Budapest by Foot: the best walking tours in town


  • ildi.amon

01/07/2014 2.00am

Walking is a great way to get to know a city. Whether it's the main sights or smaller details, walking tours are likely to show you something surprising and leave you bursting with new facts and anecdotes. Knowledgeable guides lead walks to unusual spots and reveal places you might not otherwise see. On top of that, tour leaders can answer many questions about Budapest, too.

Photo: Absolute Walking Tours



Here's our roundup of Budapest's most interesting walking tours. Manage to get through these and you'll gain a comprehensive understanding of what makes this city tick, along with a wealth of fun stories and trivia to share with others.

Absolute Walking Tours


As the name suggests, the guides at Absolute Walking Tours cover a stack of areas. Their Hammer & Sickle tour looks at communist times, World Wars I and II, and the 1956 Revolution. Absolute Walking Tours also offer lighter tours covering Budapest’s gastronomical delights, the city's alternative culture, a fashion shopping tour, and an in-depth tour of Buda's Castle District. They also have specialty walks covering great spots to take stunning photos and a movie walk for those wanting to see where Hollywood blockbusters have been filmed.
Guides are locals and tours depart regardless of the weather. You can either book online or just turn up and pay guides at the start of the tour. Find tour times and prices here.

Photo: Free Budapest Walking Tours

Galleries and Art Scene


Backstage Tours Budapest is organizing special personalized tours in July and August providing a sneak peek at Budapest’s arts and culture scene. Listen to short presentations by gallerists and artists, get an inside look at the best galleries and art pieces, and see art campuses and urban design labs. There’s a huge variety of artist-run project spaces to find out about and hear about the city's for-profit gallery boom. This so-called 'Inspiration Walk' is tailor-made based on the best shows currently on offer.

The Inspiration Walk is about 2.5 hours long and must be arranged in advance, and costs 18 euros (about 5,500 HUF).

Photo: Free Budapest Tours - Facebook

Free Walking Tours


Free Budapest Walking Tours offers three free walking tours that cover the Jewish quarter, the communist era, and a general introduction to the city.
The general Budapest walk takes in some of the city's main sights, such as St. Stephen's Basilica, the Chain Bridge, and the Castle District, and provides an overview of Budapest's history, architecture, legends, stories, daily life, and hidden treasures. Guides also offer insight into Hungarian society beyond the stereotypes, and there's plenty of time for questions. Guides can also give you options for what to do and where to go once the tour ends.
The walk that guides you through the 7th district or what's also known as the Jewish district includes sights of cultural importance, local traditions, where the last Jewish Ghetto in Europe was, and the areas with hidden Jewish symbols. Meanwhile the communism walk offers interesting insight into life behind the Iron Curtain.
The general intro to Budapest walks start daily at 10.30am and 2.30pm, while the Jewish district and communism tours start at 3.30pm. Meet at Vörösmarty Square near the lion fountain for the three-hour tours. There’s no need to book, just turn up – even by yourself.
This tour company also offers a pub tour that starts nightly at 8pm, also at Vörösmarty Square. It’s about four hours long and takes you to about four different ruin pubs in District VII, and includes a few free drinks.
These tours are all free, but if you had a good time make sure to tip your guide at the end.

Photo: Free Budapest Tours - Facebook

Ghost Tour


This 'Ghost Tour' features everything eerie about Budapest, from the city’s brutal secrets and mysteries to stories of black magic, vampires, and witches.
Run by Free Budapest Tours, it reveals true stories and legends of Budapest’s creepy side. And to make things even better, the guide is an native-English actor dressed in a scary costume and delivering tales in an entertaining style.

Tours are 90 minutes long and must be booked in advance. The cost is 13 Euros (approx. 4,000 HUF) per person for groups of four and more. Meet at Sütõ Street near the McDonald’s at Deák Ferenc Square at the prearranged day and time.

Literary Walk


Hungary has many prominent writers, and this 'Literary Walk' explains their personal stories as well as the historical contexts of their writing.
This tour is two hours long and organized by Free Budapest Tours. The cost is 13 Euros (approx 4,000 HUF) per person for groups of four and more. Meet at Sütõ Street near the McDonald’s at Deak Ferenc Square at the prearranged day and time.

