This list includes 15 attractions and activities to help you discover Budapest as a tourist. So here are the best places to visit and the best things to do in the Hungarian capital.
Whether you just want to see the outside of the Hungarian Parliament or you are interested in the inside, the Hungarian Parliament is a must-see when you are in Budapest.
It is situated on Kossuth Square in the Pest side of the city, on the eastern bank of the Danube. It was designed by Hungarian architect Imre Steindl in neo-Gothic style and opened in 1902. It has been the largest building in Hungary since its completion.
The best photos of the outside of the building can be taken from either the Danube boats or the Buda side.
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is a bridge that spans the River Danube between Buda and Pest, the western and eastern sides of Budapest.
The bridge has the name of István Széchenyi, a major supporter of its construction, attached to it, but is most commonly known as the “Chain Bridge”. Its decorations are made of cast iron.
The bridge has been closed to private traffic for some years and is still under renovation in 2023.
The Buda Castle District is a part of the 1st district of Budapest, known as the Castle, and is the oldest area of the city of Buda. The Buda Castle District has been a World Heritage Site of Budapest since 1987.
Its main attractions are the Buda Castle Palace, Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion.
Next to them, Buda Castle is home to a number of well-known hotels and restaurants. It's worth taking a long walk around the castle, as you can admire a number of breathtaking panoramas.
You can walk up to Buda Castle from several directions. As the area is hilly, it is recommended only for those with good physical condition. If you want a special experience, the Buda Castle funicular provides a link between the castle and the Danube bank.
The Matthias Church is a historic building in the Buda Castle District, on the Trinity Square. One of the most famous churches in Hungary. Worth a visit if you are in Buda Castle.
The Fisherman's Bastion is one of Budapest's most famous monuments, located in the Buda Castle. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in Budapest because of the unique view of Budapest from its neo-Romanesque observation decks.
It was built between 1895 and 1902 in the neo-Romanesque style on the site of the old Buda Castle walls. The name refers to the fact that in the Middle Ages this part of the castle walls was protected by the fishermen's guild.
The upper level of the Fisherman's Bastion used to be ticketed for a while, but the ticket requirement was abolished at the end of 2022.
The Fisherman's Bastion is also Budapest's most famous Instagram photo spot. A walk around the Fisherman's Bastion is the best way to photograph the historic monument and the banks of the Danube in Budapest.
Gellért Hill is a 235 m high hill overlooking the Danube in Budapest. At the top of the hill is the Citadel, which offers one of the most spectacular views of the city.
The famous Hotel Gellért and the Gellért Baths can be found at the foot of the hill, on Gellért Square, next to the Liberty Bridge. The Gellért Cave is also located on the hill.
The Citadella is reachable on foot from the St. Gellért quay, climbing the hill. Alternatively, tourist buses take you up quite close to the Citadel, from where you can reach the view by walking a few hundred metres from a car park above.
Walking along the banks of the Danube you can see many sights from outside. There are the famous Danube bridges such as the Margaret Bridge, the Chain Bridge, the Elisabeth Bridge and the Liberty Bridge. Then you can take a stroll around the famous Budapest recreation area, Margaret Island. You can see the Parliament, statues of famous Hungarian writers and historical figures, the Buda Castle and Gellért Hill.
Famous attractions are the Shoes on the Danube bank, made in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
Tram 2 is particularly famous among tourists. Tram 2 runs around most of Budapest's attractions. During the summer months you can also book on the N18 and N19 nostalgia tram lines.
On the Pest side, a little further away from the other sights is the famous Heroes' Square.
The Heroes' Square is the most impressive square in Budapest. In a narrower context, it marks the Millennium Monument. Heroes' Square, together with Andrássy Avenue in front of it, is a World Heritage Site.
The Millennium Monument contains a collection of statues and reliefs representing the greatest figures of Hungarian history and their stories.
Next to Heroes' Square is Vajdahunyad Castle, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Ethnography.
Vajdahunyad Castle is located a few minutes walk from Heroes' Square in the so-called City Park.
The castle is located on Széchenyi Island, which can be reached via four bridges. The castle was built for the Hungarian Agricultural Museum, and thus serves the purposes of the museum. In the garden of the castle is a statue of the famous Hungarian chronicler Anonymus.
It's worth a walk around the area if you are visiting Budapest.
St Stephen's Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest. It is named in honor of Stephen, the first king of Hungary, whose right hand is preserved in the reliquary. Today it is the third largest church in Hungary.
The area around the basilica has many great restaurants and entertainment options. It is worth spending more time in the area.
New York Café is located in the centre of Budapest. It has previously won the title of World's Best Café. Famous Instagram photo spot. Reservations are for dinner only, otherwise you have to wait in the often long queue to get in. In the Café you can not only order coffee and sweets, but also try some of the most popular dishes of Hungarian cuisine.
The Budapest Ferris wheel is not as famous as the Ferris wheels of other cities. Nevertheless, it offers a similar experience and we think it belongs on the list. It is located close to St Stephen's Basilica.
Speaking of Hungarian cuisine, if you visit Hungary, you should definitely try Hungarian food. The most famous ones are lángosh, goulash or chicken paprikash with noodles, goulash soup, fish soup and stuffed cabbage. Of course there are countless other Hungarian dishes, but don't miss these.
It is worth looking for places that are not too touristy, where the prices are affordable and the food is really Hungarian.
Finally, if you want to relax in Budapest, we recommend two of the most famous spas and thermal baths of Budapest. These are the Széchenyi Thermal Bath and the Gellért Thermal Bath. They're not cheap, but if you spend more time in Budapest, you might want to visit one of them.