16 Things To Do in Budapest

Budapest, one of the most underrated cities in Europe is filled with stunning architecture, intriguing history and is a must on your next trip to Europe


Budapest is often called the Paris of the East and it’s for very good reason. Gothic spires stand tall on churches, cobblestone streets pave the way and the entire city has this cool laid back attitude...despite its troubled past.

Around every corner is a small hidden cafe, or a gem of a bar inviting guests in with their warm dim lights and the food is scene is simply delicious. The area still feels undiscovered, there are no big tour busses roaming around and except for the few groups of students visiting the hot spots, we felt like we were visiting someplace new, undiscovered and definitely worth return visits.


Photograph the Chain Bridge

Built in the 1800s, the Chain Bridge is one of the most ornamented bridges we’ve seen and certainly is a symbol of Hungary. With ornate sculptures and the glittering background lights of the buildings, this is definitely worth a stop, especially if you’re into photography


Step Back in Time at The Gresham Palace

Feel what it was like to live during a time of baroque glamour and visit Gresham Palace. Gawk at the striking vaulted glass ceilings and impressive mosaic work, which has all be carefully restored. Gresham Palace is now a Four Seasons Hotel however even if you’re not a guest, you can still pop in for some tea or just  stroll through the lobby. Read all about our stay there here.


Take in City Views at Fisherman's Bastion

At some point during your stay in Budapest, you must cross the Chain Bridge and check out Fisherman's Bastion. Named after the fisherman who protected the town during the middle ages, this is undoubtedly the best view of Budapest


Walk Around Buda Castle

Located on the Buda side of Budapest and built in 1265, this historical castle and palace complex was the home of the Hungarian Kings. Although royalty no longer resides here, the space is now a complex of museums open to the public.


Exlpore Matthias Church

Once you’ve crossed over to Buda and made your way to the Fisherman's Bastion, you can’t miss Matthias Church. Although it was originally built in Romanesque style, it was transformed in the 14th century into the neo-gothic beauty you see today, complete with towering spires and brightly colored tiles.


Visit the House of Parliament

Located on the Buda side of Budapest and built in 1265, this historical castle and palace complex was the home of the Hungarian Kings. Although royalty no longer resides here, the space is now a complex of museums open to the public.


Remember the Past on the Danube

Bordering the Danube and next to the Parliament Building is a somber yet touching sculpture, representing the shoes that were left behind by the Jewish people who were murdered during WWII. They were ordered to stand on the banks, take of their shoes and then were shot, falling into the river.


Wander around the Great Market Hall

This impressive inclosed steel structure is perhaps one of the coolest markets we’ve ever been to. Three floors occupy the hall and it’s filled with merchants selling their goods, from fruits and sausage to crafts and useless tchotchkes. Make sure to head stop on the top floor for some delicious street food!


Treat Yourself to a Spa Day!

With a spa culture so rich and plenty of thermal springs around, it’s pretty easy to find a way to relax in Budapest. If you’re like us and don’t care for touristy crowds, try visiting the spa at the Corinthia Hotel. It’s a bit more private, the treatments are relaxing and their indoor spa and pool area is heavenly.


Climb to the top of St. Stephens Basilica

For an impressive 360 degree view of Budapest, pay a few euros, climb some stairs and enjoy seeing Budapest from a completely different perspective!


Take a Walking Food Tour

One of my favorite ways to understand a culture is through their food! And Budapest has no shortage of creative and tasty dishes. After about 5 minutes of being in Budapest you’ll notice the obsession Hungarians have with paprika (red pepper) so take a food tour to try some things  you’ve never heard of! Check out our experience on a food tour here:


Try Lángos

I was first introduced to this delicious doughy, buttery, garlicky, deep fried pastry in Vienna and was obsessed ever since. Budapest does their own take on Lángos and you can get them fully loaded. The Italian in me went with cheese, prosciutto, tomatoes and arugula :) You can find stalls everywhere and the usually cost around 2 euros.


Indulge in Fine Dining

Wow, does Budapest have some incredible fine dining experiences, that aren't to be missed! Although there are several restaurants that have Michelin stars, one of our favorites is Costes Downtown. The atmosphere is casual and unpretentious (no tablecloths or white gloves here) yet the food is refined, creative and damn good! Check out our take on Costes Downtown here.


Head Over to a Ruin Pub for a Drink

Built in the ruins of derelict buildings and abandoned spaces, these “ruin pubs” are now a trendy and successful must do while in Budapest. The decor is always a bit chaotic and “hoarder chic” but that’s the charm...and the fact that you can still get a drink for a few dollars! The original and our favorite is “Szimpla Kert”


Taste Wine and Lots of it!

I never knew Hungary had such an incredible and vast wine scene. I dont know how to eloquently explain wine, so I’ll say this...they were all damn good! Production is pretty limited at the wineries, so indulge while you can, because chances are you wont find Hungarian wine outside of Hungary!


Just Walk Around

Budapest is a walking city and best seen on foot while getting lost on the cobblestone streets. The architecture is a mix of  Gothic, Roman, Art Nouveau and everything in between and the shops are as charming as they come, so don’t stay in your hotel room or apartment. Get out. Explore. Get Lost.