The 11 Best Rooftop & Patio Bars In Budapest

These panoramic outdoor bars offer sweeping views of Budapest, many of them from up above. Being indoor-outdoor spaces, many of them are open year-round, but they're most enjoyable during the al fresco season.

Kiosk is a hip restaurant in the heart of Budapest, favored by trendy locals and tourists in the know. The restaurant has at least two things going for it: a stunning view of the Danube and the Elisabeth Bridge from its outdoor patio, and a dramatically high-ceilinged, industrial-chic interior. (The historical building houses a Catholic high school upstairs, in fact, there's a chapel right above Kiosk.)

Kiosk aims to please all tastes with a diverse menu that includes everything from salads to burgers to pastas to steaks to Hungarian classics. Despite the wide reach, the dishes are tasty and reliable, with main courses in the €12-16 range. The goulash soup is especially good, and don't miss the updated mákosguba, a traditional bread pudding soaked in vanilla custard and laced with poppy seeds. In the warmer months, follow the throngs to the outdoor terrace, which is where the action shifts to.

With panoramic views of Budapest, 360 is one the fashionable rooftop bars in the city. Trendy locals peppered with tourists nibble on sliders and sip cocktails here, perched atop one of the tallest buildings along Andrássy Avenue, also known as Budapest's Champs-Élysées. From Thursday to Saturday, hip-hop and R&B ooze from the DJs booth. During the colder months, heated igloo structures prevent the winter from interfering with the year-round fun. The regular, open-air season usually begins on May 1st and runs through October. Advance booking is recommended.

High Note Sky Bar offers some of the most impressive rooftop views in Budapest. To get to this swanky bar, you'll need to walk through the polished lobby of the five-star Aria boutique hotel and take the elevator to the top floor. The panorama is truly stunning: the Liberty Statue, the Buda Castle, and the St. Stephen’s Basilica all appear within arm’s reach, which in case of the church is practically true.

The cocktail menu features many of the classics Sazerac, Daiquiri, Martini each prepared with a small twist (they cost €12-15). Mocktails, Hungarian wines, and snacks are also available. Although most enjoyable from the outdoor terrace in the warmer months, High Note also has a cozy indoor section that's open year-round. Reservations are recommended.

The Duchess is a panoramic cocktail bar in Budapest's downtown, atop the Baroque Revival building of the five-star Matild Palace hotel. The views are hard to beat – Elizabeth Bridge, Gellért Hill, and Budapest’s densely built downtown all emerge before you as a surreal stage design. The Duchess' moniker honors Archduchess Clotilde, a granddaughter of French King Louis Philippe I, who lived in Hungary and commissioned the building in 1899.

Customized and classic cocktails are both available and expertly prepared, as are small plates to share (smoked salmon with blini!). The Duchess isn’t exactly wallet-friendly, but, budget permitting, it offers a memorable experience to see the city from up above. In the winter, the activity shifts to the inside, but access to the outdoors is available for a peek.

A rooftop view in Budapest can amount to an impromptu 20th-century history lesson of Hungary. Scan the Danube's bank from atop, and you'll see classically-proportioned, grand buildings alternating, seemingly randomly, with glass and concrete boxes. Those modern structures, not all of them visually pleasing, sprung up during the Communist era (1947-1989) to replace what's been flattened by WWII American bombs.

You can see this for yourself at Leo, a sleek rooftop bar in Buda perched above the swanky Hotel Clark but open to the public. The place is almost within arm's reach of the Chain Bridge, a historic Budapest landmark, with equally good vistas of the Buda Castle and the whole city. Even to local residents, it's a memorable experience. Accordingly, prices are steep — cocktails and aperitifs start at €13. (If you're on a budget, grab some beers at a grocery store and hike up to the hillside next to the Buda Castle Tunnel, around the corner from here, for similar views).

St. Andrea is a Hungarian success story: starting as a small winery in northeastern Hungary's Eger wine region, they've become a nationally recognized label now also involved in a Budapest fine dining restaurant and, since 2017, this pricey rooftop bar towering over downtown's Vörösmarty Square. Often the best strategy for a rooftop bar is to let the view do the talking while ensuring that drinks are on point, and this is what they've done here.

