Here at Manic tours we specialize in organised group activities, where a personal guide usually oversees the whole activity so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Everyone can see the added value in that, however what if you just want to hang out with your group and do something on your own?
The good news is, there are plenty of ideas on how to pass the time when you visit Budapest.
Please note that some of these activities are exclusively for the summer time.
Therefore this list includes mostly outdoor activities that will make the summer nights in Budapest unforgettable.
The list contains only what is accessible, meaningful and relaxing.
For example, here are some ideas of what to do in the Hungarian Capital:
Wander around the lower quay of Pest:
This one is fairly easy and relaxing. Just get yourself down to Ferenciek Tere or Bosnyák tér, head to the river bank and take a walk. Usually the bank is vibrant with young people dating, sitting on the grass, having drinks. There are plenty of restaurants and pubs where you can sit down if you did not bring your own. Great idea if you want to see some great architecture as there are a number of historical buildings located on both sides of the river.
Visit Margitsziget ( Margaret Island)
The island is between Buda and Pest and you can get there by hopping on Tram 4 or 6.
The island offers tons of fun activities, you can hire bicycles, scooters, mini carts and pretty much everything that rolls. There is a mini zoo at the heart of the island with awesome parks around where young people gather for social events.
Plenty of pubs and bars around the river banks are also waiting for the thirsty pilgrims to have about 4-16 beers.
Take a city walk in the city center. Meet architectural styles from the Baroque to the Art Nouveau.
Downtown Budapest is a must see for any tourist to visit. Although Váci street at district V is considered a more traditional-tourist path, there are awesome buildings to marvel at. Visit the grand market hall and try out traditional foods like lángos or Gulyás soup. Or drink a presso at the oldest Hungarian
Restaurant/ cafe Gerbaud. Be warned!!! The street offers many tourist places but some of them are tourist traps. Be sure to check out the reviews before entering any of those places. Luckily this part of the town is the only place you can still encounter such establishments.
Take a cruise to Szentendre.
There are regular boat trips to Szentendre, the artist city just outside of Budapest. Its a fairly quick ride, the whole activity doesn't take more than 3 hours.
You will be charmed by the Baroque architecture and small cobbled streets of this lovely little town. Art galleries, shops and churches all make this to be a little bit of a fairy trip.
Visit a nature reserve
There are 39 natural reserve parks in and around Budapest. If you feel like a short trip to mothers nature will do you good, then you don't have to travel far and wide.
The parks are easily accessible with public transportation and a bit of walk.
Some ideas that are the closest to the city center:
Castle Buda, Bécsi Kapu.
Balogh Ádám- Szikla
Take a trip to the Gellért Hegy lookout:
If you want to commemorate your Budapest trip, then a selfie at the Gellért Hely lookout is a must. You can visit the lookout during the day or nights, the view is always stunning.
You can get there by public transportation, taxi or even Hop on and Hop off buses include the site among their stops.
Look for interesting sculptures (eg Paul Street boys, Abigel, Colombo, etc..)
Once an Austrian, Austro-Hungary emperor mentioned that it's a shame there are only a handful of statues in Budapest. The Hungarians needed no more and started to erect them like no tomorrow.
Of course chief of them all is the Hősők Tere, where you can see our founding fathers along with heavenly protectors of the county. Located next to the largest city park of Budapest, this is a must see, when visiting Budapest.
Admire the panorama from the Gül Baba türbe on Rózsadomb:
Same goes here as before at Gellért hegy lookout. This one is closer to Margaret Island, so if you are visiting one, you can easily access the other.
The turbe of Gül Baba introduces the rich history Budapest inherited from the Turkish occupation. Goes without saying we were finally happy to get rid of them, they have left some spectacularly cool things behind, among the world famous spas. This is one such place, just breathe the history in.
Walk through the Shipyard Island
Again, this is a larger park-like area. To most visiting this place is known for hosting the world famous SZIGET Festival.
This is the second largest island of Budapest.
Wander around the Castle District:
The Castle of Buda is part of the UNESCO world heritage list, so it's a must visit when in Budapest. The entire castle district reeks of history. Every corner and every brick is ancient. Cool little coffee and fine dining are easy to find.
