Top Things to Do in Budapest by a Local

March 6, 2017

If you haven’t figured out yet, I am originally from Hungary so it is always a pleasure to come back to my home country, not only to see friends and family but also because Budapest is a truly spectacular city. I have not lived in Budapest since I was 17, so I always discover something new in this ever changing city. I love being a tourist in my own hometown. If you are wondering what to do in Budapest, I can assure you that you won’t be bored for a second here, as there are so many historical sites to discover here. Below are few of the best things to do in Budapest. Things to Do in Budapest

House of Terror

This time around I decided to do some touristy things and I visited the House of Terror. This museum is one of the best Budapest points of interest. It was a great historical museum displaying the history of Hungary under the communist regime after WWII. Hungarians did an excellent job displaying the history and the terror people experienced during the Communist regime. In the cellar of the building, there was a prison labyrinth, where the communists tortured their victims. It was horrifying, but interesting to see. I can highly recommend this museum to everyone who visits Budapest. Budapest tourist attractions are endless. There are so many cool sites to visit in this city.

House of Terror in Budapest - Top Things to Do in Budapest

House of Terror in Budapest – Top Things to Do in Budapest

The Synagogue

If you are wonder what to see in Budapest next, head over to see the largest synagogue in Europe. It is on Dohany utca and it is truly stunning inside and outside. You can take a tour around the synagogue and they tell you about the truly fascinating history of the synagogue. Apparently the garden of the synagogue serves as a cemetery of thousands of Jewish people who died in Budapest during WWII. In the garden of the synagogue there is a memorial erected for people who helped Jewish people hide and survive the Holocaust. Also there is a tree made out of metal in the garden and every leaf has a name of a Holocaust victim carved into it. It is a very beautiful art work. It is sad, but touching to see all this and hear all the history. The synagogue is one of the most beautiful things to see in Budapest.

Synagoge Budapest - Top Things to Do in Budapest

Synagoge Budapest – Top Things to Do in Budapest

The Hungarian Parliament

Another touristy places to visit in Budapest is visiting the Hungarian Parliament inside. My family lives right near the Parliament, and yet I had never visited it inside this beautiful building. Don’t leave this fabulous city without visiting the parliament inside. Visiting this building is not as simple as visiting a museum or something of that sort. You have to pre-book an appointment, then you will have to show up for your appointment and join your tour inside the Parliament. The parliament is grandiose and overly decorated inside. It looks a bit like a big palace. There are wide staircases and large halls everywhere and everything is colored in gold and red. You can see a statue of all the big Hungarian leaders in the lobby. Even Maria Theresa has a statue. She was apparently erected as a Queen of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at a very young age. Then she had about 14 kids during the next 20 years while she was leading a war against Prussia the whole time. I was surprised to see that the room where the Representatives gather was actually not very big. The parliament was designed with an upper and a lower chamber, but there is no longer any more aristocracy in Hungary, so only the lower chamber is used. It is one of the best places to visit in Budapest, so I recommend everyone who visits Budapest, to pay a quick visit there.

Hungarian Parliament by Night - Top Things to Do in Budapest

Hungarian Parliament by Night – Top Things to Do in Budapest

Best Restaurants in Budapest

Sightseeing in Budapest can be tiring, as it is a big city. Hit one of the best restaurants in town. These places were recommended by a friend of mine, who is the most famous food photographer in Budapest.

Costes – 1 Michelin star with a Portuguese chef, International-French cuisine, elegant place

Address: Budapest, Ráday u. 4,  Phone: +36 1 219 0696


Onyx – 1 Michelin star, Hungarian chef, Hungarian-French cuisine, very elegant place

Address: Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7,  Phone: +36 30 508 0622


Salon Boscolo Hotel – refined Hungarian cuisine, young Hungarian chefs, elegant place

Address: Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9-11, Phone: +36 1 886 6167


Zona –Hungarian-Basque-French Cuisine, Hungarian chef, young, elegant bistro style

Address: Budapest, Lánchíd u. 7, Phone: +36 30 422 5981


Alabárdos – elegant, refined Hungarian Cuisine, Hungarian chef, reasonable prices

Address: Budapest, Országház u. 2, Phone: +36 1 356 0851


Laci Konyha – Hungarian- French bistro – young Hungarian chef, very reasonably priced

Address: Budapest, Hegedűs Gyula u. 56, Phone: +36 70 370 7475


Borkonyha – one Michelin star, modern Hungarian bistro, good selection of Hungarian wines,

Address: Budapest, Sas u. 3, Phone: +36 1 266 0835


Csalogány 26 – refined Hungarian-French cuisine by a Hungarian chef

Address: Budapest,Csalogány u. 26, Phone: +36 1 201 78 92 


The Nightlife of Budapest

The night life is one of the best things about Budapest. There are lots of cool places to explore that are designed in a very Hungarian style. There are plenty of places around the Bazilika, such as the wine bar Divino or the cocktail bar Zizi or another bar Bob or Otkert if you do not feel like venturing far out of the touristy part of the town, however some of the more interesting bars are a bit further out in the 7th district. If you are looking for fun things to do in Budapest, head to Kiraly utca. It has many great bars or join a guided pub crawl! AllNightCrash will take you to the best ruin bars in Budapest.

