Firstly, however many days you’ve booked in Budapest you’ll probably end up not doing everything you want to. Budapest is awesome, there are so many things to see and do. If you’d like a detailed itinerary, then check out my 3 days in Budapest guide. Or if you like more flexibility to pick and choose what cool things to do and which awesome Budapest places to visit then keep reading.
I will give you suggestions so you can tailor your Budapest trip to what you like to do (and at a price that suits you).
pick and choose what cool things to do and which awesome Budapest places to visit
Most of these places to visit and cool things to do are on the Pest side of the Danube. So worth bearing in mind when you are planning where to stay in Budapest. My accommodation was close to the Jewish District and pretty central to most places.
Check it out here – Friends Hostel & Apartments.
Of course, I’m starting with the free things to do and free attractions because there’s so much you can do without spending lots of money in Budapest!
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Free Things to do in Budapest
Go on a FREE walking tour
Cost – Free (tip optional)
There are numerous companies that offer different free walking tours in Budapest. During my time I tried two tours with different companies. I’m going to recommend the tour company I had the most enjoyable tour with which was Trip to Budapest. (Oh and don’t read different leaflets and go to the wrong start points… yes I did that oops!!)
- Original Budapest walk – 10.30 & 14.30 (2.5-3 hours)
- Street Art & Urban Budapest tour 10.00 & 15.30 (2-2.5 hours)
They also do a couple of additional tours which I didn’t get a chance to try
- Jewish District tour 10.00 & 15.30 (2-2.5 hours)
- Communism walk tour 10.00 & 15.30 (2-2.5 hours)
- Evening walk 18.30 (1-1.5 hours)
Please check times here, depending on the time of year you are travelling some tours are not available all year.
Plan when to visit Budapest here – Select the month you want to visit for top tips what to do in that month!
Walk along by the Danube River
Cost – Free
You can walk on either side of the river. The Pest side is a nice walk as you can walk directly next to the river. There is also a Holocaust memorial a short walk from the houses of Parliament. Here 60 pairs of bronze shoes are lined up against the edge of the river, representing those who lost their lives in WWII. I’ve never been moved so much by a memorial, but standing here on a cold winter’s day, looking into the murky Danube it’s a shuddering thought of the last thing many people saw before the river washed their bodies away.
On the Buda side, there’s a main road between the pavement and the river. Once you’ve walked along the river by day, it’s also great to return at night. The whole area looks completely different, with the Budapest bridges and buildings lit up.
You can also do a day and night sightseeing boat cruise on the River Danube. Check prices and availability here.
Spot the awesome Street Art
Cost – Free
As above, you can go on a Free Street Art walking tour. But you can explore for yourself, there are lots to find in the Jewish District, although the bonus of the Street Art tour is you learn a little bit about the background too. The very first piece was created in 2012 on the Fire Station.
Interestingly, street art in Budapest, Hungary is controlled by the government so there’s less freedom of what is on display.
Looking for cool things to do in Budapest?
Looking for cool things to do in Budapest? Go visit my favourite street art close to St Stephen’s Basilica, on the corner of Arany Janos street and San street (pictured above) that has a secret.
- Download an App called the Lara App. And when you see the street art above point your phone at the art and watch it come to life! It’s really cool I stood there for at least 5 minutes!
Cross the Chain Bridge
Cost – Free
Walk across and admire the beautiful Chain Bridge. By day you can see the detailed structure of the bridge that links Buda and Pest. And by night it looks pretty all lit up. If you don’t want to walk (or it’s too cold you can jump on the number 16 bus – advance single 350 HUF)
St Matthias Church & Fisherman’s Bastion
Cost – Free (280 HUF to go to the highest tower in Fisherman’s Bastion)
St Matthias Church is another stunning building in Budapest, Hungary seriously there is so many of them you can’t get bored. During the daytime, you can see the beautiful tiled roof of the church and by night the church is lit up and look absolutely gorgeous.
Please note if you go in winter (like I did) then you might not see the tiles due to snow! European cities are great to visit any time but you’ll experience different weather and things to do depending on the season.
Go to Budapest City Park
Before you arrive there, stop off at Heroes Square, the largest square in Budapest created in 1896 (to celebrate Hungary’s 1000 anniversary). Then you can walk around the pretty gardens around the Castle, maybe in summer have a picnic (not an option for winter in the snow!) Depending what time of year you go the pond might be frozen and if it is then you have the option to go ice-skating.
Read next: 3 days in Budapest
Visit the Houses of Parliament
Cost – Free
Get up close to Budapest’s Houses of Parliament, the second-largest in the world. Take a walk around the entire building and be mesmerised at its beauty. You can see why this is one of the popular places to visit whilst in Budapest.
And you’ll be amazed by the beauty of this building.
For the ultimate view, of the Houses of Parliament, you’ll need to view from the Buda side at night. Either walk or take a bus (350 per single trip) across the other side of the Danube. And you’ll be amazed by the beauty of this building. (Or take a Budapest boat cruise – see details further down)
Tours are available to go inside at 10.00. 12.00, 13.00, 14.00. 15.00. These are popular so it’s best to book in advance.
