30 Top Things to do in Budapest

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Budapest | 30 Cool Things to do in Queen of the Danube

Visiting Budapest?

Welcome! This comprehensive guide has all the cool things to do in Budapest. In this guide, you shall find the 30 best things to do in Budapest that makes the capital city of Hungary famous, alongside with best tips for timeless experiences. This flexible guide is ideal for a three-to-five-day visit to the capital city of Hungary.

With settlements dating back as far as the Stone Age, a turbulent history, an interesting mix of medieval ruins and architectural marvels, along with endless cobbled streets and alleys, Budapest is a city worth exploring to your heart’s content.


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This article and related articles are sprinkled with affiliate links. We may earn a commission from qualified purchases and bookings at no additional cost to you. These links have no influence on the editorial content we produce. Our travel to Budapest, Hungary was 100% self-funded.


TTS Team off-season travel to Budapest, Hungary

We visited Budapest recently during the last week of March, just before the onset of the travel season in Budapest which begins in April. Travelling off-season has its benefits — less crowds, shorter queues, easy availabilities at restaurants, and opportunities for people-free photographs. The downside — some attractions may be closed. This was okay. We experienced the best of Budapest during our almost a week stay at ‘Queen of the Danube.’


BEST TIPS: Book tours and tickets in advance: Best tours in Budapest. Select the Budapest City Card for free entrance to museums, a guided tour, discounts and unlimited use of public transport.


What is Budapest famous for?

Budapest | Things to do at Queen of the Danube
Hungarian Parliament Building at dusk

Budapest is famous for its spectacular architecture and rich culture. The Hungarian Parliament Building dominates the shores of the historic Danube River and the magical Fisherman’s Bastion on the hills of Buda overlooks the great river. The stunning Dohány Street Synagogue, a 13th century St Mathias Church, the celebrated St Stephens Church, Central Market, Underground Caves, Ruin Bars, The Shoes and thermal baths along with its natural hot springs. The city’s historic Chain Bridge has become the symbol of the city. To top it all off, is the city’s European and local delectable gastronomy.

Read: The Complete Guide to Buda’s Old Town District

Exploring Budapest, Queen of the Danube

Budapest has 23 districts and it is a stunning city. The Hungarian capital runs an efficient tram and bus system, along with a modern high-speed train system. If you wish to use the local taxis in Budapest, use the app, Bolt (similar to Uber or Lyft). Most of your time, you will want to enjoy the treasure trove of baroque and neoclassical architecture alongside a piece of the city’s intriguing past without boarding the buses or trams all the time.

An enchanting Queen of the Danube is also best explored at dusk and into nightfall. The city is lit up like one big party stage!

While Budapest has so many beautiful and fascinating sites to explore on both sides of the Danube, this list on the 30 very best things to do in Budapest is by no means an exhaustive list. You are sure to find additional experiences while travelling to Budapest.

Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

For a quick overview of the best of Buda and Pest, the Danube, and the city’s history, begin with a 3-hour guided city tour. Transport included. Check availability

30 VERY BEST THINGS TO DO IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

If you are ready to explore, here are the 30 cool things to do in Budapest, Queen of the Danube. We begin with attractions in Pest (East of Danube), the bridges, followed by the unmissable attractions in Buda (West of Danube River). If you have time, you could also escape the city for a day and I have included an easy day trip to Szentendre. These are highly recommended, easily doable experiences, accompanied by best, tried and tested tips.

UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCES IN PEST, EAST BANK OF RIVER DANUBE

1 | Széchenyi  Thermal Bath in Budapest

One of our highlights in Budapest was our morning visit to the Széchenyi Baths. The Széchenyi Baths and Pool in Budapest is the most popular and largest thermal bath in the city. It is set within a breathtakingly beautiful castle-like historic ornate building in the city’s largest green oasis, Budapest City Park. Experiencing the Széchenyi Baths is one of the best things to do in Budapest.

