So you are traveling the Hungarian capital and want to know what to do in Budapest? There are many cool and fun things to do in Budapest – besides it’s actual tourist sights.
Know for its fairy tale architecture and its thermal baths, we collected many other experiences for your next trip.
Because we just simply want you to enjoy Budapest as much as we do.
Together with our 5 Star Hostels in Budapest: Maverick City Lodges, Maverick Hostel and Maverick Student Lodge we completed a full list of things to do in one of the most beautiful European’s capitals to have an amazing time.
In this guide we cover as well the best time to visit Budapest and where to stay.
Read: best hostels in Budapest – put on a map
List of 17 Fun Things to Do in Budapest
Even better: At the end of this guide we added a Budapest map with all places mentioned. It will help you planning!
We cover what you can do in November in Budapest, in winter an even in May! Actually, you know what, it does not make a difference. You will have fun with this all year around. You will have just to adapt the activities to the time you are visiting the city and your preferences.
Full list of activities in Budapest:
- Thermal Baths
- Caving under the city
- Contemporary Art and Great Museums
- River Cruise
- Cross the Danube on a floating Boat
- Galleries for Photography
- Escape to the nature
- Ruin Bars and Clubs
- Jazz and Live Music
- Pub Crawl
- Where to eat
- Szimpla Kert
- Deák Ferenc tér – Square
- Mak Bistro
- Kopaszi Gát, Park and Harbor
- Where to stay in Budapest
- When to visit
- Extra top tips << be extra prepared! >>
We start our list with one of the main reasons why people visit Budapest…
1. Thermal Baths
Everyone knows about the thermal baths in Budapest.
Budapest may actually be the capital of thermal water. There are many baths in town.
The most visited are:
- Gellért, (skip the queues buying your ticket here)
- Széchenyi (Buy your ticket here and skip the line)
All 3 are really cool places, you wont be disappointed.
Our favorite we enjoyed is the Széchenyi Bath.
However if you look for something a bit more hidden then check out:
Both can be found on the Buda side.
So choose at least one place and let your body relax in the naturally hot thermal water after you did a couple of round of sauna or steam bath.
If that still hasn’t satisfied you (which we doubt) then take a massage too.
This site will help you with further information about baths in Budapest.
2. Caving under the city
For the more adventures visitors we can highly recommend the caving tour under Budapest.
There are several large cave systems as ragstone is quite typical rock in this area.
You can go underground on the hilly Buda with a guided tour where you will get a suit and a helmet and you will crawl in narrow routes and explore some of the caves.
Not convinced ? Check out this video
3. Contemporary Art and Great Museums
If you look for more mainstream exhibitions then you cannot miss:
Furthermore you can find quite a few nice little galleries:
- Godot Galéria – along the Bartók Béla road, where you can check out contemporary Hungarian art
- Kiscelli Museum – located in a nice little castle in Óbuda.
4. Kayak the Danube
Di you know you can kayak on the Danube?
The tour is not in Budapest city, but in the riverside beach, Római. You will also paddle on the Buda side.
You can get to Rómani in 45 minutes by public transport from downtown or you can join a tour.
A really cool and different experience we totally recommend.
Not a fan of tours?
You can just rent a kayak in Római. Once in Római, look for Béke Csónakház, it is the place where you will be able to rent a kayak or canoe.
From Római, you can get up to the tiny Lupa Island within 1 to 1,5 hours.
I would recommend to stop there for a short rest and look around as it has a very unique architecture, almost all houses are built in Bauhaus style.
After that you can take the down stream back to Római and enjoy the fact that mother nature still exists even in a major capital.
5. A Rivers Cruise
If you do not want to paddle around the Danube here you have an easier option…
A cruise along the Danube river!
Enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour on the Danube River and see the landmarks and monuments on both shores from a different perspective.
6. Cross the Danube on a floating Boat
This is not a boat, neither a normal coach.
It is a floating coach!
I saw it on little places, like Hamburg (in Germany) and Budapest.
7. Galleries for Photography
Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, that is certainly true.
Also a great inspiration for many people. If you do love photography, you will love these galleries:
The later is named after a world famous Hungarian photographer who has several emblematic picture for example „The Falling Soldier”, made in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War.
8. Escape to the nature
If you want to escape the city then explore the nature and parks in or around Budapest.
Two popular places among locals for a walk or a nice run or even for a delicious picnic are:
Both are large forests still inside Budapest.
You can also catch some splendid view towards the city, especially from Normafa.
