The best things to do in Budapest
Budapest, the pearl of the Danube river and the capital of Hungary combines the beauty of Paris with the cosmopolitan energy of Berlin. This is a must-see European destination for everyone interested in a rich cultural heritage. What are the best things to do in Budapest? In order for you to prepare your stay, we prepared a list of the top attractions to see for first-time visitors.
Danube Boat Cruise
The Danube boat cruise tours will let you discover all the highlights of Budapest which is known as the pearl of Danube. This romantic river cruise will certainly allow you to embrace the rhythms of this beautiful European city. During your cruise tour, you can choose between different options. Some of the tours include options with Hungarian wine tasting, cocktail tasting, or romantic dinner. The program can also include some live music or another kind of entertainment. There are cruises on a daily basis ranging from budget to high-class services. The cruises run in the summer heat, winter cold or even rainy weather. The boats are well equipped and maintained to provide you with the best service ever.
Budapest Jewish District
The visit of Budapest Jewish district allows you a cultural, historical, gastronomic and religious getaway. The district is located in the city center of Budapest. The most famous streets of the Jewish quarter are Kazinczy, Dohàny, Dob, and Kertész streets.
Today, it’s a charming district with high-standing buildings. In fact, this district has been the residence of many rich families. Unfortunately, the war has caused a lot of material damages to this district. This is why the large majority of families left their houses. Many of these houses have been transformed into ruined bars and become atypical tourist places. The very first ruined pub was Szimpla Kert.
Here you can find a lot of religious spots, like the Grand Synagogue of Budapest, which is the largest in Europe. Then, you can visit the Jewish museum to discover Jewish history. On Sunday morning you can visit the farmer’s market at Szimpla Kert.
The Buda castle dates back to the 13th century. It is located near Castle Hill. The site is home to the Hungarian National Gallery, the Castle Museum, etc. It is in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
There are several ways to get to the Buda castle. The most famous among the locals and the tourists in an ancient funicular. It gives beautiful views of the city and the Danube river. The funicular is open daily till 10 P.M.
You can observe the Parliament House from the other bank of Danube before getting inside. It is one of the most gorgeous and ponderous buildings in the capital.
The building is built in gothic style and has more than 690 rooms. During your tour with a guide, you will discover the history of this building and the political life in Hungary.
Margaret island is considered as 1 of the top 10 European small islands. It is located in the middle of the Danube river. You need 20 minutes to reach the island from the city center by public transport. The island is connected to the mainland by two bridges. This is probably the greenest spot in Budapest. You can enjoy singing fountains by night and admire different sightseeings. The island has several hotels as well with spa treatments inside them. If you don’t want to take public transport to reach the island, you can take a Danube boat cruise. The cruise allows a several hours break in the island.
Spa & Massage
Budapest is known for its baths. These are the greatest way to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city center. Even one day is enough to recharge your batteries and get filled with positive energy. One of the most famous baths is Gellért baths and Spa Centre which underwent a serious reconstruction in 2008. The spa has several open-air and closed swimming pools, saunas, etc. You can even ask for extra services like massage and other rehabilitation services. Széchenyi baths are an alternative to Gellért baths. They offer high-class spa treatments like a sauna, massages, open-air swimming pool, etc.
The Chain Bridge
The Chain bridge opened in 1849 to connect the Eastern and Western parts of the city. It was designed and built by an Englishman and a Scottish. The bridge is hanging over the Danube river. It gives incredible views on the city, especially by night. The bridge is considered a symbol of national Hungarian pride. The Chain bridge is not that long so you can stroll around it in 15 minutes.
Tour to Szentendre
If you are looking for a one-day cultural tour beyond Budapest, you might consider Szentendre. Actually, this is one of the easiest organized one-day tours. The village of Szentendre is located north to Budapest. it is known for its narrow streets, Mediterranean atmosphere, and delicious food. If you are a real foodie, you can skip out on the cultural aspect of the village and prioritize local food and wine tasting. In any way, the village is so small that you can stroll down quite easily. There are a lot of gelato shops with artisanal ice creams with different flavors. Very famous Hungarian street food is Lángos that you can find everywhere. It’s a kind of traditional bread with sour cream and cheese. After finishing your food tour, you can visit the National Wine Museum in Szentendre. The entrance is free of charge. But you need to pay supplements for wine tasting in their cellars.
Pest is the downtown of Budapest. It’s the heart of many tourist attractions. Pest city is home to many restaurants, cafes, bars, local shops, markets, etc. It is located on the left bank of the Danube river. All the major tourist spots can be discovered during a guided tour. Here are some sightseeings you should absolutely take into consideration. The Jewish district with the largest Synagogue in Europe can be found here. The Hungarian National Museum is also here. The museum of Applied Arts as an example of Art Nouveau architecture can be found here. Other major buildings are the Parliament House, the State Opera House, St. Stephen’s Basilica, etc.
House of Terror Museum
This former prison became museum to illustrate the history of 2 black periods underwent in the country. This place was a former secret police headquarter. The museum tells the history of fascist Hungary in the 20th century. You’ll discover the dark sides of the war, the period where Stalin was a dictator and a lot more.
Faust Wine Cellars
Faust wine cellars are located in the Buda Castle district. Away from the noisy city center, this cellar offers Hungarian wine and national fruit Palinka tasting. Their local sommelier will uncover the secrets of wine tasting so that you get the most out of your experience. Considering the size and the number of people visiting the cellar, it is recommended to book your visit in advance.