Europe’s spectacular medicinal bath was built in 1913, with a cupola, baroque pools, and healing spring waters that feed 18 pools. Széchenyi also features a range of wellness treatments, steam rooms and 10 saunas. The temperatures in the pool ranges from 18 °C to 38 °C

Where: City Park, Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary

Cost: Széchenyi Bath Fast Track with Private Cabin starts from €25.00, purchased at the ticket window.

1.1 Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips;

The best time to visit Széchenyi Baths and Pool in Budapest is first thing in the morning. It gets really busy from 11:00 onwards.

2 | Pre-book your visit online and avoid the queues. Spend as much of a full day at Széchenyi Baths and Pool in Budapest and, afterwards take advantage of complimentary tasting of Hungary’s famous spirit “pálinka” on an optional guided tour inside the Pálinka Museum.

Check availability to Széchenyi Baths and Pool in Budapest


2 | Budapest City Park

Occupying an area of 302 acres, Budapest City Park is the largest green oasis in Budapest where the first trees were established in 1751. The millennium celebrations of Hungary in 1896 took place in this park. The City Park is home to a multitude of things to see and do.

The entrance to Budapest City Park is the Heroes’ Square. Within a short stroll, you shall find lawns, lakes, museums, castles, botanical gardens, a zoo and the world renowned Széchenyi Spa (#1 above).

3 | Vajdahunyad Castle Budapest

Located within the City Park is Vajdahunyad Castle Budapest, regarded as one of the most beautiful castles in Hungary. The Vajdahunyad Castle is a large castle complex that is home to the most interesting of historic buildings in Hungary. This beautiful fairy-tale castle is surrounded by a boating lake (in the summer) which simulates a moat surrounding medieval castles or an ice-rink (in winter). The castle was built in 1896 in celebration of the 1000th year of Hungary. This incredible castle complex boasts several architectural styles from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

When visiting, look out for the medieval tower by the entrance which was modelled in Hunyadis’ medieval Vajdahunyad Castle in Transylvania.

Presently, Vajdahunyad Castle Budapest is host to the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture.

The outdoor surroundings of the castle are freely accessible. There is a statue of a hooded figure, Anonymous opposite the main entrance to the exhibition hall. Anonymous was a 12th century monk who is the unknown notary of King Béla III. He is credited as the author of the first Hungarian history book, Gesta Hungarorum.

Just a few steps away from the Anonymous statue is a restaurant/bar, Anonymous Étterem. Ideally set by the lake, where we went for lunch. It was a quiet afternoon and prior booking was not needed.

Fun fact: Apparently touching the sharp end of the monk’s pen will make you a better writer.

Where: City Park, Budapest, 1146 Hungary


4 | Heroes’ Square Budapest

Heroes’ Square Budapest is one of the prime squares in the city. The Square is located at the end of Andrássy Avenue, a boulevard dating back to 1872, and recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Buda Castle and the shores of Danube. At the Heroes’ Square, you shall find three main sites — Hall of Art, Museum of Fine Arts and the Millennium Monument.

The Millennium Monument includes two broad semi-circular colonnades with a central column. The central column stands at 36-metres high, topped by a statue of Gabriel, an archangel, holding a Holy Crown and two apostolic crosses. The colonnades on both sides hold bronze statues of Hungarian leaders


5 | Museum of Fine Arts Budapest

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Museum of Fine Arts Budaoest | view from Heroes Square | March 2022 timelesstravelsteps.com

Towards the east of Heroes Square, about a three-minute walk is the Museum of Fine Arts Budapest. The museum is home to a remarkable collection of European Art spanning from ancient times to the end of the 18th century. In particular, the Museum of Fine Arts has a rich Egyptian Art Collection along with a Classical Antiquities Collection.

Where: Budapest, Dózsa György út 41, 1146 Hungary

Open: 10:00 A.M to 6:00 P.M | Closed on Mondays


6 | Andrássy Avenue Budapest

The Andrássy Avenue is one of the most emblematic boulevards in Budapest that links Erzsébet Square, near St Stephen’s Basilica to the City Park Budapest. A historic street of 2.4 kilometres that was formed between 1870 and 1876.

