Budapest is a beautiful city that has everything you could want for a European mini-break. It’s a city steeped in history, with a mesmerising urban landscape that just begs to be explored. From taking in the views from the Fisherman’s Bastion to touring Buda castle, there are so many great attractions to visit during the daytime. However, did you know that there are also many great things to do in Budapest at night too?
Yep, when the sun sets on Budapest the list of things to do doesn’t become less varied. There are plenty of activities, cool bars and sights to see at night-time. So if you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are some of my favourite things to do in Budapest at night.
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Lucy Carr.
1. Explore the ruin bars
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the city’s infamous ruin bars. Built across Budapest’s old District VII neighbourhood (the old Jewish Quarter) after WWII in the ruins of abandoned buildings, stores and lots, these bars continue to be a popular attraction for visitors.
They look fairly unassuming from the outside but have a tardis-like wonder to them once you enter. With bars on different levels, dancing classes in corners, wacky decor, art plastered all over the walls,, and eclectic furniture, ruin bars are so fun to explore. (Especially if you’re a little tipsy!)
Each bar has its own quirks and is full of character and vibrancy. Some of the best ones are Szimpla Kert, Corvin Teto and Fogasház. But with a quick google, you’ll be able to find many more great options depending on where you are and what kind of vibe you’re looking for.
2. Watch the sunset from Gellert Hill
Address: Citadella stny. 350, 1118
In a city known for its stunning architecture, getting a good vantage point to watch the sunset is a must. Gellert Hill is located in the 1st and 11th districts of the city and getting to the top is a little bit of a climb (around a 20-30 minute hike). But don’t worry, it’s definitely worth the effort.
At the top of the summit is the Citadella, a 19th-century fortress built in 1851. If you’ve got some time to spare before sitting down to watch the sunset you can explore the structure and read up on its history. There are also food options on the way up if you’re feeling peckish. This means you can really turn this sunset-seeking trip into a proper evening out.
Seeing the orange skies reflect off the river Danube and cast a warm glow over the city is a real treat, so if you have the time (and the weather is on your side) then definitely try and squeeze this into your Budapest itinerary.
3. Take a stroll and grab dinner by the Danube
The Spoon address: Vigadó tér 3. kikötő, 1052
Raqpart address: Jane Haining rkp., 1051
The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe and one of Budapest’s most famous features. At night it’s wonderful to see lights from the buildings reflect off the water. Plus, walking alongside the river is a great way to see both sides of the city.
There are plenty of restaurants spaced out along the riverside, so this could be a great option for a scenic dinner. A super popular dining option is Spoon The Boat which sits on the river. Upon boarding the ship you’ll find three restaurants, and five bars and terraces which serve Hungarian-Oriental fusion cuisine and a wide variety of drinks. You’re really spoilt for choice here! However, make sure to book in advance for this one because the boat’s panoramic views are extremely popular.
Also if you’re in Budapest in the summer, one of my favourite spots to get a drink is Raqpart, an outside bar next to the Chain Bridge. From here you can enjoy a view of Buda Castle, Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion. You can grab some traditional Hungarian food here too and at night it turns into an open-air club!
4. Go clubbing at Instant
Address: Akácfa u. 51, 1073
Speaking of clubbing, although Instant is technically a ruin bar it deserves a separate dedication on this list of things to do in Budapest at night. It’s the biggest ruin bar in Budapest, with two huge courtyards and eight bars. And the best part is that they all stay open until 6 am every day of the week.
Keeping on trend with the other underground bars, Instant has a surreal, wacky design with pool tables, live concerts and dance floors all in one space for an eclectic night out. It’s free entry and there are reasonably priced drinks. What more could you want from a night out?
5. Watch a film under the stars at the Rooftop Cinema
Address: Mammut 2, Lövőház u. 2-6, 1024
What better way to feel like the main character than to watch a movie under the night’s sky? Budapest’s Rooftop Cinema is a special experience and a great night out for all cinephiles. They project a wide range of films from classic gems to highly commended recent releases. And sometimes there’s even the option to see new films before they premiere!
Like any good cinema, there’s an option to buy snacks, or if you’re feeling cold you can rent one of their blankets. There’s no need to worry about the open-air chill here!
6. Head out on a bike tour
BudaBike Tours offer the opportunity to see Budapest lit up from a different perspective. If you love hearing about the history of a city, along with insider facts and stories, this is a great way to get to know the area.
Starting from the Hungarian Parliament, the tour takes you around all of the city’s hotspots, along both sides of the Danube and across Liberty Bridge. If you want to soak up the sparkling city scenes and explore more of the city in a shorter period of time, this is one of the best things to do in Budapest at night for you. Prices vary depending on what company you go with. But BudaBikes offer a 10km trip over 2.5 hours at the price of £22.
7. Spend an evening at a thermal spa
Address: Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146
If you’ve talked to anyone who’s visited Budapest, you’ve probably heard that visiting one of the city’s thermal baths is a must-do activity. But did you know you can go at night too?
