Frigyes Schulek in the 19th century.

The interior of the building, combining Romanesque and Gothic influences, is definitely worth a visit. Take a moment to peer at the neo-Romanesque crypt, the frescoes by Károly Lotz and the impressive stained glass windows.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: old town of Buda, left bank of the Danube, a short walk from the Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle
Address: Budapest, Szentháromság tér 2, 1014 Hungary
Opening hours : weekdays (Monday – Friday): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Saturday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. | Sunday: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance fee: 1800 forints
Concerts : Like in St. Stephen’s Basilica, classical music concerts are frequently organized in the Matthias Church. Find out more: classical music concert in the Matthias Church.

The Great Synagogue (Dohány Street Synagogue)

Located in the Jewish quarter, the Great Synagogue of Budapest (also called Dohány Street Synagogue) is the largest synagogue in Europe and the 2 nd largest synagogue in the world after Temple Emanu-El in New York!

Built in the middle of the 19 th century, the Great Synagogue of Budapest blends Moorish, Romantic and Byzantine influences. The facade, decorated with oriental motifs and the bulb-shaped towers, are distinctly Moorish in style. Just as richly decorated as the exterior, the interior of the building is definitely worth a visit.

Behind the Great Synagogue, the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park (Raoul Wallenberg Emlékpark in Hungarian) pays homage to the 600,000 Hungarian Jews massacred by the Nazis. If you have time, you should also stop by the cemetery and the Jewish Museum.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: Jewish quarter, east of the Danube, a short walk from the Hungarian National Museum, St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Budapest Opera House
Address : Budapest, Dohány u. 2, 1074 Hungary
Opening hours : June – October: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed on Saturday | November – February: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., closed on Saturday | March – May: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., closed on Saturday
Entrance fee : 3000 forints (access to the Great Synagogue of Budapest + the Jewish Museum)
Book your tickets: Skip-the-line entrance ticket to the Great Synagogue and the Jewish Museum

The most iconic squares and streets of Budapest

Andrássy Avenue

Located on the left bank of the Danube, Andrássy Avenue ( Andrássy út in Hungarian) was built in 1876 and listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site 111 years later, in 1987.

It is one of the city’s most exclusive avenues and heaven on earth for shopaholics in Budapest. But be warned, the shops on Andrassy Avenue are quite exclusive: Louis Vuitton, Dior, Armani …

Lined with elegant buildings, Andrássy Avenue, which leads to Heroes’ Square, also gathers many iconic monuments of the Hungarian capital, including the Budapest Opera House and the House of Terror.

In short, Andrassy Avenue is a must-see for any visitor passing through the ‘Pearl of the Danube’!

💡 Practical information 💡
Location between Erzsébet tér and Heroes’ Square
Address : Andrássy út, 1061 Budapest

Heroes’ Square

Listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, Heroes Square ( Hősök tere in Hungarian) is a must-see for any visitor passing through the capital! Between its monumental dimensions and its magnificent neo-classical architecture, this huge square is quite spectacular!

Built at the end of the 19 th century, Heroes’ Square is synonymous with weekend strolls and popular events.

Don’t miss the Millennium Monument, located in the center of the square, which commemorates 1,000 years of Hungarian history. Heroes’ Square is also home to the Memorial Stone of Heroes, the Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest and the Műcsarnok, a museum of contemporary art.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: between Andrassy Avenue and the City Park (Varosliget)
Address: Budapest, Hősök tere, 1146 Hungary

Váci Utca

Running parallel to the Danube, Váci Street ( Váci Utca in Hungarian), built in 18 th century, is one of the most lively streets in the city. The street is pedestrian and lined up with many restaurants and shops (Zara, H&M, Mango …) as well as

countless beautiful buildings from the 18 th , 19 th and 20 th centuries.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location : on the left bank of the Danube, in the former municipality of the Pest, between Vörösmarty square and the Great Market Hall of Budapest
Address: Váci utca, 1052 Budapest

The must-see parks in Budapest

To take a deep breath of fresh air between two visits, there’s nothing like a walk in one of Budapest’s beautiful parks.

The City Park (Városliget)

A few steps from Heroes’ Square, at the end of Andrassy Avenue, the City Park (Városliget in Hungarian) is a vast park stretching over 120 hectares on the left bank of the Danube.

