Budapest is a stunning city, and as beautiful as it is by day, when the sun goes down it becomes even more magical. There are plenty of things to do in Budapest at night, from the legendary Budapest nightlife to a relaxed stroll along the Danube, these are my favourites.
Budapest At Night – Safety & Logistics
Budapest is generally a very safe city. In busy areas, be aware of pickpockets and ignore the street sellers offering drugs and other paraphernalia. I felt comfortable walking around Budapest at night as there were still plenty of people around, although it was quieter up on the hill around Buda Castle. For getting back to your accommodation at night, the metro system runs till around 11pm on weekdays and till midnight on weekends. Check the timetables inside the stations for the last train times. There are also night buses, and you can always take a taxi. Taxis should use a meter, the yellow cabs are the official city ones.
The area around the Jewish Quarter gets very busy at nights, especially on the weekend, so be prepared for lots of (drunk) people. If you are not into partying, then don’t worry – there are plenty of things to do in Budapest at night without having to get drunk!
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Where to Stay in Budapest
As the #wombatsTraveller ambassador, I stayed at the wombat’s BUDAPEST hostel, which is in a great location for exploring the Jewish Quarter and Budapest nightlife in general. It is also close to a metro station and tram stop so it’s easy to get around the city. It is in a busy area so I felt safe walking to and from the metro station at night, and it is just a few minutes’ walk away from the Ruin Bars.
There are dorms and private rooms available, an in-house bar and buffet breakfast served in the morning for a few extra forints. The staff are friendly and have some great tips for exploring Budapest on a budget. The bar also has various evening events during the week, including karaoke, DJ nights and pub crawls, so you don’t even need to leave the hostel to find something to do in Budapest at night!
Things to do in Budapest at Night
Enjoy the Budapest Nightlife
If you’re into partying, then Budapest will not disappoint. If you are backpacking in Budapest you will probably want to experience the nightlife and joining a pub crawl is a great way to meet fellow travellers and go out partying with ready-made friends. Wombat’s Hostel is a meeting point for a pub crawl every night at 10pm, or you can take a look at some of these options. Or, just stroll around the Jewish Quarter and find a spot that takes your fancy.
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Check out a Ruin Bar
Ruin Bars transformed Budapest into a haven for backpackers and stag parties, although recent rules mean that a lot of the Ruin Pubs have stopped letting in groups which makes things a little easier if you’re not in a big group. Szimpla is the original and most famous Ruin Pub and deserves a visit both during the daytime and at night to really see it come alive. Get lost in the maze of rooms, find your favourite bizarre piece of décor from the huge selection of tat – my personal favourite is an old bathtub but keep your eyes open for the Trabant car from the Communist era.
Take a Hungarian Wine Tour
For something a little more relaxed than a full-on pub crawl, try this Hungarian Wine tasting tour in Budapest. I had a lovely evening drinking wine, chatting and learning all about Hungarian wines. The tour was all around the Jewish Quarter and included a visit to one of the Ruin Bars (although the recent rule changes may affect this), and also included some snacks of Hungarian cheeses, bread and pork lard on toast (much tastier than it sounds!). The tour was organised by Urban Adventures and you can check out my full review of the wine tour in Budapest or book it here.
Sunset at Gellert Hill
One of the best places to watch the sunset in Budapest is on Gellert Hill. There are several viewpoints on the path up to The Liberty Statue and Citadella which have panoramic views of the Danube and the city below. It is a popular sunset spot so don’t expect to be alone unless you’re here in the depths of winter! Watch your step on the way down as some of the steps are uneven, and in the dark, some of the footpaths aren’t very well lit. Depending on the time of the sunset, you could combine this with a waterbus on the Danube which leaves from Szent Gellert Ter, or a visit to Gellert Baths.
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An Evening River Cruise
Seeing Budapest from the water gives you a totally different view of the city, and at night the view is simply sublime. There are various evening river cruise options, from a relaxed cruise to a party boat, or depending on what time the sun goes down you can take the waterbus along the Danube for a cruise experience at a fraction of the price. The Waterbuses stop around 7pm, so check the timetable and sunset times before you rely on this option.
