The best things to do in Budapest: what to see, where to eat, drink & stay

Over the past few years, Budapest has become one of the most popular European destinations. The Hungarian capital’s monumental buildings, scenic riverfront, tree-lined avenues and beautiful Art Nouveau architecture make it a bucket-list destination.  The city is a parade of spectacular monuments that truly give the idea of the importance of this Central Eastern European capital. From visiting the Fisherman’s Bastion to taking in the views of the city in one of its many panoramic viewpoints, Budapest sure has a lost in store for its visitors. Whether it’s for a weekend, five days or 7 days, here’s my travel guide to Budapest, from what to see and where to eat, to where to drink and stay in the Hungarian capital.

What to see in Budapest

Budapest is packed with sights to see. From green parks to centuries-old palazzos and bridges, there’s a myriad of things to see and do. Here are my absolute favorite places to see in Budapest.

The Castle District

Perched on top of Buda Hill, the Castle District is probably my favorite place in Budapest to visit. This part of the city feels like it has been sprinkled with a little extra magic than the rest of the city, and it also has some of the best views of BudapestYou walk up these beautiful cobblestone streets and admire the enchanting architecture that surrounds you. And when you get to St. Matthias Church, prepare to be stunned! It feels like one of those fairytale castles/churches featured in those old Disney movies.

Not to mention the beautiful Fisherman’s Bastion, where you get one of the best bird’s eye views of the city (and lots of great pictures). Not only is the Budapest Castle district a must to visit, it’s also where the city of Budapest was first built until it was later expanded. In fact, the walls of most of the houses date back to the Middle Ages! If you’d like to get a glimpse of Budapest’s history, head to the Buda Castle and go to the Budapest History Museum. And of course, walk around Buda castle and admire its beautiful architecture and view!

what to see in Budapest

Varkert Bazaar

As you walk down the Castle District, turn to your right until you reach the stunning Varkert Bazaar. Known as one of the most exclusive event spaces of Budapest, this place is also famous for its stunning neo-Renaissance gardens below Buda castle. A beautiful garden with terraces to get views of the Buda riverfront and the Danube river.

where to get the best views of budapest

Gellert Hill & Citadel

As you walk towards Liberty bridge on the Buda side of Budapest, you’ll spot a beautiful monument hidden in the gardens perched on a hill.  Named after Saint Gerard – a bishop who was thrown from the hill in the 11th century – Gellert Hill offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Budapest. From here you can admire the Castle of Buda, Liberty Bridge, the parliament and so much more. And the view of Pest is certainly fantastic. Walk back down and cross Elizabeth bridge or keep exploring the beautiful park until you reach the Citadel. The Citadel is a symbol of conflict, after the Habsburgs suppressed the 1848-1849 Revolution and War of Independence, they built a fortress on the Citadel to remind the Hungariangs who was in charge.

where to get the best views of budapest

The Chain Bridge

The Chain Bridge is one of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks. Inaugurated in 1849, and named after the iron chains on which the road-beds hang, it was Hungary’s first permanent bridge connecting Buda to Pest. It is absolutely one of Budapest’s most remarkable bridges. Not only is the Chain bridge the symbol of Budapest,  it also offers breathtaking views of the Hungarian Parliament building, the Danube, the Castle of Buda and the luxurious Gresham Palace.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Apart from being the country’s Patron and the first King of Hungary, St. Stephen is also a splendid basilica in Budapest’s 5th district. It happens to be the tallest building in the city along with the Hungarian Parliament Building (96 meters), symbolizing the balance between Church and State. In addition to the stunning architecture and the beauty of the basilica itself, there’s a long line of people waiting to visit something else: the panoramic Basilica Dome. And who can blame them? The 360-degree view from the Basilica is mesmerizing.

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