Pour yourself a coffee, you’re in for a good read with the extensive article ‘Budapest Attractions: TOP 30’. You’ll discover not just what to see in Budapest but also get coordinates, prices, opening hours, tips, and hacks for each location. This article will help plan your perfect route through Hungary’s capital. Plus, some advice might even save you time and money.

Budapest Attractions: General Information

Budapest offers more than what’s covered in this article. There are dozens of museums, hundreds of churches and religious landmarks, and architectural marvels at every turn in the city center. Just stroll around, look around you, and be amazed. Budapest should be seen with your mouth wide open.

So, if I’ve missed anything, it’s just to save you from reading until morning. Here are three more useful articles:

  • Budapest: Accommodation, dining, finding tours and excursions, cruises on the Danube.
  • Budapest Transport: Metro, tram, bus, where and how to buy tickets, making transfers.
  • Best Hotels in Budapest: The very best for reasonable prices and the extravagant ones too.
Mount Gellert what to see in Budapest
Hop on Hop Off sightseeing buses are popular in central Budapest. Details about them are in the article about the city’s transport, the link was mentioned earlier.

What to see in Budapest: Map

Below is a dynamic map showing all of Budapest attractions. You can click, zoom in, and explore all the details.

Buda Castle, or the Royal Palace

The castle of Hungarian kings was built in the 13th century. It’s an extensive palace complex that impresses with its size. It’s situated atop Castle Hill. Today, it’s primarily a luxurious palace rather than a fortress.

Interesting to know:

Many often confuse which bank in Budapest is Buda and which is Pest. Where the Buda Castle is located—it’s Buda. And the Hungarian Parliament—that’s Pest. Buda = Buda Castle, it’s easier to remember.
Sights Budapest Buda Castle
One of Budapest’s main attractions – Buda Castle
  • Coordinates: 47.49627725921356, 19.039555868569796
  • Official Website: https://budavar.hu/budai-var/
  • The exterior of the palace is accessible 24/7.
  • Outside areas, the Lion Courtyard, the Matthias Fountain, panoramic viewpoints of the city—are all free to access.
  • Plan for 30-60 minutes of your time.
  • As the palace is huge, inside there are several museums:
    • Budapest History Museum
    • Hungarian National Gallery
    • National Library
    • Saint Stephen’s Hall
    • and so on. Here, the entrance is paid, and there are operating hours

Author’s Rating:

10 out of 10. Definitely a top Budapest attraction and a city symbol. I don’t know any tourists who’ve been to the capital of Hungary and haven’t visited Buda Castle. It’s visible from everywhere, and from the hill, you get cool views of the Danube and Pest. Plus, you should plan at least half a day for this part of the city. Besides Buda Castle, there are many more attractions within walking distance.

Hungarian Parliament

Another symbol of the city, and the building is no less grand and impressive than the Royal Palace. We’re talking about the Hungarian Parliament. It’s a relatively modern building constructed at the beginning of the 20th century specifically for Hungary’s main legislative body. No kings or noble persons ever lived here.

In the evening, it’s beautifully illuminated. The best views are from the opposite side of the Danube.

Hungarian Parliament Budapest
The largest building in Hungary, fully captured in frame only from the other side of the Danube.
  • Coordinates: 47.5070862180797, 19.045473071082693
  • One wing operates as the parliament today, while tours are conducted in another. Price: 25 euros.
  • Operating hours from 8 AM to 6 PM, until 4 PM on weekends.
  • Outside, the parliament is open 24/7 and free.
  • I recommend allocating at least 30 minutes for it. Come here during the day and in the evening. The impressions are entirely different in the dark.

Author’s Rating:

10 out of 10. A Budapest attraction from the must-see list. If you’ve been to Budapest and haven’t seen the Parliament building—consider you haven’t been to Budapest at all. And for those unaware, the Hungarian Parliament is the largest building in Hungary, even bigger than Buda Castle.

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Built in 1849, it’s the first bridge in Budapest across the Danube; before that, there were only ferry crossings. The Chain Bridge was considered a technical wonder at its opening and served as a catalyst for the economic and political unification of the two cities, Buda and Pest.