Walking Along the Danube at Night
The Danube is the great river which separated the old towns of Buda and Pest, now united as one. Walking along the river in the evening will give you the best views of the Parliament Building and the Buda Castle, crossing the river over one of the bridges to get the best of both banks of the river. Photographers will want to bring a tripod for some gorgeous shots like the featured image above.
You may like these evening cruise options from GetYourGuide:
An Evening Thermal Spa
There is nothing like a soak in a thermal bath to relax you after a hard day’s sightseeing! Some of the thermal baths like Gellert are open until 8pm, while Szechenyi Thermal Spa is open until 10pm every night. I went on a Friday night and it was still fairly busy after 8pm, but I imagine that during the week it is quieter. If you are looking for a unique party atmosphere then come here on a Saturday during the summer for their famous ‘Sparty’ nights, with a DJ, pumping music and pool party.
St Stephen’s Basilica
This large basilica is open during the day for visitors to admire the interior and climb up to the roof for lovely views. In the evening, it is lit up, and the area around St Stephen’s is filled with restaurants so you can have a pleasant stroll and choose somewhere for dinner. On Thursday evenings there are organ concerts inside the Basilica, check here for details.
Buda Castle Area & Fisherman’s Bastion
The Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion have the best viewpoints in the city and are worth seeing at night and early morning. During the day, the area is filled with people but it is much quieter at night, and no less beautiful. You can get gorgeous views of Szechenyi Chain Bridge with St Stephen’s Basilica behind it, and the Parliament Building from up here. If you don’t want to walk up the hill, the Funicular by the Chain Bridge is open until 10pm.
If you are visiting Budapest during the summer, check out the Rooftop Cinema Budapest, which shows modern classic films in the original language on the rooftop of a shopping centre. I managed to catch T2 Trainspotting 2 one of the nights I was in Budapest, and some of the other films showing included Eat Pray Love, Donnie Darko, The Departed, The Basketball Diaries and Snatch, among others. Doors open at 7pm, and the film starts when it goes dark, usually around 8.30-9pm depending on the day. Come early to bag a good spot on the deckchairs. There is a bar where you can buy snacks and drinks, and you can also rent blankets. It can get chilly on the roof, even in hot weather, so bring layers.
The Budapest Eye at Night
This Ferris wheel in Erzsébet Square is open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays, midnight on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday and 11pm on Monday and Tuesday, so you have plenty of time to hitch a ride if you fancy it. Be aware though that the reflections on the glass will make taking photos difficult, so you’ll just have to appreciate the view! It’s 3000 HUF/€10 per adult ticket, with discounts for children and combined family tickets.
Other Suggestions for Enjoying Budapest at Night
I didn’t try any of these but they sound like fun!
A Unique Dining Experience
If you want to try cooking some traditional Hungarian food in Budapest, then check out these suggestions for evening dinner:
A Night Bike Tour
You can find plenty of bike tours in Budapest during the day, but this one leaves at 7.30pm when the streets are quieter and the temperature cooler. The tour includes cycling along both sides of the Danube River for the views of the Buda Castle and the Parliament Building, and a trip to Margaret Island, the Central Market Hall and Royal Palace.
A Night Tuk Tuk Tour
Another way to explore Budapest at night is in a tuk-tuk, as your driver and guide whizzes you around the city in for an evening tour.
Trabant Cabriolet Night Tour
Trabants are cars which were made in East Germany during the communist period from 1957 to 1990. They are the ‘classic’ Communist car, and although they’re no Porsche they are great fun to drive around in! This tour includes a driver who will pick you up in the Trabant and chauffeur you around Budapest.
More ideas for evening activities in Budapest on GetYourGuide:
What did you do in Budapest at night? Do you have any other suggestions for enjoying this beautiful city in the evenings? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below.
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