Deciding what to do in Budapest is a tough task indeed! There is much to see on both sides of the city – Buda and Pest. The river, Danube, lends a distinct charm to the town, especially at dusk, when its blue waters shimmer under the lights of the iconic stone and chain bridges. Here is a list of top places to see in Budapest!

Must-Visit Places in Budapest

Széchenyi Chain Bridge and Liberty Bridge: For sights across the blue Danube

Well, you can say that Budapest owes its origins to a bridge! Széchenyi – a stone and chain suspension bridge built in 1849 – was the first to permanently connect Buda and Pest. No better way to start your Budapest travel with a leisurely walk across this iconic bridge. Stop midway and soak in the scenic cityscapes on both sides.

The Liberty Bridge, with its unique cantilever structure, was built around 1895 – admire the nouveau art designs, sculptures, and ornate lamp posts. Spot the bronze statues of Turul – a bird from the Hungarian mythology, now a symbol of modern Hungary.

Getting There

Address: Liberty Bridge, Szabadság híd, 1056 Budapest

How to get there:

Metro: line 4 – Station: Gellért tér, Fővám tér

Tram: Nr 47-49 – Stop: Fővám tér

Getting There

Address: Chain Bridge, Széchenyi Lánchíd, 1051 Budapest

How to get there:

Metro: line 2, 3 – Station: Deák Ferenc tér

Tram: Nr 2 – Stop: Széchenyi István tér

Castle Hill – for Buda Castle, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion

The Castle Hill in Buda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many attractions from the medieval times. Do take a joyride on the historic Siklo funicular railway carriage up the Buda plateau. Once uphill, spend a few moments soaking in the panoramic views of Pest riverfront, including the building of the Hungarian Parliament.

Buda Castle

The majestic 13th-century Buda Castle was destroyed by fire during WW2 and later rebuilt. It houses the Budapest History Museum – with fascinating exhibits from the 2000-year-old history of the country.

Getting There

Address: Buda Castle, 1014 Budapest, Szent György tér 2

Operating Hours: Budapest History Museum – 10 am – 6 pm. Monday closed.

How to get there:

Bus: 16 – Stop: Dísz tér

Sikló: Buda Castle Funicular

Matthias Church

A charming stroll past leafy promenades and baroque style houses takes you to the 700-year-old Roman – Catholic Matthias Church. It has seen many Hungarian kings being coronated and was also used as a mosque during the rule of the Ottoman Turks. It stands out for its distinctive coloured tile roof and turrets, warm lighting, tall arches painted with ornate golden frescoes, stained glass windows and medieval wooden pews.

Fisherman’s Bastion

Fishermen’s Bastion is right next to the Matthias Church. It is a neo-gothic and neo-Romanesque style terrace – ideal for shooting photos of the cityscapes. The seven towers here symbolize the seven Magyar tribes that first made this region their home.

Getting There

Address: Matthias Church, 1014 Budapest, Szentháromság tér 2

Operating Hours: Monday to Friday – 9 am – 5 pm. Saturday – 9 am – 12 pm. Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm.

Fishermen’s Bastion: Daily 9 am – 8 pm.

How to get there:

Bus: 16 – Stop: Szentháromság tér

The ruin bars of District VII: Party with a Budapest Pub Crawl

Experience the incredible Budapest nightlife by signing up for a pub crawl! There are great guided tours available, check out the ones offered by AllNightCrash.

Set in abandoned Jewish tenements and warehouses, partying at these ruin bars is an experience like no other. Szimpla Kert and IF (Instant & Fogasház) bars are among the most popular ruin bars – you can choose from the many party rooms and floors, each playing a different dance theme. Ellátó Kert – another lively garden ruin pub with an open courtyard – is popular with the locals.

 Szimpla Kert. CC BY-SA 4.0 / JoshuaCrawford

Getting There

Address: Szimpla Kert, Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary

Operating Hours: 10 am – 4 am

How to get there:

Metro: line M2 – Station: Astoria

Tram: Nr 47 to 49 – Station: Astoria

Memento Park: For a date with Lenin and Marx

This unique park is Budapest’s throwback to the day and age of Iron Curtain. Hungary was under Soviet occupation post WW2. The Russians finally left in 1991, and about 42 busts and statues built by them were then packed off to the Memento Park. The towering statues of the Soviet leaders – Lenin, Marx et al. – still inspire awe. Guided tours are offered here as well – a good way to know more about the history of the place.

 Memento Park / CC BY-SA 3.0/ Prosopee

Getting There

Address: Memento Park, 1223 Budapest, Balatoni út – Szabadkai utca sarok

Operating Hours: 10 am – till dusk

How to get there: Bus: line 101, or 150 – Station: Budatétény vasutállomás (Campona)

Central Market Hall or Great Market Hall: For shopaholics

This is the place for all your Budapest shopping! Budapest’s most prominent and oldest indoor market is a haven for the shopaholics. You may just as well be spending the entire day here. Stalls are spread over three layers – the basement, ground floor and the first floor. Foodies are guaranteed to slurp at the sight of fresh vegetables and spices. The meat lovers should stock up the sausages and the salamis. Do not forget to pick up souvenirs for your friends and family back home – the stalls on the first floor have an exciting assortment of handicrafts and local goods including dolls, painted eggs, and embroidered tapestry. Walking food tours of the market are available.

 Great Market Hall. Wikimedia Commons / Dd-ang2s

Getting There

Address: Central Market Hall, 1093 Budapest, Vámház körút 1-3

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 6 am – 6 pm. Saturday – 6 am – 3 pm. Monday – 6 am – 5 pm. Sunday closed.

How to get there:

Metro: line 4 – Station: Fővám tér

Tram: Nr 47-49 – Stop: Fővám tér

Off the beaten track in Budapest: For best views of Budapest

After you are done with the popular Budapest attractions, make some time for these lesser-known but equally fabulous experiences:

St. Stephen’s Basilica

 St. Stephen’s Basilica

St. Stephen’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica name after the first King of Hungary. Pay two euros to gain access to the rooftop. The 360-degree views of the city will leave you spellbound!

Budapest Boat Rides

 Danube River

Take a BKK boat from Petofi bridge and enjoy a breezy ride on the Danube till Margaret Island. Again, the ticket for the boat ride is just two euros!

360 Bar

 360 Bar

Head to the 360 Bar – a rooftop bar on Andrássy Avenue atop the historic Paris Department Store building. It has been named among Europe’s best rooftop bars!

Visiting Budapest: Practical Info

Best time to visit Budapest

The spring – March to May – and autumn – September to November – months are ideal for pleasant temperatures.

Where to stay in Budapest

 MS Maribelle, Maison Bistro, and Burg Hotel all offer a fabulous stay at reasonable prices.

Where to eat in Budapest

Halászbástya or Fisherman’s Bastion Restaurant is an excellent destination after you have spent a busy day walking around Castle Hill! If you dig local Hungarian cuisine, try 21 Hungarian Kitchen and VakVarjú restaurant. You must have Goulash – Hungary’s national dish – a stew made with beef, carrots, onions and red paprika. If you are a wine connoisseur, make a trip to Tokaj – the wine growing region. It is about two and half hours away from Budapest.