Split along the Danube River, Budapest is a city full of life, warmth, and excitement, offering a break from the skyscraper life.
This is definitely one of my favorite cities to explore in Europe because there are so many things to do and places to visit in Budapest! The culture, the architecture, the people, and the food draw you in instantly and you will find it very hard to want to leave.
If you have the time in your travels, I highly recommend dedicating a long weekend or a whole week to your Budapest itinerary. Whether you love to explore during the day or go out during the night, there are activities and life at all times of the day for you to enjoy! Don’t rush when you visit Budapest: this beautiful city deserves your time and admiration!
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Here are my top 9 places to visit in Budapest:
1. Buda Castle
Located on the Buda side of the city, Buda Castle is a beautiful historical complex made up of the Royal Palace and the Palace District. It now houses 6 museums (including the Budapest History Museum) and beautiful gardens for you to explore and wander through. You can walk up to the castle or take the Funicular (cable car).
The views of the city and the Danube are amazing in the early morning or in the evening.
2. The Parliament Building
An iconic symbol of Budapest and a stunning architectural structure. The Hungarian Parliament Building is a beautiful sight and worth the visit, even if you can only see the outside (although the inside is just as impressive, if not more so!).
The best view is actually from the Buda side overlooking the Danube at sunrise or during the golden-hour of sunset.
Book tickets for a tour to the Parliament Building here, one of the best things to do in Budapest.
3. Fisherman’s Bastion
To be honest, Fisherman’s Bastion, or Halászbástya, is one of my favorite places to visit in Budapest (minus the crowds). Built in 1844, it still provides one of the best views of the city and the Danube river. For any Instagrammers or photography lovers, this is a great place to capture amazing shots.
I highly recommend getting here early in the morning to beat the crowds and witness the beautiful sunrise. By 8:00 am, it will begin to get crowded with tourist groups and tours.
4. St. Stephen’s Basilica
While walking around looking for places to visit in Budapest in the city center it will be hard to miss this beautiful structure. It is free to enter, but if you want to go up and see the panorama of the city, it will cost you 1,000 Ft (€3).
St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of my favorite spots for the view above the city!
5. Széchenyi Chain Bridge
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is just as iconic as the Parliament Building and Buda Castle. This beautiful stone suspension bridge has allowed traffic to pass between Buda and Pest for over 150 years.
Instead of taking the metro every time to cross to the Danube, I highly recommend going for a Danube promenade across the bridge at least once to admire these beautiful places to visit in Budapest. Go for an early morning stroll or evening walk and you will not regret the beautiful views. I guarantee it!
6. Central Market Hall
A one-stop-shop for local produce, groceries, and souvenirs. The Central Market Hall is one of the places to visit in Budapest frequented by tourists more than locals, but it is still a great place to shop and eat amazing Hungarian cuisine at a decent price.
I recommend going in the mornings between 10 am and 12 pm. You can also book a food or wine tour to explore the flavors of Hungarian food in the market too!
This is one of the best places for alternative travel in Budapest. Another option is a visit to Budapest’s ruin bars.
7. Citadella & Gellért Hill
This is one of my other favorite places to visit in Budapest! If you are looking for the perfect place to walk and get into nature and do some light hiking, Gellért Hill is the place to go. With a beautiful view overlooking the city and the Danube, it is worth the 15-minute walk up to the top.
At its peak, you will find the Citadella fortress where you can appreciate the view of the city and the other places to visit in Budapest, including Freedom Statue (or Statue of Liberty). The views of the city are amazing day or night!
8. Thermal Bathhouses
Looking for a break from all of your exploring? The Turkish thermal bathhouses are a great way to relax after walking through the city. You could honestly spend an entire day soaking and pampering yourself.
Gellért, Rudas, and Széchenyi are the most popular and always busy with other tourists. I went to Király as it was more of a local spot, less crowded, and a little cheaper.
9. Budapest Eye & Elizabeth Square
Take a ride on Europe’s largest mobile Ferris wheel and admire the panorama view of the city and the Danube. The Eye is located in Elizabeth Square – a hot spot for all ages to relax during the day, cool off in the pool and enjoy craft beers and food. There are always fun events or music concerts going on in the park no matter the time of year.
Are you on a tight schedule when visiting the Hungarian capital? I recommend catching one of the morning or afternoon free tours offered by numerous tour companies to check more places to visit in Budapest. This is a great way to still explore the major sites and learn about the history of the city.
Who recommends these places to visit in Budapest
Alexis Cannella was your Budapest travel guide and the budget travel blogger and storyteller behind The Soul Travel Diaries. She has traveled to over 50 countries across 7 continents and has circumnavigated the globe in a span of four months by ship. She inspires travelers through her travel stories, budget tourist attractions guides, and travel tips. She is currently living as an ex-pat in Indonesia teaching English!
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