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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!WithGoGuide
GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

6 Hidden Gems and Unusual Places to Visit in Budapest

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by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Peter S.

Last updated : Nov 08, 20228 min read

Things To Do

The allure of Budapest is often visualized in the awe-inspiring views of the Parliament Buildings reflected in the Danube River, or the incredible complex that is Buda Castle. Indeed, impressive and historic architecture is but one of the many reasons to visit Budapest. However, for those who desire something a little less obvious and perhaps even obscure, here are some recommended spots.

As some of these take you off the standard tourist map, you’ll want to hire a knowledgeable guide to show you around. Be sure to take a look at GoWithGuide's professionals who are ready to show you another side of their beloved city.

Ruin Bars

blog imageThough already quite a famous attraction of Budapest, the city’s so-called ruin bars are numerous and scattered, and one can enjoy discovering a different place every evening if the luxury of time is on your side.

The ruin bars became a thing in the early 2000’s when entrepreneurs began establishing trendy bars in old and abandoned pre-war buildings. The most popular of these is Szimpla Kert, already an established destination for tourists and resident students alike. If you are looking to get away from the usual crowds then there are many more fascinating places to discover. The only commonality that all these bars have is that they are located in old buildings. Beyond that, each place has its own decor, theme, and atmosphere. You’ll find bars that are stocked with an eclectic array of flea market furniture, or places with themed interiors like the wacky aesthetics of Doboz. There are also establishments which specialize in Mexican food, burgers, or pizza, bars with posh interiors, and those geared towards dancing or karaoke.

A lot of the ruin bars are located in the Old Jewish district, so that’s a great place to start exploring. There are, however, ruin bars all over town, even in the City Park. Ask your guide to show you some of the lesser-known but still quirky and charming locations.

Beneath Buda Hill

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Elelicht, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Buda Hill is home to some of Budapest’s most famous landmarks; Buda Castle, St. Matthias Church, and the Fisherman’s Bastion. There is also another side to Buda Hill that lies hidden within the dolomite bowels of the landform. 

The Labyrinth is a convoluted maze of corridors, chambers, and even a dungeon. Beginning in the 13th century, these natural caves were enhanced by further excavation to be used for various purposes which in the past included an asylum, a prison, and a hospital. More recently, it has also served as a wine cellar since the temperature remains constantly cool  at around 12°C. In parts of the labyrinth, visitors can see Gothic and Renaissance stone monuments and Turkish tombstones. There are also stories of Vlad Tepes, a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler and Vlad Dracula (yes, the fellow who inspired Bram Stoker’s infamous vampire story) having been kept in the dungeon of the Labyrinth at one time.

Buda Hill has two other famous caves; Mountain Cave and Stalactite Cave. The latter has a 500 meter long corridor with occasional steep stairways that takes visitors past natural subterranean rock features. One other underground location of interest in Buda Hill is the ‘Hospital in the Rock’,  used as a hospital during the Second World War, and a nuclear bomb shelter later on. Here one can see wax figures and displays of tools, and learn about the development of military medicine. 

Rudas Baths

blog image

Christo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Budapest is known as the ‘hot spring capital of the world’, and you will find the city lives up to its name. The most obvious and popular spas are the Szechenyi and Gellert Baths, and these are not to be missed. There are however several less popular and smaller spas each with its own atmosphere. 

One of the more visually striking baths is the Rudas Bath. The highlight here is the dim octagonal bath chamber which was built during Ottoman rule in the 16th century. There are 11 indoor pools and one outdoor pool on the rooftop that offers grand views. The old Turkish section is open to men only on weekdays, except Tuesdays when it is women’s day. On weekends the pools are co-ed, and the wellness section is co-ed everyday.

Niche Museums

blog imageBudapest has a wide range of museums for themes outside of the usual historical or art-related types. There are museums for famous musicians and doctors, art collectors, foundry works, medical museums, and many more. Some of the more unusual themes include the Technical Study Stores which has the ambition to collect examples of the most remarkable models, miniatures, proto-types, and inventions in Hungary’s history. 

The Vasarely Museum is dedicated to the works of artist Victor Vasarely. A kinetic and geometric abstract artist, Vasarely was instrumental in the development of the op-art movement. Exhibited works are striking, colorful, and may cause blinking and eye-rubbing.

What do KISS, R2-D2, and Rocky all have in common? They have all been made into pinball machines. Flipper Museum is the place where all the best pinball machines go when they retire. Owner Balazs Palfi was always mesmerized by the blinking lights and sounds of pinball machines when he was a child. As an adult he wanted to create a special museum for pinball machines, and his dream was realized in 2013. For a trip back in time before modern day video arcade games, visit Flipper Museum, the Pinball Museum which has become one of Budapest’s best-loved, off-the-beaten-path attractions. 

The Roman Ruins of Aquicum

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KKriszti, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The City of Aquicum was built by the Romans after they had taken over the land from a Celtic tribe that had occupied the area since around 400 BCE. The ancient ruins were discovered at the end of the 19th century, and to date about one third of the city has been excavated.

Some of the more impressive remains are tiled mosaic baths, an underground heating system, and complex plumbing. Known as the Pompei of Hungary, Aquicum can be visited currently at six different sites around Budapest. Visitors are welcome to explore these fascinating ruins; however, sites are sometimes closed to the public, so it would be prudent to find out in advance when sites are open. There is also an Aquincum museum of Roman and Celtic artifacts. 

The Sanctified Right Hand of St. Stephen

blog imageFor those in need of a miracle, a visit to one of Budapest's most prominent landmarks might offer the solution. Within St. Stephen’s Basilica is a reliquary containing the mummified right hand of Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen. Putting a coin in the slot illuminates the hand for about a minute. The hand is said to have blessed pilgrims in the past and performed miracles for those who prayed before it. 

