2020 is looking to be the most fun year to be in Budapest so far with countless activities, unique new events and more amazing things to do in Budapest than you could ever fit into your calendar.
Thankfully, we are here with a helping hand!
Whether you are an adrenaline junkie out for a thrill on the streets of Budapest, plan on raiding the nightlife or traveling with family and are looking for the perfect fun-time for the little ones while you can indulge in sightseeing, Budapest has just what you need. In spades!
We have collected the best of what to do in Budapest to make sure your holiday in 2020 will be the greatest one you’ve ever had!
Wild, alternative sightseeing trips
Riding a Hop on Hop Off bus around the city is always an option, however for those looking for a more adventurous Budapest sightseeing experience, a whole array of crazy-fun vehicles are available to roll around in.
Go-kart in Traffic through the City Center
One of the wildest choices you have is the recently launched Mini Hot Rods. Driving these little machines is basically like racing go-karts in traffic. And speeding along some of the most important attractions of Budapest such as the Heroes’ Square or the Buda Castle in a tiny little engine is definitely one of the most satisfying sightseeing experiences we can imagine.
Who should try it: Every adrenaline jockey with a driver’s license and a need for speed
Giant Two-Wheel Adventure in Budapest
Has two giant wheels, an electric engine and you can ride it standing up. What is it?
Monster Rollers are without a doubt one of the most convenient and enjoyable ways of sightseeing in Budapest and they are widely available from several companies around the city. Best thing is you can ride them even on the sidewalk!
Have Fun tip: Take a Monster Roller on a ride along the Danube Promenade for a spectacular view to the Buda side!
Who should try it: Those who enjoy comfortable, yet super-fun sightseeing.
Underground adrenaline-fuelled activities in Budapest
If the surface deems to be unbearably hot this summer, don’t worry! There are plenty of things to do in Budapest above ground as well to get your heart racing.
Caving under Budapest
Boasting one of the most impressing cave systems below any capital of the world, Budapest has become a paradise for cave dwellers visiting the city. You can explore the amazing secrets and treasures hidden in the Buda caves taken you are up for a tour full of crawling and sliding in the pitch dark with nothing but a mining helmet lighting the way. The caves offer underground trips of many kinds from adventure caving that involves climbing on all fours through narrow passages to simple geological tours where you can admire the magnificent formations inside the cave on an simple guided walk.
Who should try it: Thrill seekers, and nature enthusiasts
Professional Scuba-Diving in Budapest
Although definitely not for everyone, those with a professional scuba diving certification can take part in a scenic diving trip inside the caves or a flooded factory in Budapest. Scuba divers from all over the world flock to the Molnár János Cave and the Kőbánya Brewery two underwater places where aquatic explorers can discover a hidden world full of breathtaking formations or an old abandoned brewery reclaimed by nature in a magnificent way.
Who should try it: Only allowed for professional, certificated scuba divers
The famous Baths of Budapest
Boasting the title “City of Spas” for 80 years, Budapest is undoubtedly the world’s capital of thermal water. With an abundance of thermal spring baths, ranging from historic Turkish spas, to the largest one of Europe, the Széchenyi Bath, a Budapest holiday simply can’t miss a soak in one of these revered establishments.
To get the most out of the Budapest bath scene, these are the venues you should look up first:
Budapest Sparty Series
Every Saturday night until the end of autumn Széchenyi Bath organizes its legendary “Sparty” series when the bath turns into a giant open-air music club creating a unique audio and visual experience unlike any other. If you’re looking for an unforgettable Budapest nightlife experience, this is it!
The Lidos of Budapest
Aside from beautiful Turkish baths, Budapest offers so much more for a hot summer day in terms of water culture.
Although most thermal baths offer open-air swimming pools as well, for real lido-fun, we recommend the Palatinus Lido on Margaret Island with 10 pools, giant slides and a wellness center.
For those with energetic young kids, a day at Aquaworld Budapest can be the perfect solution. The largest water entertainment facility in Budapest, this place has everything a little water-loving adrenaline-junkie can ask for. Children can find infinite amazement on the giant water slides, artificial surf pools and wave pools while parents have a range of Jacuzzis and saunas to choose from to relax in while the kids let off some steam.
Live music concerts in Budapest all-year
The city of waters is also a city of sounds with countless music performances being held in Budapest’s many clubs and open-air venues round the clock.
From classical music feats organized in Müpa and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music to wild contemporary pop, rock and hip-hop concerts form local talents and international stars, a music aficionado will have no trouble finding the best things to do in Budapest this year!
