What to do in Budapest? Discover our TOP 20 of the best things to do and must-see places to visit in Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days. Capital of Hungary, Budapest is a very interesting European city to discover during a weekend or a longer stay. Known for its historical heritage, but also for its festive side, Budapest attracts more and more visitors every year. So, are you next?
- TOP 20 things to do in Budapest 🤩
- Best neighborhoods ✨
- Nice places to go out in Budapest 🍸
- Itineraries to visit Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days 📍
- How to reach the city center from the airport ✈️
1. TOP 20 must-see places to visit and unusual things to do in Budapest
In this top, find the essentials of Budapest, but also more original and unusual things to do in the Hungarian capital.
Buda and Pest. The two halves of Budapest are separated by the Danube River. The eastern left bank is the Pest, and the right and western bank of the Danube is the Buda. There are interesting places to visit on both sides of the Danube. However, the Pest side is more alive. Buda, on the other hand, is quieter.
1.1 See the Hungarian Parliament
Among the must-sees in Budapest, the Hungarian Parliament is the absolute number 1! The ideal is to discover the Hungarian Parliament from the right bank of the Danube, the Buda. We’ll talk about that later in this article.
Imposing. The Hungarian Parliament building is an iconic place in Budapest. Built at the beginning of the 20th century on the eastern bank of the Danube, this building stands out in the landscape of the city, and bears witness to the economic power of Hungary at the time. Today, it is part of the TOP 3 of the largest European parliaments.
How to visit it? You can only visit the interior of the Hungarian Parliament on a guided tour booked in advance. The visit is to be planned if you are going to visit Budapest in 5 days or more.
Shoes by the Danube. If you are going to discover the Hungarian Parliament up close and on foot, you will certainly see this memorial dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Budapest. It can be seen on the quays of the Danube not far from the parliament.
1.2 Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest
The largest religious building in Hungary. St. Stephen’s Basilica is located in the heart of downtown Budapest, and more precisely in the Lipotravos district. A pretty monument on the outside, but also on the inside.
From the belvedere. Visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest also means visiting one of the tallest buildings in Budapest (95 meters high). You can climb to the very top for a 360 degree view of Budapest.
1.3 Admire a magnificent view of Budapest from the Fisherman’s Bastion
Magnificent gazebo. Located on the hill of Buda, the western bank of Budapest, the Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the must-sees to visit in Budapest. From here, you will discover a splendid view of the city of Budapest and in particular of the Hungarian Parliament.
Sunset. If you are going to visit Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days, the Fisherman’s Bastion must be part of your itinerary. At the end of the day, this visit is particularly magical. In addition, the Buda district is one of the districts where to stay to visit Budapest. Find out more in our article: Best areas in Budapest.
1.4 Visit Saint Mathias Church in Budapest
Still in Buda. A stone’s throw from the Fisherman’s Bastion you can visit the pretty Saint Mathias Church in Budapest. Built at the end of the 13th century, this church has known all the important events of the city, but also of Hungary.
Statue of King Stephen. Still within the fortifications of the Royal Castle, just opposite the church, you will see a bronze statue of Hungarian King Stephen. Just like the Fisherman’s Bastion, this place is one of the main things to do and visit in Budapest.
1.5 Visit Buda Castle and its labyrinth
Royal Palace. Among the things to do in Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days, there is of course the former residence of the kings of Hungary: Buda Castle. Here you can visit the National Gallery, the Széchenyi Library or the Budapest History Museum. Visiting the gardens is free.
Take the funicular (Budavari Sikló). It’s a nice and fun way to visit Buda Castle! The funicular leaves from Clark Ádám Ter Square, not far from the Chain Bridge.
Unusual visit. The labyrinth of the castle was formed naturally by the hot spring which worked the limestone rock of the hill of the castle. In prehistoric times, this place served as a refuge, then later as a military hospital, a place of torture or even a prison. So, visiting the maze is one of the unusual things to do in Budapest!
1.6 Go to the famous thermal baths of Budapest
Local culture. Themes are an integral part of Hungarian life! It is a place where you can come and relax and feel like a real Hungarian. Going to the thermal baths is therefore one of the things to do absolutely in Budapest!
Where to go? Among the most famous addresses in Budapest, you have the Széchenyi thermal baths or the Gellért baths. Find out more here: prices and practical information for visiting the Széchenyi thermal baths. This is a great visit to do in Budapest to experience the local culture!
1.7 Take a cruise on the Danube
One hour cruise. Several options are available to you. You can enjoy magnificent views of the city of Budapest from the Danube on a one-hour cruise. It is a pleasant and interesting moment to spend with family or as a couple. Discover more information here: rates and availability for a 1 hour cruise and drink.
Romantic dinner! If you are going to visit Budapest in 2 or 3 days as a couple, a candlelight dinner is one of the romantic things to do in Budapest! You can read more on this page: photos and prices for dinner on a Danube cruise. A magical evening that will certainly mark your trip to Budapest!