Andrássy Avenue is lined with trees, spectacular mansions, townhouses and buildings of elegant architecture along with stunning facades. It is also one of the renowned streets for shopping and you will find all the high-end labels. Nicknamed the ‘Champs-Élysées’ of Budapest, this is a boulevard where you can shop till you drop, escape to a quintessential cafe for a quick pick-me-up or simply window-shop and people-watch as you walk along, what seems an endless array of shops. Andrássy Avenue has been acclaimed as a World Heritage Site since 2002.

7 | Hungarian Parliament Building on the Danube River Budapest

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The Hungarian Parliament Building Budapest

Located on the Kossuth Lajos Square, in the heart of Budapest is the Hungarian Parliament Building. Its main facade overlooks the UNESCO listed banks of the Danube River. This formidable, majestic piece of architectural marvel stuns visitors and is the busiest as well as the most intriguing of attractions to experience in Budapest.

The Hungarian Parliament Building has stood testament to over a hundred years of history. You can explore the secrets within the walls of this monumental marvel by joining one of the timed-tours.

The Parliament building in Budapest is colossal. Designed by Imre Steindl, who astutely incorporated key numerical facts into the construction to demonstrate the structure’s importance, hence making it extraordinarily unique.

7.1 What to see in the Hungarian Parliament Building when you join a tour

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Hungarian Parliament Building Budapest

The guided tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building allows you to discover the beautiful, sometimes jaw-dropping interiors. During your visit, you will experience the Central Dome, the magnificent Main Staircase, the Dome Hall, the Upper House along with the Lounge.

The central dome is 96 metres high, signifying the year Hungary was formed — 896 AD. The inviting Main Staircase has stunning frescoes by the Hungarian painter, Karl Lotz. The staircase has 96 steps, leading to a magnificent hallway. The spectacular Hungarian Coronation Jewels is showcased in the Dome Hall.

The priceless Hungarian jewel, the Holy Crown of Hungary or more popularly known as the Crown of St Stephen is displayed in the Dome Hall and guarded 24/7. The Crown dates back to 1000 AD and is a beautifully molded piece decorated with pearls and gems.

Additionally, the Hungarian Parliament Building has 365 towers, to represent each day of the year. It has 691 rooms, 28 entrances, 10 courtyards and 29 staircases.

The Hungarian Parliament Building tour takes 45 minutes and includes ten to fifteen minutes of security check.

Where: Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, 1055 Hungary

Open: 8:00 A.M

7.2 Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips:

1 | The Hungarian Parliament Building is a top attraction in Budapest. Avoid waiting in a long line to obtain tickets and book online before hand. Alternatively, you could go to the Visitor Centre at the Parliament Building, and queue for the tickets. You could purchase one if there are any left in your preferred language.

2 | Plan ahead and Book your Guided Tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building.


8 | Shoes on the Danube Budapest

Shoes on the Danube

Close-by to the Hungarian Parliament Building, along the banks of the River, stands sixty-pairs of shoes cast in iron and anchored to the ground. The shoes face the Danube River. Varying styles and sizes can be seen, representing men, women and children. A symbol that no one was safe at that time in history — not man, woman or child.

Shoes on the Danube is a poignant reminder of a horrific time in history, where hundreds lost their lives as a result of the atrocities of the Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during the Second World War. The militiamen rounded up Jews in Budapest on the banks of the Danube. The Jews were forced to remove their shoes before being shot into the Danube, where the waters would carry them away. Made of leather, shoes were a valuable commodity during the war and the militiamen would either sell them or use it themselves.

The memorial was created by film director, Can Togay, and was erected on April 16, 2005. A plaque reads:

“To the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by Arrow Cross militiamen in 1944–45. Erected 16 April 2005”

Where: Budapest, Id. Antall József rkp., 1054 Hungary


9 | Budapest Opera House

One of the most elegant places in the heart of Pest, is the Budapest Opera House (Magyar Állami Operaház). A magnificent Neo-Renaissance building built between 1875 and 1884 features frescoes, statues of Puccini, Mozart, Liszt, and Verdi along with gliding marble and plush chandeliers. This historical and cultural venue in Hungary opened its doors in September 1884.

