Budapest, Hungary is a city of Europe that tends to be underrated, but... who knows why? This is an amazing central European city to visit, with friendly locals and a simply incredible culture. Go there to try the awesome food and beer (which is always reasonably priced), and to see the amazing sights dappled across the city.
Budapest needn't be expensive outside of its food and beer, either. In fact, there are a number of free things you can take advantage of that are so much fun and/or simply breath-taking.
10 Walking Tour
Budapest is a city that offers free walking tours, usually operated by freelancers under a company. How these work is that they will take you on a walking tour around the center of the city, pointing out the amazing sights, and no — there's no price to pay!
There is a catch to this one, though. Despite the fact that the tour is technically free, you will be encouraged to tip at the end. But considering they've just taken you on a walking tour that's hours long, tipping a few dollars is probably not a huge deal compared to how much you would have paid for any other activity.
9 The Chain Bridge
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge separates the two sides of the city, Buda and Pest, over the River Danube. Budapest used to be two entirely cities but came together as one and now, you can walk over the amazing chain bridge and see the river as you go. It's a beautiful walk to get from one side to the other, although it does tend to be freezingly cold in the non-summer months because of the winds coming off the water. Still incredibly worth it, though.
8 Fisherman's Bastion
Otherwise known as the the Halászbástya, this is one of the most famous monuments in the country. Up here, you'll find a viewing terrace with some absolutely breath-taking views of the city, particularly at sunset — and to stand on this viewing terrace and look over this wonderful city, you don't need to pay a dime.
The viewing terrace also has many towers, so you can see different angles of the city as you walk around. Neat.
7 Castle Hill
Castle Hill leads up to Buda Castle and is another beautiful place with cobbled streets and awesome, old buildings. If you're looking for some great Instagram opportunities (or, you know, just some nice pictures to take home for some bragging rights about the beautiful city you were in), this is the place to go. Make sure you venture all the way up so you get to see Buda Castle too, a building half-new and half-old.
6 The Parliament Building
It does cost money to tour the parliament building — understandably, Hungary has to get tourist revenue somehow! — but it doesn't cost anything to go and see it at the side of the river, to stand outside and take some pictures. And those pictures will be amazing.
It's a simply incredible building, as you can see above, that was sadly destroyed in wars but has been rebuilt and come back stronger than ever.
5 The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter is, of course, free to wander and it's one of the more quirky places in Budapest. With some awesome little stores you won't find the likes of anywhere else in the world and street food that's exclusive to Hungary, you may be tempted to spend some money here — but it's free to wander through and if you just want to observe the sights and jovial atmosphere, this is where to come. It's all happening down here.
And don't forget about the ruin bars...
4 The Ruin Bars
You will never find the likes of the ruin bars anywhere else in the world.
Old converted factories and industrial sights, wander into these buildings to find that every room has been converted into a different bar and/or restaurant. The atmosphere is always exciting, with locals and tourists flocking to these places, and although they're free to enter, we can't promise you'll spend no money — you should definitely pick up a beer to keep yourself warm as you wander through open plan floors.
The most famous and impressive of them all is Szimpla Kert. Make sure you go in here if nothing else, because the atmosphere is mind-blowing. A truly unique bar, which is quite something in the world today.
3 Heroes' Square
Located quite a bit away from the Jewish quarter — fortunately, Budapest has some great public transport with its trams and metro — is Heroes Square. If you're into history, this is the place to go, with impressive statues all around the place to tell tales of the history of Budapest and those who fought for it.
2 City Park
Next to Heroes' Square is City Park. It's a beautiful public park with some more great Instagram opportunities, and the best thing about it may just be Vajdahunyad Castle. If possible, this is actually more beautiful than Buda Castle, and definitely worth a trip outside of the center of the city to see. Not like it's going to cost you anything except the transport to get there, unless you decide to climb the towers of the castle!
Which, if you have the money to spend, is well worth it.
1 Kerepesi Cemetery
For the somewhat more morbid, there is Kerepesi Cemetry. It's an old and perfectly preserved cemetery in Budapest that's just beautiful to walk through. It's also a little far out but is easy to get to on the metro and as Budapest's metro is very easy to understand, you shouldn't have any problem reaching it if you want to go a little further out and make sure you see this.
It was opened in 1847 and, let's face it, you won't find many things that old in North America. If that doesn't entice you to visit this very interesting cemetery...