5 experiences not to miss in Hungary’s Budapest

 

Often referred to as the Pearl of the Danube, or The Heart of Europe, these warm and rich labels sit at the core of Budapest. It’s rich in history and heritage, yet full of a youthful energy and vibrancy. A fizzing nightlife, great restaurants and a diversity of activities that include relaxing river cruises and thermal baths, ice skating, exploring cave systems and live action games.

Budapest City

Here are the 5 experiences you cannot miss during your stay in Budapest:

1. Budapest’s best view

The guide books of Budapest usually write about the views from the top of the Citadel, from the castle hill and from the top of the Saint Stephan’s Basilica. But you don’t need to climb up so high for an eye-catching view! Just walk to the middle of Margaret Bridge and be astonished by this gorgeous city! Another great spot is on the Buda side at Batthyány square – looking back at The Parliament house over the river is a sight you’ll never forget!

Budapest's best view

2. Ship ride and walk at Rómaifürdő

A ship ride on the Danube river to Rómaifürdő is a must. Ask a friendly local on the ship to show you the tourist attractions on your way. In summer time take a leisurely stroll at Rómaifürdő. It’s where the locals hang out, escaping from the city for a few hours rest under the shady river bank trees. There are many restaurants and bars but, if you’d like to taste something typically local, buy a lángos at one of the buffets!

Ship ride

3. Special vehicles tour in the Buda Hills

Start your tour at Széll Kálmán tér and take a short ride on tram no. 61 to Városmajor. From here take the Cogwheel Railway train to Széchenyi-hegy (Széchenyi Hill). Then take the Children’s Railway to János-hegy (János Hill), the highest peak in Budapest. The Erzsébet lookout tower offers panoramic views of the city and the Buda Hills. Finally, take the two-way Chairlift (Libegő) system, which offers a beautiful panorama along the way from János-hegy down to Zugliget.

Buda Hills view

4. Live action games

Live action games inspired by computer games and horror movies are mushrooming in Budapest. The mystic atmosphere is spooky but not frightening. The games combine riddles and physical tasks with the aim to escape from a room. To find your way out you need to solve various puzzles using creativity and common sense. The adrenaline kicks in as soon as the time starts. Few succeed but it’s real fun and an unusual way to spend an hour!

Live action games

5. Vibrant club and pub life

Kazinczy Street is not to be missed… beer gardens in inner atmospheric courtyards, tiny bars, and ruin pubs (which are unused, deserted buildings that have been turned into pubs). Don’t be afraid of the shabby exteriors… Lonely Planet voted Szimpla Kert the third best bar in the world! Also pop in to Kőleves, Mika Tivadar, Ellátó Kert and Bobek. And don’t miss Gozsdu Udvar’s trendy scene that’s bustling with life.

Bar

Now those are some pretty awesome and unique experiences! And, if you have time, there are many more. The outdoor ice rink at Heroes’ Square? One of the many thermal baths? Or the Christmas markets which run from mid-November to get you in the festive mood? Have fun and fall in love!

Andy McNulty is the Co-Founder of Vacation Insiders.

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Comments (8)

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  1. Nice post, I am planing to visit Budapest this year, the city and Hungary seem so so fascinating and I canđ’t wait to see it with my own eyes.

  2. Andrea Gerak says:

    This is a good compilation of things one can do in Budapest: concise, gives a variety, and indeed not as “touristy” as most of the usual guides.

    I would add 2 small points:

    1. To #1, the view from the other side of the river is also breathtaking, you see all the hills, the Castle, the Gellert Hill with the Citadela – and sunset.

    2. To #5, seek out a venue where they have live folk music&dance – you won’t regret and won’t forget.

  3. Thomas says:

    Never even considered Budapest as a place to take the family before. Not sure how the wife would feel but seems like a great place to try and explore. The club and pub life seems good but not something for me at the moment. Maybe a few years ago. The ship rides and the best views are something I think I could go for and those live action games sound interesting but a little creepy as well. That would be a fun way to spend an hour.

  4. Savi says:

    Love the fact that you’ve included the top of the Citadel in this post – I haven’t seen it in too many posts on Budapest but I absolutely love the view from there :-)

  5. Roseann says:

    I was there in March and October, and the highlight was Fishermans Bastion,especially at night, and overlooking the Parliament, which was lit up! Fabulous view.

  6. Andy McNulty says:

    Thanks for all the comments, it just shows how having a local’s view makes a difference, giving an insight that you don’t always find in guide books! Thanks to our friends Virag and Janos for this!

  7. Budapest was one of the easiest cities I’ve navigated and the standard of food was amazing. I particularly enjoyed the wine tasting under the Hilton in Buda Castle. It was a very enjoyable couple of hours with very good wines and an extraordinary setting.

  8. Adam says:

    We just went to Budapest over Christmas, it’s such a magical place. For us the best view had to be standing on the Fishermans Bastian at night looking out over the city.

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