A trip to Central Europe isn’t complete without a stop in the historic Hungarian capital. While soaking in thermal baths and drinking at ruin bars are certainly must-do activities, the city offers so much more for culture vultures to discover. From spooky caves to a dazzling art museum, here are 10 of the most unique things to do in Budapest.
1. Roam the streets of Castle Hill
Budapest’s medieval Old Town is swarming with tourists, but if you arrive here a little before sunset and stroll through its winding streets, you can enjoy its many charms mostly to yourself. See the dazzling Matthias Church, the towering Fisherman’s Bastion, and the unique neo-Gothic structure that’s often described as looking like it’s straight out of Harry Potter. 2. Visit the Parliament Building
The gleaming red dome and roof of the Parliament Building can be seen in nearly any skyline photo of Budapest, but visiting this iconic landmark in person is something special all its own. A guided tour will teach you about the history and inner workings of this mammoth government building that’s a striking mix of Gothic and Renaissance Revival architecture.
3. Take in the sights of the City Park
The grand Andrassy Avenue, which runs from downtown to Heroes’ Square and the City Park, is a beautiful way to get acquainted with the city. But even better, this venerable boulevard is also home to Hungary’s most impressive public works: The Millennium Underground, the House of Music designed by star architect Sou Fujimoto, and the eye-catching Vajdahunyad Castle and Szechenyi Baths.
4. Stroll down the swanky streets of Ujlipotvaros
Often considered the city’s “hipster district,” the swanky neighborhood of Ujlipotvaros is one of the most unique places to shop in the Hungarian capital. Specialty coffee shops, quirky museums, and stylish boutiques line the streets of this affluent neighborhood that flies under the radar of most visitors to Budapest.
5. Experience Budapest’s artisanal side
While you may not need to travel all the way to Budapest to try specialty coffee or craft beer, this is one of the best cities in Europe for trying out the local brews. And, with a burgeoning culinary scene, you’ll find that the city has plenty of upscale restaurants where you can taste a modern twist on traditional Hungarian dishes.
6. Explore the spooky tunnels under Buda Castle
For a more unique way to spend an hour or so, book a guided tour to roam the spooky underground tunnels underneath the medieval Buda Castle that were once used as bomb shelters and were once believed to be the entrance to the legendary lair of Vlad Tepes (aka Count Dracula). Today, these dark and spooky tunnels are open for visitors to explore.
7. Watch a ballet performance
While visiting Hungary, it’s a must to check out the country’s famed Ballet of the Opera and other dance companies. The performances are spectacular, and the costumes are just as stunning as the sets. And, as a bonus, the tickets are usually quite affordable. things to do in Budapest