The Budapest Opera House is worth a visit. You could purchase a ticket for guided tours online or see one of the scheduled performances.

Where: Budapest, Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary

9.1 | Timeless Travel Steps Best Tip: How to Visit Budapest Opera House

Join the Discovery Tour of Budapest — a small group guided tour of Budapest that includes a visit to the Budapest Opera House. With this guided tour, you visit all the highlights in Budapest and learn the history along the way. Enjoy a panoramic view of the Danube from the Fisherman’s Bastion.

The Discovery tour of Budapest is highly popular and numbers are limited. Check availability and book early>>


10 | Liberty Square Budapest (Szabadsag Square)

A large green space in the heart of Pest, not too far from the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Liberty Square is worth a stop for a quick respite. There are many significant memorials such as the statue of Ronald Reagan, Michael Jackson along with a controversial monument. The park is surrounded by banking houses and buildings of notable architecture. There is an interactive fountain in the centre where kids can play.

Where: Budapest, Szabadság tér, 1054 Hungary


11 | St Stephen’s Basilica Budapest

Things to do in Budapest

Named after the Hungarian beloved first king, Stephen, St Stephen’s is a Roman Catholic place of worship. It is the largest church in Budapest and home to Hungary’s most sacred treasure, ‘The Holy Right’ — the mummified right hand of King Stephen who died in 1038.

St Stephen’s Basilica was built between 1851 and 1905, displaying an incredible Neoclassical architecture. By far the most impressive is the 300-foot dome with striking architecture. Framed by two bell towers, the largest bell in Hungary hangs on the southern tower. At 96 metres (314 feet), you could also climb to the viewing terrace for splendid views over the city.

To the viewing gallery: 302 steps up or an elevator + steps;

Where: Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary

11.1 | Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips on St Stephen’s Basilica:

1 | Enjoy skip-the-line access along with a guided tour to St Stephen’s Basilica. Learn about its monumental artworks and an exclusive access to the dome for a panoramic view over Budapest. Check for availability now>>

2 | Listen to beautiful classical music in a unique venue, a timeless experience in St Stephen’s Basilica. Book your tickets ahead of performances>>

3 | Alternatively, experience an Organ Concert at St Stephen’s Basilica. The melody is performed by Kolos Kováts, one of the most famous and talented concerts and oratorio singers in Hungary. He received the Liszt Ferenc prize, Merit of Art and the Kossuth Prize. Check availability>>


12 | Cruise the Danube in Budapest

Marvel at the beauty and grace of this centuries old city when you embark on a Budapest river cruise along the Danube River in the evening. A leisurely cruise either during the day or evening makes a pleasant experience. Somehow, seeing Budapest from the waters makes the experience, special.

Budapest, also often known as ‘Pearl of the Danube’ or ‘Queen of the Danube’ is best experienced in the evening on a cruise. The grand buildings and the eclectic architecture are all beautifully lit in the evening. Watch a snippet of our experience along the Danube River – it was one of the best things in Budapest that we experienced.

Timeless Travel Steps March 2022

Most cruises take about 60 minutes for a complete loop. You will pass various landmarks including, the iconic Parliament Building, Buda Castle, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Elisabeth Bridge, Fisherman’s Bastian and the Liberty Statue on Gellert Hill.

There are several cruises you could select from and you could take a look here>>

12.1 | Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips about Cruises on the Danube River

1 | We went on a one hour evening cruise along the Danube with a welcome drink. The commentary was excellent, highlighting the landmarks along with its history> Check availability

2 | If you prefer, opt for the hop-on hop-off open top bus package which includes a river cruise. Select from 24, 48 or 72 hours ticket to suit your itinerary. Routes and stops are carefully designed to maximise your experience of the historic city. Select your option>

13 | Explore the Jewish Quarter in Budapest

The Jewish Quarter Budapest is located in the heart of Budapest, in District 7 and is encircled by Király Street, Erzsébet körút, Dohány Street, Károly körút. It is the smallest district in Budapest but has the highest population density. Known as the party district of Budapest, the Jewish Quarter exudes a lively atmosphere of modern day lives, trendy restaurants, street art and galleries along with old history and historic landmarks. This gentrified neighbourhood is home to world famous synagogues, eccentric ruin bars (Szimpla Kert) and quirky design shops while offering a wide selection of cuisines to indulge as well.

