Maybe, when your plane lands in Budapest, you already have some plans of how to spend your time here. Nevertheless, a checklist of the most important experiences that await you in the city can be very useful, especially if you’re only spending a few days in the capital and want to make the most of your time. Below, you’ll find our experience-based agenda for those who don’t want to miss out on anything important when visiting Budapest. We hope you’ll enjoy reading our suggestions and that you’ll get the chance to give them a try.
1. Take part in a city walking tour
A walking tour allows you to get a very detailed picture of a city, especially if a guide shows you around. Budapest is a fantastic choice if you like city tours, because on every road, you’ll find a wide pallet of historical monuments and old coffee houses, coupled with modern buildings, fashionable bars and restaurants, and trendy boutiques. A licensed tour guide can highlight the best parts of the city, guaranteeing that you won’t miss anything important, and will tell you the history of the city, letting you “look behind the scenes.”
2. Go for a river cruise trip
Budapest is divided by the Danube, and many of the most beautiful buildings are built on the riverbank. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that one of the World Heritage Sites is the view over the Danube and the buildings on either side of it. Definitely a must-see if you want to have a breathtaking experience!
3. Relax in one of the thermal baths
Chill out, have fun, and enjoy positive health effects all at the same time! There are 15 thermal spas in Budapest—a great variety to choose from. Some of them have both indoor and outdoor pools, and some organize night spa parties. Taking a hot bath outside in the frosty winter weather is a highly unique experience, and moreover, the health benefits of thermal water have been clinically proven.
4. Have fun in City Park
City Park is an almost seamless green area encompassing such significant sights as the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Circus, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, and the Hero’s Square. The area is fun for both children and adults, providing entertainment for a whole day—or even more.
5. Dance yourself out in ruin bars
This kind of bar you can find exclusively in Budapest. They are former abandoned buildings that have been turned into bars, with old, eclectic furniture and special, crazy designs. From the outside, they look like normal houses, with no large signs pointing the way and no line of people waiting to get in. Inside, you’ll find a highly alternative, particular type of atmosphere. Many of these bars have dance halls as well as lots of chairs and comfortable couches to have long conversations with friends or strangers on.
6. Taste Hungarian cuisine
Many people say there is no better way to learn about a nation than through its cuisine, and we couldn’t agree more. It is usually a happy surprise for tourists to learn how good and tasty Hungarian cuisine is. The famous paprika that forms the base of many dishes is a bit misleading for many, who believe that there is only a hot version of the spice and therefore think that Hungarian dishes are hot, too. Although many Hungarians are crazy about hot food, paprika comes in many forms, including sweet and hot versions. In addition, Hungarian dishes are highly appetizing and nutritious. You don’t want to miss out on trying them!
7. Talk a walk on Margaret Island
Margaret Island is a fantastic place, but it’s not usually part of general tour routes. The reason is simple: It’s a bit difficult to get to the island, and you need to walk quite a bit to reach the various sights on it. Nonetheless, it’s really worth visiting. The island itself lays on the Danube and received its name from Margaret, the three-year-old little princess sent to the Dominican convent on the island. The isle is a beautiful area that gives space to fountains, playgrounds, flowery gardens, and medieval ruins. In addition, there are swimming pools, theaters, pubs, and street-food venues—a very good choice on a sunny spring day!
8. Shop in the Great Market Hall
You’ll definitely want some souvenirs to take home with you from Budapest. Don’t waste your time in shopping malls: If you prefer quality products, the Great Market Hall is the best choice. This huge historical building contains two floors, both offering completely different experiences. While downstairs you can find groceries, with a wide range of Hungarian salamis, wines, fruits, vegetables, and spices, upstairs you’ll discover a wide variety of remarkable souvenirs and restaurants waiting for you. You can try the best Hungarian snack, langos, as well!
9. Visit the Hungarian Parliament Building
The Parliament Building is the largest building in Hungary and is where government representatives gather. It’s a real symbol of the city, and its halls are worth visiting in one of the hourly guided tours. Its golden ornaments and royal appearance make you feel that you are in a palace rather than a governmental building. It’s emblematic, and you get the chance to see the coronation jewelry, which is also stored there.
10. Walk across the Chain Bridge
Last but not least, walking across the Chain Bridge is a very unique experience, much different from crossing it by car. The bridge was built only a few years after Budapest was formed through the joining together of the cities Buda, Pest, and Obuda, and consequently, it became the symbol of the union and of the newborn capital. Leave this experience for last, because first, you’ll have to take your time to explore Budapest’s history, life, and pulse. That way, when you step foot on the bridge, you’ll really experience the moment, and you’ll realize how marvelous a decision it was to choose Budapest as your holiday destination.