1. Go on a walking tour
This was a great activity to do on the first day of landing in Budapest. I’d recommend the afternoon walk which happens daily at 2.30pm. The group meets by the lion fountain in Vörösmarty square, where a well-informed tour guide will lead you on a tour of the city, travelling from ‘new’ Budapest to the more historical ‘old’ budapest over the river.
The tour gives you your bearings, and allows you to see lots of monuments you might have missed wandering around on your own. Places visited included the St. Stephens Basilica, Chain Bridge and Fisherman Bastion. It takes about 2-3 hours and requires a fair amount of walking, but is done at a relaxed pace and you cover a lot of the city!
The tour is free, they just ask for a small donation at the end (which was definitely worth it – they also gave us various local tips including how to order in restaurants, some key Hungarian words and local delicacies to try).
2. Go to the baths
The thermal baths in Budapest are a major attraction. We visited the Szechenyi Baths on the last day, which are the biggest and most popular in Europe. I would recommend going for an afternoon as there is so much to do. The Szechenyi Baths are the biggest in Budapest – there are a total of 18 pools.
There are 3 huge outdoor pools which feel as hot as your bath at home, which are naturally heated. The rest of the pools are indoors, and range from 18-40 degrees.
3. Hire bikes on Margaret Island
There was a choice of different types of bikes (we went for a rainbow Chucklebrothers-esque number) and you could hire for an hour at a cheap price. It’s a great way of relaxing whilst taking in the scenery. Margaret Island is located in the middle of the Danube river, which runs through Budapest.
4. Visit an escape room
This is a must-do. It was great fun, you are put in a room with your team and have to solve riddles and clues in order to get yourself out of the room in one hour (you can have 2-5 people on one team). We went to an escape room called Claustrophilia and did the game called ‘The Wicklewood Heritage’.
The price was 8.000HUF each (for 2 players) so it was on the more expensive side of activities in Budapest. However, we loved it so much that we returned the following day and completed the other game ‘Voodoo Tales’.
5. Walk along the river
There are many attractions along the river including restaurants and boat trips. You can also cross the bridges, which allows you to see both sides of Budapest from different perspectives. The Chain Bridge is a must see.
6. Walk up to the Liberty Statue
This is the place to go to get the best view of the city. The Liberty Statue is situated on the top of Gellert Hill, and if you walk up at sunset you get an amazing view of the city at night time lit up.
7. Visit a ruin pub
Ruin pubs are derelict industrial spaces that have been turned into quirky Hungarian drinking bars. The most well known is the Szimpla Kert, located on Kazinczy Street, but there are loads throughout the city. The inside is decorated with mismatched furniture, art, graffiti and there are many different rooms. Drinks in ruin pubs are very cheap and there are often live bands.
8. Watch some music
We went to see Joshua Redman at the Budapest Jazz Club. There is lots of music going on in the city, we often got given flyers by people inviting us to concerts.
The Budapest Jazz Club was a great evening activity. The cocktails were very cheap at around £2 each, and we watched an open jam with musicians. We returned the following night for a Joshua Redman concert which didn’t disappoint.