What to do in Budapest? Discover our TOP 20 of the best things to do and must-see places to visit in Budapest in 2, 3, or 4 days. The capital of Hungary, Budapest, is a fascinating European city to discover during a weekend or a longer trip. Known for its historical heritage and festive side, Budapest attracts more and more visitors each year. So, could you be the next one?
- TOP 20 things to do in Budapest 🤩
- Best districts ✨
- Great places to go out in Budapest 🍸
- Itineraries to visit Budapest in 2, 3, or 4 days 📍
- How to reach the city center from the airport ✈️
1. TOP 20 must-see places and unusual things to do in Budapest
In this top, find must-see places in Budapest and more original and unusual things to do in the capital of Hungary.
Buda and Pest. Budapest’s two halves are separated by the Danube River. The left eastern bank is Pest, and the right and western bank is Buda. Both sides of the Danube have interesting places to visit. However, the Pest side is more lively. Buda, on the other hand, is more peaceful.
1.1 See the Hungarian Parliament
The Hungarian Parliament is the absolute number one must-see on a trip to Budapest! It is best to discover it from the right bank of the Danube, Buda. We will discuss it more later in this article.
Impressive. The Hungarian Parliament building is a symbolic landmark of Budapest. Built at the beginning of the 20th century on the eastern bank of the Danube, it stands out in the cityscape and indicates Hungary’s economic power at that time. Today, it is part of the top three of the biggest parliaments in Europe.
How to visit it? You can only visit the inside of the Hungarian Parliament with a guided tour reserved in advance. If you are going to Budapest for five days or more, the visit should be planned.
Shoes on the Danube Bank. If you go to see the Hungarian Parliament up close and on foot, you will surely see this memorial dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Shoah in Budapest. It is on the banks of the Danube, not far from the Parliament.
1.2 Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest
The largest religious building in Hungary, St. Stephen’s Basilica is located in the heart of Budapest, specifically in the Lipotravos district. It is a beautiful monument both outside and inside.
From the lookout. Visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest also means visiting one of the tallest buildings in Budapest (95 meters high). You can go up to admire a 360-degree view over Budapest.
Good to know! Remember that card payments are not accepted. Only cash payments in Hungarian forints are accepted.
1.3 Admire a magnificent view over Budapest from the Fisherman’s Bastion
Magnificent lookout. Located on Buda Hill, the western bank of Budapest, the Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the must-visit places during your trip to Budapest. From here, you will discover a splendid view over the city of Budapest and, in particular, over the Hungarian Parliament.
Sunset. The Fisherman’s Bastion must be included in your itinerary if you visit Budapest in 2, 3, or 4 days. In the evening, this visit is particularly magical. Furthermore, the Buda district is one of the neighborhoods where tourists can stay to visit Budapest. Find out more in our article: Best districts of Budapest.
1.4 Visit the Matthias Church of Budapest
Still in Buda, you can visit the beautiful Matthias Church of Budapest, just a stone’s throw away from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Built at the end of the 13th century, this church has witnessed all the important events of the city and Hungary.
Statue of King Stephen. In the same area of the royal castle fortifications, right in front of the church, you will see a bronze statue of Hungarian King Stephen. Just like the Fisherman’s Bastion, this place is one of Budapest’s main must-dos and must-sees.
1.5 Visit the Buda Castle and its labyrinth
Royal Palace. Among the things to do in Budapest in 2, 3 or 4 days, of course, there is the former residence of the kings of Hungary: the Buda Castle. You can visit the National Gallery, the Széchenyi Library, or the Budapest History Museum. Visiting the gardens is, however, free.
Take the funicular (Budavari Sikló). It’s a pleasant and fun way to visit Buda Castle! The funicular starts from Clark Ádám Ter Square, near the Chain Bridge.
Unusual and unique visit. The castle’s labyrinth was naturally formed by the hot water spring that worked the limestone rock of the castle hill. In prehistoric times, this place served as a refuge and later as a military hospital, place of torture, or even prison. Thus, visiting the labyrinth is one of the unusual things to do in Budapest!
1.6 Go to the famous baths of Budapest
Local culture. The baths are an integral part of Hungarian life! They’re a place to relax and feel like a real Hungarian. Therefore, going to the baths is one of the things to do absolutely during your trip to Budapest!
Where to go? Among the most famous places in Budapest are the Széchenyi Baths or the Gellért Baths. Here are prices and practical information for visiting the Széchenyi Baths. It’s an excellent way to discover the local culture!
1.7 Take a Cruise on the Danube
One-hour cruise. There are several options available to you. During a one-hour cruise, you can enjoy magnificent views of Budapest from the Danube. It’s a pleasant time to spend with family or for couples. Discover more information here: rates and availability for a 1-hour cruise and drink.
Romantic dinner! If you’re visiting Budapest for 2 or 3 days as a couple, a candlelit dinner is one of the most romantic things to do in Budapest! You can learn more on this page: photos and dinner rates during a Danube cruise. A magical evening that will undoubtedly mark your trip to Budapest!
