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. In fact, it’s the third most visited city in all of Eastern Europe, only 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. Nobody likes bumping shoulders with herds of tourists or having to wait hours to snap up that perfect picture of one of the many beautiful landmarks scattered around the city.
So whether you want to avoid the crowds of tourists, hang out with locals, or you just want a unique story to tell about your trip to Budapest, you can do so by checking out these alternative things to do in Budapest.
Eat, drink, swim & explore at Római-part
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 up by vibrant colours coming 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
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 would 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 there you should also check out the breathtaking views from Elizabeth Lookout Tower.
Picnic on Margaret Island
Margaret Island is another spot that’s 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 favourite beer and enjoy being surrounded by nature. If you’re immature like me, you’ll be glad to know that you can drink a beer on the swings at Hippie Island Bar.
Drink with the locals at Elizabeth Square
As you can probably tell by now, many people like a 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 olds. I have even spoken to people who are in their 30s enjoying a drink on the grass. If you want to drink on a budget, this should be your home base. And even though you can drink for very cheap here, respect the people around you and don’t get very drunk!
Take the train to 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. While you’re here, there are all sorts of things you can do. You can shop for palinka, visit a museum, take photos of churches. My favourite thing to do here is to pick up a cup of goulash, head down to the riverside, and enjoy my meal with a view.
Party at Budapest Park
In August, around 500,000 people flock to the city of 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? But 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 you but certainly won’t miss out on the carnival atmosphere inside and outside the grounds.
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 by 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!
For more information on visiting Budapest, click on the link down below.