A visit to the Jewish Quarter almost always tops a visitor’s list and a popular stop for guided tours. The Great Synagogue is located at Dohány Street and, just blocks away is the Rumbach Street Synagogue built in 1872. The synagogue in Kazinczy Street is also interesting. Each synagogue is aesthetically different while The Great Synagogue is a ‘must-see’ landmark in Budapest.

TTS Best Tip: Visit Szimpla Kert, a place full of life that serves food all day long with music and a lovely garden;


14 | Dohány Street Synagogue Budapest

The Great Synagogue, more popularly known as Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest synagogue in the world. Without a doubt, this is one of the best things to do in Budapest, an unmissable site in Budapest and you may wish to add it to your itinerary.

The Dohány Street Synagogue features an inspiring 1200-metre-square hall in a splendour of coral red and gold leaf. It is split into two sections, with gallery seating for women and men downstairs.

On the outside, there is a mass grave that commemorates the 2000 Jews killed during the Holocaust. A little further down the corridor, there is Raoul Wallenberg Park with its metal willow Memorial Tree. Each leaf on the tree bears the name or number of a Holocaust victim.

The Great Synagogue is home to AM Rosenblum Jewish Museum. The Museum showcases the outstanding collection of Jewish artefacts including textiles, ritual silver and paintings.

In the basement of the Great Synagogue is the recently opened museum that tells the history of the Jewish Quarter, the persecution endured during the war, Ghetto, the Yellow Star Houses and much more.

14.1 | Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips for Visiting the Great Synagogue Budapest:

1 | You can only visit the Dohány Street Synagogue on a guided tour. Book your fast track ticket to The Great Synagogue before visiting and join the guided tour at the designated time. After the guided tour, you will have plenty of time to explore the museums and learn more at your own pace. Check availability and book your tickets>

2 | Jewish Heritage Walking Tour with a guide

3 | Jewish Cuisine and Culture walk in Budapest


15 | New York Café Budapest

New York Café Budapest | things to do in Budapest

Be transported to an era of elegance at the New York Café, Budapest, a meeting place for the local bourgeois. Built in Neo-Renaissance style with marble columns, sparkling chandeliers, stunning frescoes and gilded details, the New York Cafe is definitely a place to experience if you have the time.

The New York Café in Budapest opened its doors 128 years ago. It is a place for tourists to enjoy coffee, and dobos torte in an opulent setting.

Dine-in only.

Open daily: 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 A.M.

Where: Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9-11, 1073 Hungary


16 | Margaret Island Budapest

Margaret Island is a tranquil, green oasis within the capital city of Hungary. The island is rather small, measuring 0.5 kilometres wide and 2.5 kilometres in length. There are defined pedestrian paths around the parkland, jogging tracks, sports centre, and a swimming pool along with ruins of a 13th century convent and a musical fountain.

To reach Margaret Island, you need to either walk across the Margaret Bridge or take a taxi but the taxi will drop you off at the barriers to the park. No vehicles are allowed on the island.

17 | Margaret Bridge, Budapest

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Margaret Bridge in Budapest is the second oldest public bridge in Budapest and is a three-way bridge, connecting Buda and Pest across the Danube while also linking Margaret Island. The bridge leads to the banks of Margaret Island.


18 | Elisabeth Bridge Budapest

Elisabeth Bridge connects Buda to Pest on the narrowest part of the River Danube, spanning only 290 metres.

Named after their endearing Habsburg queen, Elisabeth, known as Sissi, Elisabeth Bridge was originally built without riverbed pillars. However, during World War II, the bridge was blown up in 1945. The bridge was beyond repair and a new bridge was commissioned in 1960. The new Elisabeth Bridge was built in the same place, standing on its old pillars with added width. It was completed in 1964.

