Budapest is one of my favourite cities in Europe. With so much history and charm, not to mention a reputation for being a more affordable destination in Europe, it’s no surprise the capital of Hungary has become increasingly popular with international visitors in recent years.
Luckily, if you’re wanting to visit with your dog, I also found that while it isn’t as dog-friendly as some European cities, it’s still reasonably dog-friendly, especially if you have some tips…
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing in Budapest
Not sure what to do in Budapest with your dog? Here are my top recommendations to get you started…
1. Climb to Fisherman’s Bastion
The best viewpoint in Budapest is Fisherman’s Bastion, located high above the city on the Buda (castle) side. It’s possible to pay extra during the summer time to climb even further, but the view is still excellent from down below.
While you’re there, check out the colourful tiles of Matthias Church, although as expected dogs aren’t allowed inside.
2. Cross the Széchenyi Chain Bridge
To cross from the Buda side to the Pest side of Budapest (previously two separate cities that were only joined together in 1873), take the historic Széchenyi Chain Bridge. Despite its name, it’s made of stone and cast iron, and was the first permanent bridge in Budapest, opening in 1840.
3. Stroll Along the Danube to the Parliament House
It’s hard to miss the hulking Parliament House Building in Hungary, standing on the Pest banks of the Danube. Head north along the Danube after crossing the Chain Bridge or from the city centre to arrive at the building. With 691 rooms, it’s the 3rd largest parliament building in the world, although the majority of it is completely unused.
While you visit it, keep an eye out for the sombre Shoes on the Danube Bank sculptures, a memorial to the Jews killed in Budapest during WWII.
4. Visit a Ruin Pub
Budapest is famous for its “ruin pubs” – old, unused buildings that have been taken over to create rambling pubs and creative spaces. Rules aren’t a high priority, so naturally dogs are allowed to accompany you, although always check.
I recommend visiting at a quieter time of day, such as during the afternoon or early evening (potentially to also dine out), so that both yourself and your dog enjoy the experience. On my last visit to Budapest with my pup, we visited Szimpla Kert, the original ruin pub and still one of the most iconic.
5. Take a Cruise Along the Danube
If you have a small dog, you can take it on a cruise on the Danube. With Budapest River Cruise, small dogs are allowed on sightseeing cruises, plus one dinner cruise option (check the website for which cruise, plus note they need to be in a carrier).
Dogs cruise for free, but must wear a leash and muzzle, plus have a pet passport and be immunised for rabies. Mention that you will be accompanied by a dog at the time of booking, so suitable seats can be selected.
I highly recommend taking an evening cruise to enjoy all the lit-up buildings lining the banks of the Danube.
Dog-Friendly Parks in Budapest
There’s some great dog-friendly park options in Budapest. For starters, the centrally located Erzsébet Square, just near Deák Ferenc metro station, has a fenced-in dog-run. Open around the clock, it’s popular with local dog-owners, with many also enjoying a beer while their dog burns off some energy.
Another great option is Olympia park, just north of the gigantic Hungarian Parliament Building, situated on the banks of the Danube. The dog playground is situated at the northern end of the park, and is complete with agility equipment and lockable gates. Just be warned it closes at sunset.
Dogs on Public Transport in Budapest
All dogs, regardless of size, are allowed on public transport in Budapest, including the suburban railway lines, plus the metro, tram, trolleybus and bus network. Small pets should travel in a carrier bag, while larger dogs need to wear a leash and muzzle. You must carry their vaccination certificate.
While small pets in a carrier bag can ride for free, larger dogs need a full-price ticket or pass. If you do need to buy a full-price ticket, one currently costs 450 HUF (about €1.20), or less if you buy a book of 10. If you’re staying long-term in Budapest, a monthly dog pass is available.
Restrictions apply to the number of leashed dogs on each vehicle. There must be no dogs than the number of doors on the vehicle, or just a single dog on the blue Volánbusz services to metropolitan areas. Also, only one dog is allowed per passenger.
If taking a long-distance train from Budapest, both small and large dogs are allowed, although the rules vary depending on whether it is a domestic or international train. Larger dogs once again need to wear a leash and muzzle. For full details, see my guide on travelling in Hungary with a dog.
Dog-Friendly Dining in Budapest
When it comes to dining out in Budapest (something you don’t want to miss with the affordable prices), we had varied experiences bringing along our dog.
There were some places that were welcoming towards dogs and allowed them inside. They probably were also regularly visited by locals with dogs. Some of these places had stickers showing they were dog-friendly outside – look out for them.
But not every restaurant is welcoming towards dogs. One night we dined at a Japanese restaurant, that definitely didn’t allow dogs inside (and had no tables outside). And another time it seemed that our dog was only begrudgingly allowed inside, with us sitting at an odd table closest to the door.
If you don’t at first succeed, keep trying. We probably found the Pest side more dog-friendly than the Buda side, where unfortunately we were staying. We also probably had more luck with restaurants outside of Budapest, in the rest of Hungary, but that was probably just down to pure luck. Alternatively, find cafes with outdoor seating.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation in Budapest
Many hotels accept pets in Budapest, with 45% of hotels in Budapest saying they were dog-friendly in my recent survey. This applies equally to budget and high-end hotels.
The first time I stayed in Budapest I splurged on the 5-star Corinthia Hotel, which welcomes dogs for an extra charge. (Although that trip was without my pup, unfortunately.)
If staying at the hotel, don’t miss the in-house Royal Spa, including heated swimming pool and spa pools. The hotel is located only a block away from the Octogon Square, plus is close to the restaurants and bars of Király St.
Another option is to find an Airbnb, with many dog-friendly options available. Last time when we visited Budapest with our dog we stayed in a lovely apartment on the Buda side of the river.
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About the Author
Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.
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