We visited Budapest, which is the capital of Hungary, when we took a train tour of Europe, and there are a lot of fun things to do here.

So, what is there to do in Budapest? Our best tips are to visit a ruin bar, go to a thermal bath, take the metro and go to Budapest’s largest market hall, Nagycsarnok. But there are of course many more activities and attractions in Budapest, read more about all the tips in our list and travel guide.

Things to do in Budapest – Our best Travel Tips for a Weekend

Of course, there are many more things to do in Budapest than the ones we mentioned above, so here are 12 tips on things we really recommend you do.

1. Food Market (Jewish Quarter) in Budapest

If you want to eat really good food at a really good price, you should go to the food market Karavan Food Court. Here you will find everything from Hungarian sausages with sauerkraut, langoustine, goulash, burgers, pizza and long-cooked ribs.

With food, you need a beer, and there is a good selection, including organic beer. 

Of course, you also drink wine with the food, but there you do not have quite as much choice.

When we were in Budapest, we stayed on the street next to this food market and it was usually here that we ate. It’s like most places where people like to visit a little later in the evening, so if you simply want to find a table to sit at, we recommend arriving before 7 p.m.

The market itself is in a large courtyard between old stone buildings and it is very cozily decorated with lamps in different colors, and benches matched with the old stone facades.

Address: Kazinczy u. 18, 1075 Hungary

2. Ruin bars in Budapest

The first thing you need to do if you are traveling to Budapest is to go to the Jewish Quarter and visit a ruin bar. A ruin bar is often located in a disused old house on one or more floors with courtyards and really cool decor. We can say that it is a must when visiting Budapest.

The largest and most famous ruin bar is Szimpla Kert and it is located in the Jewish quarter. The awesome thing is that Szimpla Kert is right next to the food market Karavan, so if you want to eat and then go on for a beer, you have both places on the same street.

3. Thermal bath in Budapest – Széchenyi

Take the opportunity to swim in the summer at one of the thermal baths in Budapest. Swimming in a thermal bath feels like a form of national sport in Budapest and it is actually really pleasant no matter what the weather is like.

The largest thermal bath and in fact the largest in Europe is Széchenyi. The bath dates from 1913 and has several outdoor and indoor pools.

There are several bars in the bath where you can buy beer for $3.50 and admission is $25 on weekdays and slightly more expensive on weekends. Opening hours are from 

06:00 to 22:00.

Address: Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary

4. Take the Subway in Budapest

If you visit Budapest you have to take the metro. There are actually two reasons why you should do this. The first is because it is the world’s second-oldest metro and the second because it is an extremely cheap way to get around the city.

We took e.g. the subway when we were going to the thermal baths and it is very convenient to buy tickets and then just get on the train. Tickets cost less than a dollar per person.

What we liked most about the subway is that it is so charming. On the one we went on there were only two carriages and the platforms were very small and pleasant.

5. The Great Market Hall in Budapest

The large market hall Nagycsarnok in Budapest was built in 1897 and is Hungary’s largest market hall. Here you can buy everything from fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, sausages and souvenirs.

Upstairs you can eat and drink so we took the opportunity to eat a goulash for lunch the last time we were there, but there are also Langos and other meals.

Address: Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary

6. Eat Kurtosh Kalach

Kürtöskalács or Kurtosh Kalach is a type of bread that is often topped with cinnamon and sugar. This spun bread is really good and we fell more or less in love with it.

They can be eaten either as they are but can also be filled with soft ice cream, fruit or Nutella. These spinach breads are delicious and you really have to try them. 

Prices vary and especially depending on whether you want filling or not, but they normally cost from $3.50 – $7.

7. Go to a Café

There are plenty of cozy cafes in Budapest and you will find several just by walking around the city. Below we suggest two good cafes to visit for breakfast or lunch when you are in Budapest.