19 | Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Budapest

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Széchenyi Chain Bridge spans the River Danube, connecting Buda in the west and Pest in the east of Budapest. Designed by William Clark, an English engineer and was built by Adam Clark, a Scottish engineer. The Széchenyi Chain Bridge opened in 1849 and was the first permanent bridge in Budapest.

19.1 | Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips on Bridges in Budapest

If you have the time, walk across at least one of the bridges when you are in Budapest. It is a great opportunity for some awesome photos. If you do not wish to walk through it, you do not have to. Hop onto a sightseeing bus, and enjoy the views that are ahead of you as you cross the Elisabeth Bridge – Gellert Hill and the Liberty Statue. It’s awesome!


UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCES IN BUDA, WEST BANK OF RIVER DANUBE

20 | Fisherman’s Bastion Buda

One of the best known attractions in Budapest is Fisherman’s Bastion. Built between 1895 and 1902, the Fisherman’s Bastion has seven turrets to represent the seven Hungarian tribes who founded the country in 896 AD. There is a Chapel inside the Fisherman’s Bastion.

The magical castle offers viewing points for stunning vista over the bustling Pest and the Danube River. You could watch the boats flow up and down the Danube, seek out the iconic landmarks such as the St Stephen’s Cathedral in the distance and admire the splendid Hungarian Parliament Building by the shores of the Danube.

The Fisherman’s Bastion Terrace Cafe offers spectacular views over the Danube.

views over the Danube from the Cafe Terrace, Fisherman's Bastion Budapest
views over the Danube from the Cafe Terrace, Fisherman’s Bastion Budapest

Open all year round.

The entrance is free. Balconies are accessible freely. Access to turrets and viewing points incur a fee.

Address: Budapest, Szentháromság tér, 1014 Hungary

20 | Timeless Travel Steps Best Tips: Fisherman’s Bastion

If you could, be here for the sunset.

Budapest | Queen of the Danube | timelesstravelsteps.com
View of the Hungarian Parliament Building on the Pest side from one of Fisherman’s Bastion viewing points

The changing hues of the mild and mellow light, the gentle tint of blue, pink, lilac amidst the evening winds are absolutely glorious and magical.

2 | Combine an evening visit to Fisherman’s Bastion with a historical-ridden evening tour of the Buda Castle District. This tour is about the bloody side of Hungarian history. Stories of draculas and vampires amidst the backdrop of Buda Castle at night, all lit up in gold. >> Check availability

3 | Join a daytime Walking Tour. Learn the city’s 1000 years of history, look out for hidden gems, explore the Buda Castle District and walk on the very old cobblestones of the Castle District. >> Check availability


Things to do in Budapest

21 | St Matthias Church, Holy Trinity Square, Buda

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St Matthias Church, Castle Hill Budapest

Just across from the Fisherman’s Bastion, is the slender and graceful architecture of St Matthias, a Roman Catholic Church. Believed to have been constructed in the 13th century, St Matthias is an important church with a momentous history. It has been rebuilt several times over the years, and has been pivotal for coronations of the Hungarian kings. With a height of 78 metres, St Matthias dominates the main square of the Castle Hill area. It has a splendid interior, showcasing one of the finest Gothic architecture of its time. The tower’s viewing points are 200 steps up.

Opens: Monday to Saturday > 9:00 A.M to 5.00 P.M.

Sunday > 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Where: Budapest, Szentháromság tér 2, 1014 Hungary

21.1 | Timeless Travel Steps Best Tip: St Matthias Church

Experience an extraordinary evening of classical favourites from Mozart, Bach, Saint-Saens by extraordinary musicians at a stunning venue.

Check availability of this sell-out event


22 | Buda Castle and the Gardens + Courtyards of the Royal Palace | Budapest

Buda Castle Budapest

The colossal Baroque Buda Castle seen today was built between 1749 and 1769. It has been rebuilt many times over the centuries since it was first built in 1265. Presently, Buda Castle is home to the Hungarian National Gallery, National Library and Budapest History Museum.

