Budapest, sometimes referred to as the Paris of the East, is a central European city filled with elegance and an impressive amount of grandeur. Of course, with grandeur comes outrageous prices. As a frequent Budapest traveler, here are five of my favorite free attractions for the budget minded traveler.
Did you know the Rubik’s cube was designed by Hungarian architect Emo Rubiks? If you answered no to this question, take a free Budapest walking tour! The privately owned and operated company Free Walking Tour Budapest hires local Hungarians to take you on a contemporary walk of Budapest. You will get to see the best attractions of Buda and Pest, including the famous Chain Bridge and the Castle District. Along with the architectural and historical delights, your friendly guides will impart on you the knowledge of random but interesting facts of Hungary and its people, such as the origins of the Rubik’s cube. The tour leaves from Vorosmarty Square and lasts about 2.5 hours. I would highly recommend it, as the tour guides detail many of the smaller attractions and fun facts that you would not learn from a guide book.
Take a walk in City Park and see a UNESCO World Heritage site. Budapest’s city park boasts 302 acres of freshly groomed, green space. It also is home to a World Heritage center, Hero’s Square, which you see upon entering. Another stop to make is Vajdahunyad Castle, prized for its different displays of architecture.
Do you hold an EU passport? If so, you can enter the Hungarian government building for free! Not an EU passport member? The government building is just as impressive from the outside. Located on the edge of the Danube, with its impressive size and dome tops, it is a historical and picture-worthy stop. The building is especially lovely in the evening, when it is lit up.
Window shop on Vaci Street. Vaci Utca is one of the main streets in Pest and is lined with shops, restaurants, hotels, and cafes. Though you may want to splurge in one of the many restaurants or souvenir shops, you can also enjoy yourself simply walking down the street and taking in the hustle and bustle of tourists and the middle- to high-class Hungarians that frequent Vaci.
Climb up to the top of Gellert Hill where, once at the top, you will find the grand statue of a woman holding a palm leaf, blessing the city. The statue was erected in remembrance of the liberation of Budapest from Nazi control, thus a very historical feature. At the top, you will enjoy stunning views of Pest, including the Danube, the Chain Bridge, and Margaret Island. If it is a clear day, you may even be able to spot the spire of St. Steven’s Basilica, one of the highest points in all of Budapest.
When traveling to Budapest, there is no need to spend outrageous amounts of money. Most of the famous, historical, and beautiful attractions can be seen for free if you know where to look. Enjoy your trip to Budapest ,and I hope you have as good of a time seeing the sights and saving money as I have!