Interesting fact:

The Chain Bridge is 24 years older than Budapest. Budapest was founded in 1873. Also, in 2001, for the first time, a light aircraft flew upside down under this bridge. Since then, this stunt has become the standard for aerial acrobatics.
Chain Bridge budapest
At night, the columns of the Chain Bridge are illuminated in the colors of the Hungarian flag. Overall, Budapest is much more beautiful at night than during the day. Both the Parliament and Buda Castle are very beautiful when illuminated at night.

Author’s Rating:

10 out of 10. Another main attraction and city symbol. It’s better to come here after sunset. The most beautiful photos include the Buda Castle in the frame, and if you cross to the other side and climb a bit to Castle Hill, you’ll have a view of the Hungarian Parliament building.

River Cruise on the Danube at Sunset

A highly popular activity, hundreds of boats and ships take tourists on cruises along the Danube. It’s like cruising the canals of Amsterdam or Venice—cool, atmospheric, and a must for every tourist.

Here are some tips for a more enjoyable river cruise: opt for evening cruises. Budapest is beautifully illuminated at night; the daytime views aren’t as captivating. It’s not just about the cruise; there are ones with cocktails and Hungarian cuisine dinners. I wholeheartedly recommend those.

river cruises on the Danube in Budapest
Best time for a Danube river cruise: sunset and after.
  • The boats start along almost the entire Budapest waterfront, but most of them are near the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, from the Pest side.
  • The typical cruise lasts 60 minutes if it’s the standard daytime one. If you opt for an evening cruise with dinner, it’s about 3 hours.
  • A wide range of Danube river cruises. Evening cruises with a welcome drink start from around 11-13 euros, which is quite affordable. There are cruises with unlimited prosecco for 25-35 euros and ones with a full dinner and live music for around 70 euros.
  • It’s better to book tickets online. At the location, especially for popular hours, there are hardly any available spots. Plus, not everyone can stroll along the waterfront to choose a program and time. The boats start from different parts of the waterfront from various piers, so walking might not cover it all.

Author’s Rating:

9 out of 10. Strongly recommended for those with limited time in Budapest. You’ll traverse the entire city center in an hour and see the main attractions. If you’re in Budapest for 4-5 days, you could probably cover all the important locations on foot. However, if you have the desire, a Danube cruise will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.

Fisherman’s Bastion

An architectural marvel on the edge of Castle Hill, built at the beginning of the 20th century. Its main purpose was to adorn the background of St. Matthias Church. Despite its name, the Fisherman’s Bastion never served a defensive function. It gets its name from the fishermen’s houses that used to be between the bastion on the hill and the Danube.

Fisherman's Bastion Budapest
The Fisherman’s Bastion was never truly a bastion.
  • Coordinates: 47.50218707584762, 19.034784337374166
  • The Bastion consists of a two-story gallery with columns. Part of it is free to access, while the other part requires payment.
  • Ticket price: a little over 3 euros. However, it’s more worthwhile to pay for the entrance to St. Matthias Church. In the free section, there are also spots with beautiful views of the city and the Danube.
  • Access to the Fisherman’s Bastion is open 24/7.
  • Plan about 10 minutes for this Budapest attraction. If you do decide to visit the paid section, add 10 minutes for that and another 15 minutes for queues at the ticket counters.

Author’s Rating:

9 out of 10. If you begin your Budapest exploration from Castle Hill and the Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the first attractions, it’ll have a ‘Wow’ effect. But if you’ve been in Budapest for a while, it’ll be another architectural marvel, the twentieth or thirtieth one you encounter.

Castle Hill Funicular “Budavári Sikló”

The railway funicular starts near the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and takes you to Castle Hill right up to Sandor Palace and Buda Castle. The funicular was built in 1870, but during World War II, it was bombed. It was fully restored to its original form and reopened only in 1986.

Budapest funicular
The Budavári Sikló funicular. A controversial Budapest attraction.
  • Coordinates of the lower station: 47.497916930909426, 19.039772588326006
  • Brief technical specs:
    • Only 2 cabins work in counterbalance. They simultaneously depart from the upper and lower stations.
    • Each cabin accommodates 24 people.
    • The entire length of the funicular is 95 meters! The hill’s height is 49 meters. The one-way trip takes 100 seconds, less than two minutes.
    • Ticket price: 4000 forints (more than 10 euros)

Author’s Rating:

4 out of 10. 10 euros for a 1-minute ride is a bit much. Besides, there’s a pedestrian staircase to the hill; you can ascend leisurely in 5-7 minutes. The funicular is mostly used by elderly tourists, families with small children, and those for whom 10 euros is insignificant.

