Budapest has become an extremely popular city for tourism over the past few years, known for its striking buildings, vibrant nightlife and relaxing thermal spas.
However, there is a side to Budapest that not many know about, and with that, here are 14 fun facts about Budapest that are worth knowing.
14 Budapest Facts You Probably Didn’t Know
1. There are two sides to Budapest: Buda & Pest
Did you know that Budapest used to be divided into two separate cities?
Buda and Pest were first joined together by the chain bridge to become what we know today as Budapest.
Buda lies on the west bank of the Danube River, an area known for its fairytale-like architecture, with attractions such as the Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion. You can book a Buda Castle district walking tour to make the most out of your time in this side of the city.
Pest, on the other hand, has a far more modern feel to it. It is home to some great restaurants, bars and nightclubs. This part of the city is particularly known for its famous ruin bars and trendy spots for locals and tourists to hang out.
2. Beneath the city lies an underground cave system
One of my favourite Budapest facts is that beneath the city lies a pretty impressive cave system, a hidden world that is open to the public to explore through a thrill-seeking cave tour.
Tourists and locals alike can spend time crawling through the labyrinthine system, entering different chambers and tunnels and admiring the underground structures.
Honestly, it is one of the best things I did on my first trip to Budapest over 10 years ago, and I still talk about it to this day. It really makes Budapest stand out as a city worth visiting in Europe.
For those looking for a more tame way of exploring the caves, they also have less adventurous cave walking tours available.
No matter what you choose, it’s a once in a lifetime experience!
3. Budapest is home to the world’s only children’s railway station
Budapest has one pretty unique attraction – the Children’s Railway. It was first opened in 1948 to teach young children how transportation works but what is even more surprising is the railway is still in operation today.
Located high up in the Buda Hills, this railway station is primarily managed and operated by children.
Yes, you read that correctly. It is operated by children…
Of course, they are supervised by adults making it a fun and unique thing to do while visiting the Hungarian Capital.
4. Budapest boasts over 100 thermal springs
Budapest is famous for its thermal spas, but what if I told you the city is home to over 100 thermal springs?
These natural hot springs produce 70 million litres of thermal water a day, with temperatures ranging from 21 to 78 degrees Celsius.
Attending the thermal spas is quite a popular activity for both tourists and locals alike. It is a nice relaxing way to spend the day, especially after a few days of exploring the city.
You can get your full day pass here.
5. Budapest is home to the 3rd largest parliament building in the world
Budapest is not short on beautiful architecture, but one particular attraction that stands out from the crowd is the stunning parliament building. This impressive gothic structure is the 3rd tallest parliament building in the world!
It hosts over 600 rooms and can be seen from various points of the city. It is possible to get up close and personal with the building to really appreciate just how mighty it is.
You can even take part in a guided tour to learn more about the structure and its history, or enjoy the view from an evening cruise along the Danube.
6. They have their own currency: the Hungarian Forint
Much like the rest of Hungary, they use the Hungarian Forint in Budapest.
This currency is not used anywhere else in the world and symbolises the nation’s pride and financial independence.
Due to exchange rates, the currency also contributes greatly to Budapest’s affordability. The city is much more affordable to visit compared to other European cities such as Rome.
7. Largest indoor market in Hungary
The Great Market Hall holds the title of the largest indoor market in Hungary!
This three-story marketplace is a foodie’s paradise, with stalls selling a variety of goods from fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat to Hungarian spices, wines, and confectioneries.
The upper floor offers a range of handmade traditional crafts and souvenirs, ideal for tourists looking to take a piece of Hungary home with them.
8. Largest synagogue in Europe
Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe.
Again, another impressive architectural building, it stands rich in history, showing the significant Jewish heritage of Hungary.
The synagogue represents the importance of the Jewish community in Budapest. It is open to visitors and offers guided tours which provide a historical understanding of the country’s past. Alternatively, you can take a Jewish history walking tour to learn more about Jewish Budapest.
9. Budapest is home to the oldest medical school in Hungary
The Semmelweis University is one of the oldest medical schools in the world!
Founded in Budapest in 1769, it discovered the cause and prevention of puerperal fever.
The university has a strong history of leading the way in medical research and education.
With its expansive curriculum, it attracts students from all around the globe who are hoping to become doctors, nurses, and health professionals.
10. One of Europe’s largest church organs
When it comes to interesting facts about Budapest, they sure like to go big, with the city being home to one of the largest church organs in Europe.
Built by Franz Liszt, a German organ builder, with over 9000 wooden parts, the beautiful notes and harmonies can be heard all over St. Stephen’s Basilica (book your guided tour of St. Stephen’s Basilica here).
The city is known for holding regular musical performances here, where visitors can experience the power of the mighty instrument for themselves. It is the ideal stop for music lovers visiting Budapest!
11. Unique ‘Ruin Bars’
Another attraction rather unique to Budapest is its famous ruin bars. Once abandoned buildings, these trendy nightlife spots have been cleverly transformed into a fun place to hang out and socialise.
The most famous of these is Szimpla Kert, which has been voted one of the best bars in the world!
Featuring funky décor and hosting live music and film screenings, it’s a must-visit for anyone looking to experience Budapest’s vibrant nightlife scene.
Other popular ruin bars include Instant and Fogas Ház, which offer a similar atmosphere and are perfect for bar-hopping.
These unique spots not only serve as great places to grab a drink but also provide insight into the city’s nighttime culture.
My favourite way to experience the ruin bars in Budapest was always on a pub crawl. You can get your pub crawl tickets here.
12. Budapest has a chairlift
On the topic of fun facts about Budapest, here is one not many people know about – the city is home to its very own chairlift!
Located in the beauty of the Buda Hills, the Zugliget chairlift offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city. The chairlift ride takes visitors up to the peak of János Hill, where they can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and admire the views.
13. Second oldest underground in the world
As far as Budapest history facts go, they do hold a pretty impressive record!
Budapest is home to the second-oldest underground railway system in the world. Their underground opened in 1896, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 due to its cultural and historical significance.
This was the start of Budapest’s quite impressive public transport system – with regular buses, trams and bike rentals, there is no need to order a taxi or Uber when exploring the city.
14. The creators of the Rubik’s Cube
I saved the best Budapest fact for last!
One interesting fact about Budapest is that Rubik’s Cube was in fact created by a Hungarian architect, Ernő Rubik, in 1974.
Little did he know at the time, that his classroom invention would become one of the world’s most popular and iconic puzzle games.
The city still demonstrates its pride for Ernő with Rubik’s Cube art murals in the city, a Rubiks Cube Museum and annual competitions for who can solve it the fastest.
Budapest Facts | Final Thoughts
I hope that you’ve learned some new Budapest fun facts that you can impress your friends with, or can use to your advantage in a pub quiz!
There are countless interesting facts about Budapest, but these are the most interesting to me personally, and I hope that you found them interesting too!
Until next time,
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