Top 12 Things to Do in Budapest for an Active Holiday

There’s no doubt about it, while traveling and exploring a new place it’s a win-win situation to do it while being physically active. Not only can you have fun and cover a lot of ground, but you can also stay on your game with your health and fitness (not to mention working off all those langos – a Hungarian delicacy of fried dough with sour cream and cheese).

Even above and beyond the usual generic tourist activities (galleries, museums etc.) Budapest has some incredible and unique opportunities to be active while taking in the beauty of the city. Chat with Anna and she will be your go-to expert for arranging all of your tour needs.

1) Walking Tour of the Jewish Quarter

We’ll start with the obvious. Go to any city and people will recommend walking tours. Most of them are free or inexpensive and they allow you time to saunter along, take photos, and pick up some local food along the way.

One particular highlight we recommend is the Jewish District walk which has a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It shows you not only a large number of religious sights of great historic importance, it also offers arts and culture, architecture, scientific contributions, gardens, and pubs. As an added bonus, you’ll end up near Szimpla, Budapest’s most famous ruin pub.

Specifics:

  • What: Walking tour of the Jewish quarter
  • Where: Meet at Vörösmarty Square near the lion fountain
  • When: Two tours daily, beginning at 10 am 3:30 pm
  • Time Investment: 2.5 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy
  • Cost: Free (but tipping your guide is a nice thing to do)
  • More Info: No need to book, see their website www.triptobudapest.hu/tours

 

2) Running Tour of the Danube River

If you’d like to lace up your sneakers and get some cardio into your visit, try stepping up your game for a running tour. There are various private tours around the city for everyone from beginners to hard-core marathoners, ranging from 25 to 50 euro. Alternatively, map out your own free tour on Google ahead of time.

We believe this is one of the best ways to see the Danube, starting at the Buda Side near the Chain Bridge and ending at Boráros tér at the Petőfi Bridge in Pest. It’s a beautiful thing to do in the early morning before rush hour and at only 10 km you’ll be back to your accommodation, showered and ready for a full day by the time most people are having their first sip of coffee.

Specifics:

  • What: Running tour of the Danube
  • Where: Meet at Clark Adam square (Chain Bridge, Buda bridge head), basement of the funicular
  • When: Daily, start time is individual (but you can request your preference)
  • Time Investment: 1 hour, 45 min
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Cost: 45 euro (or free if you plan your own)
  • Payment method: check the website
  • More Info: Includes digital photos and a pickup service if requested. Book ahead at: www.gorunningtours.com

 

3) Hike up Hármashatár-hegy

Get your dose of nature among ancient oak and fir trees by doing a day trip to this hill, located within the city. Its name comes from the fact that the 3 borders of the city met at this point back in the 19th century.

In warmer months you can hike, bike and paraglide, while in wintertime it’s a great place to sled. Take the National Blue Trail all the way to the top and claim your reward of a spectacular panoramic view of the city.

Specifics:

  • What: Hike up the Hármashatár-hegy hill
  • Where: Hármashatár-hegy (to access by public transit, take the 65 or 65A buses from Kolosy Square in the city center)
  • When: Any time you wish (we recommend earlier in the day)
  • Time Investment: Half to full day
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate (hike uphill, approximately 4.2 km)
  • Cost: Free, minus your transportation
  • Payment method:
  • More Info: Map found here

 

4) Caving Through Pál-völgyi

Whether you’ve donned a jumpsuit and headlight in the past or it’s your first time, don’t dare to leave Budapest without going on a cave tour.

For those who love a challenge, we recommend the 3 hour, 30km tour through Pál-völgyi, the longest cave in Hungary. If you aren’t feeling quite that ambitious, don’t despair. There’s a cave walk tour that is quite gentle yet scenic.

Specifics:

  • What: Adventure caving
  • Where: 2nd district, Budapest, 162 Szepvolgyi Street (Take a 30-minute bus ride, No. 65 from Kolosy Square, stop is named Pál-völgyi cave. Or a taxi will take approximately 15 minutes)
  • When: Daily
  • Time Investment: 2.5-3 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner to advanced available
  • Cost: Between 18 and 23 euro (consult website for exact prices)
  • Payment method: check the website
  • More Info: Book at least 3 days ahead. For further information consult their website www.caving.hu

 

5) Cycling Tours also with Dutch guide

There’s nothing more European than a gentle cycling tour around the city. Budapest boasts some of the most wonderful tours along the Danube, around the city and in countryside towns on the outskirts.

You can take a half-day tour or a more lengthy 4-5 hour tour that includes a meal. Tours will range between 22 and 60 euro but speak with Anna since she’s got the inside scoop on the best cycling tours the city has to offer!

Specifics:

  • What: Cycling tours
  • Where: at the entrance of California Coffeeshop Company on St. Stephens Square Basilica.
  • When: Daily, Start times vary in mornings and afternoons (consult website)
  • Time Investment: 2.5-4.5 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner to Moderate available
  • Cost: From €22,00  (consult website for exact prices)
  • Payment method: cash in Hungarian forint
  • More Info: Some tours include refreshments and/or meals, operate in all types of weather, book ahead www.budabike.com or ask Anna for assistance

 

6) Swim, Workout, Relax and Heal at Szechenyi Baths

And then, there are the thermal baths….

No trip to Budapest is complete without a visit to the thermal baths. Szechenyi baths are known as the most praised attraction in Budapest. This magical place includes 15 indoor and 3 outdoor pools, an outdoor fun pool with waves, spa treatments, and fitness classes.

A daily entry fee of 18 euros gives you a full day’s access including aqua fitness classes which happy every 30 minutes. These are a great idea if you’ve just finished a rigorous hike or run the previous day! There’s also a fitness center if you decide you’ve got extra energy to burn.