Folklore evening! If you want to experience local folk dances and songs, then enjoy a lovely folk show on a boat! This is a real experience to do in Budapest with the family: dinner cruise + folklore show.
1.8 Visit the Budapest Synagogue
The largest synagogue in Europe. The Great Synagogue of Budapest was built at the end of the 19th century. It is one of the few synagogues to have an organ. It was also used as a copy in the New York synagogue.
How to visit? The entrance ticket allows you to visit the synagogue inside, but also gives access to the museum, which is located right next door. If you want to know more about the Jewish heritage in Budapest, we recommend that you take a guided tour with a historian (prices and availability by date).
1.9 Discover the Szimpla Kert space and have a drink in a ruin bar
Surprising! In the Erzsebetvaros district of Budapest, a former Jewish quarter, don’t miss Szimpla Kert. It is a surprising and original place to do absolutely in Budapest. Szimpla Kert is in an old disused building. It is one of the oldest ruin bars in Budapest!
Ruin bar! If you are going to visit Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days, having a drink in a ruin bar is one of the things to do absolutely in Budapest. The atmospheres of ruin bars are unique. Come and have a look here at the end of the evening or at dusk.
1.10 Crossing Liberty Bridge
Nice architecture. The Liberty Bridge connects Buda and Pest. Crossing the Liberty Bridge is therefore an excellent opportunity to observe both banks of the Danube, but also to move around the city to visit.
Travel tip! Enjoy public transport for free with the Budapest Card. This city pass includes public transport, but also gives reductions for visiting museums or churches in Budapest. Find out more information here: Budapest Card price and benefits.
1.11 Climb to the top of Gellért Hill
Panoramic view. Come here to experience one of the best views of Budapest! The hill is 235 meters high. Besides, the Gellért hill is a very pleasant place to walk. For example, you can climb Gellért Hill just after crossing the Liberty Bridge at its foot.
Troglodyte church. At the very top, in addition to the view, the citadel and the Statue of Liberty, you can visit a troglodyte church: the Church of Our Lady of the Hungarians. A completely surprising and original place to do in Budapest!
1.12 Walking around the center of Budapest
Andrassy Avenue. This avenue is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in the district of Terezvaros. This district is also one of the best areas for a romantic stay in Budapest.
Vaci Street. During your walk in the center of Budapest, do not miss the Váci pedestrian street either. It is a nice place to discover in Budapest.
Passage Gozsdu. For going out in the evening, one of the most interesting places is Passage Gozsdu (place on Google Maps). Here you will find plenty of places to spend a good evening, have a drink or dine.
1.13 See a performance at the Hungarian State Opera
Also in the Terezvaros district. The Bupapest Opera House is one of the most important neo-renaissance monuments in Hungary. Do not miss this pretty building during your visit to Budapest. Moreover, the interior of the Opera is magnificent. You can also take advantage of this trip to see a ballet, for example (see the opera program here).
Budapest bike tour. If you come to visit Budapest in 2 or 3 days, you can take a guided bike tour. It’s a great way to discover the city in a different way. In addition, during the visit, you will also go up to visit the Budapest Castle, but also other unmissable places in the city with a local guide. To find out more: rates and availability for a guided bike tour.
1.14 Take a tour of the central halls of Budapest
Budapest’s biggest market. During your visit to Budapest, take a tour of the central halls of the city! It is an interesting place to discover during your trip to Budapest. You can also come here for lunch (stands on the first floor of the halls).
When to visit? The busiest day is Saturday. On Sunday, the central halls are closed.
1.15 Discover Hungarian gastronomy
Hungarian cuisine. During your trip to Budapest, you will be able to discover Hungarian cuisine and its influences. For example, you will find oriental notes, especially Turkish, but also Gypsy and Germanic. For example, there is paprika, but also a lot of soups and meat dishes.
Gastronomic visit. In order to enjoy Hungarian gastronomy even more, what could be better than a guided tour! Discover the specialties of Hungarian cuisine: see prices and dates available for booking.
1.16 Visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest
Beautiful museum not to be missed. If you are going to visit Budapest in 4 days or more, this tour is a must! The Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest is a nice place outside, but also inside. In the basement of the museum, you will also find a pleasant tea room to take a break. Learn more: open location and see reviews on Google Maps.
1.17 Discover Heroes Square
Budapest’s most important square. Located at the end of Andrássy Avenue, this monumental square is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built [to celebrate 1000 years of settlement of the Magyars in Hungary (read more about the Magyars here).
1.18 Make an escape game in Budapest
Did you know? Budapest is the escape game capital! Escape games are life-size escape games. The concept: you enter a place and you have one hour to leave by solving puzzles of the place. In Budapest you will find the best escape games! So, if you come here with family or friends, this is one of the unusual and fun activities to do in Budapest!
1.19 Visit Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest
Pretty castle with a bucolic park. Near the Széchenyi thermal baths, this castle is one of the must-sees in Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days of travel. Come here for a relaxing stroll in the summer or for skating in the winter.
