You can learn a lot about a city by the quality and quantity of its museums. A city with multiple, engrossing museums is a city that values its history. Budapest definitely fits that bill; everywhere you look, you’ll find carefully curated, high-quality museums.
Budapest also features museums that fit every niche; there are art galleries, war memorials, agriculture museums, national history museums, and much more. The sheer variety of museums in the “Heart of Europe” is enough to make your head spin. That’s why we’ve put this guide together to help you get the most of your trip.
Today, we’re going to show you the best venues to visit when you go museum hopping in Budapest. Pack plenty of snacks and stock up on water, because you’re going to be in for quite the journey. And don’t forget to store your extra luggage in a safe place before you get started.
Hungarian National Museum
One of the reasons people call Budapest the Heart of Europe is because it’s the capital of Hungary. It’s no surprise that the Hungarian National Museum would be located in such a culturally significant city. This museum was built in 1802 and is one of the best places to learn about Hungarian art, history, and archaeology.
Exhibits change all the time here, so there’s always something new and exciting to experience. Stop by the Hungarian National Museum’s website to learn about upcoming events and exhibits.
Museum of Ethnography
Ethnography is the study of specific cultures and peoples. Budapest’s Museum of Ethnography is the perfect place to learn about early Hungarian culture. Some of the exhibits on display include:
- The Isabella Blouse
- #etnocolor and the museum’s collection of drawings
- Nigeria Monarchs
Some exhibits are temporary, while others are off-site, but the bulk of the museum’s best exhibits are permanent. Check out their website to find out what’s going on at the Museum of Ethnography.
The Ludwig Museum is the next stop on our museum hopping journey. Showcasing the Hungarian exhibition of the Venice Biennale organization is one of this museum’s main functions.
This venue is full of amazing contemporary art pieces as well as classic paintings and sculptures. There’s always a new exhibit on the horizon, with most running for about a month at a time. We highly encourage you to visit the Ludwig Museum’s website if you’re interested in going.
House of Terror
The House of Terror isn’t a Halloween themed museum. It’s a museum that’s full of exhibits about 20th-Century European Fascist regimes. Some of the House of Terror’s most well-known features include:
- The Arrow Cross Party exhibit
- The State Protection Authority (AVH) exhibit
- Music composed by Ákos Kovács.
They say those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The House of Terror’s goal is to educate people about Hungary’s brutal past to protect its future. Some argue that the House of Terror isn’t critical enough of Hungary’s past. We encourage you to visit for yourself and be the judge.
Budapest History Museum
Are you looking to take a deep dive into Budapest’s history? Then you’ll be excited by the next stop on our museum hopping adventure. The Budapest History Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the city’s history.
The exhibits here go back all the way to the 8th Century, during the time of the Ancient Romans. All kinds of artifacts are on display as well as statues and sculptures from bygone eras. Describing the Budapest History Museum as enlightening almost feels like an understatement.
Museum of Hungarian Agriculture
A wise man once said, “a nation must always remember its roots.” At the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, that old adage is taken literally. Here, visitors can travel back in time and see how Hungary’s early citizens lived off of the land. Popular attractions include:
- The Golden Age of Hunting in Hungary exhibit
- The National Horse Show
- Hungarian Grapes and Wine in Europe exhibit
This museum also doubles as a library. If you see anything on display that really piques your interest, you can probably find a book about it nearby. You can also attend weekend classes and castle tours at this amazing place!
Ferenc Hopp Museum of East Asian Art
Japanese woodblock prints, Indian statues, and Thai sculptures are all on display at the Ferenc Hopp Museum of East Asian Art. This place is one of Budapest’s most popular East Asian Art museums. Ferenc Hopp, the man this museum is named after, was an esteemed optician and art collector who lived from 1833 to 1919. Mr. Hopp was a true patron of East Asian art all the way to his dying day.
After Mr. Hopp passed, his collection served as the foundation of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of East Asian Art. Today, hundreds of pieces are housed at the museum. There’s also an on-site library alongside numerous exhibitions. This museum is a great place to rest and recuperate, making it an excellent second-to-last stop on our museum hop.
Victor Vasarely Museum
The late Victor Vasarely is considered the father of Op Art (or Optical Art). Op Art pieces delight and excite audiences by playing tricks on their minds. Optical illusions like the “Spinning Ballerina” have their roots in Op Art. All of the 3D art museums that are popular today wouldn’t exist without Victor Vasarely.
The last stop on our museum hop is dedicated to this Op Art pioneer. The Victor Vasarely Museum will boggle your mind, fool your eyes, and leave you aching for more Op Art masterpieces. Vasarely’s art is truly one of a kind. At the risk of sounding over-dramatic, it must be seen to be believed. Or to not be believed, in the case of certain pieces. Stay frosty, trust your gut, and don’t let your eyes mislead you.