What to See & Do in Budapest – 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix

The best things to see & do in Budapest while attending the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix 2024

  • The 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix is scheduled for July 19-21.
  • The last tickets are now on sale. We also recommend F1 Experiences Ticket Packages
  • The Editor has attended the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix five times
  • This post contains affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links

When visiting for the Hungarian Grand Prix, we recommend staying in Budapest and also adding at least a day or two to your schedule to see the sights of this beautiful city, lovingly nicknamed “the heart of Europe. Below, we’ve listed some of the best things to see and do in the Hungarian capital. From tourist attractions to hidden gems and from cultural delights to rock bars: there’s something for everyone.

Budapest Card

Budapest is a big city, so purchasing a Budapest Card is a good way to get around and do some sightseeing as well. Not only does it include free public transportation for 24, 48, 72, 96 or 120 hours, depending on which one you choose, but you also get free guided tours, and free entry to more than 20 museums and Lukács thermal bath. Additionally, you get discounts of up to 50% on various restaurants and attractions. More information about the Budapest Card can also be found in the Getting There & Around section of our guide.

Budapest’s Architectural Highlights

Budapest is famous for its stunning architecture, on both sides of the river. The Parliament Building cannot be missed, and is one of the most photogenic buildings in Europe. Buying tickets for the guided tour beforehand is recommended; they can be purchased on the official website. Without a ticket you won’t be able to enter. Keep in mind that it is still a functional government building, so tours are not always available. Check the site regularly, as more tour slots are regularly added.

For more photogenic sights, check out Fisherman’s Bastion with its panoramic view, visit Elizabeth Square for a ride on the ferris wheel, go for a walk in nature on Margaret Island between Buda and Pest, or head to Vajdahunyad Castle. Just down the Danube is the impressive Széchenyi Chain Bridge. The river and city skyline looks stunning in the evening and a dinner cruise is highly recommended. One of the top rated cruises is the Pannónia cruise. If you’re looking for something on the cheaper side, check out the popular Legenda cruise.

On the Buda side of the city, you’ll find more sights, including the Buda Castle, which is home to both the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. The castle consists of a lot of different buildings, so make sure to take your time!  For a gorgeous view of the Buda Castle at night, with all its shining lights, travel on tram number 2, the most scenic city tramline in Europe according to National Geographic. For the best experience, get on at the Jászai Mari tér stop and get off at the Boráros tér stop, a journey of about 15 minutes.

Experience Hungarian Culture

If you want to experience more of the local culture, you can try Hungarian foods and buy some souvenirs at the Central Market Hall.
Of course, there’s also plenty of Hungarian cultural attractions to experience, such as dance, theatre and music. The Hungarian Folklore Ensemble regularly perform at the magnificent Danube Palace, while organ concerts take place in the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica. If you don’t go for the organ playing, go for the stunning architecture! For jazz lovers, there’s the Budapest Jazz Club. The Opera is another great recommendation. You can either just see the building with a guided tour, or you can attend a performance: all of them have English subtitles.

Budapest Bus & Walking Tours

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. Big Bus Budapest is the highest rated one, but there’s also Hop On Hop Off Budapest. Both tours include a free river cruise/boat ride and walking tour. Expect to pay around 35 EUR per day, and keep in mind that it’s cheaper to buy in advance.

There’s also a free walking tour, but tipping around 5-10 EUR per person is suggested. This walking tour will take you to the most important highlights of Budapest, such as St. Stephen’s Basilica, Vörösmarty Square, the Danube Promenade and the Parliament building. You can also book a paid private tour.

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 (pictured above). 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.

Lukács is another popular thermal bath amongst tourists, while Gellért is a part of the famous hotel with the same name located in Buda, and has beautiful architecture. Rudas is a Turkish hamam that’s almost 500 years old, with a beautiful rooftop bath. It’s single gender and swimwear optional on weekdays, while on weekends it’s mixed gender and swimwear is mandatory.

Eating Out 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.

For fine dining, try out Michelin star restaurants Borkonyha and Stand25 (or their other restaurant, Stand, with 2 Michelin stars), or traditional Hungarian restaurant Rosenstein

For vegetarians and vegans (or people that simply don’t feel like eating meat), Vegan Love has great burgers, and Napfényes serves vegan Hungarian dishes. The best traditional Hungarian Lángos (deep friend flatbread) can be found at Lángos Land, good Hungarian chimney cake at Molnár’s and for authentic Hungarian dinner, check out Korhely Faloda & Daloda.

Gozsdu Court is a lively, vibrant food court with lots of bars, restaurants and cafes that’s well worth a visit. Recommendations for a more casual dinner include Bors (famous for their soups), Manu+ (great pizza), Kandalló (burger place with craft beer), or Saigon (Vietnamese).

Budapest Cafes & Bakeries

If you’re looking for a place to have a coffee or a cocktail on the terrace, there’s plenty of options in Budapest. Some favourites include Centrál, a traditional grand cafe with brunch, cocktails and an extensive champagne menu, the New York Café, that some consider to be the most beautiful cafe in the world, Hadik, one of the most famous cafes in Budapest, and Zsivágó, a hidden gem with classical and jazz music playing.
Good bakeries and confectionaries include Gerbeaud (on the expensive side), Szamos cafe that has a chocolate museum on the top floor, and Auguszt, which has been around since 1870.

Bars, Pubs & Clubs in Budapest

Budapest is famous for its ruin bars, abandoned buildings that have been transformed into bars, and Szimpla Kert is one of the most famous ones. Besides having multiple bars with live music, they also have a flea market, street food, an art gallery and an open air theatre. Another famous ruin bar is Instant-Fogas , which is comprised of seven different clubs.

If the idea of partying on a boat excites you, check out Budapest Boat Party. For those who prefer to stay on dry land, the Lámpás Student Pub is a popular and affordable basement bar with a lively vibe, very well known, and universally loved. For a calmer atmosphere, the 360 Bar is a rooftop bar with amazing views, and the Good Spirit Whisky & Cocktail Bar has over 500 different spirits, including 300 whiskeys. Rock lovers can jam their heart out at Liquid Rock.

Other Things to Do in Budapest

In addition to all the activities already listed, there are a few more fun activities in and around Budapest, like the Aquaréna water park with 28 different slides, located right next to the Hungaroring. And of course, if you can’t get enough of motorsport even after a weekend of Formula 1 action, Budapest has several go-kart tracks. There’s G1 Gokart Center, Gokart Sportaréna which is the closest to the city centre, or the top-rated track Silverkart. Reservations are recommended, especially before, during or after the F1 weekend.

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