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7 Things You Can Strike Off Your Bucket List by Visiting Budapest

In 2018, Hungary saw a record number of tourists, with the majority of them visiting its stunning capital Budapest. Made up of Buda and Pest on either side of the Danube River, you can visit a 13th century castle, check out one of the largest Parliament Buildings in Europe, and when you’ve done all that, soothe those aching muscles in relaxing thermal baths. When it comes to cuisine, you’re spoiled for choice too. Budapest has more than 25 vegan restaurants! Be sure to check some of the top Airbnb vacation rentals in Budapest, Hungary for you to have a place to stay and relax after a full day’s adventure.

In this post, we’ll take a look at 7 of the best things to do in Budapest. Hopefully, we’ll help you put together a plan for your trip and really make the most of your holiday! 

Ride a cog-wheel railway

Officially known as Tram 60, the cog wheel railway on the Buda side of the river is one of the prettiest journeys the Hungarian capital has to offer. It dates all the way back to 1874, and gently climbs to a height of 427 metres in the Széchenyi-Hegy District. If you enjoy that, another great thing to check out is the Children’s Railway. Although children work on the railway, you’ll be pleased to know that the driver is an adult and it’s operated under the supervision of professional railway workers! There are 7 stops along the route, all of them popular recreation spots. Check out János Hill, the highest hill in Budapest, for incredible views!

Take a chairlift across the Buda Hills

If you’ve enjoyed the Children’s Railway, the fun doesn’t have to end there. You can combine your visit with Libego, one of the most unique experiences in Budapest. This two-way chairlift takes tourists between Zugliget and the lookout tower on the aforementioned János Hill. Don’t forget your camera as you’re likely to get some incredible shots! 

Both the Cog Railway and the Chairlift are included in Veg Jaunts and Journeys’ Tour of Prague and Budapest. 

Pamper yourself at the spa baths

One of the most popular activities in the Hungarian capital, no trip to Budapest is complete without a dip in the thermal spas. There are almost 50 spas, baths, and pools to choose from – some are quiet and intimate, while others attract huge numbers of locals and tourists alike. The best known date back to the early 20th century – Széchenyi Baths. They’re in the middle of Budapest’s huge city park on the Pest side of the river. They’re set against the backdrop of a huge neo-Baroque building! If you’re into board games, don’t miss a game of chess here against a local master… If you’re just here for the baths, make sure to enjoy the whirlpool! 

Explore a UNESCO World Heritage listed castle

Initially built to defend the Hungarian empire from Mongols and Tatars, Buda Castle was first completed in the 13th century. Since then, it has been expanded and there’s a mish mash of architecture, including a Neo-Baroque with more than 200 rooms! It’s not just the castle that’s impressive though – make sure you set aside a few hours to make the most of this UNESCO listed attraction – but the whole of Castle Hill is an incredible place to visit. Museums, churches, and the Fisherman’s Bastion should also be on your itinerary. And for something really unusual, check out the Hospital in the Rock. It was fortified and transformed into a nuclear bunker during the Second World War!

Take a boat trip on Europe’s longest river

Many of Budapest’s most famous attractions are visible from the Danube – the longest river wholly in Europe. From there, you can see Castle Hill on the Buda side and the Parliament buildings in Pest. You can also sail under the iconic chain bridge. Cruises are especially magical at night, when all of the city sights are lit up. If you love the idea of cruising on the Danube, there are a couple of other options if you have a little more time in Budapest. Take a day trip to Esztergom, Szentendre, or Vac.

Danube cruises come at a range of prices, so check out one that suits you. After all, you don’t want to be on a wild party boat if you’re looking for a romantic and tranquil evening with your other half! 

Visit the largest synagogue in Europe

Erzsébetváros is one of the most important parts of Budapest. To English speakers, it’s probably easier if you call it the Jewish Quarter! Rich in both history and culture, it’s also home to the largest synagogue in Europe, and second largest in the world! The interior is pretty awesome, but if you want to learn about the history of Jewish culture in Hungary, check out the Jewish Museum and Archives. There’s also a touching memorial – the Holocaust Tree of Life. 

After visiting the synagogue and museums, this area is home to some of the coolest cafes, bars, and restaurants in the city. 

Admire several different architectural styles throughout the city

Budapest is a dream for architecture lovers. One of the most imposing buildings is the Hungarian Parliament building on the banks of the Danube. It’s one of the most incredible examples of Neo-Gothic architecture in the world, and a tour of the buildings is well worth your time. You’ll also find examples of Roman, Neo-Baroque, Ottoman, and Renaissance Architecture in Budapest. The best way to explore all the different types of architecture the city has to offer is just by walking around. In the Old Town, there’s a surprise around almost every corner. Castle Hill also has stunning buildings from a variety of different time periods! 

So, now that you know the best things to do in Budapest…

You’ll be ready to book your trip. For a tour that shows you the best of Budapest while taking care of the environment at the same time, check out Veg Jaunts and Journeys. They specialise in small group vegan tours, so you can either check out one which incorporates Prague and Budapest, or get one especially tailored to your interests!  


Daniel Hall
Travel writer, blogger, and English teacher interested in learning new languages and cultures and trying a cooking class everywhere I go! I also enjoy reading, writing, playing and watching football, and comedy.
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