The hand was kept in Buda Castle for centuries, but it disappeared during Ottoman rule. It was later discovered in the City State of Ragusa (Dubrovnik in Croatia), and was brought back to Hungary. Even if you don’t believe in miracles, a visit to the basilica is a must-do in Budapest, and dropping a coin in the slot to see the famous hand that ruled at the beginning of the Kingdom of Hungary makes for a unique memory.

Conclusion

The more you look, the more there is to discover within Budapest. The main sightseeing spots alone are outstanding; however, the city is a treasure trove of unique and unusual attractions. Budapest is a place that invites the curious to seek out and satisfy niche interests.

Going with an experienced guide will give you the advantage of finding exactly what you are looking for. They can get you there at the right time for opening hours and away from the peak hours if you desire less hustle and bustle when exploring. Let GoWithGuide’s experienced pros take you to the hidden gems and more unusual places in Budapest.

Image sources: http://www.pixabay.com & https://commons.wikimedia.org & http://www.unsplash.com

Budapest Tour Guide - Tiberiu C.

Tiberiu C.

Hungary

Szia! Hi! Hallo! Ceau! My name is Tiberiu(s), or Tibi for short, and I am an IT Service Manager who found his passion in tour guiding over 5 years ago. With late-afternoon and weekend availability (full time as of June), I am more than excited to take you on a mini-journey, including not only the main attractions of the city, but also the lesser-known ones including some tastings. I am also more than happy to adapt the tours to your needs and we may even go outside of the city, if you'd like to, since I own a car. I am also available for one or the other daytrip in or outside of Budapest, just let me know about 1-2 weeks in advance, so I can plan my schedule accordingly. Before booking though, please contact me online in advance, just to make sure. "In the end... we only regret the chances we didn't take" (Lewis Caroll) I want to make memories for people from all over the world! And most important of all, I like to give them an actual taste of our city. You just can't visit Hungary and not try some of our traditional foods (not for veggies or vegans though). Hope to meet you soon and "Viszlát", as we say in Hungarian!                                                                                                                                 

Budapest Tour Guide - George rashad S.

George rashad S.

Hungary

Dear Visitors! I am happy to welcome You on my page! I am a historian and a licensed tour guide in Hungary. As a tour guide my main goal is to get the most of the dear visitor's time, during their visit in the most convenient way possible. That is why my tours are personalized with flexible departure times and routes. I'm fond of history and I am fascinated by the various cultures. I graduated as a historian. Being a tour guide, I found what I was looking for. It is a great feeling, when I can present the values of Hungary, share interesting stories and information to visitors who long to see and know more, while I also constantly expand my skills and get to know new people. For me, the real success is the joy and satisfaction of my guests. I work in the field of tourism for more than 10 years. My historic and cultural tours embrace the most beautiful and the most important attractions of Budapest, which treasure and revive the history of Hungary. The walking tours provide an exquisite opportunity to immerse you in the urban maelstrom, gain insight into people's everyday lives, try out the developed public transport network of Budapest, including Europe's second oldest tram. In case you would rather sit back and enjoy the sightseeing in comfort, you can choose one of my driving tours. I wish you wonderful time in Hungary! Best regards, George                                                                                                                                 

Budapest Tour Guide - Ágota B.

Ágota B.

Hungary

Hello, Join me for a tour and look at sights through my eyes and explore with a local. I live in Budapest and have been working as a licenced local guide for about 10 years. I have a University educational background, I did my studies in Hungary and then worked as an intern in the United States for a year and a half. Hungary is a tiny little country but it has got several attractive cities, towns and natural wonders. Besides Budapest, I really like to work around Lake Balaton, in the Danube bend including Szentendre. I have had tourists almost from all over the world so far. Come with me and discover the secrets and beauties of Budapest during a four- hour sightseeing tour. Taking in all of the principal sights, my fascinating route takes you through the most famous and interesting parts of the city. In my spare time I like doing sports like cycling, skiing, hiking and I regulary take part in sailing compatitions. So if you are tired of walking and looking for challenges there is another option to explore the city by bike with the help of the public bike sharing system called Bubi.                                                                                                                                  

Zala Tour Guide - Viktor K.

Viktor K.

Hungary

The two biggest problems in my life are, that I was born too soon to become a space-cowboy and too late to become a roman legionary soldier. Since Tour guiding was the closest profession to both of these above mentioned things, I became one. Although I finished the university as a communications expert and journalist in Hungary, it seems they did not prefer my honesty, so I didn't have too many prospects in that field. Without a clue of what to do next, I embarked on a journey to find some answers. I soon found my ambition in Tour-guiding and ended up working on a cruise ship, then as a freelancer tour-guide, and then as an adventure tour-guide in Norway. I've been working in the tourism industry since 2012 and ever since, it''was my dream to create an authentic company of my own and to show the beautiful things of my home country. My travels took me to more then 40+ countries. [And I still have both of my kidneys] Sadly during my journeys, I have discovered that out of 100 companies 99 are simply tourist traps, who scam their customers with some fake "experience". But I also saw, that the authentic and quality tour operators are the longest lasting companies with 20+ years. I aspire to become like that 1 in 100 companies. I believe in win-win situations. I'm a social guy. I like to be around people and to show them around. I like to have deep and honest conversations about things and I love to meet some truly amazing guests. There is nothing that you cannot talk about with me. I like this job so much, that I would even do this job for free, but since I cannot buy food with respect, love, or honesty, I do need something more tangible. Anyways…why are you wasting your time reading about me? Go book a tour and we will have all the time in the world to get to know each other and this beautiful Country.                                                                                                                                 

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