30 Unusual Things you need to do in Budapest [and save money]
As many as most of our guests lately like to get more and more tips on what to do on their visit to Budapest.
If you are planning trip to Budapest, and looking for some unique, off-the-beaten-path and money-saving things to do in Budapest, don’t fret, there are countless fun things to do, see, eat, admire or experience.
The good news is that we’ve come up with list of 30 Unusual Things you need to do in Budapest.
So whether you’re just planning your trip to Budapest or you’ve been already here for a while, these 30 things will help you get the most out of your time and energy.
1. Go caving to Buda Hills.
Did you know that Buda Hills offer more than 200 caves on the Buda side, near the Buda Castle?
Recently opened to the public, this section of the labyrinth cave system has very deep man-made cellars.
During WWII, used as a battle station and a storage facility by the Germans, Caving under Budapest should definitely be on your list while visiting Budapest.
2. Drink and Party on A38!
A38 is an old Ukrainian stone-carrier ship, built in 1968, moored just off the banks of the Danube.
Today, it’s a cultural and social hotspot that hosts concerts and events, and houses one of the city’s most interesting bars.
Have a drink on the deck and enjoy the view or stop by for some live music!
3. Hike up to a Turkish tomb.
Historically, Hungary was occupied by Ottoman empire for over a century and even nowadays people come across the Turkish relics, For example the famous thermal Turkish baths. Up on the Buda side of the river, close to the Lukács Baths, lies the 16th-century tomb of Sufi poet Gül Baba. It’s a historical and distinctly Ottoman mausoleum offering amazing views over the city.
4. Vintage Pinball machines.
Budapest hosts Europe’s largest interactive Pinball Museum.
With more than 130 machines, there is a plenty of fun for a whole family. And some of the pinball machines date back to the 1940s!
Thousands of locals and visitors attend this unusual place, and you should be one of them.
5. See Giant Communist Relics.
Even though Memento Park takes its place outside the city center, this is a original Communist relics that you might visit to snap some unusual pictures from Budapest!
It’s an open-air museum topped with monumental statues and placards from the time of communist period. Statues like Marx, Engels and Lenin are common sights along with Hungarian communist leaders.
6. Hospital in the Rock.
Sounds odd, right?
This subterranean hospital saw action in WWII and during the 1956 uprising, and you have a chance to explore it!
Museum recreates the scenes of tough times when hospital was overcrowded with wounded infantry.
Moreover, part of Hospital in the Rock happens to be a secret bunker of the Cold War time and was actually a top secret-place until recent time.
7. Dive under Budapest.
The “Buda” side of Budapest lies above an expansive labyrinth of caves.
These underground Budapest caves hide never-ending thermal hot springs – source of thermal baths – which is Budapest famous for.
This underground world is a great area for exploration for those who are seeking to literally go beyond the surface.
Though, to embrace the beauty of these caves you have to be a qualified diver.
8. Watch a film in Europe’s smallest cinema.
Budapest is home for Europe’s smallest cinema.
It screens international art films and documentaries, and hosts film festivals, exhibitions and events.
Check out the official website.
9. Red Ruin Communist 4Bar
Budapest’s only communism theme bar isn’t afraid to poke fun at its history.
More than most other Eastern European cities that were once part of the Soviet Bloc, Budapest seems to have a sense of humor about its political past.
The décor of Red Ruin, the city’s only communism theme bar, delightfully subverts communist propaganda with colorful pop art and puns.
10. House of Terror
As Hungary was infamous for brutality during both the Nazi and Soviet regimes, it’s no surprise that Budapest is home to a museum dedicated to the memory of those tortured and killed in one particular building.
11. Thermal Spa – Baths Budapest.
Ever since the Romans settled here in the 1st century AD, locals have enjoyed the steaming, mineral rich thermal water that’s gushing from beneath Budapest’s surface.
There’s no limit for bathing whether it’s a hot summer day, or grumpy winter, they’re open all year! The temperature of water usually ranges between 30 to 40 degrees Celsius (86 to 104 Fahrenheit).
Enjoy Szechenyi Spa Baths’s Budapest outside pool anytime of the year.
Tip: There are open air bathes and indoor, you can find additional information here.
12. Kids’ train.
This quaint Hungarian railway system is operated exclusively by children between the ages of 10 and 14.
Stretching through a lovely patch of quiet Hungarian forest, the Gyermekvasút Rail Line would seem to be just another peaceful sightseeing rail line were it not for the captain and crew being exclusively underage.
13. For Sale Pub
This Budapest bar allows drinkers to leave their mark on the walls, floor, and even ceiling.
Just across the lane from an otherwise posh shopping center is Hungary’s For Sale Pub, and while the space is not actually available for purchase, guests can leave their personal advertisements anywhere they like.
Tip: Perfect place to visit especially after shopping in Central Market Hall since, Pub Is just one minute away.
14. Get lost in the Great Market Hall
If you love fresh goods, amazing local and traditional food and drinks, unusual shopping, or just sightseeing in amazing places, we trust you will love our beloved Great Market Hall.
No matter if it shines or rains, the Great Market Hall is a great option, and definitely one of the top Budapest attractions according to many Budapest guides.
It is relatively easy to get there, from center accessible by a tram number 2 or 47-49, to ‘’Fővám tér’’ stop.
You will come across a lot of souvenirs, unusual goods and tasty Hungarian traditional food!