The park is home to Vajdahunyad Castle, which was built for the Millenium Festivities, as well as the grandiose Széchenyi Baths. This former game reserve also includes a lovely lake, which is converted into an outdoor skating rink during the winter months.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: left bank of the Danube, at the end of Andrassy Avenue
Address: Budapest, Kós Károly stny., 1146 Hungary
Opening hours: 24 / 7

Margaret Island

Nestled on the Danube, between Pest and Buda, Margaret Island ( Margit-sziget in Hungarian) is a haven of peace in the heart of the Hungarian capital. The island is 2 kilometers long and closed to traffic.

Margaret Island is home to many tourist sights and attractions: the ruins of Saint Margaret convent, the Palatinus baths (a small aquatic park with swimming pools, slides and hot springs), a Japanese garden, a small zoo, an open-air theater … .

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: between Pest and Buda
Getting to Margaret Island: the island is connected to the rest of the capital by the Árpád Bridge to the north and the Margit Bridge to the south.
Getting around Margaret Island : you can rent bikes to get around the island Find out more here.

The Danube (cruises, bridges, nautical activities)

Danube river cruise

The banks of Budapest, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, only really reveal all their secrets when seen from the river. All on board, let’s embark on a Danube river cruise!

During the cruise, you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the Hungarian Parliament, the Chain Bridge, the Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle and Margaret Island.

Danube river cruises are particularly magical at sunset, when the banks of the river light up and sparkle in the night!

💡 Practical information 💡
The good news is that there are plenty of cruises to choose from. So much so that it can be quite confusing!
To help you see more clearly, Captain Ulysse has selected a few cruises with excellent value for money:
cruise for tight budgets: 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise with Welcome Drink
Romantic Danube river cruise : Dinner Cruise with Live Music
Festive cruise on the Danube : party cruise on the Danube
exclusive cruises: 1-Hour Private Boat Cruise OR Luxury Danube Water Limousine Cruise
Danube river cruise for thrill-seekers : Speedboat Ride on the Danube River in Budapest

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Spanning the Danube between Pest and Buda, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge ( Széchenyi lánchíd in Hungarian) is the oldest and most iconic of Budapest’s bridges.

Until the 18 th century, crossing the river was complicated to say the least.

To remedy the situation, construction of the Chain Bridge began in 1839 at the initiative of Count István Széchenyi. The construction lasted 10 years and fascinated European civil engineers: the Chain Bridge was one of the most ambitious projects of its time. The Chain Bridge – which is than 360 meters long – was finally inaugurated in 1849. It is a masterpiece made of iron and stone, adorned with elegant bas-relief and guarded by two gigantic lion statues at each of its ends.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: in the heart of Budapest, a short walk from the main monuments of the city center (St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Matthias Church, etc.)
Address: Budapest, Széchenyi Lánchíd, 1051 Hungary
Entrance fee: In the 18 th century, people crossing the bridge had to pay toll, but it is now completely free 😊

The Liberty Bridge

Located near the Citadella, the Liberty Bridge ( Szabadság híd in Hungarian) is a 333-meter-long bridge built between 1894 and 1896 for the Millennium Festivities. It is – together with the Chain Bridge – one of the most iconic bridges in Budapest.

Originally named ‘Ferenc József híd’ (Franz Joseph Bridge), it was renamed ‘Liberty Bridge’ when it was rebuilt after the Second World War.

The four masts of the bridge are surmounted by bronze statues representing turuls, a mythical bird similar to an eagle or a falcon, which symbolizes Hungary.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: between the Citadella and the Great Market Hall
Address: Budapest, Szabadság híd

Nautical activities on the Danube

If you prefer action to contemplation, the Danube is an ideal playground to exercise a little and try out water sports! You’ll get away from the city, discover another side of Hungary and take a deep breath of fresh air in the middle of nature!

💡 Informations pratiques 💡
Le Capitaine Ulysse vous recommande deux activités nautiques en particulier : stand up paddle sur le Danube | canoë sur le Danube + vélo

Experiencing Budapest like a local (thermal baths, gastronomy, nightlife …)

The most beautiful thermal baths in Budapest

The tradition of thermal baths is deeply rooted in Hungarian culture. The capital is home to countless thermal complexes where visitors can take a dip and relax in water with reputed therapeutic properties.

