Choose from 78 Fun Things to Do in Hungary
Gellért Hill is one of Budapest's most romantic nights out. Just grab a bottle of the city's famous red wine, a couple of glasses, and your beloved. It might be a bit of a trek up there, but the view of twinkling lights will amply reward you.
The views you'll see over the Danube are best seen from the Citadel, built by the Austrians after their victory over the Hungarians in the 19th century. In fact, the monuments on Gellért Hill all have a somewhat painful history.
The girl posing with the palm of victory symbolizes the Russian liberation of the city after WWII, but as the liberation turned into an occupation, its presence has been disputed.
And Gellért himself? A martyred saint whose efforts at conversion ended with him being killed by angry pagans in a nail-filled barrel rolled down the hill (ouch!). He's commemorated by an immense statue.
These days, the forested slopes of the Gellért Hill are filled with picnickers and lovers. At the bottom of the hill is the swanky Gellért hotel, with its fantastically elaborate baths, used in Matthew Barney's art films.
You can get to Gellért Hill by tram (take 41, 47 or 49) or bus (7, 27 or 86).
- Paid restrooms are located on the upper floor.
- Plan at least an hour to explore the market, more if you want to stay for lunch.
- The Central Market Hall is wheelchair and stroller accessible, and there’s elevator access.
- There is an admission fee to visit the synagogue, which includes an optional guided tour and entrance to the museum.
- Visitors are required to undergo security checks, and large bags and items are prohibited.
- Modest dress code is required (shoulders and knees covered). Men are also required to cover their heads—a kippah is provided if you don’t have your own hat.
- The main areas of the synagogue are wheelchair accessible.
- Most tickets include either a locker or a private changing cabin; towels, swimsuits, flip-flops, and toiletries are also available to buy or rent.
- Treatments, such as massages, mud packs, reflexology, and manicures are available but must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.
- The Gellert Baths are wheelchair accessible, and there are lifts to help with access to the pools.
- On-site facilities include a restaurant, snack bar, sundeck, and spa shop.
- Entrance to the palace and gardens is free, but admission fees apply for each of the museums.
- Most museums and attractions are closed on Mondays.
- The cobblestone streets around the palace are steep—wear comfortable shoes for exploring.
- The museums at Buda Royal Palace are wheelchair accessible, but some areas of the gardens and grounds may not be.
- Entrance to the Castle Hill district is free, but many individual attractions charge an admission fee.
- Most museums and attractions are closed on Mondays.
- Free Wi-Fi hotspots are available in the district.
- The streets can be steep—wear comfortable shoes for exploring.
- Many of the attractions around Castle Hill are wheelchair accessible, but it’s best to organize direct transport because the cobblestone lanes can be a challenge for wheelchair users.
Elegant townhouses lined the avenue and it became the preserve of wealthy bankers and the aristocracy. In order to conserve Andrássy’s architectural harmony, the city fathers decided to build a train line underneath the avenue. And so the Millennium Underground Railway opened, the first in continental Europe; it was first used to transport people from the city center to Városliget, which was the focus of the millennium celebrations in 1896.
Today the Art Nouveau architecture competes for attention with sleek cafés and bars and upscale shopping. In its 1.5-mile (2.5-km) march through Pest, Andrássy is punctuated by the vast octagonal square of Oktagon and is home to the Hungarian State Opera House, the House of Terror Museum in the old headquarter of the secret police, and Budapest’s gloriously grand and much-loved Gerbeaud Café.
Festooned with Neo-Romanesque lookout towers, equestrian statues, turrets and colonnades, the T-shaped bastion has two levels and wraps itself around Matthias Church. Architect Frigyes Schulek revamped the church and designed the bastion at the same time. The wide steps leading up to the bastion are scattered with neo-Gothic statuary and provide an impressive introduction to Castle Hill. Landmarks that can be seen from the terraces include Margaret Island, the Parliament building, the Chain Bridge and St Stephen’s Basilica. A terraced restaurant is open over summer.
By 1751 the swamp had been drained and more trees planted in an English-style landscaping that became Hungary’s first public park. One hundred years later, the park became the focus of the Millennium celebrations, with museums, lakes, zoos and follies being built for 1896. Around the same time elegant Andrássy Avenue was constructed, which leads from the city center Erzsébet Square to Heroes’ Square.
Today the park is an idyllic spot for a summer picnic under the shade of gigantic sycamore trees or around the lake. Városliget is a one-stop destination for kids: Budapest Zoo, a permanent circus, the transport museum and Budapest Amusement Park provide a day’s worth of entertainment. The agricultural museum in Vajdahunyad Castle and a brace of art museums are also found within the park’s boundaries as well as the gorgeous neo-Baroque Széchenyi thermal baths. There’s a flea market here on Sunday morning and visitors don’t even have to leave the park to eat; there’s a choice of decent restaurants, including Budapest’s famous (and expensive) gourmet choice, Gundel.