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Budapest in the fall is the place to be.
Everyone knows October is the best month of the year, and I was lucky enough to spend mine in Budapest. There is so much to do in Budapest in the fall and I had such an amazing time admiring the architecture, hiking in the nearby parks, visiting the festivals and so much more.
If you’re looking for things to do in Budapest in the fall, use this list of 12 options to build a killer itinerary!
1. Eat Your Fill at the Pig Slaughter Festival & Sausage Feast
The Sausage Festival is definitely worth a trip to the suburbs of Budapest. It’s held in mid-October and entrance costs 2000 huf / 7 usd.
This festival commemorates a Hungarian tradition of killing pigs in the fall to prepare the meat. At the festival there’s lots of pork, music, dancing, food, and Hungarian traditional wares for sale. Of course, beer is a major part of the fun as well. Summer bods are out and winter bods are in, so make sure you try a hot cinnamon chimney cake while you browse.
This festival is held at the Hungarian Railway Museum so visitors can explore the old train yards too. Plus, the event has free transport from the Budapest-Nyugati train station so there’s no reason to miss it!
I had a great time, and was only disappointed that we never actual found the pig slaughter demonstrations that the name promised…
2. Grab a Beer at Budapest Oktoberfest
I also went to Budapest Oktoberfest in late September during my five week autumn stay in the city. To be honest, I thought that it was just ok. The festival was small but cost 3000 huf / 10 usd for entrance. It had food trucks, beer, and a stage with live music.
Surprisingly, my favorite part was actually the horse racing that was being held behind the festival, even though I had no idea how to bet on it. We went around 8 pm though, and I wonder if the festival turns up later at night…
Budapest Oktoberfest is kind of small and expensive, but still a good way to get into the spirit of the season. I give it a 5 out of 10, but thought I’d include it on this list to let you decide for yourself!
3. Chill Out on Margaret Island
Margaret Island is one of the most beautiful places in Budapest, and that’s only enhanced during the fall. Walk along the riverside in Buda or Pest until you reach the Margaret Island bridge where you can enter the park.
It’s an oasis in every sense of the word, separated from the city with water on all sides. No cars allowed but you can rent a bike to explore the 1.5 mile island instead. With trails, fountains, green space and a Japanese garden, Margaret Island is an ideal place to relax and unwind under the changing leaves.
4. Meet New Friends at Botellon Budapest
Botellon is the Spanish tradition of drinking with friends in the street. Groups bring cups, a bottle of liquor, and some mixers to share together in a park. The rest of the world agreed this is a great idea and followed suite.
In Budapest, the Botellon Budapest group takes it to the next level. Every month (outside of winter) they pick a different spot in the city to host the event. You bring drinks, they bring cups, music and the party.
Daniel and I went to one on a Wednesday night and had fun chilling in the grass, listening to the music and sharing a bottle of wine. If you want to go, check out their Facebook page to see if the monthly event will be held during your visit.
5. Take the Janos Hill Chairlift to Elizabeth Lookout Tower
One of my favorite fall days in Budapest was an idyllic Sunday at the Janos Hill Chairlift and Elizabeth Lookout Tower. Bus 291 will take you directly to the Zugliget chairlift from Budapest-Nyugati train station, or you can even walk from the city. Then, the cost is 1400 huf / 5 usd for a roundtrip ride on the Soviet-era contraption.
The chairlift transported us to the top of the tallest hill in Buda where we could walk on miles of trails through Janos-hegy park and take in a 360 degree view from the top of the Elizabeth Lookout Tower. When the weather is cool, this is a perfect way to spend a day in Budapest.
6. Go Hiking in Zebegeny
Hiking is one of my favorite things to do in Budapest in the fall, so of course I went more than once during my five week stay. This time, my destination was Zebegeny.
Take an hour long train ride from Budapest-Nyugati station to this small town in the countryside where you can follow well-marked trails to viewpoints over the rolling hills and Danube River. We did a 7.5 mile hike to Remete Cave, but the options here are truly endless.
7. Volunteer at the Noah Animal Shelter
I’m always in a good mood in October. The heat is gone for the year and the world is just more beautiful. So, to pass on the good vibes, I volunteered at the Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter (called NOÉ Állatotthon Alapítvány in Hungarian).
The shelter has open volunteering every Saturday from 10 am, so there’s no excuse not to get involved. Plus, you’ll get to hang with some very good doggos… it’s a win win for everyone.
Our trip from downtown Budapest took about an hour and a half. To get there, ride the M2 line to the end and then change to bus 169E. Put the address into Google Maps and click the public transport option for more details.
8. Browse the Sunday Farmer’s Market at Szimpla Kert
Nothing says fall in Budapest more than the Szimpla Farmer’s Market. Kill two birds at one stone by seeing one of the most iconic tourist destinations in Budapest while also supporting small business.
The Szimpla Kert ruin bar hosts the local market every Sunday from 9 am to 2 pm. Browse fresh produce, homemade peanut butter and spreads, desserts, and even a full brunch buffet when you visit. Afterward, eat lunch outdoors in the crisp autumn air at the Food Truck Karavan right next door.
9. Go Camping
The Zugligeti campground is right next to the Janos Hill Chairlift. It’s a secluded escape from the city that’s also easy to reach with public transportation. Sleep under the stars year round and save money while you do, because a campsite with a free breakfast buffet only costs 2000 huf / 7 usd per person. All you need to bring is the tent.
10. Enjoy a Coffee at New York Cafe
Fall in Budapest is the perfect time for warm drinks and maybe a few opulent experiences as well. Spoil yourself with a morning at the New York Cafe, where you’ll feel like old school royalty.
Prices are definitely high, but the photo op makes it worth it. Plus, Daniel and I found the best deal on the menu: an ice cream sundae with four scoops for only 9 euros. If you want to go, though, just make sure you make a reservation or you may end up waiting for quite a while.
11. Celebrate Thanksgiving with the Budapest Barbecue Company
If you’re traveling in Budapest over Thanksgiving, don’t worry. The Budapest Barbecue Company has ya covered.
I saw this event as an ad on Facebook and even though I’ll be back in the States for Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share it with the rest of you.
On Thanksgiving they’re hosting a party with a traditional dinner of turkey, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Surprisingly, the price is only 3490 huf / 12 usd when you reserve early, which sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Hopefully, this info will help all my fellow Americans out there get a little taste of home on my favorite holiday 🙂
12. Photograph the City
One of my favorite things to do in Budapest in the fall is photograph the city. It’s nice that I no longer have to wait until 8 or 9 pm for golden hour and instead can head out right after I finish work in the evenings.
Even with just an iPhone, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get gorgeous shots. Get started with my list of the 15 best Instagram spots around Budapest, but I’m sure you’ll find many more as you go.
12 Things to Do in Budapest in the Fall
If you’re building an autumn itinerary in the city, look no further. This list of 11 things to do in Budapest in the fall has hiking, camping, drinking, volunteering, festivals and more to keep you busy.
Click here to book your stay in Budapest and start planning your trip!