Hungary is a fairly cheap country to visit by European standards. So if you’re looking for a low cost romantic travel experience, the Hungarian capital is both a fun cultural hub, with lots of romantic potential.
Budapest is filled with nooks and crannies that can be great for a dirty weekend or date. You just need to know where to look….
So as a Hungarian native myself, I’ve put together these top romantic things to do in my capital!
1. Walk by the Danube
It doesn’t get cheaper than this, but still: taking a walk by the Danube is the most romantic thing to do in Budapest if you don’t want to make things difficult for yourself and your date.
Let’s start with the basics: this activity is available to everyone all year around, so you don’t need to worry about it not being an option. You also don’t need to travel far to get to the Danube, since it basically halves the city, so it’s never more than 30 minutes away. It’s convenient no matter how you look at it, which is why you should keep this idea in mind. Of course, there are plenty of better things on this list, but none of them will be this accessible to everyone.
Fair warning though, the banks of the Danube are used as hangout spots by a lot of people, especially around the weekends. Because of this they can be busy with drunk people, mostly teenagers. If you want the best for yourself try to keep yourself on the upper side of the bank, on the far side of the roads.
I had to include this one for the Harry Potter fans. If both of you adore the books or the movies then there is no better spot in Budapest for couples than the Flying Broomstick. It’s filled with wonder and since you are in Hungary the price won’t be too much of a problem either.
The main thing I have to tell you is that there is another alternative to this bar/restaurant. It’s The Magic restaurant, however it isn’t as heavy with the Harry Potter theme and it is also more crowded, not to mention, the prices have raised an incredible amount in the lasts months. So much so, that it isn’t really worth it compared to the Flying Broomstick. But when you try to look up Harry Potter or witchcraft themed establishments in Budapest you will mostly see content about The Magic. Don’t let them fool you, this one is a better option as long as you are only looking to drink or eat. Escape rooms are another ordeal, but they aren’t quite as romantic.
In Flying Broomstick you get 90 minutes with your reservation and you can choose from plenty of drinks and foods that are Harry Potter themed. There are quite a few options for couples too, for example love potions.
3. Have a beer spa day
This might seem like a weird idea at first, but ladies, if you want to convince your man to do something romantic in Budapest and they are a fan of beer (and let’s be honest: they probably are) then you won’t find a better plan than this.
The idea is that you get to sit in either thermal water dosed with hops, yeast, and other beer ingredients. This will make you feel like a million bucks, clear your skin, but if you decide to go with a slightly more expensive package then you can also enjoy unlimited mugs of beer.
The spa itself is located within Széchenyi Baths, so once your 45 minutes is up in the beer concoction you can head out into regular thermal water, saunas and pools.
Going to such a place is a great idea if you have already spent a few days sight-seeing and need a bit of time to just chill out and relax. Technically Széchenyi Baths is a sight too, since the water is completely natural and is considered a natural treasure, but it will also give you a chance to take a breath and enjoy yourself.
4. Hungarian State Opera House
If you are looking for something slightly more cultural and high-end, then going to an opera might be the perfect date idea for you. The building itself is enough of a spectacle, but the performances they put on inside are a whole other world.
There are plenty of genres all year around, from ballet to orchestra performances, so as long as you like seeing your entertainment live you will find something for yourselves here. If you are looking for something out of Hungarian literature you can look around in the programme, shows of “Bánk Bán”, “A kőszívű ember fiai” and “Az ember tragédiája” are regulars in the program book and are absolute classics.
You will also find plenty of restaurants around, so you can go out for a meal, sip on some wine and then get to the Opera House. Oh, the luxury.
Personal opinion: if you are anywhere around the Tropicarium you need to visit it at all costs. Years later I still have the most vivid memories of it and it’s not worth missing out on.
As you would expect, the Tropicarium mostly deals with aquatic animals. There are a few reptiles and birds around the establishment, but they are really only there to provide some variety, since they aren’t the stars of the show. However, walking above crocodiles, just a couple of meters away, is quite an experience.
The most popular part of the tropicarium is the shark tunnel. If you want to be extra and plan a date here, they can easily arrange a romantic dinner for you in here, so you will be surrounded by plenty of fish and a couple of sharks looming over you. There are also free shows in the building every few hours, where they talk about certain species and educate people.
There is a specific room that you shouldn’t miss, though. It’s a tiny bit hidden, since it needs to be dark in there, so many people just walk by and never get to see it. Keep your eyes peeled for the dark room where there is a little UV light and jellyfish, and try not to wear too much white.
6. Szimpla Farmer’s Market
Since you are in Hungary you might as well enjoy some local cuisine and culture. A farmer’s market is the perfect place for that if you want some real authenticity, although you will need to watch out for the language barrier, barely any Hungarians speak English.
You can find Hungarian dishes in a farmer’s market, like cooked pig’s blood with onions (I swear, it’s actually tasty), gulyás, sausage and wale. You might also find some people who are selling infused honey (usually chocolate or herb), which is a huge treat, so make sure to at least taste test a couple of flavors.
If you do decide to shop at this farmer’s market then not only are you supporting the country itself and the people providing the foundation for living, you will also have the best time with your partner. If you have the chance to go it’s the best thing to do in Budapest – and can be romantic too.
If you’re in Hungary and you’re looking to get away from the tourist traps of Budapest (I mean I love it but sometimes you need a break), check out my home town of Kecskemet. It’s just a couple of hours down the road and can be done as a day trip or fun overnight alternative. And it’s also romantic in it’s own way 😉