Gigi and her rescue Yorkshire Terrier named Roger, of the travel blog Wet Nose Escapades, love gallivanting around Europe together! These California natives are pros at living life on the road and sniffing out the best eats in every city.
Here they share their top 10 dog-friendly things to do in one of their favorite cities – Budapest!
Budapest (pronounced Boo-da-PESHT), Hungary is an exhilarating yet overlooked destination in Europe. The medieval architecture, grand public squares and sweeping river city views are enough to lure my wet nose in for a visit.
As Hungary’s dynamic capital city, Budapest is also one of the most dog-welcoming cities in Europe. With the city’s dog-friendly culture resembling that of Paris and Florence (for a fraction of the cost of living), I have found myself here on two occasions, each visit for month, and during consecutive years.
As a dog traveler, I love being able to walk into most places throughout the city without any disapproving glares.
Check out my list of 10 dog-friendly things to do in Budapest:
1. Chill at a “Ruin Pub”
Don’t let the name fool you! Restored from abandoned buildings, warehouses and lots in the Old Jewish Quarter, ruin pubs are Budapest’s best-kept secrets.
Far from fancy or pretentious, these artsy, graffiti-walled pubs are individually distinctive by maintaining a bit of their original abandoned or decayed character. They are paws down the BEST dog-friendly nightlife spots to mingle with the locals and down some Drehers.
Although I was denied once at the famous Szimpla Kert (the volume of music at the time was too loud anyway), I’ve always been able to enter the laid-back ruin bars. Even without the outdoor gardens and courtyards at ruin pubs, dogs are generally welcome inside bars and pubs throughout the city.
My two favorite ruin pubs are Kőleves Kert (Kazinczy u. 37) and Pótkulcs (Csengery u. 65/b).
As these pubs can get a little rowdy late at night with loud music and partying youth, it’s best to visit in the early evening with your dog when the environment is the most chill and relaxed.
2. Stroll along the Danube River
Danube River is Europe’s second-longest river that famously divides the city into Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank.
No matter what side of the river you and your dog saunter on, you will naturally feel the Hungarian charm as you pass by Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture.
In Budapest, one out of five residents own a dog, so your furry traveler will find plenty of butts to follow and sniff during this scenic walk.
For some jaw-dropping pictures of your dog, make stops in front of the magnificent Parliament House, the iconic neo-Gothic city landmark inspired by the British House of Parliament, and Buda Castle, the massive Baroque royal home to the Hungarian kings.
3. Hike Buda Hills
Buda Hills has some beautiful trails to trek with your dog.
For the best panoramic views of the city, hike up to the highest point, János Hill (1,729 feet). As the hike can take 3-4 hours roundtrip depending on one’s aptitude, I would only recommend this hike for larger or more athletic dogs who love hiking long distances.
If you have a small dog, you can take your dog on shorter, lower-elevation hikes in Buda Hills. For instance, the climb on Gellért Hill to Citadella (771 ft) will only take about 20 to 30 minutes one-way for some sweeping city views from the fortress.
For an even shorter hike, walk up the popular Castle Hill (551 ft) to explore the majestic grounds of Buda Castle, where Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church stand. You’ll still get some amazing views of Pest!
If you have a small dog like me, then you may want to bring a dog backpack or carrier in case your dog needs to rest his or her legs.
Regardless of your dog’s size, remember to pack a water bowl and bottled water for breaks. And, of course – always be careful of steep or slippery steps. Safety comes first!
4. Visit dog statues
Budapest has two dog-loving monuments in Pest that will melt the heart of all dog lovers.
Created by Budapest sculptor Géza Dezső Fekete, the Columbo statue on Falk Miksa Street is a lovely tribute to American actor Peter Falk for his role as a police detective in the TV series of the same name.
The funny monument shows the fictional detective scratching his head to an unsolved crime with his basset hound named “Dog” sitting down with his tail curled around.
The second one is “Girl with Her Dog.” Located along the walkway of the Danube River in Vigado Ter, this bronze statue by Budapest sculptor Raffay Dávid depicts a sweet girl motioning to get a ball from her dog’s mouth.
5. Explore Gozsdu Udvar
Home to specialty shops, trendy bars, and international restaurants (ranging from Italian to Thai), Gozsdu Udvar is a unique yet often overlooked dog-friendly experience in Downtown Pest/Old Jewish Quarter.
With seven historic buildings AND six connected courtyards, this hip marketplace is an exciting area to dine, shop, and walk around with your dog.
Home to fashion shows, flea markets, and Christmas markets, the aesthetically pleasing courtyards welcome dogs to meander around the fascinating thoroughfare.