More popularly known as the Royal Palace, the castle is a magnificent symbol of the Hungarian capital city. Occupying an enviable position atop Castle Hill Buda, the Royal Palace dominates the city, giving an opportunity to enjoy stunning views over the Danube, Pest, and the iconic Chain Bridge.

22.1 The Gardens and Courtyards of the Royal Palace

Habsburg Gate and Steps

One of the entrances to the Royal Palace is via the Habsburg Gate. An ornate gateway dating from 1903. Beyond the gate, are the Habsburg Steps, which leads to the front of the palace where a statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy, hero of the Turkish wars stands.

Matthias Fountain

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Matthias Fountain Buda Castle Budapest

The Matthias Fountain is associated with a romantic story albeit a sad one.

The fountain portrays a young King Matthias Corvinus in his hunting attire, standing on the highest rock. The story goes that Ilonka, a heroine of a famous 19th century ballad by Mihaly Vorosmarty fell in love with this young and dashing hunter. She did not know that he was King Matthias. Upon finding out his status, Ilona felt unworthy of his love. She died of a broken heart. Ilonka is represented by the bronze statue on the right.

The gardens and courtyards are open every day 24/7.

National Gallery & History Museum : Tuesday to Sunday > 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. (Closes at 4:00 P.M. during autumn and winter).

22.2 | TTS Best Tip: Buda Castle

Buda Castle Walking Tour > learn all there is to the 1000 year old history of the oldest district in Budapest from a knowledgeable guide. Walk on some of the oldest cobblestones and be mesmerised with the stunning views over the Danube and Pest from Buda.

Check availability and reserve your place


23 | Explore Buda’s Old Town District

While visiting the Castle Hill area of Buda, stop for a moment at one of the best statues of St Stephen, the first King of Hungary. You can see the statue in the square between Fisherman’s Bastion and St Matthias Church. The impressive monument of an equestrian bronze statue was erected in 1906, with a pedestal of 5.4 metres high. Another notable space is the Trinity Square, where the amazingly beautiful Matthias Church stands gallantly. Within the Trinity Square is Trinity Column, the first foundation stone of which was laid in 1700.

24 | The Underground Labyrinth beneath Castle Hill

An intriguing part of exploring and discovering Budapest is the complex, and vast system of underground caves beneath Castle Hill. The caves date back to prehistoric times. The underground Labyrinth has a long known history of human use and has inspired many legends. Mixed with the general spookiness of the underground world, the caves are reputed to have been the home of Vlad Tepes, better known as Count Dracula.

24.1 | TTS best tip: Castle Hill Caves Guided Walking Tour

The length of the tour is approximately 1.5 km (1 mile), where you will walk through tunnels, limestone caverns and a 800-year old man-made cellars.

Book your unique experience at one of the most extraordinary caves in Hungary.

Georgina: This activity was closed during our visit in March – an activity which I very much wanted to experience. Something to look forward to, next time.


25 | Ride the historic Budapest Castle Hill Funicular

The Castle Hill Funicular links Adam Clark Square at river level to Buda Castle above. This historic funicular line opened in 1870. The journey is very brief, just 1.5 minutes. Rides are free if you purchase the Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing tickets.

Address: Budapest, Clark Ádám tér, 1013 Hungary

Open daily: 7:30 A.M. to 9:30 P.M.

26 | Gellert Hill and Monuments on Gellert Hill, Buda

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Gellert Spa, Budapest

Belonging to the Buda Hills range, Gellert Hill sits on a geological fault line at 235 metres high on a block of dolomite. Home to some of the city’s most favoured medicinal hotsprings and baths such as Gellért Spa and Rudas Baths. These hotsprings have been the centre of wellness, beckoning visitors from far and wide for centuries.

Castle Hill Buda Budapest things to do at Queen of the Danube | timelesstravelsteps.com

Additionally, Gellert Hill overlooks the Danube River and offers viewing points for incredible panorama over Pest and as far as you can see down the Danube.