Among all the thermal bath complexes in the capital, two are particularly emblematic: the Széchenyi Thermal Baths and the Gellért Baths. They are both most definitely worth a visit and Captain Ulysses recommends that you treat yourself to a relaxing moment in each if you stay in Budapest long enough. 👙

The Széchenyi Baths

Located in the heart of the City Park, the Schechenyi thermal baths opened in the beginning of the 20 th century. They quickly attracted countless visitors looking for a moment of relaxation in a spectacular setting. So much so that they were enlarged in the 1920s. They now include 3 outdoor pools and no less than 18 indoor pools, as well a hammam and a sauna, making them one of the largest thermal complexes in Europe!

Completely renovated in the 2000s, the Schéchenyi thermal baths are now open to both men and women.

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: City Park, left bank of the Danube
Address: Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary
Opening hours : weekdays (Monday – Friday): 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. | weekend: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Entrance fee : from 5,200 Ft to 6,200 Ft per person depending on the time of day and the package you choose
Book your skip-the-line ticket : Skip-the-line entrance with or without a single cabin | Skip-the-line entrance with massage

The Gellért Baths

Part of the famous Hotel Gellért, the Gellért Baths were built in the beginning of the 20 th century in the Secession style (a trend of the Art Nouveau movement). They were enlarged in the 1920s and then the 1930s and equipped with a wave pool and a whirlpool.

the Gellért Baths are worth a visit for their impressive Art Nouveau architecture… as well as to enjoy a moment of relaxation in the beautiful thermal pools. The main hall of the complex, with its beautiful glass roof and mosaics, is particularly sumptuous!

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: right bank of the Danube, opposite the Liberty Bridge
Address: Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary
Opening hours: every day, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. ( following the Coronavirus pandemic, the baths opening hours have been changed. They are now open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
Entrance fee: from 5,900 to 6,500 forints per person depending on the day of the week and whether you want access to a private cabin in the changing rooms
Book your skip-the-line entrance ticket: Skip-the-line entrance | Skip-the-line entrance + 20, 45 or 60-minute massage

Hungarian gastronomy

Attention, foodies! Visiting the Hungarian capital also means discovering the local gastronomy.

Hungarian cuisine is quite similar that of other Central European countries, sprinkled with delicious Eastern and Ashkenazi Jewish influences. The key ingredients? Cabbage, sausage and paprika!

Among the most emblematic Hungarian dishes, you should definitely try goulash, not to mention paprika chicken, stuffed cabbage and local charcuterie. And to go with your meal, there’s nothing like a glass of Tokay wine, of course!

💡 Practical information 💡
To find the best addresses in Budapest, Captain Ulysses recommends taking a look at the restaurants listed on TripAdvisor.
If you want to find out more about Hungarian gastronomy, you should definitely go on a food tour around the city: Hungarian cuisine tasting (in English) or Great Market Hall Food Tour (in English) (both cancellable up to 24 hours in advance).

Budapest’s ruin bars

Budapest’s ruin bars ( romkocsma in Hungarian) are world famous!

The recipe for success: abandoned buildings, flea market furniture, street art, alternative music and cocktails! These typical Central European bars that appeared in the 2000s offer a perfect insight into the underground scene of the former communist republics. If Budapest is one of the top capitals for ruin bars, you’ll also find plenty in Berlin, Krakow, Warsaw and Bratislava.

The oldest and most famous ruin bar in Budapest is Szimpla Kert (14 Kazinczy Street).

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: mainly in the Jewish quarter, in the 7 th district of Budapest. You will find here the list of the best ruin bars in Budapest according to Timeout magazine.
Pub crawl: pub crawls are ideal to discover the best ruin bars in the Hungarian capital. Find out more: 3-hour ruin bar walk (cancellable up to 24 hours in advance).

Budapest’s trams

Budapest’s trams are not simply handy when it comes to getting around the city! Line 2 runs along the bank of the Danube and offers breathtaking views of of the buildings on the waterfront:

the Hungarian Parliament, the Chain Bridge, the Great Market Hall, Margaret Island, the Liberty Bridge…

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: left bank of the Danube, in the former municipality of Pest
Fee : 350 forints for a single ticket. The Budapest Card also includes free access to public transport.

Budapest’s metro

No need for a time machine to travel back in time, you just need to take a ride in the Budapest metro!