Every evening and in every season the three outdoor and fifteen indoor pools of Szechenyi Spa Baths are open until 10 pm for a night-time dip. Szechenyi Spa & Baths is the most popular thermal bath in Budapest. It’s especially famous for its summer night ‘sparties’ which take place almost every Saturday from 10:30 pm to 3 am. With laser visual effects, blaring music and bars, this is certainly a unique option for a night out.
8. Attend a dinner cruise on the Danube with an Operetta and Folklore show
Address: Jane Haining Rakpart, Dokk 11, 1052
Sometimes on holiday we just want to treat ourselves, get dressed up and feel a little bit fancy. Having dinner on the Danube and watching musicians and dancers in traditional Hungarian dress is definitely one way to achieve this.
Silverline Cruises is one company that offers this unique dining experience. Once onboard, you can spend three hours having a candle-lit dinner, enjoying a four-course menu and watching a live folklore show. This is a great way to glimpse some Hungarian culture, sit back and relax in style while eating fabulous food.
Ticket prices range depending on your age and what kind of package you want to go for. This is one of the pricier things to do in Budapest at night. However, it’s definitely worth looking into if you have a bit to spare in your budget and fancy a boujee dinner out.
9. See a show at the Hungarian State Opera House
Address: Andrássy út 22, 1061
If you’re a fan of ballet, opera or classical performances, the Hungarian State Opera House is a fantastic cultural institute in Hungary, where renowned Hungarian and international guest singers have performed.
The Hungarian National Ballet is the only classical ballet company in Hungary and frequently performs here, alongside the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, the country’s oldest orchestra, led by principal music director Balázs Kocsár.
The venue itself is spectacular inside and out. Its neo-renaissance architecture, opulent ornamentation, and excellent acoustics make it one of the best opera houses in Europe. The season typically lasts from September until the end of June. It’s worth checking out their upcoming productions if you’re visiting outside the summer months.
10. Visit St Stephen’s Basilica
Address: Szent István tér 1, 1051
Situated in the heart of the city, you’ll definitely walk past St Stephen’s Basilica at some point in your explorations of Budapest. This gorgeous 18th-century church is open in the day if you want to look at its stunning Neoclassical architecture or climb to the roof and see some (more) great views of the city.
The basilica is named after the first King of Hungary, Saint Stephen I, whose mummified hand is on display inside the Basilica for public viewing.
On Thursday evenings there are organ concerts inside the Basilica. This is a more low-key option if you want to see some live music but don’t want to splash out on a big show.
11. Ride the Budapest Eye
Address: Erzsébet tér 1051, 1051
Open every day from 10 am until midnight, the Budapest Eye is yet another central spot where you can get a great view of the city. Rides last around ten minutes and loop around three times per go.
This is more of a generic tourist attraction but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most fun things to do in Budapest at night. Tickets don’t have to be purchased in advance and it costs around €8 for adults and €5 for children under 14.
12. Spend time in Gozsdu Udvar
Address: Király u. 13, 1075
If you’re looking for somewhere that has restaurants, bars, arcades, nightclubs and culture concentrated in one place, then you should spend a night exploring Gozsdu Courtyard. The space consists of seven different buildings and their courtyards, stretching along a 200-metre promenade which gives it a market feel.
The original buildings were part of the Jewish ghetto that existed in the later years of WWII before it became state-owned in 1952. Left neglected for decades, reconstruction on the area started in the early 2000s and this transformed Gozsdu Courtyard into the vibrant hub you see today. The neighbourhood is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is pretty cool.
There’s something for everyone here, whether you fancy a night singing your heart out at a karaoke bar (I’d recommend Blue Bird Karaoke Bar) or a chilled evening with good food. This is a place where locals and tourists mix, which is a testament to how lively and charming it is. If you’re looking for a quirky night out filled with variety and a buzzing atmosphere, this is a great spot to go back to again and again.
13. Drink Hungarian wine
Address: Hilton Budapest, Hess András tér 1, 1014
To try the full array of delights Budapest has to offer, why not spend an evening sampling some Hungarian wine? Hidden within the caves in Buda underneath the Hilton Hotel is Faust Wine Cellar, which offers different wine tasting experiences. They offer around eighty different Hungarian wines and thirty types of Pálinka, a traditional Hungarian fruit brandy.
Guided by experienced and personable sommeliers, you can choose to sample up to nine wines and get a brief education on the wines selected. Bookings usually last around two hours and currently, the latest reservation time is 5:30 pm. This means you’ll finish with plenty of time left in the evening to explore other parts of the city. (Or go back to your accommodation and have a lie down if you’re feeling tired after all the wine!) Faust Wine Cellar really is a hidden gem and is an experience worth the money for wine-lovers of all levels.
So there you have it: 13 amazing things to do in Budapest at night! Which of these things to do in Budapest at night are you most desperate to try out? Please let me know in the comments below!
READY TO SAVE MONEY FOR TRAVEL?
Get access to my free eBook filled with tips and tricks to help YOU save money to travel the world.