Folk evening! If you want to discover local folk dances and songs, enjoy a beautiful show on a boat! It’s an authentic family experience in Budapest: dinner cruise + folk show.
1.8 Visit the Budapest Synagogue
The largest synagogue in Europe. The Great Synagogue of Budapest was built at the end of the 19th century. It is one of the few synagogues to have an organ. It has also served as a model for the synagogue in New York.
How to visit? The entrance ticket allows you to visit the synagogue inside but also grants access to the museum right next door. If you want to learn more about the Jewish heritage in Budapest, we recommend taking a guided tour with a historian (rates and availability by dates).
1.9 Discover the Szimpla Kert space and have a drink in a ruin-bar
Surprising! In the Erzsebetvaros district of Budapest, the old Jewish quarter, do not miss Szimpla Kert. It is a surprising and unique place to visit. Szimpla Kert is located in an old abandoned building. It is one of the oldest ruin bars in Budapest!
Ruin bar! If you visit Budapest in 2, 3, or 4 days, having a drink in a ruin bar is one of the things to do. Ruin bars have unique atmospheres. Come take a tour here in the late evening or at nightfall.
1.10 Cross the Liberty Bridge
Beautiful architecture. The Liberty Bridge connects Buda and Pest. Crossing the Liberty Bridge is, therefore, an excellent opportunity to observe the two banks of the Danube and also to move around the city to visit.
Good deal! When you travel to Budapest, enjoy free public transport with the Budapest Card. This city pass includes public transport and discounts for visiting museums or churches. Discover more information here about the price of the card and its benefits.
1.11 Climb to the top of Gellért Hill
Panoramic view. Come here to discover one of the best views of Budapest! The hill is 235 meters high. In addition, Gellért Hill is a delightful place to walk. For example, you can climb to the top of Gellért Hill just after crossing the Liberty Bridge, which is at its feet.
Cave church. At the top, besides the view, the citadel, and the Statue of Liberty, you can visit a cave church: the Church of Our Lady of the Hungarians. A place that is quite surprising and original to do in Budapest!
1.12 Walk in the center of Budapest
Andrássy Avenue is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Terezvaros district, which is also one of the best districts for a romantic stay in Budapest.
Váci Street. During your stroll in the center of Budapest, do not miss Váci Street either. It’s a nice place to discover during a trip to Budapest.
Gozsdu Passage. One of the most attractive places for an evening out is Gozsdu Courtyard (place on Google Maps). You will find plenty of places to spend a good evening, have a drink, or have dinner.
1.13 See a show at the Hungarian State Opera
Still in the district of Terezvaros, the Opera of Budapest is one of the most important neo-Renaissance-style monuments in Hungary. Don’t miss this beautiful building during your visit to Budapest. Furthermore, the interior of the Opera is magnificent. You can also take this trip to see a ballet (see the opera program here).
Tour of Budapest by bike. If you come to visit Budapest in 2 or 3 days, you can take a guided bike tour. It’s a great way to discover the city differently. In addition, during the visit, you will also climb to visit Budapest Castle, as well as other must-see places in the city, with a local guide. To learn more: rates and availability for a guided bike tour.
1.14 Take a Stroll Through the Central Market Hall of Budapest
The largest market in Budapest. During your visit, take a stroll through the city’s central market halls! It’s an interesting place to discover. Additionally, you can come here for lunch (stalls are on the first floor of the market).
When to visit? The busiest day is Saturday. On Sunday, the central market halls are closed.
1.15 Discover Hungarian Gastronomy
Hungarian cuisine. During your trip to Budapest, you will have the opportunity to discover Hungarian cuisine and its influences. For example, you will find Eastern, notably Turkish, but also Gypsy and Germanic notes. For instance, there’s paprika and many soups and meat-based dishes.
Gastronomic tour. What’s better than a guided tour to enjoy Hungarian gastronomy even more? Discover the specialties of Hungarian cuisine: see rates and dates available for booking.
1.16 Visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest
A beautiful museum not to be missed. If you are visiting Budapest for four days or more, this museum is a must-see! The Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest is beautiful from the outside, as well as the inside. You will also find a quaint tea room in the museum’s basement for a break. Learn more: open location and see reviews on Google Maps.
1.17 Discover Heroes’ Square
The most important square in Budapest is located at the end of Andrássy Avenue. This monumental square is UNESCO World Heritage-listed. It was built to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the Magyars settling in Hungary (learn more about them here).
1.18 Play an Escape Game in Budapest
Did you know? Budapest is the capital of escape games! Escape games are real-life escape experiences. The concept is that you enter a place and have one hour to escape by solving its puzzles. In Budapest, you will find the best escape games! So, if you come here with family or friends, it’s one of the unique and fun activities to do in Budapest!
