Budapest, Hungary is a great place to visit, especially if you are on a tight budget. While there are plenty of attractions that do cost money to see, there are also several things you can do for free.
Being such a historical city, you can spend your entire visit exploring the magnificent architecture. Aside from enjoying the old buildings, check out the top 10 free things to do while in Budapest.
Be sure to drop your bags at a Budapest luggage storage facility before starting your exploration of the city. Most attractions do not welcome bags inside, so leave your things somewhere safe while you investigate.
This imposing square is dominated by the 118-foot tall column with the statue of the archangel Gabriel holding a cross and the Hungarian crown. This statue represents Hungarian independence.
Self-guided tours through Heroes’ Square are free, if you wanted to tour the square on a Segway, an Airwheel, or with a guide there is a fee. Grab a cup of coffee and take a leisurely stroll through the square.
Pull on your comfortable walking shoes and take a hike up Castle Hill through cobblestoned streets. Stroll past Fisherman’s Bastion and St. Matthias Church, which was built in 1269. At the top of the hill is Buda Castle.
While it does cost to go inside the castle, you can walk around the grounds and through the gardens for free. Bring your camera and snap some fantastic photos of the castle and surrounding grounds.
While hiking up Castle Hill, stop by Fisherman’s Bastion, which overlooks the Danube River. You will have great views of the Hungarian Parliament for great photo opportunities. The Fisherman’s Bastion is a very popular tourist attraction.
It does cost to go up inside Fisherman’s Bastion, but the architecture of the building is fantastic and worth a look. During Hungarian holidays, admission is free, so if you are visiting during a holiday, definitely check it out.
It may seem a bit creepy to check out a cemetery while on vacation. But, if you have the chance to drop by the Kerepesi Cemetery, you should do so. This is the most famous cemetery in Budapest and dates back over 170 years.
The cemetery is the final resting place of many historical figures such as Béni Egressy and Vörösmarty Mihály. The cemetery has become a national place of worship and thousands of people visit each year. It is free to visit the cemetery.
One of Europe’s biggest synagogues is located in the Jewish Quarter of Budapest. There were over 400,000 Hungarian Jews that were killed during World War II and much of the Jewish Quarter was destroyed.
It is free to walk through the streets of the Jewish Quarter. Take in the historic buildings, some still in ruins from the war, and even drop into one of the ruin bars. There are guided tours available that do charge a fee, such as the Budapest Jewish Walk Tour.
Hungarian Parliament Building
The Hungarian Parliament Building is an essential part of the Hungarian government. While it does cost to enter the building, you can still view it from the outside and marvel at the architecture.
Located on the banks of the Danube River, the Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the most remarkable buildings. Be sure to view the building in both daylight and darkness; it is magnificent in both.
Budapest Street Art
You do not have to spend the entire day in art galleries. Instead, you can soak up some colorful, interesting street art while strolling through the streets of Budapest. The Jewish Quarter is home to several very vivid murals.
Filatorigat is the only place where artists can legally tag the wall with graffiti. It is an explosion of colors and styles that you should not miss. Consult a map for info on the best places to view the must-see street art of Budapest.
The Great Market Hall
It is free to get into the Great Market Hall, also known as the Central Market Hall. With three floors of vendors, you can easily spend a lazy afternoon browsing through booths and enjoying lots of free samples.
There are more than likely enough free food samples available throughout the market that you can skip lunch. You can also purchase some unique and interesting souvenirs and gifts at the Great Market Hall.
Free Walking Tours
The absolute best way to enjoy the history and beauty of Budapest is to join a walking tour. Lace up your sturdy walking shoes and plan on spending several hours walking through the streets of Budapest.
Many tour companies do offer free walking tours with a knowledgeable guide to ensure you have the best experience. Sign up for several walking tours so you can see as much of the city as possible.
Remember, though, the tour is free but your tour guide does expect a gratuity or donation at the end of the tour to supplement their income.
Shoes on the Danube Bank
This haunting memorial to the 400,000 Jewish people who died in Hungary during World War II is free to view. The 60 pairs of iron shoes along the bank of the Danube Bank pay tribute to the Jews who were forced to abandon their shoes on the bank.
Once they removed their shoes and left them on the riverbank, they were then executed; their bodies then fell into the river to be carried away. Sit on the bank of the Danube River and think about those people who lost their lives.
Budapest is filled with so much history that you can spend weeks exploring and still not see everything. It can be costly to tour Budapest and see some of the interesting sites. However, even if you are visiting on a budget, you can still enjoy your time in the city.
While you may spend much of your time outside, taking in the architecture and monuments of this great city, you will still be able to fully appreciate the culture and history of Budapest.