As a major metropolis that is not too big and not too small, Budapest is a perfect city to discover on foot, especially along these seven lovely lanes lined with diverse attractions – including shops, cafés, museums, and more – to encourage wonderful wandering.
Hungary’s grandest boulevard cuts directly though downtown Pest to connect Erzsébet Square and Heroes’ Square, and anyone who strolls along Andrássy’s entire 2.5-kilometer length will encounter a wealth of monumental sights. Within the more urban segment closer to the city center, luxury boutiques like Louis Vuitton and Burberry provide upscale window shopping beside the majestic Hungarian State Opera House, and nice restaurants like Klassz and the bigfish entice diners with pleasant sidewalk seating; meanwhile, the more leafy stretch of Andrássy past Oktogon is flanked by imposing villas and green gardens, featuring fascinating museums like the House of Terror and the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asian Arts.
- 1062 Budapest, Andrássy út
Bartók Béla Boulevard
Anchored by the riverfront Saint Gellért Square, this increasingly interesting thoroughfare on the city’s Buda side is fast becoming a hotspot for contemporary culture, but Bártók Béla Boulevard is no stranger to creative characters – about a century ago, the freshly revived Hadik café was a regular hangout for some of Hungary’s greatest writers, and again today it is frequently filled with artists of various genres. The adjacent Szatyor bar and nearby Kelet Café also attract modern Magyar visionaries, while numerous galleries present diverse exhibitions here, such as the Faur Zsófi Gallery and the Artphoto Gallery. Amid it all, Vegan Love is one of Budapest’s best street-food spots for animal-free feasts.
- 1114 Budapest, Bartók Béla út
The Danube Promenade
While this riverfront walkway isn’t really a street, it would be inexcusable for us to leave the Danube Promenade off this list, because it is well worth strolling here from beginning to end simply for its sweeping perspective over the mighty European waterway bisecting the city, providing a flowing showcase for views of the dramatic landmarks that punctuate Buda’s skyline like the Chain Bridge, the Buda Castle, and Gellért Hill topped by the Citadel. However, there are also several inland attractions to enjoy here, including the stylishly welcoming Corso restaurant and the popular Peppers! eatery (both featuring panoramic terrace tables), as well as the freshly renovated Pesti Vigadó performance hall.
- 1051 Budapest, Belgrád rakpart
Most people associate this slender downtown street with partying, and that makes sense – before the arrival of Budapest’s world-famous Szimpla Kert ruin pub here in 2004, Kazinczy was a quiet thoroughfare best known as the location of Wichmann’s Pub (which still serves as a top-notch dive bar occupying the same site for 30 years now). However, these days Kazinczy is a must-see destination of the Magyar metropolis, constantly crowded for its numerous clubs and street-food hotspots like the Karaván food-truck court – but since this is also a central lane of Budapest’s Jewish Quarter, we can find some excellent eateries for high-quality Jewish cuisine here, such as Macesz Bistro and Kőleves restaurant.
- 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy utca
Running perpendicular to adjoining Kazinczy in the Jewish Quarter, Király Street is another formerly unremarkable lane that now bustles with nightlife, much of it centered on the ever-buzzing dining and drinking scene of Gozsdu Udvar. Indeed there are many good places to enjoy high times here, from wine bars like Apropó and Kadarka to clubs like Kuplung and 4BRO, as well as fun restaurants like Zing Burger and BB’z Bar & Grill. However, strollers along Király will also encounter some monumental cultural destinations to discover, such as the recently renovated Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, which welcomes the public for concerts by renowned international musicians and the next generation of Magyar maestros.
- 1061 Budapest, Király utca
Stretching deep into District IX from Kálvin Square, Ráday Street is beloved by many Budapest locals for its profusion of charming eateries, galleries, and laid-back bars lining this pedestrian-friendly lane. When Sziget Festival founder Károly Gerendai decided to launch a fine-dining restaurant in 2008, many Budapest epicures considered Ráday as an odd choice for its location – but after Costes won Hungary’s first Michelin star in 2010, the neighborhood soon became a culinary hotspot; today diners can find eateries serving all kinds of food from multiple continents. Additionally, some venues offer live entertainment to complement their drinks and meals, likeRombusz Terasz, Púder, and the iF Jazz Café.
- 1092 Budapest, Ráday utca
Once upon a time, downtown Pest’s Váci Street was Hungary’s version of Rodeo Drive – during Europe’s belle-époque era, high-society ladies came here for the latest fashions, and it was a place to see and be seen… but nowadays, sightseers mostly fill this long pedestrian-only lane. Although Váci lost some appeal when it became the city’s primary destination for tourist-trap restaurants and overpriced souvenir shops, it’s still worth a walk between Vörösmarty Square and the Great Market Hall, and a few places along the way remain remarkable – Vendetta is popular among locals for its tasty Italian cuisine, while the Art Nouveau-styled Philanthia flower shop is a surviving relic of Váci’s earlier elegance.
- 1052 Budapest, Váci utca