The Best Summer Activities in Budapest

May 28, 2018 | Andrew

Budapest is built for summer. Frankly, it’s the season we do best, which is probably why it’s so busy here when it gets hot - with tourists and locals competing for every inch of green space and water this city has to offer, and bars scrambling to get and many outdoor seats set up as possible.

If you’re among the truly blessed ones arriving here in high season then we commend you. Yeh, you’re going to sweat your ass off, but the memories will be worth it, even if the hangovers probably won’t be.

Here’s a guide to the absolute summer must-dos in Budapest

Get yourself to an outdoor bath or pool.

Flick through any tourist guide to Budapest and you’ll probably hear all about the world-famous hot spas we have - all fed by a myriad of rivers that run under the city. Hot springs, though - that sounds a bit too, you know, hot!

Never fear, we’ve got quite a few located outside as well, and you’ve not lived until you’ve lightly stewed yourself at one of them while glorious sunlight beats down on your from above.

Széchenyi Baths are probably the most popular of them, with two huge outdoor baths and a swimming pool. But if you’re of a “screw tourists” disposition, you might also consider: Dagály Baths (when it reopens), or Palatinus Strand Baths or Margit Island, where you’ll find more of a local flavor.

Picnic or Margit Island

Speaking of Margit Island, this is our very own metropolitan oasis - a park on an island, although not to be confused with the island further up the river that hosts Sziget Festival. To get here walk or take the 4/6 tram halfway across Margit Bridge, where it’s a quick hop onto the island.

The park is huge and you could easily spend a day or more here - something you might end up doing if your picnic gets a bit boozy, you pass out and your buddies decide to leave you. Don’t worry, though, the park is open 24/7 and there is plenty to do there if you do get abandoned or find yourself visiting alone.

Apart from the pools, there are several outdoor bars, a running track and exercise park, and places to get ice cream or the famous chimney cake. Or, you could just walk around and admire the trees - there are plenty of those - or even stop by and watch the fountain. Every hour, on the hour, it puts on a little music and lights show. Neat, aye?

Go to Sziget Festival, of course!

Ah yes, Europe’s best ever festival, or so the award says - but hey, we knew that all along. For the unaware or uninitiated, Sziget it a 7-day orgy of debauchery held on another island on the Danube and featuring a little bit of music interspersed with a whole lot of drinking, eating, weird art, crazy people, an actual beach, and even a bloody fairground for those that like to mix too much alcohol with stuff that whirls you around at high speed.

Don’t just come for the festival, though. No, stay a little and explore the city. To help with that we’ve put together some epic pre and post-festival packages that will throw you headfirst into the city’s crazy nightlife and chuck in a smattering of cultural indulgence for good measure.

Enjoy the beauty of the Danube River

Budapest literally wouldn’t be Budapest without the Danube River. It was once the dividing point of two cities - Buda and Pest - and even today marks the divide between what some people consider to be the crazier and quieter halves of the city.

And, along the river also happens to be where some of the best stuff happens. For example, you can visit the “beach” at the Roman Banks, a small sandy patch on the northern Buda banks that gets invaded by locals as soon as the sun comes out and has several great bars and even the opportunity for you to do some kayaking.

Or, closer to home, there are places like Raqpart by Chain Bridge, a bar with an enviable spot right by the water and deck chairs aplenty, or Jonas Bar, a craft beer joint located outside the futuristic-looking Balna building. With an outdoor terrace overlooking Gellert Hill, you’ll be in prime position for sunset.

And, finally, for those that don’t mind a cycle, Kopaszi Dam is open and newly renovated, with easy cycle path access, cafes and plenty of green space to rest those legs before the trip back.


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