5 Alternative Unusual Things to Do in Budapest
There’s plenty of alternative and unusual things to do in Budapest, as a city that’s full of both character and timeworn beauty. As a first time visitor, Budapest’s main tourist attractions are definitely worth seeing of course. The Parliment Building, Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and Szechenyi Chain Bridge to name a few. But if you’re looking for things a little more off the beaten track, here are my favourite unusual things to do in Budapest.
1. Rudas Baths
No trip to Budapest would be complete without visiting one of their unique famous thermal baths. Most tourists head to the Gellert Baths. But for a spa experience that beats the crowds (well perhaps a little more anyway), the slightly less well known Rudas Baths are a good alternative. The spa’s highlight is still its original traditional hot mineral water pools, housed in an impressive domed ceiling, stone pillared room. But there’s also a newer area too. This part is filled with steam rooms, saunas and wellness pools, including a big outdoor hot tub on the roof. Make sure you check the admittance rules on the day you want to go though, as they only let mixed-sex groups in on weekends.
One of my favourite unusual things to do in Budapest is a visit to Karavan. It’s a little pop-up market of street food vendors close to the popular Ruin Pubs in the Jewish Quarter. The stalls offer plenty – burgers, traditional Hungarian goulash and vegan options, just to name a few. Great for larger groups and those on a budget. Although it’s all outside, the market sits under one canopy roof, complete with string lights (to make everything that little more pretty of course), so visiting it isn’t weather dependent. There’s also plenty of tables and chairs in the middle, so you can sit down to enjoy your food.
3. 360 Bar
360 Bar is one of my favourite more unusual places to visit in Budapest. You’ll find it on a large, and up until recently derelict rooftop on Andrassy Avenue. As its name suggests, 360 Bar offers a 360 view of Budapest’s skyline. Here you can sip on on a cocktail whilst admiring the domed architectural masterpieces of Pest that reach across to the Danube. The decor is simple yet classy in an unpolished way, the music is good, and the drinks menu even better. And although it’s only on the 7th floor, as Budapest is a low rise city, you’ll have one of the best views in town.
Budapest is also well known for its Ruin Pubs, where derelict buildings are gentrified into ‘rough around the edges’ bars. One of the city’s most popular Ruin Pubs is Szimpla Kert, frequented by tourists for its odd decor and quirkiness. Although it’s definitely worth a visit, for a Ruin Pub that’s a little more off the beaten track, Anker’t is a good choice. Anker’t really embraces the idea of the Ruin Pub. It leaves the building surrounding it very much a shell and places its bar and main seating area in the courtyard instead. Drink prices are reasonable here too. And the whole place is made more inviting by the lights that lace between the two opposing walls.
5. MONO Art & Design
Located close to Elizabeth Bridge on the Pest side, MONO Art & Design is both a retail and gallery space at the same time. It focuses on home decor, design prints & pieces and accessories, showcasing the work of over 100 different artists and designers. You can buy everything in the store there and then, although it is a little pricey. Nevertheless, MONO Art & Design is must visit for interior design lovers and those wanting to get an insight into Budapest’s creative scene.
This isn’t, by all means, an extensive list of alternative things to do in Budapest. But hopefully it is enough for you to start exploring the real side of this fantastic European city. Have fun!
Interested in unusual things to do in other European cities?
Read my other alternative European city guides
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The baths, yes that’s what we need to return for