View of Budapest at night

How to See Budapest in One Day: Your Ultimate Guide (2024)

Are you visiting Budapest briefly but want to make the most of your day? This Budapest in one day guide will help you experience what Budapest offers in just one day. The city is a treasure trove of history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. While one day is not enough to see everything, you can still explore the highlights and get a taste of this beautiful city.

I recently traveled to Budapest and explored most landmarks and sightseeing spots in just one day. I loved the city and can’t wait to return. The atmosphere was excellent, and every corner was stunningly beautiful.

This article may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. For complete information, please see our affiliate disclaimer here.

Page Contents

Budapest Travel Resources

Discover the best travel resources for your trip to Budapest with our curated affiliate links. Whether you’re looking for the ideal accommodation, guided tours, or essential travel gear, we’ve got you covered. Click the links below to start planning your perfect Budapest adventure!
Transportation
Book your flights with Trip.com
For trains in Europe, use Rail Europe
Accommodation
Book top-rated hotels and cozy apartments with Booking.com
Find budget-friendly hostels with HostelWorld
Guided Tours
Explore Budapest with expert-led walking tours with Viator
Enjoy scenic river cruises with GetYourGuide
Other Travel Resources
Secure travel insurance for peace of mind with SafetyWing or WorldNomads
Rent a car for convenient travel around Budapest with RentalCars

About Budapest

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is one of Europe’s most enchanting cities. It is renowned for its stunning architecture, beautiful food, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene.

Budapest seamlessly blends history, culture, and modernity. Its diverse attractions and rich heritage make it a captivating destination for travelers worldwide. Budapest offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

Old Buildings in Budapest

The city is divided by the Danube River into two main areas: Buda and Pest, each offering unique experiences and attractions. It took me a couple of days in the city to realize that one side is Buda and the other side is Pest, combining to form Budapest. How cool is that!

Buda

Buda, the hilly and more residential part of the city, is home to some of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks. The Buda Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-see. This historical castle complex offers breathtaking views of the city’s Danube and the Pest.

You can explore the beautiful Matthias Church within the castle district, known for its striking roof tiles and detailed interior. Nearby is the Fisherman’s Bastion, a neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque terrace providing panoramic city views.

Another highlight in Buda is Gellert Hill, which has the Citadella and the Liberty Statue at its top. Hiking up the hill rewards with spectacular vistas, particularly stunning at sunset. The Buda Hills offer numerous trails and outdoor activities for those interested in nature, providing a peaceful escape from the urban environment.

Pest

Pest, Budapest’s flatter and busier side, is the city’s commercial heart. Here, you will find the impressive Hungarian Parliament Building, one of Europe’s most significant and beautiful legislative buildings. A guided tour inside offers insights into Hungary’s political history and the building’s intricate design.

St. Stephen’s Basilica is another major attraction in Pest. This grand church, named after Hungary’s first king, boasts an awe-inspiring interior and a panoramic view from its dome.

The nearby Andrássy Avenue, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, has elegant Neo-Renaissance buildings, high-end shops, and cultural venues. At the end of the avenue, you’ll find Heroes’ Square flanked by the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art. This iconic square pays tribute to Hungary’s historical figures and is a focal point for national celebrations.

Signage at Budapest
Signage at Budapest

Thermal Baths and Cuisine

Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, a legacy of Roman and Turkish history. The Szechenyi Thermal Bath in City Park is one of the largest spa complexes in Europe, offering numerous indoor and outdoor pools. The Gellért Baths and the Rudas Baths are also famous, each providing a unique bathing experience with historical significance.

Hungarian cuisine is another highlight of Budapest. Traditional dishes like goulash and langos (a deep-fried dough topped with various ingredients) are must-tries. The city’s numerous markets, such as the Great Market Hall, offer a chance to sample local produce and traditional foods.

Best Time to Visit Budapest

The best time to visit Budapest depends on your preferences for weather, activities, and crowd levels.

  • Best Time for Mild Weather and Fewer Crowds: Spring (March to May) and Autumn (September to November)
  • Best Time for Festivals and Outdoor Activities: Summer (June to August)
  • Best Time for Christmas Markets and Thermal Baths: Winter (December to February)
Sculpture at a park in Budapest
Sculpture at a park

Spring (March to May)

Spring is one of the best times to visit Budapest. The weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 10°C (50°F) to 20°C (68°F). The city’s parks and gardens are in full bloom, making it a picturesque time for sightseeing. Spring also has fewer tourists than summer, allowing you to enjoy the city’s attractions without the crowds. I visited Budapest in May, and it was lovely without too much crowd.