Naturally, most wines come from St. Andrea's own winery, which makes both whites and reds, but there are also foreign options and cocktails. In the summer months, be sure to sit at the outdoor tables in the front or the back of the space, both with panoramic views of Budapest (though the latter is partially obstructed by the grim facade of the nearby Marriott Hotel).

It's tough to beat the location of Esetleg Bistro, a trendy, partially outdoor bar and restaurant situated on the Danube's bank, inside a dramatic, whale-shaped contemporary building in District 9. Esetleg offers sweeping views onto several Budapest landmarks, including the Liberty Bridge, Gellért Hill, and the imposing building of the Budapest University of Technology right across the river. This lively space is ideal to wind down with an afternoon drink during the warmer months.

If you're hungry, try the goulash soup and their túrógombóc — sweet cottage cheese dumplings blanketed in sour cream and strawberry jam. A range of Hungarian wines are also available.

If Mexican food isn't your first choice in Budapest, no one will blame you for it. But if the craving for tacos and margaritas strikes, Tereza is unlikely to disappoint as long as you remain mindful that Mexico (and California and Texas) is half a world away. Tereza — whose moniker is a playful latinization of Terézváros, the name of its neighborhood — is run by the owners of Mazel Tov, a comparably hip and chic restaurant just blocks away. Although there's a below-ground indoor section, Tereza comes into its own in the al fresco season when the open-air courtyard transforms into a lively night-time hangout lit by lanterns and the occasional tongues of flame leaping from the grill station.

The food is hit-or-miss. The tacos — carnitas, al pastor, and pollo — come on disappointingly flavorless wheat tortillas, and no more exciting is the cheese quesadilla. But I enjoyed the fajitas, which, unlike the original Tex-Mex version made with skirt steak, arrived with pork. Tereza isn’t cheap and many people stick to just drinks here: Apart from the dozens of tequila and mezcal options, there are classic and also flavored frozen margaritas, the latter also available by the pitcher.

Csendes Társ is an adorable outdoor-only café by Károlyi-kert, a pretty park in downtown Budapest known for its colorful flower beds and manicured lawns. The place is an unlikely island of peace and calm within the hustle and bustle of the city center. I like to come here for a late breakfast (they open at 10 a.m.), or for drinks in the evening when the neighborhood has quieted down and colorful lanterns provide soft lighting.

The menu consists of wallet-friendly breakfast foods and snacks and an extensive wine list featuring Hungarian options; most locals order fröccs, a wine spritzer made with white or rosé. Note that Csendes Társ is open from April to mid-October.

Bars on the tourist-heavy Kazinczy Street must be taken with a grain of salt, but you can still find some worthy places here (rule of thumb: avoid spots emblazoned with "Hungarian goulash" signs). Kőleves Kert, which isn’t to be mistaken with the popular Kőleves restaurant next door, is one of those summertime treasures in the form of a laid-back, all-welcoming outdoor bar. Order at the wooden shed, then trek through the ankle-deep gravel to find yourself an open seat at the colorful tables canopied by overhanging trees.

By day, many freelancers camp out here; in the evening, an endless stream of locals and tourists trickle in. Although most people come for beers and fröccs (wine spritzer), there's also some food, including "tócsni," a fried potato pancake similar to a latke, slathered with cream cheese and sweet chili.

Pántlika is an easy-going outdoor bar tucked away on the far end of Budapest's City Park. If you need a break from the nearby tourist attractions — Heroes Square, Vajdahunyad Castle, Széchenyi Thermal Bath — you can refuel here with a cold beer and snacks. Pántlika offers a truly local experience as most tourists don't come all the way to this side of the park. Note that they're open only during the outdoor season (usually from April to mid-October).

Interestingly, Pántlika's quirky modern building used to be an information desk during the annual international expo, which took place in the City Park until 1973 during communist Hungary; the curvilinear five-pointed aluminum roof resembles a red star, an obvious hat-tip to the ruling regime.

Rankings are based on a combination of food/drink, atmosphere, service, and price. To remain unbiased, I visit all places incognito and pay for my own meals and drinks. I never accept money in exchange for coverage. If you've enjoyed this article, please consider supporting me by making a one-time payment (PayPal, Venmo).