15. Zoo Café
Zoo Café is definitely recommended, especially for animal lovers.
During your time at this unusual, animal-packed café, you’ll get a chance to pet various animals – lovely cats, guinea-pigs, reptiles and for the daring ones furry giant spiders!
Zoo Café is always crowded as everyone strives to get there so reservation is recommended.
If your question is “what?!”, keep reading.
The most popular thermal baths in Budapest, Szechenyi Spa and Baths are as well famous for its night Spa Parties.
Grab your swimsuit and have tons of fun!
17. ALTERNATIVE MUSEUMS
We have enough history museums to inspire your mind for days – but if you want to visit some that are uniquely Budapest then the Zwack Unicum Museum is a great place to start.
Unicum is a herbal liqueur with which most people have a love or hate relationship.
Created by the Zwack family in 1840, today the museum gives you an insight into Unicum’s remarkable history and the chance to see the old distillery.
18. QUALITY TIME IN CAFÉ NEW YORK
Dive into luxurious atmosphere of one of the best cafés in Budapest.
Café New York take its place next to the Jewish quarter in the 7th district of Budapest.
Café is unique for its style and mouth-watering pastry, but most of the time it is crowded so reservation is must!
New York Café is considered the most beautiful Café Building in the world.
19. Visit the Szabo Ervin Library.
The incredible Szabo Ervin Library in Budapest is a hidden treasure, left out of guidebooks, tucked into a busy section of the city.
From intricately carved walls to majestic chandeliers, the library will quickly stun you into silence.
The Szabo Ervin Library is cheap to tour (around $3.00 USD/ticket) and not overcrowded with tourists.
In 1965, this museum opened its doors to visitors interested in learning more about the history of medicine.
21. Discover Szentendre!
Szentendre is also known as Artists’ Village and you will be able to see why on your visit! This town is the ultimate escape for those who want to travel back in time, simply feel happy and be surrounded by the presence of the good old days!
This is a perfect opportunity to explore this small magical city and it Is just 40 minutes outside of Budapest!
See here what are the options of getting there.
22. EUROPE’S BIGGEST ICE RINK!
Budapest is home for Europe’s biggest ice rink.
Every winter, artificial pond of Vajdahunyad Castle gets frozen to enjoy the winter vibes and ice-skate through!
You will also come across the beautiful Castle in the vicinity and tiny Christmas markets all the way.
Additional info can be found here.
23. ESCAPE FROM CREATIVELY CRAFTED CAPTIVITY
Attain the key to the exit door of dimly lit rooms and dark cellars while racing the clock by visiting an Escape-Room Game, a relatively recent local invention that spread across the Hungarian capital and beyond.
Ranging from secret-agent scenes to horror themes, many different types of enclosed chambers challenge guests to figure out how to break free at many locales all around the city.
24. GET DOWN IN A HIGH-SPIRITED RUIN PUB
Budapest’s renowned ruin pubs play a great part in elevating the city among the Europe , competing with number-one hipster hangouts like London and Berlin.
The first generation of ruin pubs embarked on their journey to fame more than a decade ago, with the now iconic and featuring surreal art and psychedelic settings amid crumbling brick walls of abandoned buildings.
25. FEEL THE WORLD’S SECOND-OLDEST METRO UNDER YOUR FEET
Budapest proudly boasts the second-oldest metro in the world, a part of Unesco.
It’s been running continuously since 1896!
Of course, in those days, it hardly seemed necessary or feasible to busy a metro line deep underground, so you’ll find the tracks hiding just below the street.
The result is that beyond providing a unique historical experience (while London has the oldest metro in the world, it certainly doesn’t offer the antique experience this line does), it also provides for some interesting picnic opportunities.
Lay in the grass under the line somewhere in the City Park and you’ll feel the trains rumbling just below you. Try bringing along some friends without telling them about this phenomenon, just to see if they think there’s an earthquake.
26. ENJOY A BEER WITH THE UNIQUE CROWD OF A TRUE WORKING CLASS BUDAPEST BAR
Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in downtown Budapest’s hipster world that you can forget there’s a whole other city farther out.
One odd example is Blikk Söröző – a mixture of slot machines, with interesting opening hours (approximately 05:00-23:00, when they’ll kick you out), and colorful crowd.
You may not share a language, but don’t be surprised if you end up sharing more than a few beers and shots of Unicum with whomever you discover here. It’s just another slice of the seemingly endless oddities Budapest nightlife has to offer.
27. LOCK YOURSELF IN A SMALL ROOM AND TRY TO ESCAPE…
Are guns and giant communist statues not enough for you? Then get yourself locked into an Escape Room.
These role playing games literally do what they say.
They lock you in a room – usually a dark, seedy, underground room, and you have to escape within an hour.
That means solving clues, puzzles…whatever it takes to get out! Escape Rooms are popping up all over the world now, but their humble origins are Budapest. What better place to get locked in?
28. FOOD TRUCK COURTYARD
With the gates closed it looks like private property, but this yard tucked off Üllöi is home to a gastronomic quarter of food trucks serving up delicious snacks from fresh gnocchi to BBQ meat, and even a craft beer stand.
The whole set up of trucks dominate the courtyard, but if you still want your street food and want somewhere indoors to sit down, you can go inside the small seating area indoor to enjoy your snacks in any weather.