Summer (June to August)

Summer is Budapest’s peak tourist season. The weather is warm, averaging between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F). This is the best time for outdoor activities, such as river cruises on the Danube and exploring the city’s many open-air festivals and events. However, be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices for accommodation and flights.

Autumn (September to November)

Autumn is another great time to visit Budapest. The weather is still pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 10°C (50°F) to 20°C (68°F). The city is less crowded than in summer, making it easier to explore famous sites. The fall foliage adds a beautiful backdrop to the city’s landmarks, and several cultural events and festivals occur during this season.

Winter (December to February)

Winter in Budapest is cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. However, the city has a magical charm this season, especially around Christmas. Budapest’s Christmas markets are among the best in Europe, offering festive treats, handmade crafts, and a cozy atmosphere. Winter is also the best time to experience Budapest’s famous thermal baths, which provide a warm and relaxing escape from the cold.

728*90

Number of Days Required for Budapest

Budapest has a lot to offer. You need at least three to four days to explore and immerse yourself in the city. However, if you only have one day, you can still see what the city offers. Admittedly, it will be a rushed itinerary, but it’s possible to see the highlights in a single day.

Streets of Budapest
Streets of Budapest

Tips for Traveling in Budapest

Learn Local Terms

To acquaint oneself with local Hungarian terms:

  • “Hi” in Hungarian is “Szia,” while its plural form is “Sziastok.” “Szia” can also be used at the end of a sentence.
  • “Thank you” translates to “Köszönöm,” and “Sivashan” expresses “You are welcome.”
  • For “Excuse me,” use “Bocsánat.”
  • To toast with “Cheers,” say “Egészségedre.”
  • Inquiring “How are you?” is done with “Hogy vagy?”

Apps Required for Budapest

When exploring Budapest, several mobile apps prove invaluable for travelers seeking convenience and efficiency.

  • Budapest Go serves as a comprehensive guide, offering insights into local attractions, public transportation options, and curated itineraries to maximize your experience in the city.
  • Bolt and Grab provide convenient transportation solutions, allowing users to easily hail rides and navigate the bustling streets of Budapest.
  • For those craving culinary delights, Wolt and Foodora emerge as must-have apps. They offer seamless food delivery services from many restaurants and eateries across the city.

These mobile apps ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey through Budapest.

Budapest Travel Card

The Budapest Travel Card, also known as the Budapest Card, is a convenient and cost-effective way to explore the city’s public transportation system and attractions. Here’s what you need to know about the Budapest Travel Card:

  1. Types of Cards: The Budapest Card is available in different durations, typically ranging from 24 hours to 120 hours. There are also options for 48-hour and 72-hour cards with additional benefits, such as discounts at attractions, museums, and restaurants. The price of the 24-hour Budapest Card is €33 (US$35.60), €49 (US$52.90) for the 48-hour card, and €63 (US$68) for the 72-hour card. The 96-hour card costs €77 (US$83.20), and the 120-hour card is priced at €92 (US$99.40).
  2. Public Transportation: The Budapest Card offers unlimited travel on the city’s public transportation network, including buses, trams, trolleybuses, metro lines, and the suburban railway (HÉV) within the city limits. This allows cardholders to explore Budapest’s attractions with ease and convenience. You cannot use the Budapest Card on 100E (airport bus).
  3. Discounts and Benefits: Besides unlimited travel, the Budapest Card offers discounts at various attractions, museums, cultural institutions, and thermal baths throughout the city. Cardholders can enjoy reduced admission fees or special offers at participating venues, making it a cost-effective option for sightseeing.
  4. Free Services: Depending on the card’s duration, some versions of the Budapest Card also include free services such as a guided walking tour, a boat tour on the Danube River, and a ride on the historic Millennium Underground Railway (Metro Line 1).
  5. Validity and Activation: The Budapest Card becomes valid upon its first use, whether for public transportation or at an attraction. To maximize its benefits, activating the card on the designated start date and time indicated is important.
  6. Where to Purchase: The Budapest Card can be purchased online, at tourist information centers, major transportation hubs such as Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport and Nyugati Railway Station, and at selected hotels and retailers throughout the city.

Money Exchange and ATM Withdrawal

When exchanging money, avoid Orange change and opt for reputable sources. Correct change establishments are reliable options, and local banks and ATMs are recommended for secure transactions.