Although this place becomes more festive and bustling in the evening when the lights are lit, a late afternoon visit would make a more relaxed experience for your dog. I just love the cheerful atmosphere here!
6. Cross the Széchenyi Chain Bridge
Spanning over the Danube River, this landmark bridge connects Buda and Pest into one incredible city!
Constructed in the 1830s-40s, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge or simply Chain Bridge was destroyed during World War II, then rebuilt and reopened in 1949.
Since it’s a short bridge (approx. 375 meters long, 202 meters between the two pillars), you and your dog can enjoy a nice, less than a quarter of a mile walk across to either side of the city for some pretty views of the Parliament and impressive bridge architecture.
Be on the lookout for the two lion stone statues guarding the bridge!
7. Eat Hungarian food
Wining and dining with your dog is one of the most popular dog-friendly things to do in Budapest.
When I first checked into my apartment in Terézváro (near the Opera House in Pest), my host told me that Budapest is so dog-friendly that water is often served to dogs BEFORE humans at restaurants.
Although my tail wagged to the good news, I was a bit skeptical. But yet, it didn’t take me long to verify Budapest’s delightful dog-friendly culture.
Similar to France and Italy, dogs are welcome to dine indoors with their humans at most restaurants!
From succulent beef goulash to chicken paprikash with home-cooked nokedli, there is plenty to enjoy while trying different types of Hungarian food in Budapest with your dog.
And unless you are willing to share some of the Hungarian goodies with your dog, remember to pack a few bones and treats.
Be sure to try my three favorite restaurants: Cafe Vian (Liszt Ferenc tér 9), Menza (Liszt Ferenc tér 2) and Bisztró Most (Zichy Jenő u. 17).
8. Visit a Hipster cafe
As one ultra-hip city, Budapest doesn’t fall short of cool hipster cafes – all of which I’ve found to welcome dogs inside.
From rustic and vintage to colorful and funky, these hipster cafes have taken over the city in recent years. They’re cozy places to sip on specialty coffee, get some work done, or simply hipster-watch with your furry best friend happily snoozing in the chair next to yours.
My go-to hipster cafes are Kelet Kávézó és Galéria (Bartók Béla út 29, 1114) and Kontakt (Károly krt. 22, 1052), both of which offer inviting outdoor seating.
Whether you’re grabbing a freshly baked croissant or veggie hummus wrap, you can experience Budapest’s vibrant hipster culture with your dog. Don’t forget to put on those skinny jeans and big glasses 🙂
9. Take pictures in front of iconic churches
Although dogs aren’t allowed inside churches, you’ll still find plenty of dogs sniffing out the exterior grounds of churches and basilicas in Budapest.
Hungary’s most important church is St. Stephen’s Basilica; named after the first King of Hungary, St. Stephen’s Basilica boasts neo-Classical architecture with two large bell towers.
Since it’s one of the tallest buildings in Budapest, you’ll need to take a few steps back to capture your dog in front of the entire building.
The second most famous church in the city is Matthias Church (Church of Our Lady); located on top of Buda Hill, the slenderly elegant Matthias Church was built after the departure of the Mongols. Its majestic neo-Gothic architecture is stunning and captures your attention even from afar.
Of course, you’ll also stumble upon lesser-known churches (e.g. St. Anne, St. Francis, etc.) throughout the city that are also more than worthy of a photo with your dog.
10. Roam the “Kutyafuttató” at city parks
Be on the lookout for “kutyafuttatos” – dog runs or designated areas within city parks where dogs can run free.
Although you may also see some dogs run free at public squares and non-designated dog areas, Budapest has a myriad of city parks and green spaces specifically for dogs.
Here are some of the best dog-friendly parks in the city:
- Erzsébet tér Square – Located near the famous Budapest Eye, this lively square offers a popular dog park AND the largest green area in Pest.
- Szent István Park – Situated along the Danube River, this scenic park has a separate dog run and fantastic views of Buda Hills and Margit Island.
- Olympia Park – Not far from the Parliament, this Olympics-commemorating park boasts a large area for dogs to roam free.
- Margaret (Margit) Island – Sandwiched between Buda and Pest in the middle of the Danube River, this island is a fun area to explore with your dog with a music water fountain and an iconic water tower.
Regardless of where you are in Budapest, you won’t have any issues finding well-maintained public parks for your dog to mingle with Hungarian canines.
I hope you and your dog have a blast in Budapest! I can’t wait for my third visit.
If you’ve discovered other fun dog-friendly things to do in Budapest, Hungary, please share and bark at me!
Thank you Gigi and Roger!
Click here for more dog-friendly travel tips.
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