26.1 | Monuments on Gellert Hill, Buda

The hill takes its name from Bishop Gellért. The bishop was rolled down to his death by pagans in 1046. A large statue of Bishop Gellért holding a cross was erected on the northeastern side of the hill, facing the Elizabeth bridge.

There are two other main monuments on Gellert Hill which are worth visiting: the Citadel built by the Austrians in 1851 and Statue of Freedom erected in 1947.

Visit also the Jubilee Park, put in place to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Hungarian October Revolution in 1956. The park is home to many shady pathways, flowerbeds and sculptures.

26.2 | Practical Information: Gellert Hill

1 | If you are walking from the Pest side, you could walk up Gellert Hill either from Elizabeth Bridge or Liberty Bridge;

2 | The path up via Jubilee Park is less steep.

3 | Take bus #27 and get off at Busulo Juhasz;

26.3 | Timeless Travel Steps Best Tip:

Don’t want to hike up or take the bus? Opt for the best deal > the hop-on hop-off tour bus.

The hop-on hop-off bus is the best way to see the city and go up to Gellert Hill if you do not wish to hike or walk all of the time. This ticket includes a guided walking tour and a cruise.

Learn more about this best deal and check availability >>


27 | The Cave Church, Gellert Hill Budapest

The Cave Church at Gellert Hill is part of a network of caves set within Gellert Hill. You can see the modern entrance to the cave as you drive past church to Buda Hill. The church is run by Pauline Monks, who were inspired by rock chapels in Lourdes, France. There is a replica statue of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Poland.

The cave was once home to a 9th century hermit monk, Saint Ivan. He used the thermal waters from a nearby muddy lake to heal the sick.

The Cave Church is located at the base of Gellert Hill, near the Gellert Hotel. Open daily with a small fee.


28 | Sunset over the Danube River and Pest from Buda

An unmissable experience in Budapest is to witness a sunset at Buda Hill. Buda has an enviable natural landscape where you can spot some stunning sunsets over the city’s iconic landmarks. Places like the Fisherman’s Bastion treat you to an extraordinary panorama over the Danube, Parliament building and Pest. You could also catch stunning views as you walk through the grounds and courtyards of the Royal Palace.



29 | Central Market Hall Budapest

The Central Market Hall is the most expansive, and oldest of indoor markets in Budapest. This historic market was built in 1897. Budapest Central Market offers a vast range of food stalls, from freshly sourced vegetables, fowl and meat, to wine, liquor and clothing. The top floor of the market hosts many restaurants, offering authentic Hungarian food.

Georgina:

Hungarian food in Budapest | things to do in Budapest | timelesstravelsteps.com
From the top right, clockwise: Hungarian beef goulash, slices of bread and Hungarian beef stew with roasted vegetables and fries.

“We had lunch here, at the Great Market Hall Budapest, one afternoon. It was a busy time of day, and we opted for a restaurant that had indoor seating and live music. We tried the Hungarian Goulash and Hungarian Beef Stew. The Goulash was served with bread while the options to accompany the beef stew were rice, baked potatoes or fries. It was a good meal.”


30 | Escape Budapest City for the day and Visit Szentendre

A little town on the banks of Danube Bend, Szentendre is one of the easiest day trips you could do if you wish to escape the cityscape for a day.

Szentendre is a perfect little town of winding cobbled streets, some dating back 2000 years. Buildings painted in cheerful pastel colours, little shops line the street, plenty of gelato shops, churches and galleries. The unmissable places are the Marzipan Museum and the Christmas shop.


… finally

Budapest has an enviable natural landscape, with stunning views across both sides of the Danube. Having admired the palace, the churches, the ornate architecture of the Hungarian Parliament building, the historic narrow alleys, the vibrant Jewish Quarter, unforgettable panorama from the Fisherman’s Bastion, I can firmly say that Budapest is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and should top a European visit.

My sincere wish is that this comprehensive guide is helpful to you in curating your very own itinerary. If so, use the links embedded in this article to book your activities. TTS earns a commission at zero cost to you for qualifying bookings. As always, we appreciate your continued support.

Have a splendid time in Budapest, xoxo

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