The best off-track activities in Budapest for Formula 1 fans attending the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix on July 30 to August 1.
Architecture & Culture in Budapest
Budapest is famed for its stunning architecture, both in the Buda and Pest sides of the city. The Parliament Building cannot be missed, and is one of the most photogenic buildings anywhere in Europe. Just down the Danube is the impressive Széchenyi Chain Bridge, which will allow you to cross to the other side of the city. The area looks specifically stunning in an evening and a dinner cruise on the lake is highly recommended (more on that later). In the Buda part of the city, you’ll find yet more sights, including the grand Buda Castle which is home to both the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.
There’s always something happening in Budapest on Grand Prix weekend, including the summer-long Budapest Summer Festival with concerts, theatre, dance and opera at three different venues, two of them on Margaret Island. If you want to experience more of the local culture, the Hungarian Folklore Ensemble regularly perform at the magnificent Danube Palace, while organ concerts take place in the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica (go for the incredible architecture if not the organ playing!)
Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours in Budapest
Several companies run hop on hop off bus tours around the city. If you only have a day or two to explore Budapest, this is a great way to take in the best sights. The buses stop at Deak Ferenc Ter (the main Metro interchange station, a good starting point), Heroes’ Square, the Chain Bridge, Gellert Hill and Spa, Funicular, Castle District, Parliament and the Opera house. Expect to pay around 20 EUR per day with either Big Bus Budapest or Hop on Hop off Budapest City Tour. It’s cheaper to buy in advance and some tickets include extras such as a free river cruise.
Danube River Cruises
Countless cruise boats ply the Danube through the centre of Budapest in the summer months, offering a variety of sightseeing cruises. Most boats leave from the city centre, on both the Buda and Pest sides of the river, with a large concentration of boats moored either side of the Chain bridge. If your time in the city is limited, a dinner cruise could be a great way to wind down after a long day at the track.
Thermal Baths in Budapest
No trip to Budapest would be complete without a trip to one of the thermal baths which the city is famous for. The baths, which can be found throughout the city, are a throwback to the time when Hungary was part of the Turkish Ottoman empire. If you only have time to make one visit, go to Széchenyi, the largest medicinal bath in Europe. The baths are located in the City Park, close to the Zoo and Heroes Square. You will find both indoor and outdoor pools of varying temperatures which contain a range of minerals – perfect for soothing tired joints after a few days at the track. The easiest way to reach the Széchenyi baths is to take the orange metro (M1) to the station with the same name. The baths are open from 6am to 10pm every day of the week.
Eating & Drinking in Budapest
From traditional Hungarian restaurants specializing in goulash and other local staples such as spicy fish soup to a wide range of Western, European and Asian cuisines, you won’t go hungry in Budapest, which has a thriving restaurant scene. Prices have crept up in recent years, but are still cheap by Western European standards. Al fresco dining is popular during the summer months, and there are good restaurants, bars and nightlife all over the city.
Have a sweet tooth and fancy learning about how some local produce is created? Head to the chocolate museum located near the Parliament building with, of course, plenty of indulging sweet treats on offer!