Budapest has been at the crossroads of Europe for a thousand years, and its streets are packed with cultural highlights. Whether you’re looking to see the city’s famous Parliament building or take in a ritual like the Changing of the Guard, there’s plenty of things to do in Budapest.
#1 – Visit the Museum of Fine Arts: Budapest’s Szepmuveszeti Muzeum has a world-class collection that includes Old Masters like Cranach, Raphael, and Titian as well as Hungarian artists like Gáspárdy Kósa and Mór József. The neoclassical building itself is also worth a look, with Romanesque, Renaissance, and Baroque halls.
#2 – Explore the Castle District: A trip to the capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Budapest’s castle district. From the iconic Fisherman’s Bastion with its 7 turrets that represent the Magyar tribes that first entered Hungary in the 9th century to the formal Matthias Church, there’s much to see in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. A guided tour is recommended if you want to learn more about the history of these iconic landmarks.
#3 – Stroll down Andrassy Avenue: The capital’s version of the Champs-Elysees and the Ringstrasse, Andrassy is a great place to stroll with its high-end shops, pretty boutiques, stately apartment buildings, and handsome villas (many now embassies). You can even hop on a tram or bus ride, if you prefer, though this is not as fun as just walking.
#4 – Watch the Changing of the Guard: The Changing of the Guard is an especially popular event to witness in Budapest, and for good reason. The synchronized ceremony is an impressive sight to behold, and it takes place right in front of the Hungarian Presidential Palace. It’s a perfect way to start your day, especially if you’re visiting on a weekend!
#5 – Get a cat fix: Apparently, this is one of the most unique things to do in Budapest, and it’s sure to satisfy any crazy cat lady craving. At the city’s Cat Cafe, you can sip a cup of coffee while cuddling with furry felines. There’s no fee to enter and you can stay as long as you’d like.
Unlike many other cities around the world, where you might have to book an Escape Room to find one, Budapest has its own version. The House of Terror is no haunted home, but it’s a chilling reminder of the city’s dark past under fascist and communist rule. You’ll see mock prison cells, a Russian T-34 tank, and pictures and portraits of those who died fighting against the totalitarian regimes.
If you want to avoid the crowds, visit at night. The views from the top of Fisherman’s Bastion are particularly stunning at dusk and after 8pm, when the entrance fee is waived. You can also visit the nearby Lukacs Baths, an Art Nouveau-style spa that’s said to have the best steam in town. things to do in Budapest