I love exploring Europeâ€™s great cities on a long weekend, but the cost of these trips can add up very quickly if youâ€™re not careful. This is why I always like to look out for free or cheap activities in the area, which often take you away from the tourist traps and show you the genuine character of a city.
Budapest is a great place for this, as you can visit a lot of wonderful, off-the-beaten-path places without breaking the bank. If you are looking to explore Budapest on a budget, read on for my favourite free or cheap activities.
Free Walking Tour
I always go on a walking tour when I first arrive in a new city because it gives you a great overview and helps you to get your bearings. Fortunately, there are plenty of free walks available in Budapest, which will introduce you to all of the highlights and teach you about the history of the city.
Those who are familiar with Budapest will know that it is divided into two regions â€“ known as Buda and Pest â€“ by the River Danube. Along with these two regions, youâ€™ll find Margaret Island on the Danube, which is a verdant and tranquil public park that is ideal if you want to escape the busy city. No cars are allowed here, but you can easily access it by bus (or ferry in summer). You can stroll the entirety of the island in 20 minutes, and there are all kinds of lovely attractions along the way. These include a water park, a tiny zoo and a musical fountain.
If you want to visit Budapest on the budget, look no further than VÃ¡ci Ucta. Often com-pared to Las Ramblas in Barcelona, VÃ¡ci Ucta is a lengthy street thatâ€™s lined with inviting shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. It is a major hub in the city, and the atmosphere is always electric. Simply take a leisurely stroll, take a few photos and stop off for a drink. The street is also home to the original city gate and to a building where Mozart performed at just 9 years old, thus providing an intriguing insight into Budapestâ€™s history.
Free Cultural Attractions
Youâ€™ll be glad to hear that you can visit many of Budapestâ€™s famous cultural attractions for free! Here are a few of my favourites.
Fishermanâ€™s Bastion â€“ This is an imposing fortified terrace in Buda, providing amazing views over the city. The surrounding Castle District is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is peppered with unique architectural gems.
Heroes Square â€“ This is one of the cityâ€™s major squares, featuring an iconic statue com-plex.
Chain Bridge â€“ Chain Bridge spans across the Danube, showcasing impressive cast iron decorations.
Buda Castle â€“ The castle is an enormous Baroque palace that was once home to the Hungarian Kings. In addition to offering you a glimpse into Hungaryâ€™s longstanding his-tory, it provides lovely views of the city.
Free Museums â€“ A handful of the many museums are free to enter on selected days throughout the week. Check their websites in advance to find out more.
Normafa Park â€“ This park is part of the Buda Hills, and is one of the most popular green areas in Budapest and for good reason. If the weather permits, take a picnic and enjoy the fantastic panoramic views of the city and beyond whilst enjoying the fresh air. The park is free to enter, and you could happily spend an entire afternoon exploring its natural wonders.
As you can see, it is surprisingly easy to do Budapest on a budget. The above activities and attractions will help you to go off the beaten path and find the cityâ€™s real gems. Enjoy!
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re planning a holiday to enjoy Budapest on a budget, Shuttle Direct can help with a range of affordable transfers. Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport of your choice swiftly and safely.
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