Contemporary art thrives in Budapest

Budapest’s love of art in forms has existed for centuries and is as alive today as ever. New talent is discovered constantly, and a wide range of locations are only too happy to present new generations of artistic genius to the public. 

Hungarian House of Music

The organic architecture of the Hungarian House of Music, next to Lake Városligeti between Vajdahunyad Castle and the Ice Rink, blurs the line between nature and man-made structures. Under its unique roof, beside the huge glass walls, and even inside the building, visitors will feel as if they are walking in nature. The merging of man-made structure and nature is also symbolized by decorative elements in the form of leaves in the suspended ceiling. 

Are you indoors or out at House of Hungarian Music?
Are you indoors or out at the House of Hungarian Music? © Hungarian Tourism Agency

Nature and the man-made world coexist in harmony in the new building of the Museum of Ethnography. Sixty percent of its exhibition space is below ground level, and a 7,300-square-meter park and roof garden have been created on top of its two wings. The curved roof garden serves as both a meeting point and a community space, and by climbing to its highest points, you can enjoy a magnificent panorama of the City Park.  

Get a birds-eye view of the Museum of Ethnography
Get a birds-eye view of the Museum of Ethnography, © Hungarian Tourism Agency

Palace of Arts

The Ludwig Museum is located in Müpa (Palace of Arts), next to the National Theater. The exhibition space displays artworks by modern and contemporary artists and is open all year round. The temporary exhibitions showcase leading artists of the international scene and the best-known Hungarian masters. 

Visit the Palace of Arts at sunset for stunning photos
Visit the Palace of Arts at sunset for stunning photos, © Hungarian Tourism Agency

A prominent example of contemporary architecture is the Bálna (or Whale) building on the banks of the Danube. Named for its shape, the structure conveys a new approach to building design and houses art displays and artisanal food and beer cafes. 

The downtown café and art gallery Lumen aims to promote international photography trends in Hungary. At the Mikszáth tér venue, you can glimpse contemporary art trends and enjoy monthly exhibitions. 

Some spectacular public works and giant murals await you on city walks in Hungary. The domestic Street Art line-up is, of course, much broader, so much so that alongside tours of architectural heritage and historic districts, special sightseeing tours organized around this particular theme are available. 

Follow the geometry of Bálna, the "whale" building
Follow the geometry of Bálna, the “whale” building, ©Hungarian Tourism Agency


Downtown Budapest has almost no wall that hasn’t been used for graffiti. Nearly half of these works commemorate a historical event or draw attention to an item of national pride. The theme of the paintings ranges from Empress Sissi to the memorable 6:3 Hungarian football victory over England and from popular fairy tale heroes to the Rubik’s Cube. 

Have you ever seen a Rubik's cube of this size? You can in Budapest!
Have you ever seen a Rubik’s cube of this size? You can in Budapest! ©Hungarian Tourism Agency


Budapest is slowly filling up with the mini-statues of sculptor Mihály Kolodko. Their charm lies precisely in that they’re not aggressive and don’t attract attention, so only passers-by who are open to subtleties and sensitive to detail will spot them. Each piece has some relationship to the location where it is placed. Finding them can be especially fun and even an all-day activity. Watch out: they’re not easy to find!

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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