1.19 Visit Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest
A beautiful castle with a bucolic park. Close to the Széchenyi Baths, this castle is one of the must-do landmarks in Budapest, whether you’re there for 2, 3, or 4 days of travel. Come here for a relaxing summer stroll or ice skating in the winter.
Unique atmosphere. Here you will see the various Hungarian architectural styles from different eras.
1.20 Visit the House of Terror Museum in Budapest
Communist era. This museum traces Hungary’s history under communist rule after World War II. Very few explanations are available without the audio guide. If you wish to visit this museum, getting an audio guide is highly recommended. The audio guide is essential to visit this place. If you are going to visit Budapest, this museum can be interesting to learn more about the country’s history. No photography is allowed inside the museum.
2. Best Neighborhoods to Visit in Budapest
Among the best neighborhoods to visit in Budapest, Hungary, are the following:
- Belvaros and Lipotravos (central districts that run along the Danube on its left bank, that is the Pest side)
- Terezvaros (also in the Pest district, where the Hungarian State Opera, Andrássy Avenue, and Heroes’ Square are located)
- Erzsebetvaros (still on the Pest side, it’s the best district for going out in Budapest)
- Buda (a chic, soothing, and romantic neighborhood on the right bank of the Danube, that is the Buda side)
Tips. If you visit Budapest in 2, 3, or 4 days, the districts to prioritize for a family or couple’s stay are Belvaros and Lipotravos. The Buda district should also be considered for a romantic stay. However, if you come to Budapest to party, choose the Erzsebetvaros district instead.
3. Great places to go out and eat in Budapest
Click on the locations to open them in Google Maps.
Three must-visit spots:
- Szimpla Kert: the oldest ruin bar in Budapest!
- Central Market Hall: Head to the market’s first floor for a nice spot to have lunch in Budapest (especially on Saturday; it is closed on Sunday).
- Gozsdu Courtyard: a place to stroll in the evening for a drink or dinner.
Here are a few tasty restaurants to eat at in Budapest:
- Hungarikum Bistro: a delicious Hungarian restaurant right in the center of Budapest!
- Bors Gastro Bar: fresh products and great soups! The catch: they do not accept cards.
- Parisi 6 is an excellent spot to discover Hungarian dishes. The prices are quite affordable, and the location is perfect.
- New York Café: or simply the most beautiful café in the world! The setting is exceptional, but so are the prices.
4. Itinerary for visiting Budapest in 2, 3, or 4 days
Discover the itineraries you can do in Budapest during a 2, 3, or 4-day trip. Let’s go!
4.1 What to do and visit in Budapest in 2 days?
Visiting itinerary: first day in Budapest
- Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica
- Climb to the basilica’s lookout for a nice view of downtown Budapest
- Stroll through downtown Budapest, especially pedestrian Váci Street and Andrássy Avenue
- Go to the Széchenyi Baths in Budapest (see photos and prices)
- Discover the Erzsebetvaros district
- Have a drink in a ruin bar
Itinerary: second day in Budapest
- Visit the synagogue of Budapest
- Go to the Central Market Hall of Budapest
- Take the funicular to go to the Royal Palace of Budapest
- Visit the Church of St. Matthias
- Discover the lovely Buda district on foot
- Admire an exceptional view of the city from the Fisherman’s Bastion
4.2 What to do and visit in Budapest in 3 days?
Visiting itinerary: 3rd day in Budapest (see above for the previous two days)
- See Heroes’ Square and the Hungarian State Opera
- Visit Vajdahunyad Castle
- Do an escape game
- Take a cruise on the Danube (see rates for a cruise with a drink)
4.3 Visiting Budapest in 4 days
Visiting itinerary: 4th day in Budapest (see above for the previous two days)
- Cross the Liberty Bridge
- Climb up Gellért Hill for an incredible view of Budapest
- Visit the cave church Our Lady of Hungary (still on the hill)
- Visit the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts
5. How to get to the city center from the airport?
If you are visiting Budapest for 2, 3, or 4 days, you have three options to get to the city center from the airport:
- Take public transport (bus 100E or bus 200E, then the metro)
- Book a seat in a shuttle mini-bus (see prices)
- Go directly to your accommodation by taxi (see prices for a pre-booked airport transfer)
Discover the advantages and disadvantages of each option in our dedicated blog article: How to get from the airport to the city center of Budapest).
The must-see attractions in Budapest are located on both sides of the Danube. However, the right bank, i.e., Pest, is livelier than the left bank, Buda, which is much quieter. If you are visiting Budapest for 2, 3, or 4 days as a couple, among the most romantic things to do are the Danube cruise and visiting the Fisherman’s Bastion during sunset. If you’re going to Budapest with friends, the Erzsebetvaros district is a must-visit. You can visit the Buda Castle Labyrinth or the cave church, among the most unusual things to do in Budapest. For a trip to Budapest with family, as a couple, or with friends, don’t miss Vajdahunyad Castle and the visit to the baths of Budapest.