Budapest in One Day

Morning

Start your day on the Buda side of the city. Head to Buda Castle early to beat the crowds and enjoy the panoramic Danube River and Pest views. Wander around the historic castle district, visiting Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. These landmarks offer a glimpse into Budapest’s rich history and provide fantastic photo opportunities.

Buda Castle

Buda Castle, perched atop Castle Hill on the Buda side of Budapest, is a historical and architectural gem. As one of the city’s most significant landmarks, it offers a glimpse into Hungary’s rich past while providing stunning views of the Danube River and the Pest side of the city.

Buda Castle was first built in the 13th century to protect the area from Mongol invasions. Over the centuries, it has undergone numerous reconstructions and expansions, reflecting a blend of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical architectural styles. The complex we see today was largely shaped during the 18th century under the Habsburgs, although significant damage during World War II led to extensive post-war restoration.

The castle complex is sprawling with various buildings, courtyards, and gardens. Key features include:

  • Royal Palace: The centerpiece of Buda Castle, this grand building houses several museums and the Hungarian National Gallery. Its elegant exterior and opulent interiors showcase the grandeur of Hungary’s royal past.
  • Matthias Fountain: A striking Baroque fountain in the western courtyard depicting a hunting scene with King Matthias Corvinus. It is one of the most photographed spots within the castle grounds.
  • Lion’s Courtyard: Named for the stone lion statues that guard its entrance, this courtyard leads to the Hungarian National Library and the Budapest History Museum.

Buda Castle is home to several important cultural institutions:

  • Hungarian National Gallery: This museum in the Royal Palace features an extensive collection of Hungarian art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Highlights include Gothic altarpieces, Baroque paintings, and contemporary works.
  • Budapest History Museum: Also located within the castle complex, this museum chronicles Budapest’s history from ancient to modern times. Exhibits include archaeological finds, medieval artifacts, and city development displays.
  • Hungarian National Library: Known as the Szechenyi Library, this institution holds a vast collection of Hungarian literary works and historical documents.

You can reach Buda Castle via several routes, including a scenic walk up Castle Hill, a funicular ride from the Chain Bridge, or a bus ride. Once there, you can explore the courtyards and gardens freely, while entry to the museums and galleries typically requires an admission fee.

Funicular ride from the Chain Bridge to Buda Castle
Funicular Ride from the Chain Bridge to Buda Castle

The castle grounds offer spectacular views of Budapest, especially from the Fisherman’s Bastion and the terraces surrounding the Royal Palace. The illuminated cityscape provides a magical backdrop for daytime sightseeing and evening strolls.

Matthias Church

Matthias Church, a symbol of Budapest’s rich history and architectural grandeur, stands proudly atop Castle Hill on the Buda side of the city. With its striking Gothic architecture and colorful tiled roof, this magnificent church is a beloved landmark that has witnessed centuries of Hungarian heritage.

Originally built in the 13th century, Matthias Church has undergone several renovations and reconstructions. Its intricate details and ornate decorations make it a captivating sight inside and out. Its architecture reflects a blend of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance influences.

One of Matthias Church’s most notable features is its stunning interior, adorned with elaborate frescoes, stained glass windows, and intricately carved altars. The highlight of the interior is the breathtaking “Chapel of Our Lady,” known for its exquisite medieval frescoes and stunning altarpiece.

Matthias Church also holds historical significance as the site of numerous royal weddings and coronations throughout Hungarian history. Today, it continues to serve as an active place of worship and a popular tourist attraction, where you can admire its architectural beauty and learn about Hungary’s rich cultural heritage. A visit to Matthias Church offers a glimpse into the soul of Budapest, inviting travelers to explore its storied past and marvel at its timeless beauty.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Fisherman’s Bastion

Perched majestically on Castle Hill of the Buda side of Budapest, Fisherman’s Bastion, or Halászbástya in Hungarian, is a mesmerizing architectural gem offering panoramic views of the city and the Danube River below. This iconic landmark, with its fairytale-like towers and turrets, is a testament to Hungary’s rich history and architectural prowess.

Built in the late 19th century, Fisherman’s Bastion commemorates the 1000th anniversary of Hungary’s founding. Inspired by medieval fortresses, its design features seven ornate turrets, each representing one of the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century.

The highlight of Fisherman’s Bastion is undoubtedly its sprawling terrace, which offers breathtaking vistas of Budapest’s skyline, including the nearby Matthias Church and the majestic Hungarian Parliament Building across the river. You can ascend the winding staircases to explore the various lookout towers and marvel at the intricate details of the neo-Gothic architecture.

