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Budapest

Communist History

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Our most recommended Budapest Communist History

Budapest: House of Terror Guided Tour

1. Budapest: House of Terror Guided Tour

Visit the House of Terror, built in memory of the victims of the fascist and communist dictatorships in Hungary, with a knowledgeable guide to learn more about the dark events that took place here at the helm of the Hungarian secret police. Gain a better understanding from Hungary's complex political background through the exhibits focusing on the 1950s and the brutality that followed the 1956 uprising. Meet your guide in front of the entrance of the building, which was once the seat of AVO (State Protection Authority). Walk through the museum together and learn about Hungary during WWII and the Nazi rule then leading to the Soviet Communist occupation. Th exhibits demonstrate how everyday life was organised under the terror of Communist secret police, how their staff members were recruited, how the general elections were falsified, how the propaganda machinery worked, and all political opposition was oppressed. Next you will see the main interrogation and torture chamber of the building, which remained untouched since the 1950s despite the multiple reconstructions of the building. See many documents of the life and economy of the 1950s: the food quota ticket system, the practice of compulsory deliveries and terror against the peasantry. The exhibition leads you to the office room of the dreaded director of the State Protection Authority, with his original desk restored. Go through the "Justice room" to see the process of politically organised show trials against people who were declared enemies of the regime.  The most horrific part of the building is the basement, where a part of the original prison cells were faithfully restored. See the various special rooms: a "wet cell", a "fox hole", a detention cell, a torture chamber and an execution room with a gallow. The last part of the exhibition shows the 1956 national revolution against Soviet occupation and Communist rule, and its consequences, the retaliation and mass emigration. Finally, you will see the Hall of Tears commemorating all of the victims, the Perpetrators' Wall and a memorial of the Soviet troops leaving Hungary in 1991.

Budapest: City Center Walking Tour

2. Budapest: City Center Walking Tour

Discover the most iconic locations in Budapest on this walking tour of the inner city of Pest. Start your stroll in Marcius 15 Square and admire the Gothic Medieval cathedral of the Great Blessed Lady. Walk along the Duna Corso river promenade and enjoy the beautiful view over the Danube, its bridges, and the Castle of Buda on the opposite side. Pass by the spectacular dance palace Pesti Vigado, and see the historical Gerbeaud Cafe in Vorosmarty Square. Take a stroll through Elizabeth Park and see Budapest Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in Europe. After a short walk, you will arrive at one of the highlights of the tour: St Stephen’s Basilica, with its monumental dome and colonnade.  Continue through the traditional pedestrian streets of the city and see the cute statue of Mr. Safe who will definitely make you smile. Next, arrive at Liberty Square where you will learn about Budapest's traumatic past as a center of Nazi occupation and Communist oppression.  Finish your tour in Kossuth Square and admire the sights surrounding the majestic Hungarian Parliament building. Hear stories of dictatorship and the 1956 revolution. Afterwards, you can pay a visit to the poignant Shoes on the Danube Bank monument or enjoy a stroll along the banks of the river.

Budapest: 3-Hour Walking Tour About Communism (Small Group)

3. Budapest: 3-Hour Walking Tour About Communism (Small Group)

After meeting on the main square of Pest, Deák tér, the walk starts through one of the most pleasant areas of the city which is dotted with remnants of Communism. Other than bullet holes, the area is full of stories - from WW2 through to the 1956 revolution and then up to 1989/the early 90s. The aim of the tour is to understand the Communist ideology - its arrival, rule, and legacy in Hungary. Besides an expert commentary from a historian guide, personal family stories will be shared to provide a deeper understanding of the hardships and comic moments from the past system. The tour includes a ride on the red subway (M2) and a drink over a chat in a bar that has changed very little since its opening in 1961.

Budapest: Guided Tour to the Hospital in the Rock & Castle

4. Budapest: Guided Tour to the Hospital in the Rock & Castle

Start at the Holy Trinity Statue, from where you walk around the magnificent Matthias Church. Admire the Fishermen's Bastion, a fantastic fairy tale structure offering the best view over the Danube and the Hungarian Parliament building.  Head to the President's Palace and the Royal Palace complexes and walk around the courtyards and fountains, and look at the proud guards outside the palace.  Walk back from the Royal Palace, and explore the other side of the castle. From the medieval walls, you have an excellent view towards the Buda Hills - the western part of the city with its forests and nature parks.  After the guided walking tour enjoy a few minutes break in the entrance hall of the Hospital in the Rock Museum. Receive a skip-the-line ticket from your tour guide and who will help you to join your scheduled visit to the museum. This will be the most exciting part of your tour. Have a 1-hour guided tour in the "Hospital in the Rock" WW2 underground bunker museum. This place used to be a secret military hospital hidden deep down below the Buda Castle. The hospital is part of a system of natural caves and tunnels, that stretches over nearly six miles. The museum that is located in the old rooms of the hospital was established to preserve its rich history.  See many rooms exhibiting hundreds of lifelike wax figures and showing you the story of the underground hospital, that was then turned into an atomic bunker during World War 2. Follow your guide through the tunnels of this place and get a feeling of what life during these times, especially as a wounded soldier must have looked like.

Budapest: 3-Hour Trabant Sightseeing Tour

5. Budapest: 3-Hour Trabant Sightseeing Tour

Tour Budapest’s communist-era monuments behind the wheel of an original Trabant! There’s no better way to get into the nostalgia of Budapest’s past than with in an original Trabant 601. More than 3 million Trabants, or paper Jaguars as they’re affectionately known, were manufactured during the time the vehicle was in production. This is the car that features a 2-stroke engine and is said to be made of paper and plastic. Its 26-horsepower engine will take you from 0-60 kilometers per hour in 21 seconds! To drive a Trabant you need to start by checking the fuel dip-stick to ensure that the tank isn’t empty, and then open the fuel tap. After pushing down the clutch pedal, you shift to first gear, and then you’re off. It’s recommended that you visit the Communist Statue Park, the Ecseri flea market, and the typical prefabricated blocks of flats built in the 1970s and 1980s. Alternatively, you can take a more normal tour of the major city attractions. If you’d like to continue your Trabant adventure, you can also book your airport transfer with a Trabant! Please note that in order to drive the Trabant a valid driving license is required.

