Five Must Do's in Budapest

Budapest, Hungary is certainly a gem in it's history, architecture, and remarkable things to do.  Be sure to cross these off your list on your next visit through Budapest, Hungary. 

“Budapest is a prime site for dreams: the East’s exuberant vision of the West, the West’s uneasy hallucination of the East. It is a dreamed-up city; a city almost completely faked; a city invented out of other cities, out of Paris by way of Vienna — the imitation, as Claudio Magris has it, of an imitation.” 

― M. John HarrisonThe Course of the Heart

Free Walking Tour & Pub Crawl

Free Walking Tour

Like most all cities in Europe, Free Walking Tours Budapest holds various guided tours to fit your interests. So discover Castle Hill, the Chain Bridge and the beautiful Parliament Building. 

Go for the The Original City Tour:

  • Show up with smile at Vörösmarty square (at the lion fountain)
  • 2.5 mile walk through the city
  • Both Buda and Pest sides are explored
  • There are two daily tours: 10:30am and 2:30pm
  • If you're interested in more specific tours, you can attend the also free Jewish or Communism tours. 

 The goal of the tour is to give tourists an inside to Budapest through the eyes of a local. Our tour day was a bit rainy and we were nothing less of soaked after the 3 hours! The guides are full of great information and always make it fun for everyone! 

More information on the tour here!

Pub Crawl

The Free Walking Tour group holds a nightly Pub Crawl; same gig - you show up to the square with a smile at 8:00PM and the group ensues on a fun adventure through Buda's pubs and bars.

  • Cost is 12 Euro
  • Each stop includes a unique shot or beer
  • Your guide takes you to the most popular places. They take crowd into consideration and make sure the group has room to sit or hang together!
  • Guides are fun, friendly, easy to chat with and help the entire group connect!
  • They even throw in tid-bits about Hungarian drinking culture!

We HIGHLY recommend this activity for at least one of your nights in Budapest. 

Here is the group after our 3rd stop (if my memory serves me correct):

The older couple in the middle are from California and purchased an apartment to stay part of the year in the city. When their friends come visit (here) they ALWAYS take their guests on this pub crawl because it's always such a fun time. Thumbs up! 

More info here!

Jewish Quarter and Ruin Pubs

Budapest's Jewish Quarter holds some of the most unique bars and pubs referred to as Ruin Pubs. The name speaks for itself as an abandoned building or old parking lot is turned into a eclectic bar/pub. 

You might just find a boat for seating in a Ruins bar. Smile needs a little work :) 

Just stroll from pub to pub during happy hour enjoying ridiculously cheap beer specials or dine at one of many restaurants on this street. 

Have a Drink at the Szimplakert Ruin Bar

This is like a must do within a must do, BUT The Szimplekert Bar was one of the most unique bars we have ever visited! A mix of computer screens, upside down chairs, and random anythings stuck on the walls. This is like a thrift store gone wild! 

First, take a few minutes and walk around the entire place and take it all in. Each section, room, and floor is completely different, there are different type of bars located in various corners of the ruin. There are a couple specialty food spots throughout the bar so you don't go hungry. You might even find yourself sitting in a tub couch (pictured) smoking a hookah while eating a large carrot!

I couldn't resist a carrot snack myself, I mean when in ruins, right?!

Soak in Hungarian Thermal Bath at Szechenyi Baths

A stay in Budapest is not complete, I repeat, NOT complete without quality soaking in a Hungarian Bath house. The Szechenyi is the one you must visit for the most traditional experience inside what feels like a palace.  

Inside the Bath house sporting our rented suits! Lesson learned... pack a swimsuit! 

Inside the Bath house sporting our rented suits! Lesson learned... pack a swimsuit! 

Some facts and tips:

  • The Bathhouse has 15 indoor pools (all varying temperature)
  • 2 enormous outdoor pools (again, different temperatures)
  • There are whirlpools with powerful jets that swirl you in circles around the pool perimeter
  • Lockers are provided at no cost and you can rent a swimsuit
  • There is a bar near the outdoor pool, but no drinks in the water!
  • After the baths, use one of the steam rooms or saunas
  • Or better, book a massage (this will cost you extra of course)

We decided to book the "couples massage" for a pretty penny, I mean why not spoil yourself once in a while? Come to find out the couples massage stands for simultaneous massage in completely separate rooms! So if you're looking for a romantic side by side experience, this isn't it. 

Hike up to Gellert Hill for a Stunning Overlook of Budapest

We can't deny a great viewpoint especially overlooking a beautiful city like Budapest. 

We recommend taking the Elizabeth or Green Bridge (Liberty) to the Buda side and enjoying a quick (20 minutes) hike up to the top, just follow the signs. At the top you will find an overlook as well as the Liberty Statue where you can snap some great panoramic shots of Budapest. 

In and Around Gellert Hill:

  • Gellert Baths are known to be one of the most beautiful baths in Hungary
  • Cave Church called St. Ivans Cave, a church inside a cave, now that's unique!

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SNACK ALERT! Everywhere you walk, there are incredible Gyro sandwich places. And at no more than $3 each, fresh and made on the spot, there's no way to resist!! (I mean look at that freshness!)

There is so much more history and beautiful places in Budapest that we couldn't list here. What was on your list that we missed? 


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