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Top 15 Best Budapest Museums

Top 15 Best Budapest Museums

The best museums in Budapest offer an eclectic view of the country’s art, culture, and history. Like many of its European neighbors, Budapest offers some of the best museum experiences.

Budapest is the perfect city break vacation for history buffs and art lovers. You can immerse yourself in local history or admire world-renowned artists. Some of these Budapest attractions are among the best museums in the world.

Must Visit Budapest Museums

Hungary’s history alone is enough to fill many of the museums in the city. But this list of the best museums in Budapest includes a variety of things to see, do, and learn.

There’s everything from the Museum of Fine Arts to a museum entirely dedicated to Harry Houdini. There are museums for reflection and ones that showcase Hungary’s agricultural and locomotive history.

Check out this guide to the 15 best Budapest museums for when you’re next in Hungary’s capital.

exterior view of the Budapest History Museum at sunset with the chain bridge in the foreground

1. Budapest History Museum

You’ll find this Budapest museum inside the southern wing of the Buda Castle. It is easily one of the best Budapest museums because of its diverse collection of artifacts.

This is a great museum if you want to know about the history of the city you’re visiting. The museum covers the entirety of Budapest’s rich and diverse history. View the city from prehistory to the Communist era and all that is experienced in between.

The Buda and Pest cities on opposite sides of the Danube River used to be separated. Visit this museum, and you can find out how the city’s two sides rekindled.

The museum is found in the Medieval and Renaissance parts of the castle. This museum is not only filled with fascinating discoveries but is also architecturally beautiful.

This is one of the most popular museums in Budapest. Be sure to arrive early or book your tickets in advance to avoid crowds and lines.

View of the facade of the House of Terror Museum in Budapest

2. House Of Terror

If you want to understand more about Hungary’s history, check out the House of Terror. This museum is not for the faint-hearted. The museum displays details of Hungary’s oppressive past throughout the 20th century.

During World War II, this building was used as the Hungarian secret police headquarters. This is also the location where many Hungarian citizens were captured, tortured, and killed.

The House of Terror is located on a popular street, Andrassy Avenue. Even to this day, many older Hungarians pass by the building with heavy hearts.

This is a museum that is harrowing to visit yet important to learn about. This museum serves as a way of commemorating the victims of Communism and fascism.

Enterance to the Hospital in the Rock Museum in Budapest

3. Hospital in the Rock

This former hospital, now a museum, has had a number of uses since its construction. It was first used as a hospital during World War II and the 1956 Revolution. During the 1960s, it was turned into a nuclear bunker during the Cold War era.

The Hospital in the Rock’s specific location was only revealed in the early 2000s. You can now see the hospital and how it would have been used throughout history. The museum is now filled with of-the-age wax works and is far more sanitary than in WW2.  There are operation and radiation decontamination rooms that you can explore too.

Anyone interested in the Cold War or European history will love this bunker-style museum.

View of people playing games at the Budapest Pinball Museum

4. Flippermúzeum – Budapest Pinball Museum

If you’re looking for some quirky things to do in Budapest, visit the Pinball Museum. Yes, this Budapest attraction is dedicated to vintage pinball machines.

This is one of the best Budapest museums for families. Both children and adults will love to explore this fun-filled pinball museum.

Head down to the basement, and you’ll find the largest museum collection of pinball machines. They have around 140 vintage pinball machines. You can play all these pinball machines apart from the old wooden ones from 1947.

Real, hardcore pinball-loving enthusiasts frequent this museum, and it’s usually always busy. Once you purchase your ticket, you can play as many games as you like.

This is an entertaining and very different Budapest activity to enjoy with friends or family.

5. Holocaust Memorial Museum

This is one of the most thought-provoking museums in Budapest. This museum offers visitors a detailed history of the Holocaust. This includes original documents, personal accounts, and objects from the Holocaust.

The central courtyard offers a tranquil place for reflection and remembrance. An eight-meter-high black glass wall displays all the Hungarian victims’ names. More than half a million Jewish Hungarians were senselessly murdered during the Holocaust. This museum demonstrates how this obscene act of violence affected so many people across Europe.

For those traveling with teenagers who are studying history, this is a great museum. Though it is a somber visit, it is also highly educational and poignant.

View of the exterior of Vajdahunyad Castle where the museum of hungarian agriculture in Budapest in located

6. Museum of Agriculture

This is one of those museums that are worth visiting even if you don’t go inside. Situated in City Park, this museum is inside the Vajdahunyad Castle. This 19th-century building is based on a Transylvanian castle.

This museum focuses on Hungarian agriculture. There are a number of exhibits showcasing the equipment used for 15th-century livestock farming. There are more than 200,000 historic agricultural artifacts inside.

Once inside Vajdahunyad Castle, you can also check out the Agricultural Library.

Though this museum may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s a highly interesting visit. For any modern-day farmers, or those interested in agriculture, this is a fascinating visit.

Nearby: Must visit Thermal Baths in Budapest

7. Zwack Unicum Museum

Now you might be wondering what the Zwack Unicum Museum is. Zwack Unicum is a bitter herbal Hungarian liqueur that is consumed as a digestif.

The Zwack Unicum Museum is one of the best Budapest museums for liqueur lovers. Inside the museum, you can see where the Zwack family produces this popular Hungarian drink.

