Maybe you are planning a trip to Europe and wondering where to go that is not going to break the bank. Or you are in Europe and looking for a cool place to go for a long weekend, but you don’t want to spend your life savings. Kati and I have been there. In Europe or Africa or even America and wanting someplace cool to go but not wanting to spend a tons of money It can happen to anyone. Instead of completely ditching your holiday plan, choosing a budget-friendly destination can be a saviour.
Budapest is one such destination in Europe where you can travel on a budget trip. You can easily book an affordable stay there, reach sightseeing locations using public transportation and have a nice two- or three-course meal at economical rates (even in more tourist-oriented restaurants).
In fact, it offers many things to do for free or at cheap rates that would keep you engaged during your trip. Here is a list of a few such things:
Take a Free Walking Tour of Budapest
Register yourself with one of the many free walking tours to learn about Budapest’s history and the best spots. You can also book a free walking tour specific to your interests, like communist history or street art. Though these tours are free, as a courtesy, you must tip your guide at the end, especially if you enjoyed it. The Original Free Budapest Tour lasts 3.5 hours and initiates from St Stephen’s Basilica daily at 11 am. They take you around the most popular sites.
See the Stunning Basilica of St Stephen
It is one of the most important Catholic churches in all of Hungary. It is free to enter, but you will have to pay if you wish to reach the 96m (315ft) dome and visit the treasury of ecclesiastical objects on the second floor. It contains the mummified right hand of St Stephen and Holy Right (also known as the Holy Dexter). You can easily reach here by blue line metro (M3) that will drop you at the Arany János Utca station from where you will have to walk for around seven minutes.
Enjoy Castle Hill’s Grounds, Gardens and Views
A trip to Budapest is incomplete without visiting Castle Hill. You can choose the wide staircase, which goes to the southern end of the Royal Palace from Szarvas tér to reach there for free. If you wish to make it easier for yourself or save some time, you can buy tickets to use the elevator from Dózsa György tér or the Sikló funicular. You can enjoy wonderful monuments, gardens and views for free. But, you will need tickets for entering the museums housed inside the Royal Palace.
Visit Szentendre Village
This village is located out of the city and can be reached via a 40-minute metro ride. You can visit the craft market, have a conversation with one of the quaint artisans, enjoy an ice cream along the ride, and meander through the cobblestone streets. This village is quite popular and has a lot of souvenir shops across the streets. There are some cute cafes where you can enjoy some beverages and mid-day meals after grazing around the market.
Enjoy the Lookout From Fisherman’s Bastions
Located in the Old Town or on the ”Buda” side of the river is the iconic Fisherman’s Bastions. It is one of the best places to enjoy the sunset in this city while enjoying the view of the Chain Bridge, the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Danube River. Along with a spectacular view, the architecture of this place is stunning.
Hit Szimpla Farmers’ Market To Witness a Ruin Bar
If you wish to visit one of the famous pubs in Budapest without paying at the bar, visiting Szimpla Farmers’ Market is a good idea. This market is held on all Sundays in the Szimpla Kert, one of the most popular and oldest ruin pubs in Budapest. You can purchase local products from here like the seasonal food or the traditional cakes while gazing at the pub’s interior.
See Remarkable Roman Ruins in Óbuda and Pest
At the beginning of the 1st century, the Romans established the territory of Pannonia in the current-day Budapest. You can find their remains dispersed throughout Budapest, encompassing the smaller Roman Civilian Amphitheatre in Óbuda, both the Roman Military Amphitheatre and the fortress Contra Aquincum.
Aquincum contains both an open-air archaeological park and a world-class museum making it the most complete Roman civilian town in Hungary. It is mostly noticeable from the outside of the street, but you will have to pay if you wish to see it from the inside.
Spend a Day on Margaret Island
This green oasis is located right in the middle of the Danube. It possesses shaded walkways, gardens, a spa, many large swimming areas, and a lovely place to go on a summer day. All the famous sightseeing places, like the remains of the Dominican convent, St Margaret’s grave and the ruins of a Franciscan church, are open to everyone for free.
Take a Stopover at the Heroes Square
Heroes square is the most photographed spot in Pest. You can easily spot the 36-metre high column from a huge distance. It is sworn to the heroes who sacrificed their lives for their national independence and the freedom of the people.
Stroll Along the Shady Paths of City Park
Covering a distance of almost one sq km, Pest’s City Park is an open space located in the east of the city. You can reach here through the unofficial entrance located at the Heroes’ Square.
Pick Up Traditional Goods and Specialty Food at Great Market Hall
Great Market Hall or browse is Budapest’s largest food market. You can buy some carved hunting knives, embroidered tablecloths, painted eggs, dolls, and traditional Hungarian folk costumes from upstairs. On the bottom floor, you can find food specialities of Hungary like local wines, kolbász (sausages) and huge bags of paprika.
Hike Gellért Hill for Gorgeous City Views
One of the best viewpoints in Budapest is the Citadella, the mighty fortress atop Gellért Hill. You will have to hike for 30 minutes to reach the top of this hill. Here, you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the city in the shadow of the Liberty Monument, proclaiming freedom throughout the city.
Our Final Word
We realize that Budapest is not on many people’s radar when considering a trip to Europe, but it should be. There are many interesting and fun things to do along with historic ruins to explore. Whether you are staying on the hilly side (Buda) of the Danube or the flat side (Pest) you will have a great time. Definitely worth a long weekend, or a side trip on your European excursion.