Six Activities to Do in Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary is a city that I truly fell in love with! Although it tends to be a 3-day stop for a lot of travelers who are hitting up Hungary’s better-known neighbors (ex: Austria and Germany), you may be surprised to know that there is indeed a week’s worth of activities to do here – if not more. Below, I’m sharing six fun activities to put at the top of your Budapest list! 

Need help deciding which part of Budapest to stay in? Click here for a breakdown of what to expect in Buda vs. Pest.

Also, this activities list isn’t exhaustive! Click here for nightlife recommendations, and click here for thermal bath recommendations.

I’m putting this activity first because it was by far my favorite of the trip (and also one of my preferred ways to explore a city)! I chose this tour in particular because it came highly recommended by a fellow traveler during my stay, and it did not disappoint. 

In fact, I got extra lucky with this bike tour because on the day that we (myself and a friend I made in Budapest) were scheduled to do the tour, no one else had signed up for that particular time slot. So, we basically got a private tour of the city for the same price as a group tour!

It was such a wonderful experience, and we got to see so many sights during the 3-hour tour: Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle, Margaret Island, downtown Budapest, Parliament, the Opera House, and so much more. Budapest is also a pretty bike-friendly city, and the drivers were very courteous. 

Overall, I would recommend this 10/10! I did the tour on the second-to-last day of my trip, but I would recommend starting your trip with this tour if possible so that you can take note of the places which you want to explore further.

P.S. Click here for some photos from the bike tour!

Marvel at the City Lights along the Danube River

Another activity I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Budapest is to take a sunset or nighttime cruise along the Danube River. Very different from doing a party boat, the kind of tour that I’m talking about now is one that involves a guided audio tour of each monument that you pass (and a welcome drink, if you’re lucky!).

It was really a treat to be able to properly take in the city lights and beautiful buildings along with historical background on how each came to be. It certainly gave me a greater appreciation for Hungary’s rich culture and history.

I was not the one to book the tour, so I unfortunately don’t have the exact booking details; but, I would recommend searching a site like Viator or GetYourGuide to find a similar offering.

Photos from the cruise can be found in my Budapest travel gallery!

Explore the Caves Beneath Buda Castle

Embrace your adventurous side by descending into the cave system built beneath the city. Budapest actually has multiple cave networks, but the one that I chose to explore ran underneath Buda Castle and around the city. 

This is a great cave tour to consider if you tend to be claustrophobic but still want to see the caves (hi, me!). In contrast to the tours that have you going deep underground and crawling through tiny spaces, this tour is a nicely-paced walk in a more mild cave system – just a few moments of ducking!

Our tour guide was very informative and kind, and I learned a lot about the history of the cave system – including how some exits even had to be barricaded or destroyed because they led to modern-day houses (and thus, some burglaries – yikes).

A big highlight of this tour was the ability to hold a fossilized mammoth tooth. Yep, you read that correctly! Who would have expected that on a tour like this?! You can see a photo of the tooth in my Budapest travel gallery under the category “Cave Walking Tour”.

 

Enjoy Some Art at the National Gallery

The Hungarian National Gallery is lovely in general, but it also makes for especially great rainy day activity!

Housed in the Buda Palace, the Gallery is an art museum that boasts a vast collection of Hungarian artwork spanning centuries. 

I got to the museum a bit late on a Sunday, so I only had about two hours to get through the entire gallery. So, I recommend going during the day and giving yourself at least 3 hours to be able to explore all of the exhibits at a leisurely place. If you go earlier, you also have the opportunity to go up to the roof and get a panoramic view of the city!

 

Tour the Hungarian Parliament

The Parliament building in Budapest is truly magnificent, both inside and out. If you don’t have time for a tour, then I would at least recommend visiting the plaza and walking around to marvel at the architecture.

But, if you do have time on your trip, then be sure to reserve a time slot in order to tour the inside of Parliament.

The tours can be admittedly busy, but the staff does a good job with crowd control so I didn’t feel too overwhelmed. Plus, you get enough time in each area to really take it all in before moving on.

Check out the travel gallery for some photos of the inside of Parliament!

Sample Food and Buy Souvenirs at Central Market Hall

Last, but certainly not least, most would argue that a trip to Budapest is not complete without visiting Market Hall!

Market Hall is essentially what it sounds like: a huge building with rows upon rows of market stalls selling various wares. I only explored part of the hall in order to try some local yogurt (pre-bike ride – very yummy) and then pick up some souvenirs on a different day, but it’s a fun experience. There are also a couple of restaurants and cafés within the hall if you want to be able to sit down and enjoy some food at a more quiet pace. 

However you choose to experience it, Market Hall is a must since it’s a Budapest institution!

~

As you can see, Budapest has a variety of activities to offer any type of traveler. In addition to the six activities recommended above, don’t forget about the thermal baths and nightlife too!

Out of everything I experienced in Budapest, I would say that my top three favorites were the bike ride, the thermal bath experiences, and exploring the caves beneath the city. But, I truly believe that you can’t go wrong with whatever you choose, as it’s a wonderful city for solo and group travel alike.

Which activity would you put on your must-do list?

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.