What Are the 8 Best Art Attractions in Budapest? (local tips)

In this article, we explore the best arty activities to do in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, from the traditional to the unique.

Dec 1, 2023By Polina Grmanova, MA International Relations
best art attractions in budapest

 

Budapest is famous for its bohemian atmosphere and somewhat unconventional culture. That’s why it is a fabulous place to explore art in different ways – from visiting traditional museums to exploring a mural through virtual reality. We take a look through a handful of the most enticing art attractions the city has to offer.

 

Budapest Museums

Műcsarnok by Bence Sagi
Műcsarnok by Bence Sagi

 

The most exciting and efficient way to immerse in the art world is to visit Budapest’s many museums. The options are numerous, and one can quickly go from classics to contemporary pieces. There are traditional national-level museums, exhibition spaces, and privately owned venues. World-famous artists like Rembrandt and Picasso can be found at the Museum of Fine Arts, while exquisite art of Hungarian origin is at the Hungarian National Gallery.

 

The Budapest Kunsthalle, also known as Műcsarnok, offers exhibition space for many contemporary artists, both local and international. Finally, there is the Ludwig Museum or the Budapest Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum collection features pieces by artists from Central and Eastern Europe, including Hungary, and all around the globe. It is a dynamic collection with new pieces added every year. 

 

The Photography Centers of Budapest

The Indochina War by Robert Capa
The Indochina War by Robert Capa

 

Budapest is home to some incredible photography museums. Finding them is like winning the lottery for genuine art enthusiasts. One such place is the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center. As can be guessed by the museum’s name, there is an exceptional display on Robert Capa, the renowned Hungarian-American war photographer. However, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions that often feature the finest photographers and photojournalists of today.

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The other photography center worthy of attention is the Mai Mano Haz. The museum’s Art-Nouveau building was once the residence of Mai Mano, the Hungarian photographer and writer. Known as the Hungarian House of Photography, the museum offers historical and modern photographs by Hungarian and international artists.

 

The Hungarian State Opera

Hungarian State Opera by Ted McGrath
Hungarian State Opera by Ted McGrath

 

The Hungarian State Opera is the true icon of Hungary and one of the most dazzling sites in Budapest. This opera house is one of the greatest in Europe and has a long history that started during the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Miklós Ybl, a prominent architect of the 19th century, designed the Opera’s neo-renaissance building. There are two ways to explore it: see a performance or take a guided tour. Either way, everyone should see the marvelous fresco in the auditorium. It is a massive masterpiece by Károly Lotz, the famous 19th-century painter.

 

Budapest Markets

Great Market Hall by Ted McGrath
Great Market Hall by Ted McGrath

 

Budapest is a big European city, which means there are interesting markets on the map. The best-known and the oldest in Budapest is the Great Market Hall. It is a beautiful 19th-century building in the Neo-Gothic style. On the market’s first floor are stalls with fresh produce, pastries, spices, and Unicum. The second floor features eateries, all perfect for tasting Hungarian national dishes like goulash.

 

For unique souvenirs, it’s best to visit the Ecseri Flea Market, where vendors sell various antique items, from furniture to paintings. Every two months, Budapest also hosts the WAMP Design Fair. It is a large-scale event where Hungarian designers present and sell their creations. These include clothing, jewelry, handmade crafts, cosmetics, and more.

 

The Museum of Sweets & Selfies

Museum of Sweets and Selfies by Aurora
Museum of Sweets and Selfies by Aurora

 

The Museum of Sweets and Selfies in Budapest is the place to unleash creativity and experience something out-of-the-ordinary. It is Europe’s first museum of such kind, with two floors and eight rooms filled with fun installations. The interactive display includes a chair of fluffy flamingos, strings of bananas, a large pool of plastic balls, a strawberry swing, and many others.

 

The City’s Ruin Bars

Szimpla Kert by Wally Gobetz
Szimpla Kert by Wally Gobetz

 

Ruin bars are a massive part of Budapest’s authentic experience and identity. They are essential to every local and are a famous attraction for tourists. These bars are usually located in old and abandoned buildings, decorated with quirky furniture and peculiar objects. It is what makes these places so unique. The choices are rich and depend on whether visitors would like to party or casually chat over a drink. The most famous ruin bars of Budapest are the Szimpla Kert (a pioneer, but often overcrowded), Csendes Vintage Bar & Cafe, and Doboz.

 

Murals Around Budapest Streets

6:3 Mural by Wally Gobetz
6:3 Mural by Wally Gobetz

 

Budapest street art is an experience of a different level created by local and international artists. There are graffiti and murals on residential and commercial buildings, bridges, and even garage doors, among other locations. The Jewish Quarter is the center of Budapest street art; however, there are many street artworks in different neighborhoods. Budapest’s street art scene has a bit of everything – from doodles and classic paintings to pieces seen with the help of virtual reality.

 

Local Concept Stores

Clem Onojeghuo
Clem Onojeghuo

 

Those who value originality and talent will appreciate Budapest’s concept stores. These stores offer exclusive items designed and catered to a specific audience. In Budapest, there are many stores of such type, and they sell mainly antiques, books, clothing, accessories, and perfumery. Printa, Szputnyik, Nanushka, Nubu Zen Store, and Ludovika are among the best-known concept stores in the city.

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By Polina GrmanovaMA International RelationsPolina is a passionate freelance writer with an MA degree in International Relations. She loves to travel and enjoys writing about it. Her work experience includes marketing and travel design. In her free time, she reads books on business and psychology and studies Human Design.