Breakfast at Törökméz

A small but good café with a small cozy patio. Café Törökméz is a perfect place for a breakfast or brunch. The prices are okay but it is not the cheapest place if that is what you are looking for. They also have a selection of good vegan and gluten-free options to choose from!

Address: Margit utca 27, 1023 Hungary

Brunch at Cirkusz

Cirkusz is a very popular brunch place in the middle of the Jewish quarter. Everything from bagels to oatmeal and complete brunch with sausages etc. is served here. The prices are quite good and a brunch costs around $13, a coffee for $2, and a croissant around $2 too.

Address: Dob u. 23, 1074 Hungary

8. Boat trip on the river Danube

Take a boat trip on Europe’s second-largest river, the Danube. The Danube runs all the way from southern Germany down to the border between Romania and Ukraine where it empties into the Black Sea.

Going on a boat trip in Budapest is actually quite cheap and the prices start at about $12 for an hour trip and you also get a welcome drink.

You get a headset so you can get guidance during your trip if you want and it is possible to set it in several different languages, including, of course, English.

9. Free Guided Tour

If you like to walk and go on guided tours, you should go on a free guided tour with a tourist guide in Budapest. It is a perfect way to learn more and see a lot of the city in a short time.

During the guided tours you can expect to learn a lot about the history of Budapest and see a large part of the city. The guided tours are normally between two to three hours long and in English.

10. The Budapest Spring Festival

The spring festival is every year in early April and lasts for three and a half weeks. It is one of the biggest cultural events in Budapest and the focus is on jazz, opera and classical music.

The cool thing about this festival is that it takes place everywhere in the city, both in squares, parks, premises and on the streets of Budapest.

11. The Wine Festival

If you want to go to a festival in the autumn and like wine, then the wine festival applies. In early September every year, there is a wine festival on the terrace of the castle in Budapest.

Here you have the chance to first taste local Hungarian wines and delicacies. There are over 200 wine producers on site, most from Hungary but also from other countries.

Address: Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary

12. Bridges in Budapest

If you’re a fan of bridges as structures, there’s an assortment to view and cross in Budapest.

Liberty Bridge

The Liberty Bridge is the shortest bridge in Budapest, but in our opinion the finest. If you go here in the evening, you will see the entire cast-iron bridge illuminated, which is incredibly beautiful.

Chain Bridge

The chain bridge was opened in 1849 and is a suspension bridge between the districts of Buda and Pest. It is the oldest bridge over the river Danube.

Petőfi Bridge

The Petőfi Bridge was opened in 1937 and is the second southernmost bridge in Budapest. The bridge was destroyed during World War II but was rebuilt between 1950-1952.

Margaret Bridge

The Margaret Bridge was the second bridge built in Budapest and it was opened in 1876. Unfortunately, this was also destroyed during the Second World War, but was rebuilt in 1948.

Elisabeth Bridge

When the Elisabeth Bridge was built, it was known as the world’s longest bridge without supporting pillars. The part that hung freely was 951 feet long.

Unfortunately, the entire bridge was destroyed during World War II and it was not until almost 20 years later that it was decided to build a completely new bridge here.

Pay by Card in Budapest

Budapest is well developed and you can pay by card almost everywhere, if nothing else there are ATMs nearby.

Frequently Asked Questions About Budapest

How much is a beer?

A beer costs around $3.50 in Budapest.

What does a glass of wine cost?

A glass of cheaper wine costs around $4 in Budapest

How to get around Budapest?

In Budapest, you can take a bus, metro, electric scooter, take a taxi or walk. We really recommend testing the metro, which is the world’s second oldest.

How much does it cost to take the metro in Budapest?

Taking the metro in Budapest costs around 80 cents, and then you can travel within most of the city.

Where is the train station?

There are three major train stations in Budapest if you travel there by train, the eastern one being Keleti, the western Nyugati, and the southern Deli. No matter where you go, there is a metro so you can get from the train station to where you are going.

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