Exploring Budapest from the saddle? Even if you just rent a bike for a single day, you can find the most popular sights or marvel at the most scenic views without having a pro cyclist’s cardio. We’ve collected the top 4 tours and destinations that transform a regular sightseeing tour into a truly memorable one. And to help you a little with the nitty-gritty, you’ll also find a handy guide on how to rent a bike during your stay.
If this is your first time in Budapest, you probably want to check those must-see boxes first. These include (amongst many others) the Hungarian Parliament, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and Heroes’ Square, and most travel guides will probably recommend you a mixture of public transportation and walking. If you decide to pedal your way to see all these landmarks, you’re in for a treat.
This 4-kilometer ride covers only a short distance, but you’ll cruise through the most picturesque part of the Pest side. What’s even better is that you virtually have zero elevation during the trip.
Difficulty rating: 5/1
2. Downtown Dash: Móricz Zsigmond Square – Gellért Square – Kálvin Square – Astoria – Deák Square – St. Stephen’s Basilica
Let’s turn it up a notch, shall we? This route takes you to Pest from the Buda side, and while it does require a tad more pedaling (around 4.5 kilometers), you’ll probably stop to snap a photo every 200 meters. This route will take you through one of the prettiest parts of Buda, with hipster cafés and beautifully preserved buildings running on both sides of the road, continuing over the Danube on Liberty Bridge, and finishing in a similarly spectacular district of Pest.
While this Budapest bike tour is a bit more challenging than the previous one, you’ll get to see some of the prettiest parts of the whole capital in turn.
Difficulty rating: 5/2
Looking to stick around the Buda side? We totally get it. This route attends your needs without having to climb any hills. Start off from the impressive building of Hotel Gellért, and coast all the way up the Danube towards Margaret Bridge. This is a scenic route for sure as you’ll spot most of the well-known landmarks of the capital on either side of the river: The Citadella, Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, Chain Bridge, the Parliament, and many more. And to escape the noise of the city, this Budapest bike tour ends at one of the greenest and definitely the most serene spots in the capital: Margaret Island.
At 7.5 kilometers, this route might seem a little demanding, but with almost no elevation and a straight bike path from start to finish, this is an easy one to cover.
Difficulty rating: 5/4
This Budapest bike tour is the older sibling of our previous entry on this list. While it is barely longer than River Ride, you’ll have to consider that the 8.5 kilometers route is just half of the story. So, with around 17 kilometers in total distance, this destination is not for the faint hearted, but it is also a pretty scenic one. You won’t see many landmarks, but you’ll cruise through the cobblestones of Óbuda, leaving the crowded parts of the city behind, eventually arriving in a lush and undisturbed area right at the bank of the Danube. Római part (lit. Roman coast) has recently become a hip yet peaceful spot for anyone who wants to relax a little without leaving the capital – so even after a longer ride, spending a few hours here will recharge your batteries so that the way back won’t feel demanding either.
Difficulty rating: 5/5
Now that we piqued your interest with these gorgeous routes, this is the only question left to be answered. Budapest, while not as bike-friendly as the likes of Copenhagen or Amsterdam, it’s filled with plenty of options when it comes to bike rental. Your first and most convenient option would be going with a bike-sharing service like MOL Bubi or Donkey Republic. These bikes are rather cumbersome, but they are cheap to rent (500 HUF or 1.5€ for a daily pass plus the same amount for every 30 minutes for MOL Bubi, and 231 HUF or 0.75€ for Donkey Republic) and very easy to pick up and drop off. Note that bike-sharing is not available in every district, so routes that exceed the limits of downtown Budapest might be tricky – remember to check the nearest drop-off spot to your destination, as you’ll have to pedal there if you want to stop using the bike. If you have a longer Budapest bike tour in mind, check out this bike rental.
Cycling can’t substitute for public transportation in every situation: some parts of the city are just simply not designed for pedaling (Gellért Hill, Buda Castle, or the 12th district). However, with many landmarks and picturesque vantage points well within reach, renting a bike can be the cheapest and even the fastest way of exploring the prettiest spots in the capital.
- Is cycling difficult in Budapest?
- It’s very easy to explore the city by bike. Finding the most popular landmarks via bike lanes takes little effort and provides a fun alternative to other means of transportation.
- How can I rent a bike in Budapest?
- Try a bike-sharing service like MOL Bubi or Donkey Republic, or find a local store in a busy hub like Deák Square or Batthyány Square.
- Do people ride bikes in Budapest?
- Budapest is becoming a bike-friendly city: this means both locals and tourists become increasingly reliant on cycling as a primary way of transportation.