Budapest Places to visit (Up to 3100 HUF/ 10 EUR)
Eat cakes at one of the many bakeries
Cost from 200 HUF/ 0.75 EUR
There are so many bakeries and cafes in Budapest. Every corner I turned there was a new one that I hadn’t seen before. You can pick your favourite cakes or try a new one each day (that’s what I did!) And with all the walking around the city you soon burn it off.
Go to the Chocolate Museum
Cost 500 HUF/ 1.90 EUR
This small museum is located upstairs in yet another one of Budapest’s cafes. You also find a shop upstairs (that bit is a free attraction) that you can look around and buy chocolates.
Visit the Cat Café
Cost – Free entry but drinks are a bit more expensive (Coffees from 900/1000 HUF/ 3 EUR)
There are about 15+ cats living in the cat café. Including two giant and very fluffy ones. So for me, it was worth a visit.
I have to admit the coffee I had wasn’t that nice. But since I was there for the cats it didn’t matter too much.
St Stephen’s Basilica
Cost – Inside 200 HUF/ 0.75 EUR or Panorama viewpoint 600 HUF/ 2 EUR
This gorgeous building, of course, is totally free to look at from the outside. But for a little bit of money, you can see inside this stunning building. And for a bit more again you can enjoy stunning views of the city
Budapest Places to visit (Up to 30 EUR)
Relax at one of the Thermal Baths
Cost from 3500 HUF/ 11 EUR*
Budapest has over 123 hot springs and as such there are many thermal baths around the city. It’s a difficult decision which one to choose, from the very popular Szechenyi baths in the Pest area to the well known Gellert baths, in Buda across the other side of the Danube. Be sure to add on to your cool things to do whilst in Budapest.
Book your thermal baths in advance here
- Szechenyi Baths – Full day pass
- Gellert Spa – Full day ticket
I opted for the Rudas thermal baths, a mix of both modern and traditional baths. I began the experience in the old traditional side, in an octagon-shaped room with five different thermal baths varying in temperatures.
Can’t decide which baths to go to? Check out the top 4 best baths recommended by travellers!
Visit a Ruin Bar on a Budapest Pub crawl
Cost 15 EUR
There are few companies that organise bar crawls around Budapest. Or of course, you can go it alone (depending on how much you normally drink, this might be the cheaper option). Small beers cost between 200-800 HUF and small wine costs 160-490 HUF.
- Szimpla Kert is amazing at night but a very popular place to go. But you can also go during the daytime and grab some food or drink. Plus it’s quieter to explore all the different rooms… you will see what I mean when you visit!
- Open from 12 noon.
For more Budapest nightlife – check out the top 5 places to have cocktails in Budapest
Try one of the hop-on/hop-off buses
Cost from 6000 HUF/ 20 EUR (1-day option)
Travel in style around Budapest on the hop-on/hop-off bus and make sure you don’t miss any of those top tourist attractions!
- Check out prices and options here (24,48 or 72-hour tickets) for your Budapest Bus Tour.
If you enjoy walking then all of these tourist spots can be reached on foot and as well you might spot one or two other places on the way.
Cook your own Hungarian feast
Cost from 3,000 HUF
Looking for a new Budapest attraction? This is a concept I’ve not heard of before. There’s a small restaurant type venue in the centre of Budapest but instead of going and having your meals brought to you, you cook it yourself!
There’s a wide selection of meals on the menu from traditional Hungarian food to other options (although I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to opt for the Hungarian ones since you’re in Hungary!
Once you’ve decided on your menu you’re given all the ingredients with step by step instructions to cook your dinner. Help is provided if needed.
- Read more about here Budapest Makery
Explore the Caves of Budapest
Cost 7000 HUF/ 23 EUR*
Two short bus rides out of the city you can spend two hours underground. And in winter this was far warmer than any outside activity!
40 minutes from the city centre (via bus no. 9 and 65) you can venture deep below ground in Budapest’s caves system. In winter, this is a great activity because it’s actually warmer in the caves than outside.
More details here on the different caving tours, including how to book (these are very popular attractions so you will need to book in advance):
The caving adventure you’re underground for nearly 2 hours and it is the most amazing adventure. Taking you through narrow passways and tiny gaps in the rocks that you think are impossible to get through. But if you love a challenge then be sure to check this out.
Read about my full Budapest caving experience here
Ride The Floating Bus on the Danube
Cost 8500 HUF/ 28 EUR
Or if you’re feeling brave you could try The Floating Bus. Views of Budapest by land and water. If I am honest the idea of this does not appeal to me, I’d rather be in a boat or a bus not a combination of the two. But hey, I’m just giving you the options!
The tour lasts 1 hour 35 minutes. And there are between 3-4 department times each day (depending on the time of year).
More Budapest tours on the River Danube here (click for prices and availability):
More Cool day Tours in Budapest here
Are you planning a trip to Budapest? Looking for cool things to do or places to visit on your trip to Budapest? Ask me any questions in the comments or message me on Facebook
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*All prices for the Budapest things to do and places to visit are based on adult prices. Some discounts are available for children, students and older people (ages vary). The exchange rate for prices is 310 HUF = 1 EUR
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