We say visiting the City Park needs to be on any Budapest bucket list, and it's especially true in autumn. With the Széchenyi Baths, Museum of Ethnography, and the House of Music Hungary nestled among its trees, you can easily spend a day here, filled with culture, gastronomy, and nature. Follow our itinerary.

City Park (Városliget) is a generous patch of greenery on the border of Budapest's 7th and 14th districts. It's one of the world's first public parks, and while it's not the biggest one in town, it's definitely the most beloved one. City dwellers and tourists flock here for lazy strolls, a swim at the Széchenyi Baths, a concert at the House of Music Hungary, a wine spritzer in the summer or some al fresco skating in the winter. It is a go-to place all year round, but autumn adds serenity and a romantic touch to it. Even with drizzles making an occasional appearance, you will find cover at lovely spots such as the Városliget Café or the Museum of Ethnography. Here comes our itinerary for an eventful day at the City Park.

Have chimney cake for breakfast at Édes Mackó

Let's start with the basics: chimney cake (kürtőskalács) is a Hungarian treat you should not miss. It's a sweet, caramelised spit cake rolled in granulated sugar or cinnamon – not a usual breakfast, but hey, you are on holiday. At City Park's Édes Mackó (Sweet Bear), you can get your hands on this delicacy any time of the year. And what's more, besides the classic flavours, they offer some topped-up versions too. Have yours sprinkled with pistachios and lyophilised raspberries, stuffed, cream-filled or with dips.

Wander around the park, the castle, and the lake

City Park offers several walking routes and promenades, but instead of constantly consulting your Google Maps for directions, just set off on any of them. The park is easily walkable, and your path will surely cross all the prominent sights. Stroll around the lake, peer inside the Vajdahunyad Castle (housing the Museum and Library of Hungarian Agriculture), and admire the Art Nouveau details on the House of the Hungarian Millenium. If you feel adventurous, you can even embark on a gigantic balloon and marvel at the park from 150 metres above ground.

Warm up at Széchenyi Baths' boiling hot thermal water

Once your limbs went numb due to the autumn chill, head to Széchenyi Baths, one of the largest spa complexes in Europe. Swapping your coat for a swimming suit instantly feels worthwhile as soon as you plunge into its steaming, 38-degree thermal water. The outdoor pools are a must: you can swim, soak, or even play chess in them. Indoors, you can enjoy several more pools, saunas and a Palm House with hammocks and fresh fruit bowls. 

Have a hearty lunch and cake at the iconic Gundel

When it comes to picking a lunch spot, why not go with an icon? Especially as it is literally around the corner from Széchenyi Btahs. The Gundel Restaurant opened in 1894, meaning it had witnessed Budapest's Belle Époque first-hand. And you can still enjoy that turn-of-the-century splendour over delicious Hungarian dishes, such as goose liver paté, 'Újházi' chicken soup, chicken paprikash, or Wiener Schnitzel. Leave space for dessert because the Gundel pancake (filled with ground walnuts, raisins, and rum, served in dark chocolate sauce) is not one to miss. If you would try several traditional delicacies, opt for a 'dessert selection', including Dobos cake, Eszterházy cake, and mini Rákóczi cottage cheesecake.

Visit a museum

It's time to soak up some culture! Set off towards Heroes' Square, and once you snap a photo of all emblematic figures from Hungarian history, visit one of the surrounding museums. The choice is not easy: you have the Museum of Fine Arts showcasing Egyptian art, classical antiquities, and international and Hungarian artists (currently, a Renoir exhibition is on view, too). You can also opt for the Kunsthalle, one of Hungary's most prestigious galleries of contemporary visual arts. Or you can admire the intriguing architectural design of the Museum of Ethnography, along with its generous collection of traditional Hungarian culture, currently complete with a Korean exhibition.

Go to an evening concert at the House of Music Hungary

Just like the Museum of Ethnography, the House of Music Hungary is also an architectural gem. Designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, it is recognisable by its signature roof, dotted with holes through which light and sound can travel and trees can poke through. But instead of admiring it only from the outside, grab a concert ticket, sit back and enjoy the top-notch acoustics at its glass-covered concert hall.

See the event calendar here.

Have dinner with a view at the Városliget Café

To keep in style with your lunch, here is another magnificent turn-of-the-century building, this time for an epic dinner. Functioning as a café, restaurant, and event space, Városliget Café boasts a cosy atmosphere, flavours of the Belle Époque (goulash soup, crispy duck leg with steamed cabbage, Somlói sponge cake) as well as a stunning view of the boating lake (transforming into an ice rink in mid-November) and the picturesque Vajdahunyad Castle. Be it a romantic rendezvous or a family dinner, the experience will crown a day well spent at the City Park.

One of the most convenient and pocket-friendly ways to explore these attractions is by purchasing a Budapest City Card. With such a card (available online and offline), you can enjoy free transportation, sightseeing, and museum entries. You are also entitled to several discounts at varied attractions and restaurants. Find more details here.

Discounts can be applied at:

  • Museum of Fine Arts: free entry (to permanent exhibitions)
  • Kunsthalle: free entry (to permanent exhibitions)
  • Museum of Ethnography: 20% discount 
  • Széchenyi Baths: 20% discount
  • House of Hungarian Music: 10% discount