Budapest is undoubtedly one of our favourite cities in Europe. It’s a city that is stunningly beautiful. While there are beautiful buildings all over Europe, we believe that Budapest has the most stunning architecture of them all. And the best part is, it’s unbelievably cheap for a European city.
We spent over a week in the city, but if you have less time than that then this guide is perfect for you. Below is a list of our favourite things to do in Budapest.
Also, on a sidenote, if you’re looking for accommodation in Budapest, AirBnB is the way to go. You can get an entire apartment that is central and super affordable. Feel free to use our sign-up code to get a $40 AirBnB credit for your next stay.
1. Go to Szechenyi Baths
Budapest is famous for its thermal spas, and the biggest and best of them all is the Szechenyi Baths. This place had almost 20 pools, each of them different temperatures. People come here and spend an entire day going from pool to pool. The open air atmosphere is unique and is a perfect way to spend a sunny day.
Side note -> The correct way to experience the pools is first spend 5 minutes in a medium temperate pool (36-38 degrees), then 5 minutes steam room or sauna and finally dunk yourself in the cold pool. Repeat this cycle 4 to 5 times. You will feel like exhilarated.
2. Take a FREE walking tour
The best way to experience Budapest in our opinion is on foot. There are several companies that offer free walking tours of Budapest (just make sure you tip the guide!). These tours usually run about 3 hours and offer a great way to explore the city while learning about its history. We had a great guide who recommended a few great restaurants and bars that we loved.
3. Go to a ruin pub – Szimpla Kert
Budapest has one of the best nightlife scenes in Europe. It is known for its legendary ruin pubs. These were old factory buildings or houses that were doomed to be destroyed but were instead converted into lively pubs that quickly became popular with the locals. From the outside, these bars don’t look like bars at all but rather look like old houses. Walk inside and you’ll find yourself surrounded by antique looking furniture, walls that are covered in art and one of the most unique partying experiences you will ever have. . You simply can’t go to Budapest and not go to one of these. Our favourite was Szimpla Kert. Oh and did I mention that drinks in Budapest are way cheaper than anywhere in western Europe?
4. Have a picnic on the Liberty Bridge
While exploring the city, we were walking across a bridge to go over to the Buda side of the city and we noticed something strange. There were no cars on the Liberty bridge, just pedestrians. People were sitting in the middle of the road on blankets in full picnic mode drinking wine and beer. There were kids running around. There were people BBQing. There were even people who climbed along the railings of the bridge to the top and were lying down reading a book. We later found out this bridge is called Liberty bridge and due to ongoing construction nearby, the bridge was closed to all car traffic. The local Hungarians used this opportunity to turn the bridge into a picnic area. This is a perfect area to spend a few hours munching on snacks, drinking Hungarian beer while enjoying the beautiful view of the city along the Danube river.
If you have a few days in the city, we also recommend checking out the Gellert Spa at the Gellert hotel, which has gorgeous decor and paintings. And don’t forget to try Hungary’s most famous dish – Beef Goulash!
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