Live Music Concerts of all Genres
From folk tunes to wild heavy metal and bumping hip-hop jams, there are no shortage of music genres across the crowded music scene of Budapest. Explore some of the must-try live music venues in Budapest and take off on the wings of music!
Classical Music in Budapest
Budapest is also well-known and revered among the fans of symphonic compositions. With over 50 professional classical music ensembles and one of the most celebrated venues in Europe, a classical concert in Budapest is truly something you shouldn’t miss out on.
Smooth Sailing on the Danube
A romantic river cruise in Budapest along the illuminated Hungarian Parliament, Basilica and the Buda Castle is unlike anything else. Offered by various companies, a sightseeing cruise at night is truly a must do in Budapest. Aside from fancy dinner cruises however, there are plenty more of what you can do on the Danube if you are looking for fun.
Row boating in Budapest
If you are the type who likes to be in control even on water and doesn’t fret away from a little exercise, kayaking on the Danube sound just like your kind of fun. The kayak and canoe culture of Budapest looks back on a long heritage and you can get in on the action personally up at “Római part” in Buda. This part of the riverbank is a real hidden treasure for tourists with a plethora of sports and recreational facilities.
The fastest ride on the Danube
Have you ever wondered what it could feel like to speed along the beautiful sights of Budapest in the fastest boat on the river? With the red devils of RedJet you can have a Danube adventure unlike any other if you are not afraid of getting wet. Dressed in waterproof attire this 30-minute wild ride takes you from the southern part of Budapest up to the city center than back down speeding and drifting in such velocity that makes a rollercoaster ride feel like smooth sailing. If you feel up for the challenge, this thrill ride will guarantee not to disappoint.
Who should try it: Those who are over 120cm height, aren’t afraid of water and high speeds and love a good adrenaline rush.
Budapet Party Boats
The nightlife of Budapest is not afraid of water! Aside from the celebrated SPArty series at the Széchenyi Bath, aqua and wild dancing go hand in hand on the party boats that depart several nights every week until the winter months. Bars stocked with liquor, flashing lights, blaring beats and a boatful of party people vibing on the open deck of the ship overlooking the illuminated sights of Budapest. A night like this on the Danube is truly one for the history (or travel) books.
Who should try it: Mostly recommended for young people as these boats are usually packed with hard-partyers of 18-25 years
Pub Crawl the Ruin Bars and Craft Beer Pubs
On to the Budapest nightlife!
No visit to the city is complete without an experience at the famous Ruin Bars and the revered party district of Budapest especially now, with 2020 shaping up to be the wildest, and “partyest” year of the city’s history.
The Famous Ruin Bars
Load up on the party spirit and visit some of the most special attractions of Budapest, the Ruin Bars in the historic Jewish quarter! From open-air bars like Anker’t to the massive party establishment Instant-Fogasház with its 8 bars and the legendary Szimpla, the city’s first ruin bar, a little pub crawl through Budapest could easily turn into a whole holiday!
Those Mysterious Craft Beer Pubs
A definitely lesser-known but all the more emblematic side of Budapest’s bar culture is its Craft Beer Scene. Shaping to be almost as big as the Ruins, these places also offer a massive range from the recently opened international BrewDog Budapest to the legendary (and huge) Élesztő or the classy Neked Csak Dezső.
Explore the Great Parks of Budapest
It doesn’t have to always be about sightseeing and important landmarks on your travels in Budapest. At the great green plains of the city you can have a tranquil day at the park any day of the week.
The Budapest City Park
Spread behind the Heroes’ Square, the meadows are home to several notable sights of Budapest like the Széchenyi Bath, the Zoo or the enchanting Vajdahunyad Castle aside from great recreational opportunities at its green pastures. Watch a performance at the Capital Circus, enjoy the outdoor trampolines or embark on a romantic row boating at the park’s rowing lake! Although several areas around the park are closed for renovation currently with a scheduled opening for 2020, the park is still a safe haven contrasted by the constant rush of the city center.
Margaret Island, the Lung of the City
The only place in the city center that is neither Buda nor Pest, this activity center of the locals’ are the perfect place for a morning jog on the running track encircling it or a healthy swim at the Olympic swimming pool also located on Margaret Island. You can rent various pedal and electric vehicles to explore the great pastures and listen to live performances throughout the summer at the Open-Air-Stage. Hungary’s largest musical fountain playing different songs from morning till evening is also located on this little island of peace.
Budapest undoubtedly packs activities worthy of countless holidays, however those who willing to experiment a little outside of the capital will definitely not regret it. Mere half hour drive from the city will get you to some of the most breathtaking places of Hungary with World Heritage views, nature reserves and the largest lake of the region. Take on the great Hungary!
