If you are heading to Budapest, we have you covered with some unique things to do in Budapest, Hungary. Budapest is the capital of Hungary and one of the two most important cities of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The city developed on both banks of the Danube River, one of the most famous European rivers.
The city was formed by the merging of the royal capital Buda, on the right and commercial town Pest on the left bank. The Hungarian capital can be reached by car, bus, train or plane. The fastest and most comfortable transportation is by plane, and trains are certainly the cheapest option, especially for students.
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The official currency is the Hungarian forint (HUF) and all cash payments must be made in forints. In addition to cash, you can also pay with credit cards. The official language in Budapest is Hungarian, but due to a large number of tourists, workers in restaurants, hotels, shops, and travel agencies do speak English.
Budapest has a developed public transportation system, so you can ride one of the four metro lines, trams, city buses, and trolleybuses. A ticket for one bus, troll or tram ride costs 350 forints, while for a ticket that takes half an hour by subway, 300 forints are required. One-day, three-day or seven-day tickets can be purchased as well as group tickets.
Have the most delicious breakfast or brunch in Budapest before heading out to explore the city.
10 Unique Things to do in Budapest, Hungary
The Budapest Parliament
The Hungarian Parliament Building is the most famous symbol of Budapest and one of the most beautiful administrative buildings in Europe. It is the third-largest parliament in the world and the second in Europe.
The building has 690 rooms and 18,000 square feet of floor space. Only 22 and 23-carat gold was used for the decoration. The richly decorated rooms contain numerous works of art and a special attraction is the Holy Crown. There are organized tours of the Parliament in several languages. Book your Budapest Parliament tour here.
Vajdahunyad is a castle in Budapest City Park. It was built in 1896 as part of the millennium exhibition celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian Republic.
As the castle contains parts of the building from different time periods, it displays different styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Originally, it was made of cardboard and wood but became so popular that it was restored from stone and brick between 1904 and 1908.
Szechenyi Thermal Baths
The massive baroque building, built-in 1913 and located in the city park, houses the Széchenyi Spa, the most popular spa in Budapest – and the largest in Europe.
Over one and a half million people visit it annually, and there are hardly any locals. Crowds are common. The spa has 18 swimming pools and there are also numerous treatments available, like massages and saunas you can enjoy. Book your Szechenyi Thermal Baths tickets here.
The Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd) is one of the main landmarks in Budapest. It was one of the first bridges to be rebuilt after the war and reopened to the public in 1946. It is 333 meters (1.094 feet) long and is the shortest bridge in the city.
It is located at the southern end of the central city promenade. The bridge connects Gellert Hill on the Buda side with the Great Market Hall located in Pest.
Shoes on the Danube Promenade
When the Nazi Party came to power, thousands of Jews were shot dead on the banks of the Danube. There are more than 60 pairs of shoes today, commemorating the horrors that took place on this riverbank in October 1944. This cast-iron monument is credited to filmmaker Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer.
This square is one of the most impressive open spaces in Budapest. It is located at the end of UNESCO-protected Andrássy Avenue, and the entrance to the City Park begins in this square. The square is paved with large, white blocks on a gray background that looks like a huge embroidery which, from a bird’s perspective, looks very attractive.
In the central part of the square is the Millennium Monument, the most significant national monument. At the ends of the colonnades are four sculptures which, from left to right, represent: work and progress, war and peace, honor and glory.
Danube river cruise
Day and evening cruises take around 1 hour and 15 minutes. During daily cruises, the two parts of the city can be seen – “Buda” and “Pest”. The ride ends with a possible disembarking on Margaret Island, where you can go for a walk and discover the island. An evening cruise is an audio-visual experience.
The ship departs from the center of Budapest and cruises for an hour until returning to the city. Through a TV screen, you will be able to look behind the walls of the buildings you are passing by and admire the hidden interiors. Book your Danube sightseeing cruise here.
Budapest hop on – hop off bus tours
Budapest features double-decker buses from which you can hop on or off at any station. In this way, you can explore Budapest at your own leisure. Make a plan of exploration and use one of these buses to maximize your enjoyment of this city. Get your Budapest hop-on hop-off bus tickets here.
Great Market Hall
Traditional Hungarian products can be purchased at the Great Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok). It is the largest indoor market in Budapest and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in this city. This is the largest covered market in Europe, after the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
The building dates from 1896. At the basic level there are food products and at the level above you can find various Hungarian handicrafts. Below the basic level, there are shops with fish and meat.
St Matthew Cathedral
The authentic name of this church was Our Lady’s Church until it was changed in the 15th century by King Matthias who initiated its restoration. After he held two sumptuous weddings there, this church became a traditional church for royal weddings.
This famous church was converted into a mosque during the Turkish occupation. After the liberation from the Turks, it was restored to its original purpose and began its restoration in the Baroque style. Today’s look is courtesy of architect Frigyes Schulek, whose goal was to restore its look from the 13th century.
5 Tasty Meals to Try in Budapest – Things to Do in Budapest
Hungarian stew is for many people the king among stews. The goulash is characterized by its salinity and density, and you get the feeling that the meat is melting in your mouth. This Hungarian national dish needs to meet certain standards to be called goulash – it has to have a satisfactory color, taste, aroma, and density.
Halászlé (Hungarian fisherman’s soup)
Very popular, especially along Lake Balaton and on the Tisza in Szeged, is halászlé (fish stew), a delicious stew with cooked carp or catfish, tomatoes and peppers. A version of this broth called korhely halászlé (drunken fish broth, in free translation) is a great hangover cure.
Dobostorta (Drummer Cake)
Drummer cake is one of the real pastry pearls. It was named after Joseph Dobos, a famous Hungarian confectioner who, in 1885, presented his invention at a ceremony held in honor of the then Austro-Hungarian ruler Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth. His cake became an overnight hit and very soon the art of making this treat spread from Budapest to all over the world.
If you already know what kind of wine you want to find in Hungary, start your journey to the wine regions of the country: Tokai, Kunsag, Csongrad, Hajos-Baja, Eger, Villani, Szekszard. “Tokai” is the most famous Hungarian wine, it originates from the north-east part of the country and is popular as a sweet wine in Hungary.
It was considered the favorite wine of many historical figures. The wine is so well known in Hungary that it is even mentioned in the national anthem of this country.
Pálinka, the Hungarian Brandy
Palinka is a strong Hungarian fruit brandy. It is first mentioned in the 1332 chronicles. For alcohol to be called Pálinka it needs to be fermented from Hungarian fruit, free of additives, distilled and bottled in a Hungarian factory, and it needs to contain at least 37.5% of pure alcohol.
Unique Things to Do in Budapest Conclusion
Make sure to save this post if you are looking for unique things to do in Budapest. Have you been to Budapest? Are there things that we missed or things that you enjoyed in Budapest, Hungary?
Author Bio: Mark Anderson is a business consultant and a travel freak. He uses all of his free time to travel, taking extraordinary photographs. He likes to share experiences and observations from his travels with others by writing and publishing interesting articles.
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