There are several free things to do in Budapest, Hungary if you are traveling on a budget. Known as Hungary’s thriving capital city, Budapest is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world due to its UNESCO World Heritage sites and stunning architectures.

From historical buildings to lively nightlife, it is one city that should be on your itinerary when traveling Europe. We’ve put together the best and fun free things to do in Budapest to include on your Budapest itinerary.

20 Free Things To Do In Budapest, Hungary

1. Admire the Parliament building for free


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The Hungarian Parliament Building is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, and one of the popular Budapest tourist attractions. It is currently the largest building in Hungary and the tallest building in Budapest. 

The Parliament Building is built in the Gothic Revival style. It has a symmetrical facade and a central dome. You don’t have to pay anything if you are only staying outside. But to join the tour inside the Parliament, it will cost a small fee.

However, it might take hours to line up just for the ticket. If you want to book a ticket in advance, click here.

2. Party at the Ruin Bars

Ruin bars in Budapest are part of the lively nightlife in the city. It all started in the old Jewish quarter where dilapidated buildings were left to decay after World War II.

The makeshift bars were created with these dilapidated buildings and along with its quirky furnishings, it exudes an inexplicably cool atmosphere.

The concept has become a trend and several pubs in the city followed suit. Entering these pubs are free. So if you only want to dance and check out the night scene, you don’t have to pay anything.

And the best thing about these ruin bars is that they are close to the best hostels in Budapest which makes it easier to go back to your hostel after a fun night out.

If mixology is more of your thing, check out this best cocktail bars in Budapest guide.

3. Explore the Vajdahunyad Castle for free


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Vajdahunyad Castle is actually not a castle but it’s a full-scale model built for Hungary’s 1896 millennial celebrations and it has never been an actual royal or noble residence.

Today, it houses the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, the biggest agricultural museum in Europe. The structure has three distinct wings, one Gothic, one Romanesque and one Baroque, making it quite a bizarre sight when seen from a distance.

It is thought by many the home of Count Dracula as it was once a part of the Hungarian state called King of Castles. Thus it was chosen in 1896 to represent the best example of Hungarian Gothic.

Within the area, is a little Romanesque chapel called Jaki. It has elaborate carvings on its entrance and if you are a fan of architecture, this place might be a treat for you.

3. Join a free walking tour in Budapest

A free walking tour is a good way to explore a city. It is good for travelers who don’t have big budgets for paid tours but need tour guides to properly explore places. As the name suggests, a free walking tour is done on foot. And it mainly focuses on cultural and historical parts of the city where the walking tour takes place.

Check our Ultimate Guide To Free Walking Tours Around The World to find a walking tour in Budapest.

5. Check out the Great Market Hall


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The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest, Hungary. If you love shopping, fresh goods, people watching,  or just sightseeing in amazing places, you will like the Great Market Hall.

No matter what weather is, the Great Market Hall is a great option, and definitely one of the top Budapest attractions for free according to many Budapest guides.

6. Wander through the Jewish quarter

The Jewish quarter is among the interesting things to see in Budapest. You’ll still find plenty of interesting snippets of history among the shabby chic lanes of this gentrified district.

There are hip coffee shops and restaurants, ruin bars, rich history and street arts in every size.

7. Explore Kerepesi cemetery


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Kerepesi Cemetery is Budapest’s best known final resting ground. Kerepesi is the oldest Christian cemetery in Budapest and is the final resting place for many notable Hungarians, politicians, scientists, artists and other dignitaries.  

Kerepesi is Budapest’s equivalent of London’s Highgate or Père Lachaise in Paris. It also more like a garden, and an open-air museum, with statues, sculptures, and monuments giving an insight into Hungary’s recent past.

8. Check out the free museums in Budapest

While most of the museums charge a small entrance fee, there are few that are free. If you’re a citizen of the EEA, and under 26, you can gain free entrance to the following museums:

The third Saturday of the month: Hungarian National Gallery, Fine Arts Museum, Museum of Applied Arts, Hungarian National Museum and Nagytétény Palace

The last Saturday of the month: Petőfi Literature Museum

The first Sunday of the month: Museum of Ethnography, Hungarian Natural History Museum

The third Sunday of the month: Skanzen of Szentendre

The last Sunday of the month: Transportation Museum Museum of Military History Ludwig Museum

The museums are also free on all national holidays, even the temporary exhibitions: on 15th March, 20th of August, 23rd of October, 22nd of January and also on Heritage Days: on 22nd and 23rd of September. Check with the tourist office or your accommodation’s reception for a full list.

9. Be surprised with Matthias Church


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Matthias Church is a 13th-century Gothic church with an outstanding oriental atmosphere on top of the Castle Hill. Matthias Church is one of the best places to see Budapest. 

The interior of Matthias Church is absolutely unique due to the elaborately detailed gilt walls. The church has a breathtaking interior with colors inspired by orientalism and romantic historicism.

