Free things to do in Budapest are quite easy to find and they allow to you stretch the budget even further. As you know, Budapest is a city we love and wouldn’t mind even living there. We also travel there as often as we can – at least once a year – and we’ve made a point to do all the FREE things possible pretty much every single time.
>>click here to search for and book your Europe trip
From personal experience, here is a list of FREE things to do in Budapest.
1. Fishermen Bastion during the winter months
Soaking in the view of Pest from Fishermen Bastion is free during winter (Dec-Mar). During the travel season you will have to pay a fee to get up there. This is the place to take one of the most iconic panoramic photos of Budapest.
2. Gellert Hill and Citadella
At the Buda end of Elisabeth Bridge, cross the street and start going up the stairs. Really doesn’t matter which set of stairs you take, but keep going up. Eventually you’ll get at Citadella. Once you get up there, enjoy the amazing views!
Come back down trying to get to Gellert Baths because along the way you’ll find a church in rock (it was free to visit in 2007)
3. Castle Hill
Cross Chain Bridge and don’t use the funicular. Instead , head left and walk to the castle complex. It is an easy walk but the views and photo opportunities will delight you!
4. Heroes’ Square, City Park and Vajdahunyad
Heroes’ Square is one of the most popular landmarks in Budapest, known for the statues of high ranking Hungarians. Cross the street to the left and then cross again towards the park. That huge park which goes all the way to the castle and up to the Museum of Transport is called City Park. Vajdahunyad is also there and the Anonymous statue close by is supposed to bring good luck to those who touch it.
This is a vast place where you can walk. The Magical (Singing) found has been under reconstruction for years but it has reopened for the public (it was working in May 2014).
6. Danube Embankment
There is a lot of walking to be done. Walk on Pest side to take photos of the Castle Hill and walk on Buda side to take photos of the Parliament. Just make sure to cross Chain Bridge. Technically, the Embankment only runs from Elizabeth Bridge to Chain Bridge, on Pest side; but you can do a heck of a lot more walking on the banks of the Danube!
7. Christmas Market on Vaci Utca
Well, it is not free to actually get stuff from the market but looking around..is. Then there are free concerts going on as well pretty much every weekend.
8. Inner City Parish Church
At the Pest end of Elisabeth Bridge, there is the oldest church in Budapest. Free to visit, too.
9. Central Market
Ideally located at the end of Vaci Utca, the building is fascinating. Walking here will probably make you want to buy stuff, but again, looking is free.
10. Night walk in the city
Andrassy ut (the street above M1) and Vaci utca are two of the most beautiful and nicely lit areas in Budapest. Put your walking shoes on!
11. The Shoes on the Danube bank
The memorial on the Danube Bank, located close to the Parliament, is free to visit and can be an emotional encounter. During the World War II, Jews were killed right on the end of the river after being forced to take their shoes off.
Free to visit but you need to take public transportation to get there:
12. Elizabeth Tower
Elizabeth Tower is my favorite look out in Budapest. It is located high in the hills surrounding the city and you will need to take the public transportation to get there. You’d need to get to the cogwheel and from its terminus, you would need to walk (15-30min, depending on your fitness) or take the chairlift to get to Elizabeth Tower. But the tower itself is free to visit and the views are worth the trip.
Take the HEV from Margit Bridge and once in the city, walk to your heart’s desire.
All photos by Cristina P and Alex P and may not be used without permission.
The article was originally written in Nov 2013, updated in Nov 2015 and republished in October 2016.