Photo: Unique Budapest

Budapest Records and Crimes in the Castle


Tours run by Imagine Budapest are a cool collection of oddities not found at your typical tour company. The 'Budapest's Records' tour shows you 'the bests and the mosts' and other broken records the city has achieved. Meanwhile, the 'crime and History in the Buda Castle' tour will entertain with stories of old crimes and executions, as well as other historical tidbits from the past century.
Other tours include an introduction to Budapest's secret gardens and squares.
The price is 15 Euros (4,500 HUF) per person, and tour dates are set a few weeks in advance. You can book a spot online.

Villas and Urban Mansions


This Unique Budapest tour looks at Classicist, Eclectic and Art Nouveau mansions, villas, and schools constructed by the aristocracy and upper-middle class in the areas on and around Andrássy Avenue. The 'Villas and Mansions tour' guide points out stunning façades, carved entrances, and breathtakingly beautiful interiors as you walk through the area.

Other unique tours include a look at the retro period – Budapest during the '60s, '70s and '80s, as well as stories of the Danube banks.

Tours are arranged only by request.

1956 Hungarian Revolution


Budapest Walks has organized a whole range of interesting thematic walks around Budapest. One guides you around the important sites relevant to the period before, during, and after the 1956 Revolution, such as the siege of the Hungarian Radio building. This tour also reveals facets of everyday life during the communist years, such as what fashionable people wore.

This tour costs 2,800 HUF. Dates and times are set a few weeks in advance and must be pre-booked.

Photo: BUPAP - Facebook

Secret Sights and Cultural Insights


There's no shortage of hidden secrets in Budapest, but the 'Secret Sights' tour by Budapest Beyond Sightseeing does its best to show you some sights that you'd otherwise be likely to miss. It takes you to a city wall from the Middle Ages, an unusual memory of communism, secret short cuts, and the mysteriously deserted Párisi Courtyard along with much more. It's an interactive tour with funny games, hosted by friendly and intelligent guides who ensure walkers have a good time.

Another Budapest Beyond Sightseeing tour is the Socio-Cultural Walk, a three-hour tour designed to show you how 'real' Hungarians live. Feel the contrast between the luxury palace district and the worn-down areas of the more grungy parts of the city.

Private tour times must be prearranged, and prices depend on your group size.

Photo: Budapest Pub Crawl

A closer look at 'Liberty Square'


Many pass by 'Liberty Square' (Szabadság tér in Hungarian) and its beautiful buildings without realizing the history that has taken place there. Budapest Walk Shop organizes a Liberty Square tour that explores the square and its surroundings, revealing the city's only church built in a fascist style, the secret bunker of a feared communist leader, and showcases the last Soviet monument in Budapest, along with much more.

This tour shows how footprints of Hungary's turbulent 20th century history have all left their marks on this famous square.
Budapest Walk Shop organizes tours in both English and Hungarian; English tours must be prearranged.

Photo: Running Tours Budapest

Pub Crawl


This one might start as a walk but could end in a crawl, but all the same it will show a crucial part of Hungarian life: the pub.
The mission of Budapest Pub Crawl is to introduce you to the real Budapest nightlife, so buckle up. There are different tour options – you can choose pubs, nightclubs, or bars, and if you don’t want to muck around with spirits and wine, there’s even a specific beer tour.
The guides are locals who speak a range of languages including English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and even Turkish. The meeting point is Deák Ferenc Square in front of the white church at 9pm. The basic Pub Crawl costs 10 euros (approx. 3,000 HUF).

Running Tours


Perhaps after the pub crawl, you might need some exercise. Running Tours Budapest gives you the chance to take in the sights of the city while getting fit. There’s a challenging 5km 'Heartbeat' run that takes you up Gellért Hill, a Danube riverbank run (10km), a must-see sights run (7km), a city lights tour which takes off after 9pm and the shady Budapest tour (6km) that takes you where other tours don’t dare! There's also plenty of other run options.

Tours must be pre-booked and start at 15 euros (approx 4,500 HUF) depending on which tour is selected and how many go along.

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