Its mystically exotic atmosphere paired with its Neo-Gothic features differentiates it from any other church.

10. Chill on Margaret’s Island

Sitting in the middle of the Danube and connected by two major bridges, Margaret Island is a central parkland that is popular with locals and tourists. This park is one of the places to see in Budapest due to the numerous activities that you can do on this island.

From having a picnic, biking, swimming, watching fountains, open-air concerts and shows to just enjoying the gardens, you won’t run out of things to do to this place.

11. Stroll at the Christmas Markets

By the end of November, Christmas markets start to pop up around Budapest. If you make it in Budapest around this time, then strolling in Christmas markets is one of the most exciting things to do in Budapest.

These Christmas markets amaze visitors of all ages with old-fashioned wooden toys and other handicrafts, live folk-music concerts, delicious delicacies, and even some avant-garde surprises.

And the best thing about Christmas markets in Budapest? It was voted the most affordable Christmas Market destination in Europe.

As a starter, you can check out the Christmas markets in these areas: Vorosmarty Square and St Stephen’s Square.

We also have some great recommendations from other bloggers on the best things to do for free in Budapest.

12. Visit Heroes Square


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Heroes Square is the largest square and the most visited square in Budapest. The square’s Millennial Monument is flanked by the Fine Arts Museum and the Mucsarnok Art Gallery.

The Millennium Monument was erected to commemorate the 1000-year-old history of the Magyars. Archangel Gabriel stands on top of the center pillar, holding the holy crown and the double cross of Christianity.

Statues of kings and other important historical figures stand on top of the colonnades on either side of the center pillar. The seven chieftains who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary can be seen on the stand below. The square is dedicated to those who made their mark on Hungarian history.

Source: Jewel of LIC 

13. Climb the Castle Hill

The Varnegyed district on the Castle Hill in Budapest, Hungary is on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage and is one of the top places to see in Budapest.

The main attraction is Buda Castle, a palace razed and rebuilt over centuries, now home to the Hungarian National Gallery and Budapest History Museum. 

The courtyards and the grounds are free to roam but you need to pay a small admission fee if you want to enter the castle and check out the gallery and museum.

Source: Christine of Tripsionista

14. Take midnight photography in Chain Bridge


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If you want something different to do in Budapest then plan a midnight walk to Szechenye Chain Bridge. Chain Bridge is a suspension bridge that connects Buda and Pest – territories that comprise the city of Budapest.

It spans across Danube river and the first permanent bridge in Danube river. The bridge was the idea of Count Istvan Szechenye, one of the leading political figures in Hungary during the 18th century.

During the day, the bridge is an imposing structure. But during the evening, Chain Bridge transforms into a very scenic spot along Danube river. The light creates dramatic structure along the river and from here, you can also see the other important structures in Budapest – like the Buda Castle and the Parliament Building.

And if you want to make it extra special, it’s best to come here during midnight as there are fewer people and cars in the area.

Source: Christine of Tripsionista

15. Hike on Gellért Hill to The Citadella

Gellért Hill is overlooking the Danube. At its foot, there are the famous Hotel Gellért and Gellért Bath. On top of the hill is the Citadella. The views from the top are amazing and should not be missed by anyone visiting Hungary’s capital.

There are many trails going up; there are also stairs. So, you pick whatever you prefer. You could end up circling the hill so it’s best to look for the statue at the Citadella and always aim to go that way. I’ve also seen some trail markings but, to be honest, I have never followed them (and I have climbed that hill at least 5 times!)

First thing is first: while you can tackle it in almost any shoes, do not wear heels! Hills and heels don’t mix (forget the pun).

If you plan to do the hike during summer, wear sunscreen, bring a water bottle, and keep your head protected by the sun. If you are fit, you can easily walk in 15-20 min. Else, just walk at your pace and make stops.

There are plenty of lookouts with benches and amazing views of Budapest. Whether you like to keep fit or just love to see cities from above, a walk on Gellért Hill is highly recommended.

Source: Cris of LooknWalk 

16. Enjoy the view from Fisherman’s Bastion


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Home to some of the best views of Budapest, no visit to the city could be complete without stopping by the iconic Fisherman’s Bastion. Though the complex was built in the 19th century, the turrets, balconies, and viewpoints evoke the feeling of a much older spot- perhaps the ruins of a castle from the Middle Ages?

Set right across the Danube from Budapest’s famous parliament building, Fisherman’s Bastion is a favorite among photographers and regular tourists alike and is the perfect place to admire views of the city- perhaps with a gelato from one of the nearby shops in hand.

If you’re hoping to have Fisherman’s Bastion all to yourself, well- you’ll want to wake up early. The area is extremely popular, thanks to the fact that it is free to enjoy. And while it is still lovely even with a few hundred new friends, it’s also well worth an early wake-up call.

