Budapest has become one of the most popular city break destinations in the whole of Europe, promising holidaymakers everything from culture and history to a vibrant nightlife and delectable culinary scene. But like most capital cities in Europe, a long weekend in the Hungarian capital doesn’t fall under the moniker of a budget break. Fortunately for you lucky readers, we’ve put together a list of some of the best free things to do in Budapest – read on before you explore.
1. Visit Heroes’ Square
Defined by the 36-metre high column topped by a statue of the Archangel Gabriel, Heroes’ Square is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Notions of war, peace, work and glory are the theme of this memorial, giving visitors a thought or two to ponder in the morning sunshine.
2. Wander Kerepesi Cemetery
Although heading to the local graveyard isn’t usually the done thing when you’re on holiday, Kerepesi Cemetery is somewhat unique; it serves as something of an inadvertent art installation as well as a resting place for the dead. Absorb the majesty of Europe’s largest outdoor statue park, marking the graves of many of Hungary’s famous sons and daughters, by taking an afternoon stroll through its 56 hectares.
3. Explore the Jewish Quarter
Arguably the most atmospheric and alluring area of the city, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Jewish Quarter reveals an authentic slice of life in Budapest. Characterised by narrow streets and architectural prowess, make sure you catch a glimpse of Europe’s largest Synagogue, as well as ensuring you duck into one of the countless teahouses hidden within the quarter.
4. Head into the Great Market Hall
Jumping from stall to stall in the city’s Great Market Hall is one of the most enjoyable free things to do in the Hungarian capital. Besides the opportunity to pick up a bargain and the odd souvenir, the market is full of energy, colour and charm, placing you into the shoes of a local but retaining the fascination of a tourist.
5. Climb Gellert Hill
For an unprecedented view of the city, don your hiking boots, grab a couple of water bottles and take to the trail up Gellert Hill. Located across the river on the ‘Buda’ side of the city, the hill provides wonderful views of the neighbouring castle, as well as vistas across the river into ‘Pest’ and its myriad of impressive attractions.
6. Stroll across Chain Bridge
Among the most recognised and celebrated examples of engineering and architecture in Budapest, holidaymakers can’t leave the city before taking an evening stroll along the Chain Bridge over the river Danube . In addition to its individual splendour, the bridge also provides a great viewpoint across to the striking Hungarian Parliament buildings.
7. The Jewish Shoe Memorial
One of the more moving sites within the city, the Jewish Shoe Memorial can be found on the banks of the Danube, attracting visitors hoping to pay their respects to victims of WWII. The memorial provides a poignant reminder of the impact felt by the Jewish people across the world.
8. Admire St. Stephen’s Basilica
Of all the sites, structures and attractions of Budapest, there is something particularly mesmerising about the spires and towering presence of St. Stephen’s Basilica. Jutting out to dominate the city’s skyline, the square surrounding the basilica is a wonderful place to spend an evening with a good book, perhaps best enjoyed as you perch on the stairs leading to the grand entrance of the church.
Full of culture, history and relentless vibrancy, city breaks to Hungary’s capital of Budapest are among the finest European adventures going, and now you can enjoy the city without lending lasting damage to your wallet!
Do you have any more recommendations of free things to do during a visit to Budapest? If so, let us know by commenting below.