The cosmopolitan capital of Hungary is packed with things to do. While the best sightseeing in Budapest takes you through its grand, neoclassical streets and past its impressive monuments, the city also offers an array of more off-the-beaten activities that are sure to surprise even the most seasoned traveler.
#1 – Explore a Ruin Bar: Budapest’s ‘ruin bars’ have become one of the city’s coolest trends, transforming abandoned buildings into places to drink beer and play music. Take a guided tour to see how these bars and pubs have been reimagined and learn about their unique history. If you’re feeling adventurous, try visiting a ruin bar at night for an even more interesting experience.
#2 – Stroll along Andrassy Avenue: The city’s most elegant avenue, found on the Pest side of the city, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of this important street and to admire its impressive neoclassical architecture. Afterward, be sure to stop at the Shoes Memorial, located steps away on the riverbank.
#3 – Visit the Memento Park: When Hungary became a democracy, many of the country’s most prominent communist statues were torn down. Some, however, ended up in a former sports field that’s now known as Memento Park. Here, you’ll find Lenin’s Boots and other statues that were once a symbol of the country’s dictatorship. Visiting this unusual attraction is an excellent way to get a glimpse of the city’s past while also learning more about its current political situation.
#4 – Tour the Museum of Fine Arts: The main collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, which was once part of the Esterhazy Palace, is impressive enough to justify the visit alone. This top Budapest museum showcases Old Masters paintings by the likes of Cranach, Titian, Tintoretto, and El Greco. Its neoclassical building is also worth seeing, with its Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque halls.
#5 – Stroll across the Chain Bridge: If you’re visiting in summer, head to the famous Chain Bridge in the evening. Watch young crowds gather on the green iron railings and share food, drinks, and stories as the sun sets. The bridge is also where you’ll find the best views of the Buda Castle, St Stephen’s Basilica, and the Hungarian Parliament Building.
The Lehel Market, inside a quirky postmodern building, is one of the liveliest of Budapest’s markets. This is where locals go to buy everything from fresh produce and meats to cheese and handmade pickles. If you’re lucky, you might catch a local musician performing here! You can also visit the nearby Lehel Thermal Baths, a popular hot springs spa that’s been operating since the 1870s and is a local favorite. Alternatively, you can head to the Gellert Baths, an art nouveau-style spa that dates back to the late 19th century and is the most elegant of the city’s public bathhouses. Be sure to book a reservation ahead of time. things to do in Budapest