Budapest might be a relatively cheap city compared to other European capitals, but who doesn’t love a free activity? We put together a list of places, venues and events you can partake in completely free of charge! The majority of these programs are outdoor activities, so save them for a sunny day!
Leave your wallet at home, but don’t forget to check the opening hours before you head off!
First, we present three places with a handful of free programs in Budapest, where children and adults can be entertained too.
#1 Margaret Island
Margaret Island is the best place if you want to spend the day outside, surrounded by nature, but don’t want to leave Budapest. The island is quite large, home to several parks, baths and attractions, so it’s a very popular place among locals as well as tourists.
One of the free attractions is the Musical Fountain right at the “entrance” of the island. The fountain itself is enormous and you can expect a whole show where the water moves to the rhythm of the music. Check out the show schedule below:
Another free attraction here is the Deer park, located halfway through the island. It’s too small to be called a zoo, but it’s definitely an exciting experience for the little ones. You can find deer, foxes, rabbits and small birds here, there’s also a pony riding option for the children, but you have to pay for that, however entry to the park is free.
The island holds another great attraction: the Japanese garden. The garden is on the other end of the island, but it’s worth the trip, because it’s absolutely stunning. You walk around and admire the water lilies, turtles and the other exotic plants and flowers, or you can relax on a bench.
Budapest is famous for its market halls; we suggest you visit some of them, since they’re completely free. We advise you go in the morning, because after 11 or 12 there’s no produce left to see.
The most famous market is the Great Market Hall of Budapest on the Fővám Square. This peculiar, art nouveau building has several floors, and you’ll find delicious local products along with some Hungarian arts and crafts. This is an indoor market, so it’s perfect for a rainy day and you’re able to taste some Hungarian delicacies on the top floor.
If you want to visit another original market hall, check out the Lehel Market Hall, which is just a couple of minutes away from the Nyugati train station. It’s hard to miss this bold and quirky building, and inside, you’ll find Hungarian sausages, honey, wines and plenty of fruit and vegetables!
Budapest’s most iconic ruin bar, Szimplakert hosts Szimpla Farmer’s Market every Sunday morning. It’s always filled with local honey stands, as well as fruits, vegetables, baked goods and spices such as paprika. And all of this in the heart of Budapest!
Last but not least, if you’re feeling adventurous, go out and take look at the Ecseri flea market. You may have to travel a bit to reach the destination, but it’s definitely worth it. You can learn about the history of Hungary through the items on sale. Finding priceless treasures won’t be an issue and who doesn’t love a bit of bargaining?
#3 Gellért hill
Another great destination is the Gellért hill; here you have several parks and playgrounds for the kids and the Citadel and the Statue of Saint Gellért to visit for free. A plus is the dazzling panorama of Budapest, which might be free, but also priceless.
The Citadel, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a 19th century fort on top of the hill. You can visit the Liberty Statue here, which portrays a woman, holding a palm leaf. You can approach the Citadel from the St. Gellért Square by foot, and let the beautiful panorama unfold while you ascend.
Another great monument is the Statue of St Gellért. We suggest you walk up to this statue as well, starting from the Erzsébet Bridge. The waterfall of the hill starts here and it’s a perfect photo spot too. For an even more marvelous view, go when the sun is setting, you’ll be amazed.
From time to time locals organize free events here with music, so if you want to sip wine in the sunset, while looking over Budapest, check this out: https://www.facebook.com/botellonhungary/