The metro includes 4 lines in total:

  • Line M1 (yellow): it is the oldest line, inaugurated for the Millennium Festivities at the end of the 19th th century. The Budapest metro is also the 2 nd oldest in Europe after London! The trains and stations of the M1 line have all been incredibly well preserved!
  • Lines M2 (red) and M3 (blue) : built under the communist regime, these two lines are as vintage as it gets! Travelers feel just like their diving into 1970s Hungary!
  • M4 line (green) : inaugurated in 2014, this modern and automatic metro line offers a stark contrast to the older lines of the Budapest metro. Less charming, but very comfortable!

💡 Practical information 💡
Fee : 350 forints for a single ticket. The Budapest Card also includes free access to public transport.

The surroundings of the Hungarian capital

Szentendre, at the gates of Budapest

If you stay in the Hungarian capital long enough, Captain Ulysses highly recommends that you venture out of the city to discover the quaint little town of Szentendre.

With its romantic and colorful alleys, historic churches, museums and art galleries, it is quite magical! Szentendre attracts numerous artists who come here to find calm and tranquility a short distance from the capital!

💡 Practical information 💡
Location: north of the capital
Address: Szentendre, 2000 Hungary
Getting to Szentendre : HEV (train) or boat. Captain Ulysse warmly recommends this cruise with excellent value for money (cancellable up to 24 hours in advance).

Royal Palace of Gödöllő, former royal residence of Elisabeth, Empress of Austria

To the north-east of Budapest, the Royal Castle of Gödöllő is famous for having been one of the favorite residences of the mythical Empress Sisi (Elisabeth of Austria). Built in the 18 th century, it is also unanimously considered the most beautiful Baroque palace in Hungary.

Surrounded by vast gardens, the palace includes countless rooms and apartments, each more somptuous than the next. It also houses an exhibition dedicated to Princess Sisi.

💡 Informations pratiques 💡
Localisation : municipalité de Gödöllő, au nord-est de Budapest
Adresse : Gödöllő, Grassalkovich-kastély 5852, 2100 Hongrie
Se rendre au Palais royal de Gödöllő : en bus, en train ou en optant pour une excursion qui inclut le transport, la visite guidée (disponible en français) et les frais d’entrée au palais. Pour en savoir plus : excursion au Palais de Gödöllő (annulable jusqu’à 24h à l’avance).
Réserver votre billet : billet pour le Palais royal de Gödöllő 


The Captain’s favourites in Budapest

🛏️ ACCOMMODATIONS
If you’re looking for an accommodation in Budapest, Captain Ulysses highly recommends Booking.com . You’ll find a wide choice of hotels, hostels and apartments in the Hungarian capital.
If your budget is tight, the Captain particularly recommends theAvenue Hostel .
If you’re looking for a midscale option, the Captain recommends three aparthotels in particular: Hedonist Lodge , Dolce Vita Rumbach and Tempo Life Apartman .
And if you want to treat yourself to a really nice hotel, why not splurge on a stay at Hotel Moments Budapest ?

🎟️ ACTIVITIES
As for booking visits and tourist activities, Captain Ulysses recommends three websites: GetYourGuide , Tiqets and Civitatis . Guided tours, cruises, skip-the-line tickets, tourist activities… there’s plenty to choose from!

🎫 CITYPASS
If you are staying in Budapest for several days, you might want to consider investing in the Budapest Card. It includes free public transport, free entrance to the Lukacs Spa, two guided tours, free entrance to 17 museums, as well as numerous discounts.

🚐 TRANSFERS
Budapest airport is located about twenty kilometers from the city. If you want to take a load off your mind, you can book a private transfer into Budapest’s city centre from the airport. A car will be waiting to take you to your accommodation in the city. Find out more: shared transfer or private transfer.

🚌 TRANSPORTS IN BUDAPEST
Budapest’s public transport system is well-developped and quite easy to navigate: metro, bus, tram and even ferry. If you wish, you can also opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour which stops at all the top tourist attractions in Budapest (audio guide included). Otherwise, there’s always the good old local ways of getting around the city: in a russian jeep or a Trabant.

✈️ FLIGHTS
Captain Ulysses highly recommends booking your flights on Skyscanner. The website allows you to compare countless flights to find the best deal. If your dates are flexible, you can also compare prices over several months to find the cheapest flights possible.

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Visiting Budapest: the best things to do in the Hungarian capital

Credits
Pixabay | Pexels | Unsplash | Flickr

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