Budapest is an enchanting city filled with history, culture, and mouthwatering cuisine. This Eastern European gem has plenty to offer travelers with its thermal baths, historic architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. In this post, I will share the best things to see and do during your time in this splendid city otherwise known as The Paris of the East!

Buda Castle

Buda Castle, also known as the Royal Palace or Royal Castle, has a rich history dating back to the 13th century. This UNESCO World Heritage sight has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, serving as the residence of Hungarian kings and queens for centuries. The castle is perched high on a hill. You can access the castle by walking up the hill and then taking several stairs or you take the historic Castle Hill Funicular for a small charge of 4000 HUF. The Funicular was closed during my visit but I found the walk to the top to be not too strenuous!

Location: Buda Castle is situated on Castle Hill, which offers stunning panoramic views of the Danube River and the city of Pest
Cost: Free to visit, or a charge of 4000 HUF if you choose to take the Funicular.

Image of Buda Castle

Széchenyi Thermal Baths

After a day of exploring, pamper yourself at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. Picture this: lounging in naturally warm, mineral-rich waters while surrounded by stunning Neo-Baroque architecture. It’s the ultimate relaxation spot and the perfect opportunity to unwind, especially if your feet are sore from all that sightseeing! There are plenty of other thermal bath options, however, this is by far the biggest and my personal recommendation. If you want to check out other options, visit my post My Guide to The Best Budapest Thermal Baths.

When visiting I would recommend paying just a few euros extra for a changing cabin to make things that little bit easier. You are given a wristband that locks and unlocks the cabin so you can leave your belongings securely. It’s also mandatory to wear slippers or flip-flops so be sure to bring these with you. If you intend on using the lane swimming pool a swimming hat is required however you don’t need this for any of the other pools. There are a few bars at the bath where you can buy alcoholic or soft drinks (the mojitos are fab!) and snacks and there is a restaurant serving food. The food is pretty basic and won’t blow you away but will certainly tide you over if you are at the baths all day!

Location: The bath is situated in City Park (Városliget), near Heroes’ Square and Vajdahunyad Castle, on the Pest side of Budapest.

Price: €28 for a full day pass including a locker or changing cabin.

Image of Széchenyi thermal bath

Danube Promenade

As the sun sets, take a leisurely stroll along the Danube Promenade. Admire the breathtaking views of Budapest’s iconic landmarks such as the Chain Bridge and the Parliament Building illuminated against the night sky. Trust me; it’s a sight straight out of a fairytale.

Image of Danube Prominade showing bride

Take a Boat Trip on the Danube River

If you want to do one better than just admiring the illuminated sights from the promenade, book a boat trip of the Danube River. If you’re a prosecco lover like me, I’d recommend the Budapest: Evening Sightseeing Cruise with Unlimited Prosecco where you can witness the most important landmarks of the city as you sip on unlimited glasses of high-quality Prosecco! If you do choose to do a sightseeing cruise, I’d recommend booking an evening trip as the sights of the city are magical when illuminated at night!

Woman on a boat holding a glass of prosecco looking at the view of the Budapest Parliament building

Location: Danube River

Price: £21.20 (for unlimited prosecco cruise)

Visit a Ruin Bar

No visit to Budapest is complete without experiencing its legendary ruin bars. Ruin bars emerged in the early 2000s in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest, particularly in abandoned or derelict buildings left over from World War II. These buildings were transformed into eclectic, artsy, and bohemian-style bars. These bars are characterised by their eclectic decor, which often includes mismatched furniture, vintage items, street art, and quirky installations. They have a laid-back and alternative vibe, attracting a diverse crowd of locals and tourists.

There are plenty of ruin bars to choose from, some of the top-rated in the city are:

  • Szimpla Kert
  • Instant
  • Fogas Ház
  • Mazel Tov
  • Anker’t
Image of Budapest Ruin Bar

Parliament Building

The Hungarian Parliament Building, is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city and a symbol of Hungary’s rich history and culture. This impressive Neo-Gothic building along the Danube River is one of the largest parliamentary buildings in the world. Visitors can explore the Parliament Building on guided tours, which offer insight into its history, architecture, and political significance. Highlights of the tour include the Grand Staircase, the Dome Hall, the Session Room, and the Crown Jewels Exhibition.

Location: The Budapest Parliament Building, is located on the banks of the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary. It is situated in the Pest side of the city, near the district known as Lipótváros (Leopold Town).

Price: €25.90 (45 minute guided audio tour)

Fishermans Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion is one of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks, offering stunning panoramic views of the city, including the Danube River, Margaret Island, Pest side landmarks like the Hungarian Parliament Building, and Gellért Hill with the Liberty Statue. Built between 1895 and 1902, Fisherman’s Bastion was designed by architect Frigyes Schulek and serves as both a decorative fortification and a viewing terrace. Its name comes from the medieval guild of fishermen responsible for defending this stretch of the city walls during the Middle Ages.

The bastion consists of seven turrets, each symbolizing one of the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century. The Neo-Romanesque structure features fairy-tale-like towers, arcades, and stairways making it a great place for photographs!

Location: Fisherman’s Bastion is located in the Castle District (Várnegyed) on the Buda side of Budapest, near Matthias Church and Buda Castle.

Price: The lower level is free to access. Tickets to the upper level are 1000 HUF per person.

Image of Budapest Fisherman's Bastion

There you have my round-up of the best places to visit in Budapest to have the Buda-Best time! 😉

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  1. A captivating start that promises an exciting exploration of Budapest’s wonders! Looking forward to reading more.

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