Sandor Palace

The upper station of the Budavári Sikló funicular is right at the square in front of Sandor Palace. The palace was built in 1806 for the work of Hungary’s Prime Ministers. During World War II, it was completely destroyed. It was only restored in 2002! For almost 60 years, it was in ruins. Since 2002, Sandor Palace has been the official residence of the current President of Hungary.

Presidential residence in Hungary
In the photo, Sandor Palace is clearly visible; the glass building on the right is the upper station of the Budavári Sikló funicular, and the square in the center is where the changing of the guards ceremony takes place.
  • Coordinates of the palace: 47.497737665193505, 19.038095648965562
  • The palace is closed to visitors but is freely accessible 24/7 for outside viewing.
  • Right at the main entrance, there’s a square (in the photo above) and viewing platforms overlooking the city from the top of Castle Hill.
  • Also, every day at 12:00 on this square, there’s a changing of the guards ceremony. The entire process takes about 7 minutes and is free. Don’t be late.

Author’s Rating:

5 out of 10. The palace doesn’t offer anything particularly special. The only thing that might catch a tourist’s attention: panoramic viewing platforms and the changing of the guard ceremony. But there are viewing platforms all over Castle Hill.

Interesting Article: Palaces, Fortresses, and Castles in Hungary Worth Your Attention. Spoiler: Sandor Palace isn’t there 🙂

St.Matthias Church

They built this Catholic church for the kings of Hungary back in the 14th century in a Gothic style. It’s a rare architectural style for Hungary, so the Matthias Church stands out among the other buildings in Budapest. Throughout its history, it was captured by the Turks, plundered, and completely burnt down. It’s situated about 20 meters away from the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Matthias Cathedral Budapest
Matthias Church.
  • Coordinates: 47.50195825885937, 19.034161859334006
  • It’s accessible from outside round the clock and is free. The evening lighting is beautiful.
  • Entry to the church is paid. The price is 2500 forints (around 7 euros) for the church and an additional 2900 forints (8 euros) for the tower. You can buy a ticket just for the tower. Walking up: 200 steps and an ascent of 48 meters. One of the best panoramic viewpoints over all of Budapest.
  • Opening hours: from 9 AM to 6 PM or 5 PM, depending on the season.
  • Plan 30 minutes for the tower and 20-30 minutes for the church interior.
  • Official Website (where you can buy tickets to avoid long queues): https://matyas-templom.hu/prices
cathedrals of Budapest
Matthias Church inside

Author’s Rating:

9 out of 10. An incredibly impressive sight in Budapest, both from the outside and inside. I’m not particularly fond of religious landmarks, but this one surprises and amazes. The most common question: what’s better, visiting the church for 7 euros or the tower for 8? By the way, you won’t find a better viewpoint over Budapest. But with the choice, I won’t help, decide for yourselves. Note that the ascent might be tough for people with weaker physical fitness or various heart conditions.

Gellért Hill, Citadel, and Statue of Liberty

Another Budapest attraction, I’d even say, several attractions. It’s in Buda on the same side of the Danube as Buda Castle but a bit more south. Gellért Hill has a park, plenty of benches, beautiful city views, and an excellent playground. At the summit of Gellért Hill, there’s the Statue of Liberty (Hungarian, not the one from New York) and the Citadel fortress.

Gellert Statue Liberty Budapest
Photo of the Gellért Hill in 2023. The Citadel, and in front of it, the Statue of Liberty. Currently, everything is closed. But the hill itself and the park are open for free visits.

Author’s Rating:

1 out of 10. In the fall of 2023, the Citadel and Statue of Liberty closed for renovation for about a year and a half. Tourists have access only to the park. The park is quite ordinary, like all other parks. When they reopen the hilltop after the renovation, I’ll update the article and rating. But for now, there’s not much to do here, and there are plenty of viewpoints at attractions mentioned in this article above. If you visit this place and the hilltop is open, please write in the comments.

