As the capital of Hungary, the city of Budapest offers many fascinating sights and activities for all who visit it, whether for a short weekend break or a longer trip.
Located on either side of the beautiful Danube River, you’ll find many romantic things to do in Budapest for couples, even if it’s simply taking in the stunning views you’ll find around the city.
Whether you’re into history and want to visit the incredible Buda Castle or the fascinating House of Terror, or if you want to sample the local nightlife in the famous ruin bars, there’s plenty for everyone in Budapest.
To help plan your perfect romantic getaway to this city, check out this list of our top recommended things to do in Budapest for couples.
1. Relax in a thermal bath
One of the standout activities that all visitors to Budapest must try is taking a trip to one of the thermal baths located around the city.
Situated in grand buildings and with some dating back to the 16th century, the thermal baths have long been a popular pastime for locals and tourists alike.
Fed by 120 hot springs, each spa contains multiple baths and pools with a range of temperatures that are perfect to relax in, as well as other features like steam rooms.
For an even more memorable romantic activity in Budapest, you can book couples’ massages at many of the thermal baths.
Top tip: Make sure to bring your own flip-flops and towels as these are often requirements for the spas, as otherwise you’ll have to hire some. If you’re planning on taking a swim, you’ll need to wear swimming too.
You can read our full guide on the best thermal baths in Budapest, but here’s a rundown of some of our top picks:
Arguably the most famous of the thermal baths in Budapest, Széchenyi has 21 different pools, making it one of the largest bath complexes in Europe.
With a large outside area, it’s also perfect to visit on a hot day, as you’ll also find plenty of space to lounge around out of the water as well as in.
Széchenyi is also known for hosting Sparty, where the baths are transformed in the evening and you can enjoy an unforgettable party experience with music, drinks, and stunning visual displays.
Located right by the Danube, Gellért is another of the most famous baths in Budapest and was built between 1912 to 1918 in Art Nouveau style which provides a picturesque setting to relax in.
With references to the rejuvenating waters located on the site dating back as far as the 13th century, you’ll be partaking in a long tradition if you visit the baths at Gellért.
You can enjoy a range of pools at different temperatures, as well as steam rooms and heated open-air pools.
Dating back to the 16th century, Rudas has an octagonal pool that is its most iconic, but couples will also enjoy the rooftop pool which offers fantastic views over the Danube.
There are numerous physiotherapy packages available if you’re in need of some much-needed rejuvenation, and the baths are open until 4 am so you even make a late-night visit.
You’ll also find a bistro on the rooftop which offers one of the most romantic places for dinner with a view of the city.
2. See the views from Buda Castle Hill
A stroll up Buda Castle Hill is the best way for couples to get brilliant panoramic views of the city, with the Danube sweeping down below and passing sights like the Parliament Building.
The scene is particularly captivating at sunset when you’ll see the sky above the city transformed into vibrant colours.
The walk up to the hill is also a great way to stretch your legs. Plus, the unforgettable backdrop from the top of the hill makes this a popular spot for proposals!
3. Enjoy dinner on the Danube
One of the most romantic activities for couples in Budapest is booking a dinner cruise along the Danube River.
Join a cruise that takes you up and down the river as you enjoy an outstanding a la carte or buffet menu, depending on what you opt for.
Cruises generally take between two and three hours, giving you plenty of time to savour the meal while taking in views of the city as you pass it by.
4. Get drinks at the ruin bars
When it comes to nightlight, Budapest is famous for its ruin bars, set within dilapidated buildings in the old Jewish Quarter.
Szimpla Kert is the most famous and one of the best ruin bars in Budapest, transforming from a great place to chill out during the day to an energetic and electric location to let loose and enjoy some drinks at night.
While the buildings may be ruins, the many lights, plants, and eclectic decorations make it a stunning place to spend time and unwind.
You can grab drinks from any of the many bars found within the buildings and hang out in the various nooks and crannies.
5. Share a picnic on Margaret Island
While there’s a lot to explore amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, one of the most romantic things to do in Budapest for couples is to visit Margaret Island.
Located in the middle of the Danube and accessible by two bridges that connect each end of the island to the city, the green spaces here offer the perfect place to take a stroll and relax.
Bring some food along and you can enjoy a picnic too, or see some of the points of interest on the island such as a zoo or the remains of a 13th-century convent.
6. Have a day at the zoo
As with any good city, a trip to the zoo is always a great option when looking for fun things to do for couples in Budapest.
Budapest Zoo, located in the impressive City Park, is the oldest zoo in Hungary, having been open since 1866.
Here you can see a huge variety of animals from all over the world, from Australian wombats and echidnas to giraffes and meerkats from Africa.
7. Take a tour of the city’s historic buildings
In addition to major tourist attractions like Buda Castle, one of the most fun things to do for couples in Budapest is to simply explore the various other historical buildings found around the city.
Whether on foot, by tram, or even scooters, you can devise routes to visit places like the Hungarian Parliament Building, one of the most photographed spots in the city.
We’d also recommend dropping by some of the stunning religious buildings around Budapest too, including St Stephen’s Basilica and Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe.
8. Visit the House of Terror
While the name may not make it sound like one of the most romantic things to do in Budapest, a trip to the city isn’t complete without a trip to the House of Terror Museum, especially if you’re into history.
With exhibitions telling the story of Hungary’s history throughout two regimes of terror – first the occupation by the Nazis and then by the Soviets.
Not only is it one of the best museums in Budapest, but it also serves as a monument to the many people who were held captive or even killed in the building itself, making it a must-visit location for anyone concerned with the realities of modern history.
9. Take a stroll along the river
One of the more peaceful activities in Budapest for couples is to simply take a stroll along the banks of the Danube River.
Flowing all the way from Germany to Ukraine, this spectacular river winds through much of Europe, and the stretch that divides Budapest is worth exploring too.
On your walk, you can visit the serene Margaret Island, see views from the top of Gellért Hill, and cross bridges such as the beautiful Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
10. Book a cruise down the Danube
For an unforgettable way to see the city, take to the water and join a cruise along the Danube.
You can book cruises at night as well as during the day, offering a chance to see Budapest in the dazzling array of lights as the reflections shimmer on the water, creating an incredibly romantic setting.
Some boat tours are guided too, so you can learn valuable pieces of information about the various locations that you pass as you float on down the river.