Alternative Things to Do in Budapest

Photos of Budapest

In recent years, Budapest has sored to the top of the popularity list with tourists.

In 2019 the city welcomed over 4 million visitors through its fun and vibrant streets. It’s the third most visited city in Eastern Europe, behind the Russian metropolises of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

If you visit in the busy Summer months, you’ll be quick to notice just how many tourists cram through the streets of Budapest. And since nobody likes bumping shoulders with herds of tourists or waiting hours to snap up that perfect picture of one of the many beautiful landmarks scattered around the city.

Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest
Fisherman’s Bastion

So if you want to avoid the crowds of tourists, hang out with locals, or just want a unique story about your trip to Budapest, you can do so.

Just continue reading to discover the best alternative things to do in Budapest.

Eat, Drink, Swim & Explore Római-part

A hipster bar in Budapest
Ket Rombusz

If you’re really looking to get off the beaten track and hang out with some locals, the Romai Part should be at the top of your list.

During the daytime, you’ll find locals relaxing on the beach hidden behind the leafy paths of the banks of the Danube. In the evening, the dark trails are lit by vibrant colours from bars and restaurants.

At Ket Rombusz, you can even bring your own food and cook at one of their free BBQs!

BBQ at Normafa Park

Trees in a park in Budapest
Trees in Normafa Park

Normafa Park is the sweet spot between being a tourist attraction and a hidden gem. Some tourists visit this beautiful part of the city to explore its greenways or the Children’s Railway. But the area is extremely popular with locals who like to walk, relax, or even BBQ.

What’s more is that there are even designated BBQ pits where you can grill, relax, have a drink, and save some money!

While you’re here, you should also check out the breathtaking views from Elizabeth Lookout Tower.

Picnic on Margaret Island

Bars on Margaret Island in Budapest
Bars on Margaret Island

Margaret Island is another spot in-between a popular tourist attraction and a hidden gem. Although it is more on the touristy side than Normafa Park, its secrets are more concealed.

To the rear of the island, you’ll find tons of unexpected surprises. Such as a Rose Garden, a Japanese Garden, and even a mini-zoo! But the main reason locals come here is to enjoy a picnic under the shade of a tree. So pick up some fresh produces at the Central Market Hall, a few bottles of your favorite beer and enjoy being surrounded by nature.

If you’re immature like me, you’ll be glad to know you can drink a beer on the swings at Hippie Island Bar.

Swings inside a bar in Budapest
Swings at Hippy Island bar

Drink With the Locals at Elizabeth Square

Elizabeth Square in Budapest
Bars in the center of Elizabeth Square

As you can probably tell by now, many people like to drink outside in Budapest. And this is my favourite place to do so.

There are lovely areas where locals come to layout on the grass and drink wine. This is not just for 18/19 years old’s. I have even spoken to people in their 40s enjoying a drink on the grass.

If drinking on a budget, this should be your home base. But even though you can drink for cheap here, respect the people around you and don’t get too drunk!

Take the Train to Szentendre!

Colourful streets in Szentendre
The Medieval streets of Szentendre

Get out of the hustle and bustle of Budapest and get lost on the fairytale streets of Szentendre. For just 300 HUF (0.85 EUR) you can take a train with breathtaking scenery to this magical city.

There are all sorts of things to do while you’re here. You can shop for palinka, visit a museum, and take photos of ancient churches.

My favourite thing is to pick up a cup of goulash, head down to the riverside, and enjoy my meal with a view.

Party at Budapest Park

Budapest Park
Budapest Park

In August, around 500,000 people flock to Budapest to experience the bucket list festival that is Sziget. But what if you’re not in Budapest in August? or you’re on a budget? If you still want to experience the party atmosphere of Budapest, then Budapest Park is the place for you.

On the weekends, you can enter this quirky mid-sized concert venue for as little as 1,500 HUF (4.30 EUR)! You might miss out on some headline acts if you skip Sziget, but you certainly won’t miss out on the carnival atmosphere inside and outside the grounds.

Experience the Best Alternative Things to Do in Budapest

Budapest does have countless world-class tourist attractions. The Buda Castle District, Gellert Hill and the Széchenyi Thermal Baths, just to name a few. But visiting these under-the-radar attractions, you’re saving money and putting a personal touch on your trip here. Not to mention the memories that will run on forever!


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