Things to do in Budapest at night
Budapest is also famous for its party scene and Bars. This is really no surprise. Budapest has one of the most fun and active nightlife in Europe. It is an open secret, yes yes!
No doubt the ruins bars are something special that you should visit even if you do not normally go out. For the night owls, there are also many other options.
Obviously, you will need a party hostel. The best ones are:
- Onefam Budapest by Hostel One
- The Hive Party Hostel
- Vitae Hostel Budapest
- Carpe Noctem Hostel
- Wombats City Hostel
- Maverick City Lodge
Read: The COOLEST Party Hostels in Budapest 2024
Keep scrolling, we are revealing all the good places here for the different kind of travelers:
About Safety in Budapest: Like east coast vs west coast, Buda vs Pest and the Danube in between.
But don’t be worried, the biggest Hungarian city is very safe.
You can go out late night and walk around the town without any problem.
9. Bars, clubs, pubs….are only the start of the night
There are many many bars and clubs to discover, so you will have some heavy nights if you feel like going for it. The old Jewish district is the busiest area in the night time.
There are extreme amount of bars and restaurants. Just to mention a few tips to enjoy the night in Budapest:
Gozsdu passage is full of mainstream places and packed with people.
In Kazinczy street you can find some interesting ruin bars like:
- Mika or
Fogas in Akácfa street is like a giant combo of a disco and a ruin bar, you will get everything in one.
10. Specific Ruin Bars and Clubs
Here is a little guide for ruin pubs in Budapest.
On Madach square you can find some hipster bars:
- AKA Telep
- Központ or
And for clubbing? Check out:
- Toldi club
- A38 boat
A38 boat is a bit further out, but a very unique concept.
A boat is transformed into a super concert hall and open air bar, where you can feel the connection between the river and the city. It was elected the best club in Europe at one point.
They organize concerts from jazz to black metal. So do not forget to check their homepage before you go there.
You can also join a tour and learn about what propelled the development of the ruin bars.
And how things have changed in Budapest since then.
11. Jazz and Live Music
For classical music and jazz fans we can offer some cool venue places and almost all year around you will find something interesting to listen.
Müpa is a modern and the largest music hall in town.
It is also worth to check the program of:
Trafo also organizes many modern dance performances as well.
Quite a few Hungarians like to participate in sophisticated cultural events, so join them and enjoy the nice melodies or contemporary ballet together.
12. Join the Pub Crawl
An easy way to meet for sure other travelers who want to party is a pub crawl, and Budapest is famous for having really good ones!
Joining a pub crawl is probably one of the best FUN things to do in Budapest.
What do you get joining a Pub crawl beside new party-fellows from around the world in Budapest?
- free shots and drinks offers all night
- VIP entrance to one of Budapest’s best and biggest clubs
- experience the nightlife scene with a party-loving guide
Good to know: There is also a classic backpacker pub crawl.
This is one of the most crazy things to do in Budapest. Promise us, you will bring your brain with you.
13. Where to eat in Budapest (good food!)
Eat or eat a lot that is the question as for some reason Hungarians still prefer huge portions and many restaurants.
Go with the flow and you will probably get an enormous size of meal especially in the more traditional diners.
The typical dishes are really heavy too like stuffed cabbage, Beef stew, sausages or liverwurst.
There are many different meat plates which are recommended, usually made as a stew, but sometimes it can be a steak too.
The meat quality is pretty good as all game meat is local from the forests of Hungary where the wild animal population(dears, wild boars, roes, rabbits) is very numerous and they have a fairly nice life compare to industrial farming.
So, where to go to eat locally and delicious?
- Getto Gulyas
- Fat Mama
- Kaptafa – you have to try the raspberry fizzy coffee drink!
All of these places are nice options.
If you want to master the basics of the Hungarian cuisine during, then join a cooking class!
It is a a fun and interactive way also to learn about the traditional dishes.
14. Nightlife + Art + Flea Market: Szimpla Kert
We already mentioned the ruin bars. And here comes our favorite bar in Budapest: Szimpla Kert!
If you are looking for a fun night out in Budapest, this pub is your place to be.
The bar is a typical old-school bar/ pub with lots of students, and international atmosphere. Szimpla Ker is located near the city centre, right around the corner of our 5 Star Hostel Maverick City Lodge.
The Szimpla Kert is more than just a place to get a drink, it’s a Ruin Pub.
You will find here concerts, flea markets, workshops, art galleries, and more more more!
The design of the bar is kept in an eclectic mix of old cars and bikes, trees, old foosball tables, we can’t even name everything.