Pauline Monastery and Gellért Cave

Two different Budapest attractions located in the same place. Actually, there are three: also the Church of Our Lady in the rock. For enthusiasts of religious landmarks, I recommend this. Outside, the entire complex is free to access. The atmosphere adds to the fact that everything is inside a cave.

cave monastery Budapest
Here’s how the Pauline Monastery and Gellért Cave look from the Danube side. The entrance to this complex is from the left.
  • Coordinates of the entrance: 47.484854262687186, 19.05215141904227
  • Outside, these attractions are accessible for free and are open round the clock.
  • Ticket price to enter the cave and monastery: 850 forints (a little over 2 euros)
  • Opening hours: from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM
  • Official Website of the church and monastery: https://sziklatemplom.hu/eng/. You’ll also find the schedule of services for those interested.

Author’s Rating:

5 out of 10. This is a case where the outside is much more interesting than the inside. But I’m not particularly fond of religious themes. If such attractions interest you, then of course, 2 euros is not much to limit yourself, boldly go inside. For everyone else, it’s enough to admire these architectural marvels from the outside.

Liberty Bridge

One of Budapest’s three main bridges over the Danube, connecting two districts of the city, Buda and Pest. Built in 1896, it was blown up by German forces in 1945 and restored a year later. Each of the bridge’s four masts features a bronze statue of turul, a bird from Hungarian myths, a messenger of the gods, and a symbol of Budapest. Additionally, the smallest monument in Budapest (actually not the smallest, there are smaller ones) is installed here.

Freedom Bridge in Budapest
Liberty bridge

Author’s Rating:

9 out of 10. Let me explain why such a high rating for an ordinary bridge over the Danube. Buy some wine or beer, cheese, Hungarian sausage, come to Freedom Bridge at sunset. Have you seen in the photo above the steel beams in the center of the bridge bend as low as possible to the pedestrian part? At sunset, many couples sit right on these beams, enjoying the Danube, Gellért Hill, passing boats, and sipping wine. You could be among them.

I’ll also tell you something not many know. There’s this Ukrainian sculptor, Mykhailo Kolodko, originally from Uzhhorod, now living in Hungary. He creates tiny sculptures and places them all over Budapest (and previously in Uzhhorod). Very cool stuff, finding them is a separate quest. And on Liberty Bridge, there’s a sculpture of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I. Here’s your task, find it.

Hint: if you’re walking from Pest to Buda (toward Gellért Hill), the sculpture is on the railings on the right side of the bridge. For a clearer idea of what to look for, check the photo below. And if you find it, write in the comments of the article, “Thanks to the author for the tip” 🙂

Miniature sculptures in Budapest
This is how the monument on the railings of Liberty Bridge looks. In the background, you can see Gellért Hill, and at its summit, the Statue of Liberty.

Central Market Hall of Budapest

A market is a place where you can learn many things about a country right away. Real travelers come to the city market first. Here, you’ll learn about prices, what the country lives on, and see some traditions and customs. In short, the market is a must-visit for every tourist. Specifically, this one is right near Freedom Bridge, with a huge variety of souvenirs, rows of vegetables, fruits, meat where locals shop. And on the second floor, there are many cafes with Hungarian cuisine dishes: you’ll definitely taste a real goulash here.

  • Market coordinates: 47.4870876300945, 19.05848056447636
  • Operating hours: from 6 AM to 6 PM. In Hungary, most markets open this early; some even start at 5 AM.
  • I recommend the market as a very colorful sight in Budapest. Buying souvenirs and having lunch or dinner here is quite expensive. There are plenty of places where it’s cheaper.
  • Plan about 30-40 minutes to stroll through the rows; you can buy vegetables or fruits with average prices here.
market budapest
This is how the Central Market Hall of Budapest looks from the street (main entrance) and inside.

Author’s Rating:

7 out of 10. The market is in a beautiful historical building. There’s a wide variety of everything here. We often buy vegetables and meat here. But anything for tourists like souvenirs, fast food – it’s really expensive, seriously pricey. Anyway, visiting is a must, but whether to buy something at the market or not, that’s up to you.

Elisabeth Bridge (Erzsébet)

A suspension bridge over the Danube, one of Budapest’s three main bridges. Built in 1903, at the time of its opening, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world! The span was 290 meters long. Don’t confuse it with the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, which was built earlier and was also the world’s largest at the time of its opening. But the Széchenyi Chain Bridge is chain-structured, while Elisabeth Bridge is suspension. They say they’re different constructions, according to architects. As for me, they look very similar 🙂 The bridge is named after Empress of Austria – Elisabeth of Bavaria, the one known as Sisi.