Be aware, the place is packed, before Covid 30.000 people visited the Castle on a daily basis. You can just walk there crossing the Chain Bridge. (Once renovations of the bridge are done, mind you, could take years actually…. You better take a bus on that note.)
Go to an outdoor concert:
Before visiting Budapest it's worth sussing around what kind of concerts will take place. The locals love for live music and the large crowds of tourists make Budapest an excellent stop for any road trip even for bigger bands.
If you love Alternate music you best check out what is going on at A38 ship. (Voted to be the best place to visit in 2018, by lonely planetÖ
Do you love heavy metal? Heck yeah! Barba Negra is the place for you! Beer is cold and cheap and the riffs will rip your skulls apart.
Chief amongst them all of course is Budapest Park. Usually worth visiting as after the concerts the DJ take control of the tunes and dance floor as the crowd dances the night away.
Drink lemonade on the terrace:
As mentioned before, on both sides of river Danube there are plenty of terraces, where mild house music and cocktails make sure you forget about your problems. No better place to visit than the BÁLNA at the pest side. Choose between a number of cool places and let the afternoon session begin.
Go up to the new lookout tower of the Downtown Church (opens at the end of June)
Take a time trip to the 16th century at the First Bastion Outdoor Exhibition in the Castle
Have a picnic at the central park :
We already told you where the largest green areas are located. Városligeti Park is an excellent location right at the hearth of Budapest. Margit Sziget is also a solid option.
Just pack some beers, crisps and head to the nearest green area. You are also guaranteed to find company as young people love to socialise in parks when the weather is right.
Visit the Zoo:
One of the largest zoos in Europe and very unusual for it to be located in the city centre. With more than a 1000 animals on display this is a cool daytime activity that can be done while visiting a Heroes Square or the Famous Széchényi Spa.
Boating at the city park lake:
Located right next to the Heroes Square, in the shadows of VajdaHunyad Castle you can find Városliget Lake. The biggest artificial lake in Budapest. You can just hire a boat and row around or during the winter time you can head there and skate around. That's strictly before the beers!!!!
See the view from the Budapest-Eye:
If you are looking for an awesome night out, chances are you will start your pub crawl at Deak Ferenc Square. The locals love to gather around, sit on the grass and drink the booze they got from the liquor store, or just get beers from the local pubs. Either way, the Budapest eye is located in the same park, so if you are after some bird eye view of the city, this is the chance to just hop on and take it all in. As a historic city, Budapest has some spectacular buildings that will be a candy for the eyes.
Take a BKV boat from the Roman coast to the Kopaszi dam:
The cool thing about this boat trip is that it's just for the price of a single public transport ticket. So if you are on a budget and looking for a cheaper boat alternative, this is your best bet. Still get to see some of the coolest sights in Budapest and you won’t have to break the bank for it.
At the Kopasz Dam, there are plenty of cool restaurants and bars waiting for the thirsty hordes, where you can sit back by the river and have a drink or two, with a good grab to go along with it.
Sit on the banks of the Danube on the stairs and watch the water, drink booze:
This is yet again, something very localist to do. Many young people love to hit the liquor stores, get a couple of 6 packs, some cigis and head to the river banks. You will find many stairs,where you can just sit down by the water and enjoy the atmosphere of Budapest and chill out. Just make sure there are toilets nearby!
Cool off at the Palatine or Csillaghegyi beach:
Budapest tends to get really hot during the summer spell. Granted the city is famous for its spas, but lets be honest. It's not the nicest idea to cool yourself off in a hot spa. Worry not, Palatinus pool is located at the hearth of Margit sziget and has some really cool outside pools. Grab a beer, try the lángos and enjoy the view.
Easily accessible with public transport as well.
So without the need for this list to be complete, these are some really cool and wholesome afternoon/night activities that you can do while visiting Budapest.
We tried to pick budget friendly and not too time consuming activities. Granted, if you are here for a weekend, then you might find value in our organized group activities, where all is taken care of. Transportation, local guide, payment all in one package. But if your aim is to just sit with your group, maybe play some games that you all love, or just try to mingle with the locals, then this Manic Tours list of What to do in Budapest is exactly for you.
Should you have any questions, don't hesitate to get into touch with us.
Until the next time,