Specifics:

  • What: Szechenyi thermal baths and spa
  • Where: Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary (map can be found here)
  • When: Open from 6 am to 10 pm
  • Time Investment: Up to one full day
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner (Moderate to High intensity if you choose to workout)
  • Cost: From €18,00, consult website for your preference
  • Payment method: creditcard/maestro/Hungarian forint
  • More Info: The official website of the Szechenyi thermal baths can be found at: szechenyispabaths.com
  • Contact Anna for discount

 

7) Scooter Sightseeing Tour

Want a story to tell your friends or some hilarious and awesome Instagram photos? Take a tour of the city on a kick scooter. They show you car-free routes where you’ll be able to coast along and look around without worrying about oncoming traffic. Peek into historic buildings and discover alleyways and courtyards off the beaten path.

Specifics:

  • What: Kick scooter tour of the city
  • Where: Marcius 15 square
  • When: Specify your preferred time upon booking
  • Time Investment: 2 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner to Moderate
  • Cost:  From €24
  • Payment method: Hungarian Foriint
  • More Info: Tour is in English, for further information consult their website www.budapestelectrified.eu

 

8) Go Geocaching

If you’ve never gone geocaching before, you’re about to discover an incredible way to explore a new city. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunt using GPS devices.

Budapest has a whole series of caches (essentially a “route” to discover the prize) including the Szemlohegyi cave, Roman Beach, Fisherman’s Bastion, Elisabeth Tower, and several churches around the city. Grab a friend or make a new friend, and go on an adventure in search of a treasure.

Specifics:

  • What: Geocaching
  • Where: Various routes around the city
  • When: Start and stop anytime you wish
  • Time Investment: As long as it takes to find your cache!
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced
  • Cost: Free
  • More Info: Consult the official website here for more information on specific routes

 

9) Play Golf in Obuda

Golf Course in the heart of the city and only a few minutes from Budapest’s downtown.

Unique 9-hole city golf course with high quality learning center. exclusive and friendly atmosphere and amazing view.

Specifics:

  • What: Golf
  • Where: Perenyi ut 6, 1037 Budapest
  • When: daily from 8.00-19.00
  • Time Investment: half day
  • Level of Difficulty: beginner to Moderate
  • Cost: take a look at the website
  • Payment method: Hungarian Forint
  • More Info: Consult the official website www.academygolfbudapest.hu or ask Anna

 

10) Get Your Yoga on at an Outdoor Class

With stunning venues like hotel rooftops, dams, green parks, and along the riverside of the Danube, give yourself the gift of an outdoor yoga class in Budapest.

At the top of our list is the sunset vinyasa class to the beats of a live DJ along the Danube. For approximately 10 euro you can take part in this amazing experience hosted by Pontoon bar. 

Visiting Budapest in cooler months? No worries, there are plenty of beautiful English-speaking indoor yoga studios around the city with a wide variety of classes for everyone from beginner to expert yogi.

Specifics:

  • What: Outdoor Yoga Classes
  • Where: Pontoon Bar, 1051 Budapest, Id. Antall József rakpart 1 (near the Chain Bridge, map can be found here)
  • When: Wednesdays, 6:30-8pm through summertime, consult website or Facebook event page for more information
  • Time Investment: 1.5 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner to Moderate
  • Cost: Approximately 10 euro
  • Payment method: Hungarian Forint
  • More Info: On nice evenings it is on the beach but if it is raining they move inside. If you do not have a mat they can provide one but we recommend emailing ahead and signing up at  [email protected]

 

11) Attend an Outdoor Festival in the Spring or Summertime

 

There are plenty of outdoor festivals to choose from if you are visiting Budapest in the spring or summertime. Perhaps the most popular is the Budapest Summer Festival that takes place from June until August on Margaret Island with many cultural activities to see and do.

Other notable festivals in summertime include the Sziget Festival, Festival of Folk Arts, and the Jewish Summer Festival. The Spring Festival takes place in April and includes programs at 40 different venues in the city.

Even if you visit in fall or the holiday season, there’s always a very good chance you will catch a festival, such as the Contemporary Arts Festival, Craft Beer or Wine Festival. Budapest is a Festival City so enjoy and have fun!

Specifics:

  • What: Outdoor festivals
  • Where: Various points around the city
  • When: Spring festival takes place in April, various summer festivals from June until end of August
  • Time Investment: Your choice
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner
  • Cost: Varies, some have admission and tickets for special events
  • Payment method: check the website
  • More Info: The official Summer Festival website can be found here.
  • Ask Anna for discount the Summer and Spring Festival

 

12) Listen to a Live Open-Air Concert

Most people know about the opera music in Budapest, but some people are surprised to find that Budapest is home to some incredible talent and world-class music performed outdoors.

From May until August, the city has organized short performances of Hungarian music at various venues in the city and they are absolutely free. Some of the churches and cafes also host free concerts through the week.

The Vajdahunyad Castle is a romantic place to see summer evening concerts while the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden offers jazz and other light music in the evenings.

Specifics:

  • What: Open-air concerts
  • Where: various points around the city
  • When: Throughout the spring and summertime
  • Time Investment: Your choice
  • Level of Difficulty: Beginner
  • Cost : some of  these are absolutely free
  • More Info: You can find a list of concerts and live music available here or ask Anna

 

Final Thoughts

Whether you currently live a fairly active lifestyle or you’re hoping to improve upon that aspect of your life, there are plenty of opportunities to do so when visiting Budapest. With such a wide variety of choices, you can start small with gentle activities (walking tours, swimming) or go the aggressive route with a challenging caving adventure.

Regardless of your decision, you can be sure that you will be taking in some incredible sights and sounds of this beautiful city while simultaneously doing something great for your mind and body!