The Danube Bend
Literally a few minutes away from Budapest, along the curving line of the River Danube you can find some of the most mesmerizing little towns. A perfect day-long excursion to this region starts at the picturesque Town of Painters: Szentendre, a romantic little place on the hillside, then goes through the historic Visegrád with its medieval citadel offering a perfect view to the Danube bend and finishes at Esztergom, home of Hungary’s largest Basilica.
How to get there: Hitch a river cruise up the Danube to Szentendre, the first town in the Danube Bend or take a train from the Nyugati Railway Station to Esztergom, or Nagymaros to reach the other two towns.
Balaton, the Hungarian Sea
Summer at the Balaton has been a Hungarian institution of sorts for long decades and for a good reason. This lake is surrounded by towns with countless recreational options and rich natural heritage not to mention the Balaton itself with its lively ecosystem and marvelous beaches. From the various towns bordering it, we recommend visiting the breathtaking Tihany, located on a peninsula with beautiful nature reserves and an amazing view or Siófok, Balaton’s party capital boasting a lakeside avenue full of dance clubs and bars.
How to get there: Take a train to Siófok from Budapest Déli Train Station!
Visit Budapest’s Unique Museums
With its uncanny history and colorful art heritage, Budapest’s famous museums are real staples of the city. Besides must-sees like the National Museum, the Ludwig Modern Art Museum or the Hungarian National Gallery, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Budapest’s more unusual and probably lesser-known adventure museums as well.
The House of Terror Exhibition
Certainly not the most uplifting thing to do in Budapest, but this is without a doubt one of the most fascinating exhibitions in the city. The House of Terror deals with the darkest times of the 20th century in Hungary from fascism to communism with illustrative memorabilia and uncanny stories about the not too distant past that seems like a different universe.
Who should visit: Anyone interested in the darkest part of the 20th century. Not recommended under 14 years.
The Palace of Wonders, as it is also known, is a much more fitting place for a family. An original adventure exhibition that seamlessly blends science with fun, young and old alike can learn much about sciences in various interactive attractions such as escape rooms, mind-bending games and breathtaking installations to get in touch with. All in a giant, two-story hangar.
Who should visit: Anyone interested in sciences and looking for a fun thing to do in Budapest.
Perfect for families or as a date program.
The museum you can feel, this place was designed to be experienced without your sight. Created to help visitors understand the world of the blind, Invisible Museum takes you on an uncanny journey into an invisible world, with the guidance of a sightless tour leader. The museum also offers invisible wine tastings, massages and dinners aside from their tours.
Who should visit: Anyone with a curiosity for the unknown and an openness to the world of the blind.
Few visitors know that Budapest has particularly beautiful natural forests and hills, minutes away from its city center. If after a few days of sightseeing in the bustling metropolis you feel like rekindling with nature and possibly indulge in some of the most amazing views of Budapest, the following two routes are your best bets both a few stops away from the inner city. If you’re looking for good company and an experienced guide for your travels look up Outdoor Adventures Hungary for amazing guided hikes in and around the city.
The Most Beautiful View in Budapest – atop Gellért Hill
Closest to the city center is one of the most satisfying hike opportunities in Budapest. The UNESCO World Heritage protected Gellért Hill is home to the emblematic Liberty Statue standing triumphantly on its peak. To reach it however, one needs to embark on a stunning ascend of the 230 meter tall hill following an enchanted little flight of stairs through the woods. Your reward for the legwork will be the most amazing panorama of Budapest, an unconcealed view to the whole city while standing next to Gellért Hill’s icons, the Citadella and the Liberty Statue.
How to get here: Cross the Elizabeth Bridge from Pest to Buda. The stairs to the top start in front of the Buda end of the bridge.
An adventure of a lifetime in the woods of Normafa
A few minute long bus ride from the West End Train Station takes you to the Chairlift of Zugliget, an off-the-beaten-track attraction in Budapest that will most certainly make one of the most amazing memories of your holiday. In open ski lift-like cabins, the chairs will take you up János Hill treating with an open panorama to the city along the way in total silence with the woods and small gardens slowly passing by beneath your feet. After this magically serene experience you can decide to climb to the top of János Hill for a majestic view from the Elisabeth Lookout, then take the chairlift back down or choose the untrodden path to the cutest train station you will ever see. The Guinness Record winning Children’s Railway runs a few minute walk away from the Jánoshegy chairlift terminal and we can hardly imagine a more fun way of getting back to the bottom of the hill than through the deep forests on a small train operated by children.
How to get there: Take bus 291 from “Nyugati pályaudvar” to the last stop, Zugliget Libegő.