Hungary's capital has many beautiful sights and surprising attractions. Whether you are interested in the treasures of the Hungarian National Museum, local produce at the Great Market Hall, the Chain Bridge, or want to experience the city's Christmas markets in December, Budapest offers it all. If you want to know what not to miss in the Hungarian capital, have a look at our list of the best things to do in Budapest below. H

See the Hungarian Parliament Building

Probably Budapest’s most iconic site, the Parliament Building astonishes with its size and Gothic Revival architecture. We recommend giving it a look both in the daylight and when the night falls. If you’d like to discover this building on the inside too, along with its history, it is possible to join a 45-minute guided tour, but you have to book ahead on the parliament’s website.

Visit the Buda Castle Hill

Castle Hill overlooking the Danube River is home to some of the best attractions in Budapest. Among them are the Buda Castle (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Hungarian National Gallery, the Castle Museum, Matthias Church, and the fairytale-like Fisherman’s Bastion. The last one is also a great viewing spot if you want to take a few shots of the Parliament Building and the Danube.

Attend a concert at St Stephen’s Basilica

The city’s biggest church is a popular spot on the map not only due to its size, architecture, or the view from its tower, but also the relic that it houses – King Saint Stephen’s mummified right hand. If these were not enough, this is also where you can hear classical music as various concerts are available on a regular basis.

Stroll along the Andrássy Avenue

Budapest’s most famous street, also considered Budapest’s version of Champs Élysées, connects the city center with the City Park. Along this boulevard of 1.5 miles, you can see many historical buildings and mansions. If you decide to walk the whole of it, you will pass by the Hungarian State Opera House, the House of Terror, and a number of art galleries. If you’re not too keen on walking through the entire street, there’s a metro line underneath the avenue, one of the oldest in the world.

Experience Budapest’s thermal spas

Many people don’t realize that Hungary is very prominent for thermal baths and it’s one of the most fun things to do in Budapest. The biggest and the most famous are the Szechenyi Baths. Built in 1913 they include hot springs, outdoor and indoor pools, saunas and steam rooms.

Spend some time on the Margaret Island

If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, then Margaret Island will be just perfect. Located in the middle of the Danube, the island is connected to the rest of the city by bridges on each end (Árpád, and Margaret Bridge). This is a great place to exercise or just take a peaceful stroll. It also has a Japanese Garden, a petting zoo, a musical fountain, and thermal baths.

Experience the past and present in the Jewish Quarter

Today, Budapest’s Jewish Quarter is one of the most visited, eclectic, and fun areas in the city, in large part thanks to a big number of ruin pubs. At the same time, it is home to many historical remains, in particular connected with the Hungarian Jews who used to live here. Thanks to the Hungarian Jewish Museum, the Synagogue triangle, the cemetery, and the Great Synagogue (the largest synagogue in Europe), it is a good place to learn about the Holocaust, the Ghetto and the Hungarian Jewish community.

Take a walking tour

If you want to have a good introduction to Budapest and Hungary’s history, we recommend joining a walking tour. There’s really no better way to get to know the city, especially if you’re short on time. There are many different tours on offer in the city, so you don’t have to miss anything important. If you don’t know where to start, consider our Budapest Grand City Tour or the Ideal City Tour.

Hop on a Danube river cruise

A chance to cruise down the second-longest river in Europe doesn’t happen every day. So if you’re in Budapest between spring and fall, add a nice touch to your trip and see the city’s beauty from a different perspective by booking a river cruise.

Relax in the City Park

Located at the end of Andrássy Avenue, the City Park is definitely worth a visit and offers something for adults and kids alike. This is not just any big park. Within its grounds, you can see some more attractions, such as the Vajdahunyad Castle or the Heroes’ Square. You can also visit a few museums like the Art Gallery and Museum of Fine Arts, enjoy the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, or visit the Budapest Zoo. There are also playgrounds for kids and an amusement park.

Enjoy the evening in Budapest ruin bars

Visit some of the city’s ruin pubs and experience Budapest’s unique nightlife. Opened in abandoned buildings, these bars are some of the most unique and atmospheric in the whole city. These days, they are popular among tourists as much as among local party-goers. If there’s just one ruin pub that you can pop into during your trip, try Szimpla Kert which is probably the most famous ruin bar in Budapest.