Source: Kate Storm of Our Escape Clause 

17. Stroll in the City Park

City Park is one of the best free things to do in Budapest. It is the largest park in the city with many things to do and see that people from all age groups will enjoy! The park hosts many events and festivals throughout the year so it is a wonderful lively green area to explore, walk, relax or find something to eat.

There is a lake in the middle of the park that is used for boating in the warmer months and is turned into a huge ice skating rink in the winter. You will also find the Vajdahunyad Castle and the Budapest Zoo located within the City Park.

But there is plenty of other attractions to visit too, all with a couple of minutes’ walk from the park.

You can walk from there to many attractions such as the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, Hero Square, the Museum of Fine arts and the Palace of Art. I definitely suggest taking at least a day to walk, enjoy the park and visit the nearby attractions.

Source: Thassia of Family Off Duty

18. Check out St. Peters Basilica


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St. Peters Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest and the third largest church building in present-day Hungary. It is named in honor of Stephen, the first King of Hungary. The church has neo-classical architecture and is considered the second highest building in Budapest.

For beautiful, panoramic views of Budapest take the elevators up to the dome’s observation deck. There’s no cost to enter the church, but there is a nominal fee of HUF 600 to go up to the observation deck which is worth in my opinion as you can see the city from a 360 degrees angle – which is to me is one of Budapest top attractions.

Source: Jewel of LIC 

19. Visit the shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial

One of the Budapest’s most moving memorials, the Shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial represents a horrific time in history. As a tribute, the trail of iron footwear memorializes the thousands of people who were executed right on the banks of the Danube River during WWII.

During 1944, Hitler overthrew the leader of the Hungarian government and put into power someone who had very similar views, Ferenc Szalasi. Throughout his ruling, nearly 80,000 Jews were exiled from Hungary and approximately 20,000 were brutally executed along the Danube.

So why the shoes? Because during WWII, shoes were considered a valuable commodity. Thus, each and every victim were forced to remove his or her shoes before being horrendously murdered, leaving behind thousands of empty shoes strewn along the bank of the Danube.

While the memorial is a chilling reminder of what went on during WWII, it’s no doubt one of the places to visit in Budapest. And a helpful tip: visit during sunset. The views are spectacular; as the setting sun baths Budapest in a beautiful golden hue, you can watch the city come to life.

Source: Sophie of The Wanderful Me

20. Hike to János Hill


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Hiking in Budapest is not very well known, as most visitors don’t realize that it is possible to do so in a capital city. I would highly recommend doing some research about places to go hiking as it a free activity that is good for your body and soul. And it’s easy to squeeze on your itinerary even if you only have 3 days in Budapest.

Visiting János Hill in Budapest is a must do if you are in the city. With its 526 meters, it is the highest point in the city and it’s considered one of the best hiking trails near Budapest.

You will find Elizabeth Lookout Tower at the top, which provides a great view to Budapest. If you arrive by car you can find parking at Normafa or you can take the bus and then hike up. It is about a 30-minute walk to reach the top.

You will be amazed by the views all around you. It is a popular place amongst dog walkers, runners and mountain bikers. It is also a great place for families to visit as the Children Railway is not far away.

Source: Eniko Krix of Travel Hacker Girl

Getting ready to your first trip to Budapest? Here’s everything you need to know on your first trip to Budapest!

Recommended Budapest accommodations I’ve stayed at:

Budget Accommodation in Budapest

Maverick City Lodge is an awesome hostel in Kazinczy utca. It is located near to the Great Synagogue, bars, restaurants and walking distance to the palace and Danube river. They offer dorms and private rooms. The dorms are pod types so you still get privacy. To check the latest rates, click here.

Luxury Accommodation in Budapest

Corinthia Hotel Budapest is a 5-star in Grand Boulevard. They offer access to its Royal Spa, 3 restaurants, an elegant café and free Wi-Fi in all rooms. The hotel’s interior and exterior are the perfect example of Budapest’s grand architecture. To check the latest rates, click here.

If a hotel or hostel is not for you and you want self-catering budget accommodations, then you can check Airbnb. To get a discount of US$22, you can sign up using my referral link. This is no extra cost to you and both of us will get travel credit.

Disclaimer: The Travelling Pinoys contains affiliate links all throughout the site. If you choose to purchase a product or book services through our affiliate links, this earns us a commission at no extra cost to you. See our full disclosure

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  1. […] I’ve been told that Budapest is a paradise for explorers who enjoy discovering something wonderful at every turn. Architecturally this city is a treasure trove, with an abundance of Baroque, Neoclassical, eclectic and Art Nouveau buildings – living up to the saying, “the past is always just around the corner in Budapest”! I’m quite fascinated by World War 2, so this city would be very interesting to visit from an historical point of view – bullet holes and shrapnel pockmarks are still evident on buildings. Plus the Danube – could there be a more romantic idea than a cruise along this river? I’d take an hour, or a week, if you’re offering and check off all these cool things to do in Budapest including these free things to do in Budapest! […]


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