Elisabeth Bridge budapest
This is Elisabeth Bridge.

Author’s Rating:

4 out of 10. The least remarkable bridge in Budapest. I think Széchenyi Chain Bridge and Liberty Bridge are much more interesting and unique. But Elisabeth Bridge is in the city center, so it’s highly likely you’ll either walk over it or sail under it on a boat if you take a Danube river cruise.

Széchenyi Thermal Baths

No need for extra words, it’s the city’s symbol, its main and one of the most visited attractions in the country. Széchenyi Thermal Baths are a place that almost every tourist visits.

Széchenyi Baths what to see in Budapest
Main outdoor thermal pools in Széchenyi Baths. Open all year round.

Author’s Rating:

A stretch, but 8 out of 10. Széchenyi Baths – pure marketing. Yes, they’re cool, but certainly not the best. The whole problem is that 90% of tourists don’t even know that Hungary has 1300 thermal baths! That in Budapest alone, there are about two dozen thermal baths. There are ones no worse than Széchenyi Baths, maybe even better. At Széchenyi Baths, there are a lot of people. If you want more information, the link to the detailed review was mentioned earlier. If you’re ready to visit 2-3 Budapest baths, then go to Széchenyi, but if you have only one day and need to choose one bath, I’d go to Gellért or Rudas.

Gellért Baths

In my opinion, these are the best baths in Budapest, but not the best in Hungary. By the way, I’ve visited over 40 Hungarian baths. Gellért Baths are the main competitor to Széchenyi Baths. These are lesser-known baths, meaning there are fewer people here. There are differences between these two baths. In short, Gellért Baths have a much more beautiful interior and larger indoor thermal pools compared to Széchenyi, which has more outdoor baths but not much to do inside.

  • A comprehensive report on Gellért Baths, along with a bonus review of Rudas Baths, also very cool, with a rooftop outdoor pool overlooking the Danube.
  • Coordinates: 47.48374, 19.05162
  • Official Website: https://www.gellertfurdo.hu/
  • Operating hours: from 9 AM to 7 PM, in summer until 9 PM.
  • Ticket price: Depending on the day of the week and season, it ranges from 25 to 35 euros.
Sights of Budapest thermal baths
Bath pool at Gellért Baths.

Author’s Rating:

10 out of 10. I can’t stand crowds of people. In Széchenyi Baths, there are just too many people. At Gellért Baths, there are far fewer visitors, more thermal pools, and the interior architecture is more beautiful. Personally, if I had to choose, I’d definitely choose Gellért. But I don’t impose my opinion on anyone. If you’ve never been to such places, Széchenyi will still amaze you; aside from the crowds, it’s very cool and classy here.

I recommend reading the article: “Best Thermal Baths in Hungary,” where you’ll learn about the world’s largest thermal lake and cave baths, among many other things.

Vajdahunyad Castle

A very Instagrammable and cool attraction in Budapest that would adorn any social media feed. If you didn’t know the history, you might think it’s a castle from the 13th or 14th century. But in reality, in 1896, for a grand celebration, they built a castle in a Romanesque style using wood, plywood, and papier-mâché. After the festivities, they demolished it, but the people of Budapest loved it so much that they rebuilt it, this time from stone. Look at the photo below; who would say these are just ordinary decorations to beautify the city?

Vajdahunyad Castle what is
Vajdahunyad Castle
  • Coordinates: 47.51488, 19.08305
  • The castle grounds are open to everyone for free. Inside the castle building, there’s an agricultural museum, but there’s not much to do inside. Remember, it’s all a façade, and it’s beautiful only on the outside.
  • On state holidays and national celebrations, there are always cool events here, medieval musicians playing, and mulled wine sold in winter. An overview of Hungarian holidays and traditions.
  • You can plan about half an hour for the park and an outside view of the castle. Opposite the castle on the other side of the river, there are benches with great views. You can relax there, have some wine and sandwiches, and enjoy the moment.

Author’s Rating:

10 out of 10. Despite it all being a façade, the place is very cool. The castle was built so well that there’s not a hint of doubt that it’s not real.

