Budapest is one of the most popular destinations for city breaks in Europe. It packs in beautiful scenery, boatloads of history, and regularly appears near the top of lists of the cheapest cities in Europe.
Combining these factors together, it’s no surprise around 30 million tourists flock there every year. Many head to the Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Hungarian Parliament Building, and, of course, the Ruin Bars.
Away from these tourist hotspots, there are some more unusual activities that you can find in the Hungarian capital, here are some of the best.
Michael Jackson Memorial Tree
Of all the things and people you’d expect to find a monument to in Budapest, Michael Jackson is not going to be high on your list. Yet, after his death in 2009, Jackson fans began laying flowers, letters and photos at the tree as a memorial to the legendary singer.
They chose this particular tree, at Erzsébet tér, because it’s outside the Kempinski Hotel, the place where Jackson would choose to stay whenever he was in the city.
Las Vegas Casino
The Las Vegas Casino chain operates five different casinos around the city, but the original still just goes by the name Las Vegas Casino. It's a little smaller than many casinos you'd find in a major capital city, but it still managed to host a round of the most well-known competitions organized by PokerStars
, the European Poker Tour, a few years ago.
There are no onsite restaurants or bars, so you won't be able to get food or drinks while you play, so you'll need to plan ahead. It does have a wide selection of slot machines, in addition to roulette, blackjack and a few types of poker, so it caters to most tastes.
While video games and other arcade attractions have come a long way in the last few decades, there’s something very exciting about playing retro titles. In particular, Pinball offers a unique thrill because of its physical and mechanical elements, there’s a distinct sense of satisfaction when you pull back on the lever that then fires the ball around the machine.
You can fill an entire day of this at the Pinball Museum, which has over 130 different pinball games, some of which are more than 100 years old.. For a flat fee of 3,000 HUF (£7.80 / $9.80), you can play on these retro pinball machines and arcade games for as long as you like.
While some may write it off as a hipster gimmick, the Budapest Makery is actually a fun and unique way to dine out, learn, and spend time with friends. It calls itself the world’s first DIY restaurant.
Just like a normal restaurant, you order what you want from the menu, but unlike a traditional eatery, you’ll be brought a tray of chopped, cleaned and measured ingredients. You then follow the instructions on a video screen to cook these ingredients into a tasty meal.
Each meal costs around 2,000 (£5.22 / $6.70) - 5,000 HUF (£13.05 / $16.30), which isn’t too dissimilar to other restaurants in the city.
It’s great to do alone, with friends, as a group, or with your special someone, and it’s definitely an experience like no other.
The Invisible Exhibition
he Invisible Exhibition is a truly unique attraction. It’s one where you’ll rely on all your senses, except for sight. You’ll be taken on a pitch-black tour
, led by a guide with vision impairments.
It’s designed to show you what life is like as someone who is blind, including mundane tasks like cooking and paying for a drink in a bar. The creators of the exhibition hope that visitors will gain a better understanding of what it’s like to live with visual impairments and that it’s still possible to enjoy life without sight.
Guests will also learn to recognise braille and use other tools that can be used to navigate life, with instruction from people who use them every day.