The 5 Best Things to do in Budapest
1. Relax at a Bath House
Budapest lies upon an area of natural hot springs. On top of these hot springs, many thermal baths and spas have been erected. I recommend trying out one or multiple of these bath houses.They are the perfect way to unwind in the city. There are many different bath houses to choose from; here’s what you need to know:
The largest and most famous bath house is Szechenyi Bath. Szechenyi Bath is over 100 years old and provides large indoor and outdoor spa areas. Standard entry will cost you between 6,000 and 7,000 HUF ($20 to $25). For an additional fee, you can get a massage or access to special parts of the bath house. You can buy entry online or at the door. For Szechenyi Bath, I recommend booking in advance, it can get very busy especially in high tourist seasons. For more information about Szechenyi Bath and booking details, click here.
There are several other options too, such as Gellert Bath, Lukacs Bath, Kiraly Bath, and Rudas Bath. My personal favorite is Gellert Bath, thanks to the rooftop hot tub which overlooks the city. All of the baths are similar in price to Szechenyi Bath. However, you may find that the smaller baths are less crowded than Szechenyi Bath.
2. Try the Street Food
Fortunately, most of Budapest is much cheaper than the bath houses. No better example of this exists than at the delicious Street Food Karavan located on Kacinczy Street, click here for directions. At the Street Food Karavan you can select from a wide range of delicious food. You can try traditional Hungarian dishes like goulash, to Thai food, vegan, or dessert waffles; there is really something for everyone. Prices range from 1,000 to 2,500 HUF ($3.50 to $9), a very good value for the portion and quality of food.
3. Go on a Walking Tour
One of the best ways to get your bearings in a new city is by taking a walking tour. Budapest is no exception. The English walking tour in Budapest runs twice daily at 10:00 A.M and 2:30 P.M. It meets at the steps of St. Stephen’s Basillica. You will be walked through both sides of Budapest, the Buda and the Pest side (yes, Budapest is really Buda and Pest). The tour itself is free, but it is expected you tip somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 HUF ($3.50 to $10.50). I recommend going on the 2:30 P.M walking tour. The tour ends at 5 or 5:30 P.M which means, If you are traveling in the fall or spring, the sun will start to set when you finish at Fisherman’s Bastion. At Fisherman’s Bastion you can capture some amazing panoramic views of the city.
4. Explore the Famous Buildings
Budapest has many famous and architecturally stunning buildings. It is well worth visiting these spots on your trip through Budapest. Here are my favorites:
Budapest Parliament Building
The Budapest Parliament Building may be my favorite building in Europe. The stunning facade seems to mix baroque and gothic architectural styles, making for one of the most unique buildings in the world. You can visit the inside of the building too (and get views from the dome), tickets must be bought online beforehand. For tickets, click here. A student ticket will cost roughly 5,000 HUF ($17) and a full price ticket will cost 10,000 HUF ($34). Personally, I recommend skipping the tour of the inside of the building and instead, marvel at the architecture from the outside.
Budapest’s largest and most famous church, St. Stephen’s Basillica is a must-see building in Budapest. The church’s golden mural sometimes catches the light just right, gleaming brilliantly. It is free to enter, so feel free to roam around the ornate interior of the basilica. Just make sure you are dressed appropriately, as they may not let you in if you are wearing shorts or a short skirt.
Matthias Church sits atop Buda Castle Hill, overlooking Budapest. It is adjacent to Fisherman’s Bastion, meaning you will have excellent views over the city nearby. As great as the view is, the church may be better; sporting one of the most stunning roofs in Europe. The church has a very unique interior as well, however, entrance will cost you 1500 HUF ($5.25) at the door.
5. Go on a Boat Party
Budapest is a party city, there is no two ways about it. You might as well enjoy some incredible views of the Danube as you party the night away. Boat Parties run in the summer, fall, and spring and take the winter off. Often times, hostels will organize boat parties, which is probably the easiest and cheapest way to get on one. However, if your hostel does not offer a boat party or you are not staying at a hostel, you can book tickets here. Tickets will cost you between 6000 and 9000 HUF ($21 to $31). I know, a bit pricey. Even so, I highly recommend going. It is well worth the experience and the views. Just take a look:
For more about Budapest, click here.