Зоопарк Будапешта

Despite Hungary being a small country they really love zoos here. Almost every city with a population of over 100,000 has a full-fledged zoo, not just a mini-zoo with sheep and ducks, but with lions, giraffes, rhinos, hippos. And of course, the leader of this rating is Hungary’s largest zoo – the Budapest Zoo.

budapest zoo prices
For those who’ve come to Hungary with kids, I highly recommend the zoo, and right nearby is the Budapest Circus. Even if you’re without children and haven’t been to zoos for a long time, go ahead and visit.

Author’s Rating:

8 out of 10. A cool zoo, a large area, and big enclosures. The most important thing is that the animals look healthy and lively, and the enclosures are clean and well-maintained. Pleasant to look at. Overall, you won’t see anything extraordinary for a zoo, but if you’re traveling with kids, you can confidently come here; they will definitely enjoy it.

Shoes on the Danube Bank

A sad part of Hungary’s history. A memorial to the victims of the Holocaust during World War II. Here, on the Danube bank, Hungarian Nazis in 1944-45 carried out mass shootings of Jews. To avoid digging graves, they shot people right on the bank of the Danube. To save bullets, they tied everyone together, lined them up, and only shot the first person. They forced them to remove their shoes beforehand, and after the shooting, they sold them in the market. Tens of thousands of people were shot here.

Shoes on the Danube
A sad page in Hungarian history that should not be forgotten.

Author’s Rating:

10 out of 10. This is a very emotional place. If you don’t know the history, everything doesn’t seem so sad. But when you know what happened here just 75-80 years ago, you understand how cruel humans can be. It wasn’t that long ago, not 500 years ago, not 1000. There are still people alive who witnessed these events.

St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István)

One of Budapest’s main religious attractions. The basilica is built in the Neo-Renaissance style, shaped like a Christian cross. It stands at 96 meters tall, similar to the height of the Parliament, making them the two tallest historical buildings in Budapest, not counting modern skyscrapers.

best places to visit in budapest
Also, each year from late November to December 31st, Hungary’s main Christmas market takes place in the square in front of this Basilica.

Author’s Rating:

7 out of 10. On one hand, it’s an impressive religious structure with lavish decorations inside, plus a stunning observation deck at 70 meters high. But on the other, in Budapest, nearly every third building is a church or cathedral, and there are only two free observation decks in Budapest. If you love religious sights and don’t mind spending 12 euros, go ahead, you won’t regret it. For everyone else, seeing the basilica from the outside will be enough.

Andrássy Avenue

Budapest’s main boulevard, the capital’s grand street. There are many beautiful buildings, shops, and museums here. Just stroll around and admire the beauty.

  • Coordinates of the avenue’s center: 47.50774892770671, 19.06706501324807
  • The entire length of the avenue is 2.3 km from start to finish, located in the Pest area.
  • You can leisurely walk the whole avenue in about 40 minutes.
what to see and visit in budapest
Andrássy Avenue is on the left

Author’s Rating:

3 out of 10. There’s no wow factor. It’s just a boulevard. Even in Budapest, there are streets much cooler and more beautiful. It’s not worth spending time on this attraction. Many buildings were constructed after the war. If you’re walking from central Budapest to the famous Széchenyi Baths, you’ll happen to pass through Andrássy Avenue; it ends just 300 meters from the baths. If you miss this Budapest attraction, you won’t miss much.

House of Terror

A museum dedicated to the genocide of the Hungarian people and the history of Hungary in 20th century. Initially, it was the fascist occupation and dictatorship, followed by the Soviet era after World War II. The museum commemorates a sad chapter in the country’s history.

house of terror in budapest
The House of Terror is on Andrássy Avenue, impossible to miss.

Author’s Rating:

5 out of 10. Yes, it’s the country’s memory, but it’s a very heavy place. The horrors that humans can inflict on each other are shocking. Earlier, there was a story about the “Shoes on the Danube”, depicting how Germans executed Jews in Budapest, to give an idea of the museum’s exhibitions. The entire museum focuses on such themes. If it interests you, go ahead and visit.

Hungarian State Opera House

The Hungarian Opera House – that says it all. A must-visit for opera lovers and enthusiasts. Tickets need to be bought well in advance. The opera house’s building is beautiful both inside and out.

