Now that the weight of visiting the must-see Budapest sites is off your shoulders, you’re free to immerse yourself in places off the beaten track. This list includes charming neighborhoods, essential landmarks, and fun activities that are unique to Budapest and will reveal the side of Budapest locals know. (See the map at the bottom of the page for the locations.)
#1 - Visit Újlipótváros, Budapest’s West Village: A little city within the city, Újlipótváros is a hidden gem that somehow flies under the radar of most tourists. With a 1930s modernist housing stock, this middle-class neighborhood looks strikingly different than the rest of city’s classical revival architecture. Lined with bookstores and trendy cafés, the main artery of the neighborhood is Pozsonyi Road.
#2 - Discover the coolest Buda neighborhood: No doubt that Pest is where most of the action is, but the stately Bartók Béla Avenue in Buda gives it a run for its money. This revitalized area is teeming with cafés, bars, art galleries, and a local, bourgeois bohemian crowd.
#3 - Stroll down the Danube promenade in Ferencváros: Unfortunately, cars in Budapest have more access to precious Danube River views than people. One exception is the green promenade running down from the Great Market Hall to the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art. Along the way, be sure to pop in to the historic market hall, and the enormous whale-shaped contemporary building where the bars offer panoramic vistas.
#4 - Use BuBi, Budapest’s city bike system: With densely built streets and a flat surface, the Pest side of Budapest lends itself to be discovered on two wheels. With almost 1,500 bikes and 124 docking stations, Budapest’s self-service bike sharing system, BuBi, provides an excellent coverage of all downtown neighborhoods. You can pedal away for the whole day for the equivalent of less than €2 (within 30 minute intervals). Just please keep your wits about you and be respectful to others sharing the road.
#5 - Bike around on Margaret Island: Budapest’s Central Park, this prime piece of green land perching in the middle of the Danube River is a true gem - no wonder that the royal family kept it close to its chest before finally selling it to the state in 1908. Bike around the manicured parks or join packs of locals making their rounds on the running trail stretching around the island.
Hungarian architecture that had largely relied on Western European inspirations prior to him. His vivid colors and curvilinear shapes featuring motifs taken from Hungarian and Eastern folk art created a national architectural language at the turn of the 20th century. Although currently under renovation, the best example is the Museum of Applied Arts.#6 - See one of Ödön Lechner’s buildings: Sometimes referred to as the “Gaudi of Hungary”, Ödön Lechner introduced a unique style to
#7 - Check out the award-winning subway stations: A crisscross system of exposed concrete beams, playful lighting solutions, and a creative use of natural light lend a distinctively 21st century feel to these spacious platforms. The Fővám Square and Szent Gellért Square stations, adorned with colorful mosaics, won the highly prestigious Architizer A+ Award in 2014.
private university is a great asset to Budapest. Some of that financial firepower was recently spent on a stunning refurbishment of the campus, where state-of-the-art contemporary design beautifully blends with 19th century details. (This is the same university the Hungarian government abruptly tried to shut down in 2017 but appears to have backed off in the face of multiple street protests.)#8 - Go inside the new building of the Central European University: With a €500 million endowment and an international faculty and student body, this
#9 - Discover the Bosnyák Square market: This chaotic, partially outdoor marketplace in the outskirts of Pest is the opposite of the organized and clean Great Market Hall downtown. Besides the standard fruits, vegetables, and meat vendors, Hungarian farmers sell homemade goods including jams, vegetable spreads, and fruit syrups in the back of the space. Don’t miss the little lángos eatery, which makes some of the best of this fried dough. For the best experience, go early on Friday or Saturday.
#10 - Explore the Fiumei Road Cemetery: The “Père Lachaise of Budapest”, this vast land of 56 hectares (140 acres) close to the city center hides the beautifully landscaped garden cemetery where Hungary’s most famous citizens are buried. Go for a stroll through its towering limestone mausoleums and get to know the country’s leading statesmen and artists including Lajos Kossuth and Tivadar Csontváry. At the back, but accessed from outside, is the Salgótarjáni Street Jewish Cemetery with elaborate tombstones of the turn-of-the-20th-century Jewish upper class.