Their distillery has over 17,000 mini bottles of liqueurs. Their Unicum recipe is 200 years old, and they’ve been distilling in Budapest since 1892. Around 40 herbs and spices go into this drink, and the recipe is a family secret.

Take a tour of this interesting and enjoyable museum, and be sure to try a shot or two.

Exterior view of the Budapest Fine Arts Museum

8. Museum of Fine Arts

One of the top museums in Budapest is the Museum of Fine Arts. This impressive, pillared building overlooks Heroes’ Square and is huge. This is one of the best museums in the world if you are looking to see European art.

The museum’s Italian Renaissance collection is one of the most noteworthy exhibits. It dates to 1871 and is considered one of the finest collections of its kind.

As well the celebrated Italian pieces, there are six main collections for visitors to see. Egyptian art, classical antiquities, sculptures, prints and drawings, old master paintings, and art post-1800.

Even if you aren’t an art connoisseur, you’ll love exploring this Budapest attraction. The pieces are so diverse that even an amateurish art enthusiast will be in their element.

9. Roth Museum

This is another of the top museums in Budapest that showcases something more unusual. The works of Miksa Roth can be found across Budapest and worldwide.

Practically every important building in  Budapest built around the early 1900s is decorated with Roth’s work. Roth’s work can be found on around 70 buildings.

Roth’s extravagant stained-glass windows and mosaics are stunning Hungarian treasures. Roth’s work is featured on the windows of the famous Hungarian Parliament in Budapest.

This museum displays 60 stained glass pieces and 12 mosaics. The museum may be small, but it’s a shining example of Budapest’s art and architecture. The museum travels from Roth’s evolution from eclecticism to the art nouveau and art deco movements.

Related: Top 10 Castles in Hungary

Roman artifacts at the Aquincum Roman ruins and museum in Budapest

10. Aquincum

Aquincum was an ancient city owned by the Roman Empire. This museum and the archeological park are dedicated to displaying the ruins of Aquincum. This ancient city dates back to 106 A.D.

As well as looking at the archeological site outside, you can visit numerous exhibitions. There is a plethora of Ancient Roman artifacts to discover inside the museum. There are exhibits showcasing Roman statues, jewelry, pots, and mosaics. Be sure to check out the Aquincum organ, which dates back to 228 A.D.

For anyone interested in Roman history, you’ll love this Budapest history museum. Kids interested in history will enjoy some of the hands-on exhibits. You will also be able to find museum staff dressed in Roman clothing, providing a variety of synergistic activities for visitors.

Exterior view of the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary art in Budapest

11. Ludwig Museum

If you are into contemporary art, the Ludwig Museum is the place to head to. The Ludwig Museum showcases an impressive pop art collection. The collection includes work by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jasper Johns. The Ludwig Museum also showcases some of the best Eastern European artists.

This Budapest art museum is in the Millennium Cultural Quarter in Pest’s industrial neighborhood. It’s an edgy location for a trendy, contemporary art museum.

12. Hungarian Railway Museum

There’s always someone in the family that’s interested in railways. The Hungarian Railway Museum is a top museum in the city for those train buffs.

You may come across this railway museum under its local name, Magyar Vasuttorteneti Park. This museum is home to more than 100 locomotives. There are a variety of exhibitions and interactive displays to enjoy as you walk around.

Watch a live steam train demonstration, which is bound to excite. Hop aboard some of these historic trains and learn lots about Hungary’s rail history.

Kids will love the miniature train ride that goes around this open-air museum.

You can easily spend a couple of hours at the Hungarian Railway Museum. If the kids begin to get hungry, there’s even a snack bar and restaurant.

13. Hungarian Natural History Museum

If you are traveling with kids and they are into dinosaurs, check out this museum. The Hungarian Natural History Museum is a playground for those nature, history, and environment lovers.

One of the main attractions at this Budapest museum is the enormous, reconstructed dinosaur.

There are a number of displays covering a variety of topics. Some of these exhibits are interactive and perfect for entertaining the kids. For any budding geologist, the Minerals, Rocks, and Gemstones exhibit is fascinating. Many visitors to the museum attest to this being the highlight of the entire trip. Other permanent exhibits include coral reefs, whale skeletons, and a time path through history.

Exterior View of the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest

14. Hungarian House of Parliament

The Hungarian House of Parliament sits on the banks of the Danube River. It is not only the largest building in Budapest but the largest in Hungary. It has also been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987. This Gothic Revival building was built when Budapest was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Visiting the Hungarian House of Parliament is one of the best things to do in Budapest. You can take a 45-minute guided tour of this jaw-dropping building. The House of Parliament is like a museum in itself.

Visit the Dome Hall, where you can see the Hungarian Holy Crown and Coronation Insignia. The Grand Stairway is a lavish part of the building adorned with paintings, portraits, and ornate glass windows.

15. The House of Houdini

This museum is dedicated to the Hungarian-born magician Harry Houdini. This small establishment is both a museum and a performance venue.

While at the museum, you can see original items from Houdini’s private and performing life. There are original props from the most recent Houdini movie. You can look at Houdini’s handcuffs, as well as personal letters and documents from his life.

They offer informative guided tours of the museum. Afterward, you are treated to a 15-minute magic performance. This museum may be small, but it’s tons of fun for the whole family.

This is one of those museums run by people who love their jobs. The staff is super knowledgeable about magic, illusion, and Houdini.