Gozsda Udvar offers a wide selection of lively bars to fit anyone’s taste. I usually hang out at Spiler, because they have a good drink selection and the interior is pretty cool. The most interesting place that I suggest everyone to visit is Szimpla Kert. This place has been around for a long time and it was even featured in an article in the New York Times. It is an abandoned building that was converted into a two-storey bar. There are various rooms with various themes. One room has many monitors showing eclectic colourful figures. The DJ is hidden behind large plants on the second floor of the place. The garden is open air and there are some old abandoned convertible cars in the middle, where people can sit inside and order drinks. The place is very unique designed in a retro style that is very typical to Budapest. Therefore, I highly recommend everyone to visit this place, because it is nothing you had ever seen before. Another cool thing about Szimpla Kert is that it all turns into a big farmer’s market on Sunday morning. So if you want to shop for fresh apple juice or raw honey, this is the place to be.

Budapest Nightlife - Things to Do in Budapest

Budapest Nightlife – Things to Do in Budapest

Hungarian baths are also famous and tourists love spending time in these Turkish bath houses. Read more about some of these spectacular bath houses on the Urban Travel Blog.

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About Barbara

Barbara is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger. She started traveling through Paris, London, New York, Milan, Tokyo at the age of 17 to conquer the World as a model. Ever since, she has visited 67 countries. She writes about the most exclusive jet-set destinations such as Cannes, Venice Film Festivals, Monaco Grand Prix, Oscar Parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan or Paris as well as yacht parties in St-Tropez, Miami Art Basel, Biennale in Venice, Frieze in London or the Royal Wedding in Monaco.

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  • This post really makes me want to go back to Budapest! Thank you for all of these fabulous restaurant suggestions. I just wasn’t there long enough to explore their foodie scene and ruin bars!

    • Barb

      The food is amazing there. I suggest you return soon.

  • Lovely post Barbara…I think I would spend the most time in the synagogue, it also looks like a Photographer’s haven 🙂

    Great pics!

    • Barb

      Yes, it is very pretty! Certainly worth a visit.

  • Kimanis Ome

    That’s wonderful going back to your hometown and seeing it from the perspective of a local. Have not made it to Budapest yet, but it is on the list of places to check out soon. Keeping these suggestions handy. Thanks!

    • Barb

      Budapest is certainly worth a visit. The city has a lot to offer.

  • Jen Ryder

    I would love to visit Budapest! The Parliament building looks beautiful at night. The House of Terror and the Synagogue sound sad, but worth visiting to learn more about the history there. Thanks for sharing your suggestions!

    • Barb

      Yes, the history of this whole country is sad, but that is not something we can change.

  • I recently visited Budapest and loved it!

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    • Barb

      I m glad you did.

  • megan_claire

    Loved traveling through Budapest – one of my favorite European cities by far! The Parliament building especially is incredible, especially at night once it’s lit and reflected in the Danube 🙂

    • Barb

      Yes, it s very beautiful. I grew up right next to it!

  • Melody Pittman

    Nice list! I was there last week and wanted to do the House of Terror but knew it was going to be very sad and didn’t want to end my vacation that way. I loved Budapest and learned so much. Do you know the Corinthia Hotel? That is where we stayed.

    • Barb

      I know where that hotel is. The HOuse of Terror is not as sad actually. The basement is a bit weird, because it was a torture chamber.

  • I just know how instagram-worthy Budapest is and was surprised that they have a good night life, too! Looks like a good mix of amazing historical and modern life.

    • Barb

      Yes, you should come and visit Trisha!

  • Debra Schroeder

    The House of Terror is an interesting play on words. I hadn’t realized the Synagogue in Budapest was the largest in Europe. Since this post was written 10 years ago, I wonder if that’s still the case.

    • Barb

      It is still the case. The post was written a year ago, I dont know why you think it was 10 years ago???? My blog is 2 years old. No post could be 10 years old on it.

  • Lois Alter Mark

    Budapest is high on my bucket list. It sounds like there’s so much amazing history to see.

    • Barb

      Yes, it is a historically rich city. it is certainly worth a visit.

  • Kavita

    I spent a couple of nights in Budapest in the late 1980s and would love to go back, to explore the rich culture and architecture and food more thoroughly – back then we were teens that didn’t look so hard to see everything!

    • Barb

      Budapest changes rapidly all the time, so it is definitely worth seeing it again.

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