Fisherman’s Bastion is a popular tourist destination and serves as a venue for concerts, cultural events, and celebrations throughout the year. Whether admiring the panoramic views, exploring the architectural marvels, or simply soaking in the atmosphere, a visit to Fisherman’s Bastion is a truly enchanting experience that captures the essence of Budapest’s charm and allure.

Late Morning

Next, cross the iconic Liberty Bridge to reach the Pest side. Stroll along Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage site, leading you to the impressive Hungarian State Opera House and the House of Terror Museum. Take a moment to appreciate the grandeur of Heroes’ Square and the adjoining City Park.

Liberty Bridge

Stretching gracefully across the Danube River in Budapest, the Liberty Bridge, or Szabadság híd in Hungarian, stands as a symbol of freedom and architectural splendor. This iconic bridge, constructed at the end of the 19th century, connects the bustling Pest side of the city with the serene Buda side, offering both locals and tourists a picturesque pathway to explore Budapest’s vibrant charms.

Liberty Bridge Budapest
Liberty Bridge

Designed by János Feketeházy, the Liberty Bridge features a distinctive green color, ornate ironwork, and majestic Art Nouveau-style pillars adorned with statues and motifs symbolizing Hungary’s rich history and national identity. At its center, a majestic bronze statue of the Turul, a mythical bird from Hungarian folklore, watches over the bustling river below, embodying the spirit of liberty and independence.

Aside from its architectural beauty, the Liberty Bridge also serves as a vital transportation link, carrying trams, pedestrians, and cyclists between the bustling streets of Pest and the historic landmarks of Buda. Whether strolling along its pedestrian walkway, admiring the panoramic views of Budapest’s skyline, or capturing the beauty of the Danube River at sunset, a visit to the Liberty Bridge offers a memorable experience that celebrates the spirit of liberty and the timeless allure of Budapest.

Andrássy Avenue

Andrássy Avenue, a grand boulevard stretching approximately 2.5 kilometers through the heart of Budapest, is a magnificent showcase of architectural elegance and historical significance. Lined with majestic buildings, stately mansions, and leafy trees, this iconic thoroughfare is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks.

Constructed in the late 19th century, Andrássy Avenue was designed to rival the famous boulevards of Paris and Vienna, reflecting Hungary’s aspirations for cultural sophistication and urban development. Named after Prime Minister Gyula Andrássy, the avenue connects Heroes’ Square in the northeast with St. Stephen’s Basilica in the southwest, a central artery linking many of Budapest’s most important landmarks and cultural institutions.

One of the most striking features of Andrássy Avenue is its eclectic mix of architectural styles, ranging from Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque to Art Nouveau and eclectic designs. You can admire iconic buildings along the avenue, such as the Hungarian State Opera House, the lavish mansions of former aristocratic families, and elegant townhouses adorned with intricate facades and ornate details.

In addition to its architectural splendor, Andrássy Avenue is also a vibrant hub of activity, lined with boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and cultural venues. Whether strolling along its tree-lined promenade, marveling at its architectural wonders, or immersing oneself in its lively atmosphere, visiting Andrássy Avenue offers a captivating journey through Budapest’s rich history, culture, and urban landscape.

Hungarian State Opera House

The Hungarian State Opera House is a magnificent testament to Budapest’s rich cultural heritage and architectural grandeur. It is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Designed by renowned Hungarian architect Miklós Ybl and completed in 1884, this majestic opera house is a masterpiece of Neo-Renaissance architecture, adorned with intricate facades, ornate statues, and elegant columns.

Located along Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Hungarian State Opera House serves as a focal point for the performing arts in Hungary and is renowned for its exceptional acoustics and opulent interiors. The exquisite foyer, adorned with marble staircases, gilded chandeliers, and frescoed ceilings, exudes an atmosphere of timeless elegance and sophistication.

The main auditorium, with its plush velvet seats and exquisite decor, provides a spectacular setting for opera, ballet, and classical music performances. Over the years, the Hungarian State Opera House has hosted world-renowned artists and composers, cementing its reputation as one of Europe’s premier cultural institutions.

In addition to its artistic significance, the Hungarian State Opera House symbolises national pride and identity, reflecting Hungary’s rich cultural heritage and creative legacy. You can admire the opera house’s exterior from Andrássy Avenue or take a guided tour to explore its magnificent interiors and learn about its storied history.

House of Terror Museum

The House of Terror Museum, located in Budapest, serves as a poignant reminder of Hungary’s tumultuous 20th-century history and the atrocities committed during periods of fascist and communist rule. Housed in a building that once served as the headquarters of the Hungarian Nazi Party and later as the headquarters of the communist secret police (ÁVH), the museum offers a chilling insight into the dark chapters of Hungary’s past.

