The 13 best free activities in Budapest
Good news for people who want to visit Budapest on a tight budget. The first one is: Budapest is cheap. Which means you can do a lot of things without spending too much money. The other is: there are a lot of free things to do in Budapest, where you can just keep your money in your pocket. Check out all the amazing free possibilities in the Hungarian Capital on this page.
Visit Saint Stephen’s Basilica
One of the most iconic buildings in Budapest is Saint Stephen’s Basilica. It’s situated on a central square close to the Danube. It is the biggest church in Budapest and it houses an important relic… the right hand of the first king of Hungary, Saint Stephen. Just walking around the church on the lovely vivid square is nice, but you can also go and have a look inside. You can enter the church in for free, but it’s much appreciated if you pay 200 HUF (around 0,5 pound and 0,6 euro).
I would like to mention here that you can also enter the rooftop from the basilica. From which you have a great view on the city and the Danube. Unfortunately you do have to pay a small amount to be able to get up.
Climb up Gellert Hill
Do you want to see the most beautiful view off Budapest which you can visit easily? Make sure to climb up Gellért Hill. On top of it you will find a pretty panorama. From here you can see both sides of the city: Buda and Pest. And you will the Danube passing through it. The climb up is very doable and along the way you will find also some nice viewpoints. The viewpoint is extra special on a clear day, during sunset of after sunset when you can see how gorgeous the city looks with all its little lights.
Bring a visit to the most beautiful market hall in the world
Budapest has the most beautiful market hall in the world. And guess what… you can visit it for free. Not only has it been proclaimed the most beautiful market in the world, but it also has won a lot of prices for its outstanding architecture. And once you step inside you will understand why. The light fall, the big windows and the impressive roof are all eye-catchers. And this combined with the colourful looks of the vegetables and all other goods on the stalls make this market into place which you will not forget easily.
Enjoy the magical Fisherman’s Bastion
One of the biggest Budapest attractions, if not the biggest, is the Fisherman’s Bastion. And guess what.. you can visit if for free! This panoramic terrace was build in the end of the 19th century to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the history of Hungary. Nowadays it’s a perfect place to take some nice pictures of the city and of the monument itself. Take some time here to soak in the beauty of this place. And if you have time come back to enjoy it extra.
Walk Budapest during night time
I don’t know when Budapest is more beautiful, during day or during night. Let’s say both have their own magic. But once you are in the Hungarian capital please go for a good walk after sunset through the city. Cross the Budapest Chain Bridge and make sure to see the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle and the Matthias Church. All of them look spectacular when the sun has set and the lights are on. During this time of the day it’s also more quiet on the street so you will be less bothered by other tourists.
Check out the street art
Fair enough, Budapest is not the most famous place when it comes to street art. But don’t underestimate the Hungarian Capital. In the Jewish Quarter you can find some real nice graffiti and other street art. Go check out the mural in the park in Kiraly Street, the parking lot in Kertész street, strolling through Dob street and you will also find an impressive one. The mural in the picture above can be found in Klauzál street.
Follow the walk beneath and you will find all good spots:
Walk the Danube promenade
Walking the Danube promenade in Budapest is a must when you visit the Hungarian Capital. It offers you such great views on this famous river and the Buda Hill with the iconic Fisherman’s bastion, that you can’t go without it. If you walk in the direction of Margaret Island you will stumble upon 60 pairs of bronze shoes on the promenade. This is a memorial to remember the horrific incident of Jewish people being executed and thrown into the river during the Second World War.
Also you will meet the Hungarian Parliament Building from up close if you keep on walking. You can chose to leave the promenade from here and circle around this impressive building.
Visit the gardens of Buda Castle
My first time in Budapest I completely overlooked the gardens of the Buda Castle. But I can recommend you to go there. The garden itself is not that impressive, but the walk from the gardens to Buda Castle – in the direction of the Fisherman’s Baston – or the other way around, is nice. And you will also find some neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance structures around the gardens.
Stroll through the Jewish Area
The Jewish Quarter is my favourite area in Budapest. It is very vivid and alive and it has a lot of a creative shops, small boutiques and street art. Around here you will also find plenty of places to drink or to eat something. Next to the Great Synagogue – the biggest in Europe – this is the place which is home to the famous Ruin Bars.
Pay a visit to Heroes’ Square
Heroes’ square at the end of the famous Andrassy Boulevard is the most spacious square in Budapest. It’s most known for it’s big memorial. The Millenium monument is – just like a lot of other landmarks in the city – build as a celebration of the 1000th anniversary of Hungary (in its current form). Situated on this square are also 2 important museums: the Museum of Fine arts and the Hall of Art.
Walk the city park and spot the pretty castle
Behind the above mentioned Heroes’ Square you will find the city park. It’s the largest park in Budapest and a great place to go for a walk. In the park you can go and see the famous Szechenyi Baths and also the zoo is located in this park. One of the other main attractions in the City Park is Vajdahunyad Castle. This castle was build to show all the different architectural styles from Hungary. It’s a very nice castle surrounded by a handmade lake. Going to the park is a great idea in winter too, since the lake gets frozen and people go skating here. It gives very nice ambiance to this City Park.
Enjoy this green little island in the Danube
Another great place to surround yourself with nature is Margaret Island. This little island situated in the Danube is also a popular place for Hungarians to hang out or go for a run. It’s not only a good spot to go for a picnic but there is also lots of things to do. There is little zoo, a swimming pool, a running track and there is a great musical fountain.
Stroll through the castle district and it’s old streets
If you walk up to the castle district on the Buda side of Budapest, you will feel like you go back in time. The small streets and the cobble stones give this area a great historic feeling. It’s really a nice place to wander around in the different streets and you will find yourself discovering new things all the time. Also you’re close to the above mentioned Buda Castle gardens and the Fisherman’s Bastion. If you do have some money to spend go take a nice cake in the oldest confectionery off Budapest: Ruszwurm.
Looking for a hotel?
Check out my two personal favourites: TG Design suites Aparthotel & Hotel Rum (which is Buda-side of the city). Other hotels which are popular, have good ratings and are located very well are Roombach Hotel and AnVa House.