Find more information about Szimpla Kert and the events at their Facebook Page.
15. Chill: Deák Ferenc tér – Square
One of the best things to do in Budapest in summer: Dek Ference Ter!
This square is the place to be on a warm summer night.
Join the atmosphere, and bring your own drinks. You can also get some delicious cocktails and beer at the bars around. The square is located just a 10 minutes walk from the 5 Star Hostel Maverick City Lodge, and you can sit there in a small park.
This square hosts also a lot of events, so maybe there is even something special going on when you are in town!? Last but not least there is fountain to cool off.
16. Tasty Food: Mak Bistro
Not far away from the Dear Ference Ter Square you will find this bistro!
Experience art and creativity in the kitchen!
Be prepared for tasty flavors of modern gastronomy on highest quality. The waiters make this place a home and are always joking around and enjoying their work. This makes this place very friendly and welcoming.
The Mak received many awards, and its concept is unique.
You can find more details about the concept, the bistro, and the team at the website Mak.hu. We recommend to make a reservation before coming here.
17. Relax: Kopaszi Gát, Park and Harbor
This park is one of the best green spots to chill on a sunny day.
You can get some food and drinks as well at the harbor or bring your own picnic with you.
Either way, this is a cozy local place.
Kopaszi Gát is located slightly outside the city center and you can come here via Public Transport or by renting a bike.
With its own small beach, the beautiful sunset behind the bay, and obviously the green trees surrounding it, this place is a locals favorite spot to get outside the city to relax.
When to travel to Budapest?
Budapest is located in the good old continental climate region with four seasons, cold winters and hot summers.
Although it cannot escape from the global warming either.
Lately Budapest has experienced more and more monsoon type rain-showers during summer and spring and autumn is melting into the summer temperatures.
Still we think the best time to come to Budapest is… anytime!
You will find interesting activities and a nice historical city with loads of bars and restaurants. The nature of this city means there is something fun to do all year round.
Where to stay in Budapest
Budapest is dotted with great hotels, apartments and even cooler hostels.
We wrote a big guide to the best hostels in Budapest jam packed with epic accommodation and useful information.
It includes luxury hostels, backpacker paces and budget, party hostels. Oh and we can’t forget… two 5 Star Hostels!
- Maverick City Lodge – 5 Star Hostel for female solo-travellers
- Maverick Hostel –5 Star Hostel for flashpackers
- Flow Hostel – great for solo travellers
- BONUS: Maverick Student Lodge
Read the full guide best hostels in Budapest – all hostels put on a handy map.
Insider Tips you should know
We’ve visited Budapest a few times and have collected a few tips along the way. You know, the kind of insider tips you only find out once you’ve visited a place, and the kind of things you wish you knew before you got there.
So, save some stress and glance over these handy insider tips…
We hate to break it to you, but once you’re out exploring and unless you decide to sit in and eat your food, you’re going to have to pay to use the toilet! We thought we’d mention it so you can take a strategic pee before leaving the hostel…ok, that’s a bit of a weird recommendation, but still…
Get the Airport Shuttle
Whilst many hostels offer an airport transfer, if you don’t have too much luggage, we recommend taking the Airport Shuttle. A single ticket costs 1,500 HUF and the number of the bus is 100E. They run every 10 mins 24/7 from outside the main terminal.
This is one thing we really wish we knew beforehand; slippers are mandatory at the popular thermal baths, including Széchenyi Bath. Make sure you take your own or risk spending over half the price of the entrance ticket for ‘official’ slippers which are nothing exciting or worth keeping.
Top tip: Hang around outside the main doors and approach people coming out to see if they’d be willing to give you slippers they no longer need. We did this and saved a lot of money this way!
If you’re travelling on a budget, this is a good thing to be aware of. The nicer, more fancier restaurants automatically add a service fee which you won’t know about until you get the bill. Keep this in mind and budget an extra 12.5% if you decide to eat out.
Summary of Cool Things to Do in Budapest
Still there? I guess you have enough inspiration now about what can you do in Budapest city. If you want more, then make sure you check out this bloggers guide to 5 days in Budapest. It even covers itinerary and a map.
Therefore, is time to start looking for the best deals to travel to Budapest.
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We hope this big summary of activities around Budapest city is helpful.
Here you have a map with all the activities we mentioned.
Do you have another cool idea for Budapest? Then leave a comment below.
We are always keen to help our fellow traveler, to improve this article and add more activities!
And now, have fun!
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