There are several free things to do in Budapest. Expensive luxury brand hotels have opened their doors in Budapest in recent years, however, the city’s soul remains. It is a beautiful city to visit and several things to do to suit all budgets. Some of Budapest attractions that visitors should see that are free of charge include seeing the stunning architecture, dazzling Danube vistas, panoramic views, and grassy parkland that cater to families and singles. The ideal time of the year to visit Budapest is in the spring and fall. You will avoid the high-season crowds, expensive flights, and increased hotel prices. Even with this growing tourism, the cost of living in Budapest may not be as high as you think it is. Here are seven free and fun things to do in Budapest for everyone.
Free Guided Walking Tour
The first thing you should do is take one of the free walking tours offered in the city. There are several available in various languages so just google ‘free walking tours Budapest’ and pick one that suits your schedule best. These tours will give you general knowledge of the city, the layout of the city, the history of the two cities and offer a great opportunity to do some Budapest sightseeing. It is a great Budapest guide by offering ways to discover new places you want to see and perhaps specific restaurants or bars for you to dine at. Most of the tours are around 2.5 hours offering ample time to visit Budapest. You will walk across the famous Chain Bridge, visit the Buda Castle, view St. Stephen’s Basilica, and discover the Thermal Baths which are all places of interest in Budapest. Learn about the history of Budapest, famous people, and events that take place in the city. You may even discover some new places that you would like to go see. Morning and afternoon walking tours are available daily at 11:00 am, 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm. The tours are free; however, tips are greatly appreciated.
Walk Across All Eight Bridges
There are eight bridges that connect Buda and Pest making Budapest one large city giving you plenty of places to visit in Budapest. You may not want to walk across all eight bridges, but Budapest is often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’ because of them and their ability to offer outstanding Budapest tourist attractions. The Chain Bridge was the first permanent bridge to connect the two cities, Buda and Pest, in 1849. The other seven bridges are the Arpad Bridge, Elizabeth Bridge, Lagymanyosi Bridge, Liberty Bridge, Margaret Bridge, Megyeri Bridge, and Petofi Bridge. If you choose to only walk across one, the Chain Bridge is one of the great places to see in Budapest. It is the most famous of all the bridges and was the first stone bridge to connect Buda and Pest in the 18th century.
Walk To The Top Of Gellért Hill
The panoramic views of Budapest, Hungary are spectacular from the top of the 771 feet (235 meters) tall Gellért Hill. The hill was named after bishop Gellért (Gerard), who was thrown to death from the hill by pagans in the fight against Christianity in 1046. Budapest’s Statue of Liberty overlooks the city, standing on top of the hill. The statue commemorates the liberation from the Nazis. On the walk up the hill from the Danube River, you can stop at the bronze statue of Bishop Gellért. It is located on the side of the hill facing Erzsébet bridge. While on the hill, you can also visit The Citadel (Citadella) and the Cave Church. Day or night, sunrise or sunset, you won’t be disappointed with the 15-minute walk up. It is one of the top Budapest places to visit.
Check out some of these Budapest tours.
Behold The Massive Hungarian Parliament Building
In 1902 the massive Parliament building was completed on the Pest side of the Danube in direct contrast to the Buda Castle. It took 17 years to build and is the tallest building in Budapest making it one of Budapest’s top attractions. It was built to signify that the country’s fate was bound to democracy, not royalty. The Hungarian Parliament is the country’s largest building and the third largest Parliament building in the world. There is a charge to go into the building for a tour, which is available in eight languages. Ticket prices range from 1,000 HUF (3.50 USD) to 5,400 HUF (18.95 USD) depending on age, residency, and season. However, it is free to view this grand building from the outside and watch the changing of the guards. The tours available and hours open vary, so look at their website before going. The Parliament building is definitely a must on your list of, best places to visit in Budapest.
Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica
Visit the biggest church in Budapest, St. Stephen’s Basilica is named after Stephen, the first King of Hungary. It is also known as Budapest Cathedral, which holds a capacity of 8,500 people. Saint Stephen I of Hungary is remembered by all those who visit the Basilica when they see his glass-encased right hand. It is decorated with rubies and pearls. However, some question the authenticity of the hand. The dome of the Basilica stretches 96 meters (315 feet) tall, the exact same height as the Parliament building. No building in Budapest can surpass this height limit. It is to signify the equality of the Parliament and the church. Entrance to the church is one of the free things to do in Budapest; however, if you want to go up to the observation deck, open from April to October, it will cost you 500 HUF (2 USD).
Walk Around Margaret Island
This pedestrian-only island, located in the middle of the Danube River, is a great escape from the city for kids and adults. It contains an extensive running path that’s 5.3 kilometers (3.29 miles) long. The island has an expansive water park with 11 outdoor pools. You can also rent skates and bikes to use on the island. The summer months are busier than the cooler winter months, but it is a great place to visit year-round. It only takes 20 minutes to walk the length of the island, but you can easily spend an entire day or evening there. The attractions on the island include the Centennial Memorial, a tiny zoo, a music fountain, a Japanese Garden, and a water tower. In the summer, the outdoor theater hosts numerous plays, concerts, and operas.
Visit Hero’s Square
Hero’s Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built to commemorate the country’s thousandth anniversary in 1896. At the center of the square is the Millennium Monument, paying tribute to the seven chieftains of the Magyars, the founders of Hungary, and other national luminaries. There is also a tomb of an unknown soldier. You will see an archangel Gabriel overseeing them from above a soaring center column. The square is also home to the Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery, City Park, and Széchenyi Baths which are all Budapest highlights. You will find it easy to spend an interesting and relaxing day here. If you want to enjoy some solitude here, you will need to come early. It gets very busy and lively in the evening hours making it one of the best things to do in Budapest.
Budapest For Any Budget
These are just a few of the top things to do in Budapest, Hungary. There are many more free and inexpensive things to suit everyone’s desires and price range. To save money on hotels and transportation to the city, visit during spring and fall when it is not the tourist peak season.