Atypical atmosphere. Here you will see the different Hungarian architectural types from different eras. This visit is in our TOP of visits to do in Budapest.
1.20 Visit the Budapest Museum of Terror
Communist era. This museum traces the history of Hungary under the communist era, after the Second World War. Few explanations are available without the audio guide. If you want to visit this museum, we strongly recommend that you take an audioguide. The audio guide is essential to visit this place. If you are going to visit Budapest, this museum can be interesting to learn more about the history of the country. You cannot take photos inside the museum.
2. Best neighborhoods to visit in Budapest
Among the best areas to visit in Budapest, there are the following areas:
- Belvaros and Lipotravos (central districts that run along the Danube on its left bank, i.e. on the Pest side)
- Terezvaros (also a district of Pest, where the Hungarian State Opera, Andrássy Avenue and Heroes’ Square are located)
- Erzsebetvaros (still on the Pest side, this is the best area to go out in Budapest)
- Buda (posh, soothing and romantic district on the right bank of the Danube, i.e. Buda)
Tips. If you are going to visit Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days, the best neighborhoods for a family or couple stay are Belvaros and Lipotravos. For a romantic stay, the Buda district is also very interesting. On the other hand, if you come to Budapest to party, choose the district of Erzsebetvaros instead.
Best hotels. Find other tips and our selection of the best places to stay to visit Budapest in this article: Where to stay in Budapest.
3. Nice places to go out and eat in Budapest
Click on the places to open them in Google Maps.
Three places not to miss:
- Szimpla Kert: the oldest ruin bar in Budapest!
- Central halls: go up to the first floor of the halls to find a nice place to have lunch in Budapest (especially on Saturdays, closed on Sundays).
- Passage Gozsdu: a place where you can come for a walk in the evening for a drink or dinner.
Some good places to eat in Budapest:
- Hungarikum Bisztró: a very good Hungarian restaurant right in the center of Budapest!
- Bors Gastro Bar: fresh products and super good soups! Small downside: they do not take the card.
- Parisi 6: an excellent address to discover Hungarian dishes! The rates are quite affordable, and the location is perfect.
- New York Café: or simply the most beautiful café in the world! The setting is exceptional, but so are the prices… It is a very nice establishment to visit in Budapest (or less for a photo).
4. Itinerary to visit Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days
Discover the routes you can do in Budapest on a 2, 3 or 4 day trip. Let’s go!
4.1 What to do and visit in Budapest in 2 days?
Sightseeing itinerary: first day in Budapest
- Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica
- Going to the belvedere of the basilica to admire a beautiful view of downtown Budapest
- Stroll through downtown Budapest, including the Váci pedestrian street and Andrássy Avenue
- Go to the Széchenyi thermal baths in Budapest (see photos and prices)
- Discover the Erzsebetvaros district
- Have a drink in a ruin bar
Itinerary: second day in Budapest
- Visit the Budapest Synagogue
- Go to the central halls of Budapest
- Take the funicular to the Royal Palace in Budapest
- Visit Saint Mathias Church
- Discover the beautiful district of Buda on foot
- Admire an exceptional view of the city from the Fisherman’s Bastion
4.2 What to do and visit in Budapest in 3 days?
Sightseeing itinerary: 3rd day in Budapest (see above for the previous two days)
- See Heroes’ Square and the Hungarian State Opera
- Visit Vajdahunyad Castle
- Make an escape game
- Take a cruise on the Danube (see prices for a cruise with drink)
4.3 Visit Budapest in 4 days
Sightseeing itinerary: 4th day in Budapest (see above for the previous two days)
- Cross the Liberty Bridge
- Climb the Gellért Hill to admire an incredible view of Budapest
- Visit the Notre-Dame-des-Hongrois troglodyte church (still on the hill)
- Visit the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts
5. How to reach the city center from the airport?
If you are going to visit Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days, you have three options to reach downtown Budapest from the airport:
- Take public transport (bus 100E or bus 200E, then the metro)
- Book a seat in a mini-bus shuttle (see prices)
- Go directly to your accommodation by taxi (see the rates for an airport transfer booked in advance)
Find out the advantages and disadvantages of each of these options in our dedicated blog post: How to get from the airport to downtown Budapest.
The major must-sees to visit in Budapest are located on both banks of the Danube. However, the right bank, i.e. Pest, is livelier than the left bank, Buda, which is much calmer. If you are going to visit Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days as a couple, among the most romantic things to do are the cruise on the Danube and the visit to the Fisherman’s Bastion during the sunset. If you go to Budapest with friends, the Erzsebetvaros district is the district that you absolutely must visit. Among the most unusual things to do in Budapest, you have the visit of the labyrinth of the Castle of Buda or the troglodyte church. For a trip to Budapest with family, couple or friends, do not miss the Vajdahunyad Castle and the visit of the thermal baths of Budapest.