  • Coordinates: 47.50272275254929, 19.058323909861304
  • Official Website: https://www.opera.hu/en/programme/. You can buy tickets and book tours of the opera there.
  • Tickets for performances sell out six months in advance. Prices start from 80-90 euros for the farthest seats in the hall. Art these days doesn’t come cheap.
  • A 60-minute tour of the opera house costs 9000 forints (25 euros).
hungarian opera budapest
Hungarian Opera. Tickets must be purchased six months in advance

Author’s Rating:

7 out of 10. The opera house’s exterior is undoubtedly beautiful, but there are many such buildings in Budapest at every turn, and each subsequent one is more luxurious than the last. If you’re going here, it’s either for a tour or a performance. Inside, the opera is opulent. It all depends on your desire, finances, and planning. Not everyone can buy plane tickets six months in advance, let alone opera tickets in another country.

Heroes’ Square

Heroes’ Square is Budapest’s main or one of the main squares. It’s situated at the end of Andrássy Avenue, near the zoo and Széchenyi Baths. The square is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In the center of Heroes’ Square stands the Millennium Memorial with the archangel Gabriel and statues featuring the Seven chieftains of the Magyars and other important Hungarian national leaders.

Heroes Square budapest
Heroes Square in Budapest

Author’s Rating:

7 out of 10. It’s unlikely you’ll pass by Heroes’ Square if you’re on a sightseeing tour of Budapest or visiting Széchenyi Baths. Either way, you can spare about 10-15 minutes.

Margaret Island (Margit)

A huge green island in the middle of the Danube River. You can reach the island via one of two bridges. Fifteen years ago, it was a wasteland full of garbage. Today, it’s a green park, with jogging paths and simply a place for walks and relaxation. It’s Budapest’s largest park.

  • Coordinates: 47.52420722256531, 19.046173422051105
  • The island is entirely free and open 24/7.
  • It takes 1-2 hours to explore the whole island.
  • On Margaret Island, you’ll find a Japanese garden and pond, an English rose garden, a 20th-century water tower (its observation deck is temporarily closed), a huge musical fountain, a singing well, two areas with outdoor gym equipment, the ruins of a Dominican monastery, plus 15 kilometers of jogging tracks, a stadium, courts, and more.
Margaret Island budapest
The green island in the photo is Margaret Island, it is really very large and completely open for recreation

Author’s Rating:

7 out of 10. It’s a classic park for relaxation. Locals come here with their families on weekends for picnics. There are many sports enthusiasts jogging or using the equipment. It’s a large, beautiful, well-maintained park, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Ruin Bars of Budapest

A unique phenomenon in the global gastro-tourism scene. In the early 21st century, near Budapest’s center in the Jewish Quarter, there were entire abandoned workshops of old factories slated for demolition. In 2002, a bar opened in one of these abandoned workshops, without even serving food, only drinks. No repairs were done as the building was supposed to be demolished.

This bar became so popular that there are now more than 10 in Budapest. They are called ruin bars, and this format has spread worldwide. Interestingly, the very first ruin bar, Szimpla Kert, is still open and visitable.

  • Coordinates of Szimpla Kert: 47.49699795880173, 19.063274489773217
  • Ruin bars are open from 3 PM until 4 AM, and from 9 AM on Sundays.
  • All ruin bars in Budapest are in different locations. Today, there are even individual tours to ruin bars with a local guide.
  • Entry to ruin bars is free. The space is huge, almost like a museum to wander through.
  • A glass of beer costs around 5 euros, cocktails start at 9 euros. Nowadays, they even sell fast food: burgers and fries.
ruin bars of budapest
Szimpla Kert our days. Nothing has changed in 20+ years

Author’s Rating:

10 out of 10. Unique, unconventional, a truly original Budapest attraction. Have a drink, then move on. It’s important to understand that this isn’t a disco or nightclub; there’s no loud music and dancing. People sit and chat. You buy your drink at the bar (there are no waiters) and find a place to sit. This place comes to life around 9-10 PM and stays buzzing until morning. Usually, it’s very crowded.

Váci Street

Quite simple: Budapest’s main pedestrian and tourist street with everything that comes with it. Hundreds of cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops, small stores including all the global brand names, street musicians. It’s like any pedestrian street in the center of any European capital.

Vaci street in Budapest
Budapest’s main pedestrian and shopping street – Váci

Author’s Rating:

9 out of 10. This is where the action is. If you arrive during the day and need souvenirs, head to Váci. If you want an evening of festivity and fun, go to Váci. For me, Váci Street resembles Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue, just without the mussels. I recommend everyone to come here and experience the atmosphere of real Budapest.

