Budapest is one of our favorite cities in Europe. It’s full of activities to do from historical sights, interesting architecture, hidden gems, and an overall eclectic vibe. Not to mention, there are many free things to do in Budapest that make it an affordable yet incredible destination.
In this guide, we provide you with our 10 best free things to do in Budapest Hungary, should you find yourself discovering the country’s capital. At the end of this article, we also provide you with a FREE map of where to find these free things to do in Budapest so that you can easily merge these places into your mobile application.
Stroll along the Danube River
The Danube River stretches from the Elizabeth Bridge to the Chain Bridge. It’s a great walking tour to do and one of the best free things to do in Budapest.
The river from one end to another is a great vantage point to seeing Budapest’s most iconic sights. Our favorite time to a self-guided walking tour would be sunset when everything turns to gold, or at night, when the lights start to glimmer.
The promenade following the Chain Bridge is a historical sight to behold. This section of the river is called the Shoes at the Danube Promenade. It pays tribute to the Jews under former Hungarian leaders.
Walk the Chain Bridge
The Chain Bridge is an iconic sight that you will notice right away when walking alongside the Danube River.
It connects the Buda and Pest side of the city, was built in 1849 and one of the historic free things to do in Budapest. We recommend walking the bridge and discovering both sides of the river especially during sunset and night hours for some great photo opportunities.
Photograph the Parliament Building
Along the Danube River is the glorious sight of the Parliament Building. This building is home to hundreds of government offices and is one of the most impressive structures in the city.
With its gothic style architecture, whether you’re right by the building or seeing it from across on the Pest side, the Parliamaent looks every bit of amazing and is definitely one of the best free things to do in Budapest.
You can do a tour inside if you prefer, but for us, just taking photographs of this beautiful landmark is worth it in itself.
Take in the City Views from Heroes Square
Heroes Square is well-known square in Budapest. It is marked by the Millenary Momument, a 36 meter high pillar with the Archangel Gabriel, holding a cross and Hungarian Crown.
Aside from its historical symbolism, Heroes Square is also a fantastic place to go if you want to see panoramic views of the city.
Taking in this view is completely without cost, making it one of the best free things to do in Budapest!
Enjoy the Markets by St. Stephen's Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica is a Catholic Church located at the center of Budapest. It is the third largest church in Hungary and one of the most breathtaking ones we’ve seen in all of Europe.
St. Stephen’s Basilica is also one of the tallest buildings in the city at 96 meters high. In the winter and on the weekends, the Basilica is home to street markets to try some local delicacies.
The area surrounding the church also holds many cafes that host stunning views of the Church as you sip on some coffee and eat delicious Hungarian pastries.
Visit the Central Market Hall
The Central Market Hall is a beautifully designed building also at the center of the city. It contains two floors of food stalls and souvenir shops, catered to both locals and travelers.
The market features some interesting items like Hungarian local produce from pastries, cheese, meats to alcohol as well as some artistic crafts.
There are also food vendors serving up fresh Hungarian meals at an affordable price. Whether you choose to eat a meal here or just want to window shop, Central Market Hall is one of the best free things to do in Budapest.
Admire the Beauty of Matthias Church
At the Buda side, Matthias Church is a beautiful place to visit and one of the best free things to do in Budapest.
The church is by the Fisherman’s Bastion, with some incredible exterior and interior architecture that features Neo-Gothic design.
The Church itself has a long history of settlement and reconstruction but remains well maintained.
In its interiors, the luxurious furnishings, stain glass windows, and impressively designed ceiling arches are a sight to behold.
Night Out at the Ruins Bars
The Ruin Bars of Budapest are quite the experience in itself. These bars can be found in the Old Jewish Quarter. They are called “ruins” after the buildings were forgotten in World War II. Investors then saw the value in it and transformed the buildings into underground bars during the early 2000’s.
From outside, you wouldn’t know that there’s a party going on in the inside as it looks like any other building. But walking in, the eclectic vibe, that the ruins are known for, can be seen everywhere.
From the hipster posters that adorn the room, multi-colored lights, and mismatched furniture – it evokes a cool and hip vibe. There are many places to choose from – from the famous Szimpla Kert, Mazel Tov, and Instant – take your pick and party at one of these exciting ruin bars.
There are generally no entrance fees to the Ruin Bars if you come before 11pm. The cost of alcohol is also very cheap, making this one of the best free things to do in Budapest.
Walk around the Historic Buda Castle Complex
Buda Castle is a historical palace complex, once the home of Hungarian Kings in Budapest. It is situated in the Buda side, forming a large part of the Castle Hill District.
The castle’s architecture blends Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau style following decades of the Turk expulsion, Christian siege, and the siege of the Russians and Germans during WWII.
Today, the castles surrounding areas can be freely visited making it one of the best free things to do in Budapest.
Admire the Cityscapes from Fisherman's Bastion
Fisherman’s Bastion is one of our favorite free things to do in Budapest.
Depicting an almost fairytale vibe and set in the hills of Buda Castle Hill, it offers the most spectacular views of the Danube River and the city beyond.
As a tip, we recommend visiting during the sunset hours to get photographs the architectural sights of Budapest and the horizon beyond in the golden and blue hours.
Visiting Fisherman’s Bastion is free and the views that it offers truly live up to why it’s one of the best free things to do in Budapest.
Map of the Best Free Things to Do in Budapest
So there we have it! If you’re searching for the best free things to do in Budapest Hungary, then this google maps itinerary has got you covered.
Budapest is really a must visit city in Hungary that is full of hidden surprises, beautiful architecture and cultural, funky vibes, which you can do for cheap. If you know of any other best things to do in Budapest Hungary that were not covered in this guide, let us know in the comments below!