Budapest is full of artists, and creativity is woven into the city’s fabric. Historically, it was home to some of Europe’s best writers and poets, and a quick scan of the skyline will remind you that it also inspired a wide range of architectural styles. To see a comprehensive map of all the murals in Budapest click here.
The city’s modern creative flair can be discovered in its abundance of street art, which brightens up the walls of the Jewish Quarter and beyond – an area devastated by the war and very much forgotten.
Street artists first hit the walls of Budapest guerrilla style, putting up murals wherever they could get away with it. Today, they’re accepted and admired, and festivals such as Színes Város even attract artists from abroad to contribute to the city’s art scene.
Here are five art projects worth seeking out while you’re in town. And, if you want to learn more about the history of street art in Budapest, be sure to check out this fantastic tour of the city’s ruin pubs and alternative spots.
1. Rubik’s cube
Did you know that the Rubik’s cube was invented in Budapest in 1974 by Ernő Rubik? The cube has since come to symbolise Hungarian pride, and features in artworks from time to time. Its latest appearance is as the subject of a mural at Erzsébetváros. Stand close and you’ll just see small colourful circles, but take a few steps back and a 3D Rubik’s cube will emerge in all its glory.
Part of the draw of the Rubik’s cube is that there are a variety of ways to solve it, and the artist would like you to remember that “there is always a solution – and not just one”. We think this applies to life as well!
Photo credit: budapestflow.com
2. Kazinczy Street Playground
On a street that’s constantly in flux with the arrival of new ruin bars and restaurants, the Kazinczy Street Playground has always been a bright and beckoning beacon. Painted to match the skyline in the background and with lush greenery in the foreground, this park is a welcoming oasis in a busy city.
The mural was painted by the local Neopaint crew, whose other works can often be found in the area.
3. Greengrocer on Dob Street
Shop fronts come and go in Budapest’s VII district, but we have a feeling this one will be around for quite a while and that’s because it is, in fact, a colourful mural depicting a greengrocer.
Found on the corner of Klauzál Square and Dob Street, it was originally painted in 2012 and subsequently repainted after some rain damage. The character depicted is known as ‘Auntie Zsuzsa from Lumen’ – a real person from a great coffee shop on the other side of the city.
Photo credit: neopaint.hu
4. Mural with augmented reality
Augmented reality takes the real world and overlays colour and information on it. It has many real-world uses, both practical and creative, and companies like Lara – based in Budapest – live at the cutting edge of this technology, regularly bringing interesting projects to life.
For example, check out the pieces included in the Színes Város project using the Lara app, and see the murals literally burst into life in front of your eyes.
5. Urban style on Nagydiófa street
Created by a Russian artist, this mural, despite being 240 square metres in size, was put together in a record three days. The artist was keen to reflect Budapest’s vibrancy and did so by producing a layered picture of a female, with the colours representing the pulsing vibes of the city as well as the diversity of its population. The shimmering water background is supposed to reflect the city’s close connection to the Danube River.
Photo credit: Színes Város
Bonus: The art on Kertész Street
If you want to surround yourself with some of the best murals in the city, then head over to 27 Kertész Street. In one small patch, you’ll find vibrant pieces such as Alice in Wonderland and Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy, among others – all character pieces that represent one small element of Budapest’s overall charm as seen through the artist’s eyes.
Photo credit: Színes Város