Budapest is packed full of great things to do all day and night. From vintage shops to the infamous ruin bars of the old Jewish quarter here are the top 10 weird and wonderful things not to miss in this eclectic city, Budapest.
Topping the list is an absolute must do in Budapest. Széchenyi Thermal Baths is a great way to relax and waste a couple of hours in summer or winter. The pools vary in temperature from the freezing cold plunge pools, to be used after a sauna, to the very warm 38 degree pool beside it! But the star of the show is the outdoor heated pool complete with bar, whirlpool and waterfall. The perfect cure to the night before! Or go the night before, Sparty is every Saturday between February to December.
Want to know how avoid the crowds in Budapest? There are a lot of thermal pools in Budapest but the less visited tend to have stricter rules on bathing attire and sometimes even require swim caps. Check out Gellert spa for an altogether more local experience.
2. Get ruined at a ruin bar
Budapest’s old Jewish quarter laid in disrepair for years with old factories and warehouses laying abandoned as no business thought they could make money from them. Until, that is, people started using these spaces to gather to drink and play music. People caught on and soon “ruin bars” started popping up all through the area. Many are open aired with several different rooms playing everything from live music to house (sometimes in the same bar!).
3. Sample some of the best dishes from around the world
Wondering what to eat in Budapest? The city is a melting pot of cultures meaning it has some of the best food this side of Italy. Eastern dishes from Israel can be found on the same menu as Hungarian classics such as goulash. Paprika is everywhere and there’s not a bland dish in sight!
Escape rooms are everywhere nowadays but Budapest has one for every occasion. E-Exit is one of the best with particularly creepy old hospital equipment and Soviet era themes. Grab a group of the smartest people you know and you might just get out alive!
5. Memento Park
Speaking of the Soviet Union why not visit a park full of Soviet statues? Stand beneath these imposing figures from darker times and re-enact their totalitarian poses. Because, well why not?!
6. Visit a museum of torture
Budapest’s terror house is not for the faint of heart. This is a place dedicated to some of the most horrifying acts in Hungarian history. If you can’t stomach all 5 floors a good way to get through it is to start at the top floor and then visit the basement. Here there are the padded cells used in bleak times to “interrogate” the often innocent victims.
7. Visit parliament
What better way to get under the skin of a city than to enter the very place it is run from. The Budapest parliament is by far one of the most visually stunning buildings in Europe from the outside, but what lies behind closed doors? To find out you must pre-book tickets online at least a day in advance, but the earlier the better.
8. Read in a former palace
The Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library is housed within a 19th century palace. Sit amongst students and tourists alike as you marvel at the vast atrium and grand staircases. It’s the perfect retreat for a few hours out of the bustling modern city.
9. Shop retro
Budapest is a city to shop in. While the main high street on Andrassy has all the usual European suspects and big name global brands there is a quiet revolution in the backstreets. Vintage is very much fashionable here. Take a look at any trendy café and a unique style is plain to see. Shops like Retrock Designer Vintage Store are leading the way in making fashion reusable and sustainable.
10. If you’re Hungary, go on a river cruise
Sorry I couldn’t resist! But did I mention the amazing food in Budapest? What better way to take in the sights than with a big old Hungarian style buffet while cruising the Danube. Not a bad way to see in the New Year in Budapest either.
So Budapest, an epic city with a lot of things to do. Anything I’ve missed? I’d love to hear your suggestions below. Thanks for reading, check out my tips below on how to save money when travelling.
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