Top Things To Do In Budapest

I have been chatting about our Danube river cruise with Ama Waterways over on Cruising With Kids and Instagram for a couple of weeks now. The whole experience blew me away. I had no idea there were so many wonderful Things To Do In Budapest?

A huge part of this was the small ship experience and service we received sailing on AmaMagna. Coupled with the wonderful places we visited along the way.

In 1873 Buda and Pest, 2 cities directly opposite each other on the Danube River were united, thus becoming Budapest.

Which side of the river Is Buda and which side is Pest?

Buda is the side of the river where you will find the Palace and Funicular. The Parliament Building, shopping district and St Stephens Basilica are all on the Pest side.

What Currency Do You Need In Budapest.

The currency is Hungarian Forint, we read so many horror stories about the locals being unhelpful when it came to paying. Thus resulting in us having a panic and finding an atm to ensure we had plenty of Forints.

This was not the case, we were offered the option to pay cash or card everywhere we shopped and dined. We found the locals to be friendly and helpful.

We were advised to use Exclusive Change, they have atm’s and change booths all over the city. Where you will roughly get 350 Forints to the pound depending on exchange rates.

What Should We Do In Budapest?

Although there is a hop on hop off bus, we decided to set a plan and walk. We covered 6 glorious miles, wandered historic streets, explored bustling shopping areas. Enjoying the odd glass of wine along the way, as we sat in street cafes and people watched.

I have compiled a list of wonderful things to see and do in Budapest. Places of interest or just quirky little things that made me smile, such as spectacular doors and people watching.

Things To Do In Budapest

Cruise The Danube River

The only way to see this stunning region is by river boat. And Sailing into Budapest on the our balcony of AmaMagna, a coffee in hand, as the morning sun was rising over the Parliament building is something I will never forget.

Budapest is a glorious sight from the Danube, sailing in was wonderful. Alternatively if you are on a city break find a reputable river boat tour to see the city by river.

 Parliament from the Danube

What Is On The On The Buda side Of The Danube?

Ride The Funicular Up To Buda Castle

The walk to the Castle is STEEP, yet it is worth getting to the top for the breathtaking views over Budapest. We decided to take the Funicular to the top. Firstly because it was a hot day, but also for novelty value. You can’t visit Budapest and not ride the Funicular?

The funicular at Buda castle

We queued for no more that 10 minuets the queue moves pretty quickly and the ride to the top last minutes.

Prices For The Funicular Are As Follows.

Adult: HUF 1,200 one way, HUF 1,800 return
Children aged between 3-14: HUF 700 one way, HUF 1,100 return
Free for children under 3

Historical Things To Do In Budapest, Visit Buda Castle

We didn’t go into Buda Castle as we had a lot of ground to cover. Although even if you don’t intend to go inside, it’s worth the trip to the top. The architecture is stunning and the views are incredible. There’s also a cafe bar on the edge of the hillside. Perfect should you want to stop, have a drink and take in the views.

A View of Buda palace

Active Things To Do In Budapest Walk Across The Chain Bridge.

The chain bridge offers spectacular views over the Danube and is a landmark in itself. All the way along the bridge people were trying their best to get uninterrupted selfies.

The bridge by the central market is equally beautiful, and closed off to traffic. Thus was much safer to grab a selfie.

Bridges to see in the city

Located On The Pest Side Of The River.

Visit The Shoes Of The Danube

Created by Sculptors Gyula Pauer and Can Togay. This moving memorial consisting of 60 pairs of shoes, represents the Jewish Men, Women and Children rounded up in the winter of 1944. Mums, dads, sons and daughters who were brutally stripped and forced to face a firing squad and murdered.

Initially I had mixed feelings about visiting and it does make you shed a tear. However it’s also so important to remember. There is beauty and eeriness surrounding the memorial, I am glad we went along to pay our respects.

Shoes of Budapest

Next Admire The Gothic Architecture Of Parliament House

The Parliament building is steps away from the shoe memorial. This colosal Neo-Gothic structure finish in 1902 took 1000 workers 13 years to complete.

Budapest Parliament from the River Danube

Here you can take a tour of parliament as long as the national assembly is not in session. The tour will allow you to see the main hall, several of the lobbies and the Crown Jewels. However it is also worth visiting to admire the architecture which is truly stunning.

Visit The Shopping District

And If you love shopping you can’t visit Budapest and miss out the main shopping district. Together with many favourite high street brands, you will also find boutique and individual stores, including souvenir shops.

Foodie Things To Do In Budapest, Visit The Famous Market

The Central Market Hall is a short walk from the shopping district. Here you will find 2 floors. The ground floor being a food market selling spices, meats, sausages, fruit and veg in every colour you could imagine.

Food Market in Budapest

Additionally the first floor packed full of textiles and homewares. Together with a street food area, packed full of Hungarian delights, although you must time your visit right. We visited at lunch time and the market was packed with hardly room to walk.

To Get A Great View, Ride The Budapest Ferris Wheel

Although Ferris wheels are not everybody’s idea of fun, this is a great way to get a birds eye view of Budapest. Particularly on a bright sunny day.

The big wheel in Budapest

Visit St Stephen’s Basilica

Aproach via Szent István ter for the most stunning approach to the Basilica. And trust me it really is worth planning this as it took my breath away. The Basilica is the largest church in Budapest, the planning and construction took a whopping 54 years. And involving three chief architects and the collapse of the entire dome nearly two decades into the project. 

Budapest Cathedral,Shoes of Budapest,

Although there is no charge to get into the church. There is a small fee of suggesting 500 huff per person to go to the observation deck and see the bell tower which houses Hungarys biggest bell.

Look For Statues

Budapest has statues everywhere. A statue trail is great idea to entertain kids and teens, with the promise of a new statue round almost every corner of the city.

Check out the Fat Policeman on Szent István ter, he stands overlooking St Stephens Basilica. And is said to bring you luck in love if you rub his belly.

Fat Policeman in Budapest

Also check out the statue of Attila József a Hungarian poet who is said to be one of the most prominent figures in Hungarian literature. As such his poems are tough in every Hungarian school.

A View of Budapest

Take A Budapest City Bike Tour

You can hire Mol Bubi bikes at many locations across the city. You simply pre register and pay a registration fee, then book a ticket for however long you would like access to a city bike.

Bike hire in Budapest

The bikes can be collected and returned from any station with an active pin code. For more info on hiring a bike in Budapest CLICK HERE.

I hope that helps you plan your next trip to Budapest, or indeed if you haven’t been, inspires you to visit as this really is an utterly spellbinding city.

Pin For Later

What to see and do when visiting Budapest, including which side is Buda and which is Pest and what is on each side of the river

Top things to do when visiting Budapest in Hungary
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SarahJChristie
SarahJChristie

Author of Extraordinary Chaos a family lifestyle and travel blog from a 40+ mum of teenage boys, sharing our family travels, recipes, reviews and country living. Also the co editor of Cruising With Kids Family Cruise Blog

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