Budapest’s Main Flea Markets

Actually, there are two, both large and both on the outskirts of the city. You can find the location of both on the map; which one is easier to get to—I don’t even know, it’s a long journey to both :). These are classic flea markets where people sell their old things: piles of stuff right on the ground, on makeshift tables, lots of blatant junk that could be thrown away. You need to know what you’re looking for; otherwise, there’s not much for a casual observer to do here.

  • Lőrinci Flea Market: 47.443698807564225, 19.18531197672781. Open from 6 AM to 2 PM, closed on Mondays.
  • Ecseri Flea Market: 47.43594699770932, 19.14530417235167. Open from 8 AM to 4 PM, no days off.
  • Getting there is complicated; there’s no metro here, only buses. There are many routes. Use the BudapestGO app to plan your bus route and buy a ticket. The article about Budapest transportation was at the beginning; it talks about the BudapestGo app.
Flea markets in Budapest
I’ve picked the best stalls as an example. Most are just regular junk.

Author’s Rating:

3 out of 10. The markets are definitely cool; you can find many interesting things. But it’s worth going only for those who know exactly what they’re looking for among piles of garbage and useless junk. From my experience, the best day is Saturday. It’s better to visit both if you have a specific goal; you never know where luck might strike. If you just want to stroll and look without a goal, you can skip it, save your time, the journey isn’t easy.

Nyugati Railway Station

One of Budapest’s three main railway stations. The building was constructed in 1877 directly over the old one without demolition. Nyugati station still looks the same as it did 150 years ago. History says that during World War II, while 25% of all buildings in the city were completely destroyed, the station survived, only having new glass inserted.

Nyugati Railway Station budapest
One of Budapest’s three active railway stations – Nyugati

Author’s Rating:

6 out of 10. It’s not the central train station of New York, but it’s a beautiful building that operates just as it did 150 years ago, serving the same purpose. If you’re planning trips across Hungary, there’s nothing more convenient than trains. You can travel to almost any major city in the country by train, and your train might depart from Nyugati. The low rating is due to the presence of trash and marginal individuals (drinkers/homeless), as is common in any major city’s train station.

City Park

Budapest’s City Park is somewhat similar to Margaret Island with its greenery and tranquility, yet entirely different. This park has a wealth of activities, interesting locations, and top Budapest attractions.

city park in Budapest attractions
In the City Park, there’s a promenade overlooking Vajdahunyad Castle.

Here are some cool locations in Budapest’s City Park (many from this list):

  • Budapest Zoo
  • Széchenyi Thermal Bath
  • Vajdahunyad Castle
  • Budapest Circus
  • Heroes’ Square
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • Hungarian House of Music
  • Hot air balloon (real one)
  • Statue of George Washington (full-size) and busts of Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill
  • And there’s a cool Ethnographic Museum of Hungary, interesting because it offers free access to the museum’s rooftop, which has a whole park with walking paths.
Ethnographic Museum of Hungary
Ethnographic Museum in the City Park, the rooftop is open to everyone absolutely for free

Author’s Rating:

10 out of 10. Allocate an hour to stroll around the City Park; it’s big and has many interesting spots. I’d recommend visiting the Ethnographic Museum; it’s a modern, interactive museum with fantastic exhibitions, not just boring displays. The full ticket for all exhibitions and displays is 12 euros.

In conclusion: this isn’t a complete list of Budapest’s attractions, but it includes the most important places in the city. It’s easily expandable if desired, but trust me, these attractions will easily fill up 3-4, maybe even 5 days. However, not everyone has that much time to spend in Budapest. I hope this article helped you choose what you want to see in Budapest and what you might skip.

Wishing you vibrant experiences while exploring Budapest!

IMPORTANT: Below are useful links that will help organize your trip to Hungary and Budapest:

  • Flight: Aviasales – compares prices for flights among 30+ airlines flying to Budapest.
  • Tours and excursions:
    • Viator and GetYourGuide – the best services for finding tours in Budapest and Hungary with the largest database of activities in Hungary. They offer river cruises on the Danube, tickets to baths, and 1000+ tours (available in different languages).
  • Accommodation, apartments, hotels, hostels:
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Hungary
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – the leading and largest car rental service in Hungary.
  • Travel Insurance: EKTA.
  • eSIMAiralo virtual SIM card in Hungary.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel