Budapest's history is long and grand: From King Stephen uniting the country in Year 1000, to fighting off the Ottoman invasion, to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and occupation (of both the Soviets and Nazis), Budapest has many stories to tell. If you'd like to learn more about this fascinating city, here are our favorite ways to explore the culture and history of Budapest.
Absolute Tours / Ultimate Budapest
Walking tours are the perfect way to learn both the history and the layout of the city. Not to mention, there’s the added bonus that you’ll likely meet other people (which is a godsend if you’re traveling solo). Let enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides show you the city that they know best!
If you’re a first-time visitor, you can go on tours that give you a general overview of the city, like this Danube river bike tour or alternative walking tour.
For an in-depth look at certain periods of history, you can try the Communism in Hungary walking tour or Jewish History walking tour.
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All of Budapest may seem like a living museum at times, but for a truly immersive walk through the past, we’ve written a guide to some of the best museums in Budapest just for you!
If you’re already headed to City Park (perhaps for a spa day at Széchenyi Thermal Bath?), then you’ll pass the Museum of Fine Arts in Heroes’ Square. If visiting Buda Castle is already on your list (and it should be–the panoramic views of the city are breathtaking!), then save some time for the National Gallery while you’re up there!
And of course for a sobering look at one of Hungary’s darkest periods, a visit to the House of Terror will give invaluable insight to the time of fascist and communist takeovers.
One of the best ways to experience a country is through its gastronomy–and we definitely recommend this for learning about Hungarian culture.
When it comes to eating and drinking like a Hungarian, there are a few staples you simply cannot miss out on. A lángos is a disc of deep fried dough, traditionally spread with garlic, sour cream, and soft cheese. Töltött paprika is a hearty dish of cabbage stuffed with meat and rice, and then smothered in a paprika-based sauce. And of course, you must sit down for a steaming bowl of gulyás–-the famous and warming beef soup.
Food is perfect when paired with a drink, and what better pairing than the famous Hungarian fruit brandy, pálinka ? Classic flavors are apple, peach, and pear – and trust us, try it slowly!
When it comes to Budapest history, you'll find that many cultures and events have left their mark. Use this guide to explore the living history book that Budapest is!