Budapest’s two distinct sides, Buda and Pest, are divided by the scenic River Danube, which flows alongside the city’s living tapestry of contrasting architecture and Turkish bathhouses. In Budapest, you’ll uncover a thriving folk culture, worldwide cuisines and a network of open parklands with forests and waterways.
Things to do in Budapest
Castle Hill is arguably Budapest’s most popular district, mainly because it’s home to the World Heritage-listed Buda Castle. Wander through this 13th and 18th-century fortification to uncover secret tunnels, medieval history and panoramic city and river vistas. Wandering back through the Habsburg palaces and World War II sites, you’ll eventually reach the Rudas Baths, where you can rejuvenate body and mind in thermal pools.
On the Pest side, get your fill of traditional cuisine at the indoor Hold Utca Food Market, where vendors sell pálinka (fruit brandy), delicious jams and other fresh local produce. If you’re in the mood to splurge, the Michelin-starred eatery, Onyx, offers a sumptuous Hungary tasting menu. Later on, grab a drink at Szimpla Kert, which is housed in a ruined apartment and has live music and movie nights.
You can easily spend a day at City Park, located just outside of the city centre. This space includes one of the world’s oldest zoos, Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, as well as Europe’s largest medicinal bath, Széchenyi Medicinal Bath. Vajdahunyad Castle, set on a tranquil lake, and the contemporary art museum Hall of Art are also nearby.
Take a cruise down the Danube or spend some time exploring the unique islands on the river, such as Margaret Island, known for its dance clubs and parklands. Partake in wakeboarding and jet skiing around Hajógyári-sziget, which also hosts the yearly Sziget Festival.
Getting around Budapest
Budapest’s central attractions are easily reached on foot, while the city’s many bridges make crossing the Danube a romantic experience. Bicycles and scooters are common in Budapest, but there are also buses, trams and a metro railway for travelling longer distances.