Budapest: Memento Park Ticket

6. Budapest: Memento Park Ticket

Discover gigantic monuments of the communist dictatorship and learn the history of this era in Hungary. At the end of the communist era, all statutes were removed from the streets of Budapest and set up in this park as a reminder of the era. Memento Park portrays the fall of communism in a unique way. On arrival, you will see Stalin's enormous grandstand, a replica of the one that used to stand in the former Parade square where Socialist holidays were celebrated by the leaders of the party and the state. You can also learn about the historical background by exploring the photo exhibition and watching the documentary titled "The Life of an Agent." The park isn't all serious either. You can always pose for a selfie with the statue of Lenin or some Soviet Red Army soldiers.

Budapest: 1956 Revolution Memorial Private Tour

7. Budapest: 1956 Revolution Memorial Private Tour

Discover one of the most significant periods in Hungarian history by learning about the Revolution of 1956. With your guide, explore sites of historical significance and learn about the communist era of Hungary. Historians still argue what to call the events that were triggered by a peaceful solidarity rally of Hungarian students with the Polish people on October 23rd, 1956. It has been described as a rebellion, revolt, uprising, popular uprising, revolution, counter-revolution, or War of Independence. Visit the site of Bloody Thursday in Kossuth Lajos Square, Budapest. Little is known about the exact numbers of revolutionaries who were killed, but it ranges between 22 and 1000 or so people. See the former party headquarters of the Hungarian communist government. Make a stop at the statue of Imre Nagy the Prime Minister of Hungary, and leader of the Revolution, who was executed for treason in 1958 by Soviet forces. Visit Bem Square where 200,000 Hungarian students protested against Soviet rule in 1956 followed by a coffee in the iconic Bambi café. Go to the statue of revolutionary Sándor Petöfi a focal point where political gatherings took place in 1956, and still do to this day. See the building of the Hungarian Radio, one of the epicentres of fighting in 1956 - it was from here revolutionaries begged for help from the world.

Hungary Today: A No-Taboo Conversation

8. Hungary Today: A No-Taboo Conversation

Forget scripted tours and avoiding tough questions. Join a conversation that digs deep into the most contentious political developments in Hungary in the last 30 years, from a controversial "soft" system change from communism to democracy and a free market economy to the recent trends toward the creation of an "illiberal" democracy by the current Hungarian government. Enjoy the ambiance of a traditional cafe unchanged in the last decades where you might be the only foreigner. Your conversational guides have backgrounds ranging from law to history to international relations and have all been involved in Hungarian public life whether it be politics, volunteering, writing and translating articles, or managing educational programs. Gain an objective account (as much as is possible) of recent events in the country and hear your guides's opinions too. Join this tour to access deeper knowledge and understanding about Budapest across the board – nothing is taboo. Discussion groups are limited to six guests (contact us if you are a bigger group and would like to participate).

Budapest: Life Under Communism Private Tour

9. Budapest: Life Under Communism Private Tour

Take this tour and transport yourself back to the previous century for an amazing, interactive presentation of everyday life in the 1960s and through to the late 1980s. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for history buffs, this educational tour will provide an overview of how the system worked and will give a first-hand picture of life back then contrasted with the changes of the past fifty years. Apart from entering this retro world, your skilled guides will highlight how decades of communism have impacted Hungary and the remnants of those bygone years that remain today. The program is conducted by Annamaria and Miklos and starts at Bambi Eszpresszó, a symbolic meeting place of the 1980s.

Budapest: Inner City Walking Tour in German

10. Budapest: Inner City Walking Tour in German

Discover the most iconic locations in Budapest on this walking tour of the inner city of Pest. Start your tour with a stroll through Elizabeth Park and see Budapest Eye, the largest Ferris wheel in Europe. After a short walk, arrive at one of the highlights of the tour: St Stephen’s Basilica, with its monumental dome and colonnade. Continue through the traditional pedestrian streets of the city and see the statue of Mr. Safe, which will definitely make you smile. Next, arrive at Liberty Square, where you will learn about Budapest's traumatic past as a center of Nazi occupation and Communist oppression. Finish your tour in Kossuth Square and admire the sights surrounding the majestic Hungarian Parliament building. Hear stories of dictatorship and the 1956 revolution. Afterwards, pay a visit to the poignant Shoes on the Danube Bank monument or enjoy a stroll along the banks of the river.

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What people are saying about Budapest

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 15 reviews

We did a morning walking tour of the Pest side with Zita, it was very interesting, she knows so much about the rich history of the country, it was a very interesting tour. We ended up booking a 2nd tour of the Buda Castle area with another guide Lena, which was equally great and so knowledgeable. Both tours were not rushed, enough time give to take pictures, ask questions and in small groups (we were 4 for the morning tour and 9 for the afternoon one) so much better than the other large grouped tours.

Fantastic Tour! Veronika was very knowledgeable and she patiently answered all the questions during the tour! I highly recomend the Budapest tour if you ever visit this beautiful city. Thank you!

This tour was fantastic. The guide was very knowledgeable about Hungarian history and explained things in an interesting, conversational manner. I highly recommend this tour.

The museum reflects the atmosphere of those times well, and the guide has excellent knowledge and devotes as much time as the visitors need.

Super cool walking tour and amazing guide! Cheers!