The Hungarian capital is a city of thermal baths, ruined bars, and world-class street food. It is also home to some of Europe’s most unique monuments and attractions. Originally two cities – Buda and Pest – Budapest was joined in the 19th century by a soaring Chain Bridge and an elegant Andrassy Avenue that leads to the 13th-century Matthias Church and soaring turrets of Fisherman’s Bastion, which offer sweeping views.
Budapest’s architecture is a highlight for history buffs. Revival buildings in the Art Nouveau style from the turn of the 20th century are everywhere, and you’ll be able to see the city’s best at the Royal Palace or in the Art Nouveau building of the Hungarian Parliament. Budapest’s top contemporary art galleries feature everything from conceptual works to the work of young local artists.
Getting around the city is easy thanks to the efficient metro and bus systems, as well as the iconic yellow trams that ply the streets above ground. For something a little different, try taking one of the river cruises that sail along the Danube River. Whether you take a short sightseeing tour or a longer sunset cruise, it’s a great way to get an overview of the city’s top sights.
If you’re not in the mood for a cruise, you can also take in the city’s architecture from the comfort of a walking tour. It’s not difficult to find a guide who can show you the highlights of the city, from the neoclassical splendor of the Hungarian State Opera house to the Art Nouveau beauty of the Lukacs Baths.
A stroll through the city’s Grand Boulevard is another must-do activity for visitors to Budapest. This famous boulevard is lined with elegant and historic buildings, including the neoclassical Buda Castle and the 1896 Palace of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Museum of Fine Arts.
Across the river in Buda, you can visit the Lehel Market, which is tucked into a quirky postmodern building and features one of the liveliest markets in Budapest. It is a great place to sample Hungary’s famous cold cuts and pick up low-priced drinking joints.
If you’re not a fan of crowds, try visiting the market on a weekday morning to avoid the crush of tourists. It’s also a good idea to plan your trip during the off-season, which is from November through March. This is when the city’s best restaurants, cafés, and shops are open but the tourist crowds are thinner. It’s also when the weather is most pleasant! things to do in Budapest