Budapest Travel Guide

Tourist Guide
Budapest featuring interior views, heritage architecture and religious aspects

Budapest Travel Guide Video

From palaces along the Danube River to grand thermal spas, buzzing nightlife and one of the best tram rides in the world, Hungary’s capital offers a captivating holiday.

Stroll along the elegant boulevards of Budapest and it’s hard to know which majestic building to photograph next. Split in two by the Danube River, the city is decorated with art nouveau architecture and dotted with renowned museums and galleries. New blends with old in shopping districts such as pedestrian Váci Street with stylish boutiques and trendy cafés.

Time your trip with the warm weather of June to August to enjoy a range of exciting events including VeszprémFest for jazz and opera music. Sample some of the country’s best wine at the Budapest Wine Festival in September and enjoy Hungarian sausages with mulled wine at atmospheric Christmas markets.

Things to do in Budapest

Take the funicular up to Castle Hill for sweeping views of the city and river. The historical Castle District, home to medieval monuments, museums and a fascinating system of underground tunnels and caves created by thermal springs. You’ll need plenty of time to discover the Buda Castle complex, which includes the Hungarian National Gallery, the National Széchényi Library, the Budapest History Museum and the Fisherman's Bastion.

Often called the City of Spas, Budapest’s medicinal thermal springs created a bathing culture that has lasted for more than 2,000 years. Visit the Széchenyi Thermal Bath in City Park to soak in outdoor and indoor pools framed by grand architecture or luxuriate in a Turkish bath environment at the 16th-century Rudas Thermal Bath.

Though Váci Street might be the most popular place for shopping, Budapest has no shortage of other districts for fabulous retail therapy. Falk Miksa Street is a joy for treasure hunters, with antiques stores and fine art galleries. Prestigious Andrássy Avenue is the city’s widest road and lined with high-end fashion stores between iconic landmarks. When it’s time to rest your feet, take a sightseeing boat tour down the Danube by day or night.

History and culture in Budapest

Residing in the Palace District, the Hungarian National Museum is the largest in the country and housed in a grand neoclassical building. Learn about Hungary’s history as you browse millions of items, including works of art and archaeological finds from the prehistoric period to now. Stroll around the gorgeous garden surrounding the museum, among statues and seating areas.

The spectacular Hungarian Parliament building is the city’s postcard-worthy photo op on the river. Take a guided tour to gaze at the golden staircase and enter the Dome Hall where the Crown of St Stephen is displayed. Visit the Basilica of St Stephen and you might recognise it as a backdrop for Hollywood movies. It was built across 50 years to 1905 and contains the mummified hand of the church’s patron.

With its European sculptures, Old Masters collection and the Esterházy Madonna by Raphael, the Museum of Fine Arts is home to extraordinary artworks. From here, walk to Heroes’ Square to see monumental statues of rulers and statesmen through history. For a unique look at the dark side of history, see the toppled communist-era statues of dictators, including Marx and Stalin, at Memento Park.

Dining and nightlife in Budapest

If trying traditional Hungarian goulash is on your to do list during your Budapest visit, you’ll have no trouble finding it on menus across the city’s thriving dining scene. But you can also sample a little bit of everything at the Great Market Hall, where restaurants serve stuffed cabbage and stalls sell fresh produce. The market hall is located in the neighbourhood of Ferencváros where trendy Ráday Street lives up to its gastronomic reputation with plenty of restaurants to choose from.

Another foodie and nightlife neighbourhood is the Jewish Quarter, an historically rich area with an array of modern bistros. Hop between “ruin bars”, named for venues that enlivened previously dilapidated buildings. There’s almost nothing more romantic than a dinner cruise on the Danube, many of which include live music and traditional folk shows. Dress up for a night out at the ballet or opera at the Hungarian State Opera House.

Getting around Budapest

Fly into Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport, which is a 30-minute drive from the city centre via taxis, buses and airport shuttles. Budapest’s public transport system is excellent, with metro, tram, bus and ferry services. However, it’s a walkable city and many attractions are easy to reach on foot from central hotels.

Car rentals and car sharing services are available. Take advantage of efficient trains to reach popular day trip destinations such as Visegrád castle town and the natural wonders of the Danube Bend.

Where to stay in Budapest

Buda Castle which includes a castle, a statue or sculpture and heritage architecture

Budapest City Centre

Known for its stunning cathedral, charming cafes and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Budapest City Centre. Top attractions like Gellert Thermal Baths and Swimming Pool and Ferenc Deak Square are major draws. Catch the metro at Deak Ferenc ter Station or Deák Ferenc tér M Tram Stop to see more of the city.

Budapest City Centre