Opened in 2002, the House of Terror Museum aims to commemorate the victims of totalitarian regimes while educating you about the dangers of extremism and oppression. Through a series of immersive exhibits, including archival footage, personal testimonies, and historical artifacts, the museum chronicles the horrors of political repression, surveillance, and state-sponsored violence that plagued Hungary during the 20th century.

The museum’s permanent exhibition covers key events such as the fascist Arrow Cross regime, the Soviet occupation of Hungary, and the brutality of the communist era. It also features temporary exhibitions and educational programs that shed light on lesser-known aspects of Hungary’s history and promote dialogue about human rights and democracy.

Despite its sombre subject matter, the House of Terror Museum is a powerful testament to the Hungarian people’s resilience and the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice. By confronting the darkest chapters of their past, the museum encourages you to reflect on the importance of safeguarding democratic values and protecting human rights in the face of tyranny and oppression.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Heroes Square

Heroes Square is a majestic and symbolic focal point in Budapest, Hungary. Situated at the end of Andrássy Avenue and adjacent to City Park, this grand public square is a tribute to the nation’s rich history, culture, and heritage.

Constructed in 1896 to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin, Heroes’ Square is adorned with iconic statues and monuments that celebrate the country’s legendary leaders, rulers, and historical figures. At the center of the square stands the Millennium Monument, a towering column topped by the Archangel Gabriel holding the Hungarian Holy Crown and the double cross of Christianity.

Flanking the Millennium Monument are two semicircular colonnades, each adorned with statues representing prominent figures from Hungarian history, including kings, queens, and military leaders. The arcades are also embellished with reliefs depicting scenes from Hungarian mythology and folklore, adding to the square’s cultural significance.

Surrounding Heroes’ Square are several notable landmarks, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hall of Art, which showcase impressive Hungarian and international art collections. Nearby, you can also explore Vajdahunyad Castle, a picturesque Gothic-style castle that houses the Hungarian Agricultural Museum.

Heroes’ Square serves not only as a tribute to Hungary’s past but also as a vibrant gathering place for locals and tourists alike. The square hosts various cultural events, festivals, and celebrations throughout the year, adding to its allure as one of Budapest’s most iconic and beloved landmarks.

City Park

City Park, or Városliget in Hungarian, is a verdant oasis in the heart of Budapest, Hungary. Spanning over 100 acres, this expansive urban park offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life while also serving as a vibrant hub of recreational and cultural activities.

Established in the 19th century, City Park boasts a rich history and many attractions for visitors of all ages. One of the park’s most iconic landmarks is Vajdahunyad Castle, a picturesque Gothic-style structure that houses the Hungarian Agricultural Museum and hosts various cultural events and exhibitions.

Another highlight of City Park is the enchanting Széchenyi Thermal Bath, one of Europe’s largest thermal bath complexes. With its soothing thermal waters and stunning neo-Baroque architecture, the bath offers a rejuvenating experience that has been enjoyed by locals and tourists alike for over a century.

City Park is also home to many other attractions, including the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, which features a diverse collection of animals and plant species worldwide. You can also explore the park’s enchanting paths and green spaces, perfect for picnics, strolls, and outdoor recreation.

City Park hosts various cultural events, festivals, and concerts throughout the year, making it a vibrant destination for entertainment and leisure. Whether admiring the architectural grandeur of Vajdahunyad Castle, soaking in the healing waters of Széchenyi Thermal Bath, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the park, a visit to City Park offers a delightful escape into Budapest’s enchanting green oasis.

Afternoon

For lunch, indulge in traditional Hungarian cuisine at a local restaurant. Try out the langos, but be prepared for heavy and full-filling loads of cheese.

In the afternoon, visit St. Stephen’s Basilica and spend the late afternoon at Szechenyi Thermal Baths or Rudas Bath House.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

St. Stephen’s Basilica, or Szent István-bazilika in Hungarian, is a magnificent testament to Budapest’s religious heritage and architectural grandeur. Named in honor of Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen, this imposing structure dominates the city skyline with its towering dome and ornate facade.

St. Stephen's Basilica Budapest
St. Stephen’s Basilica

Construction of St. Stephen’s Basilica began in the late 19th century and was completed in 1905 after more than 50 years of meticulous planning and construction. Designed in the neoclassical style by architect József Hild and later completed by Miklós Ybl, the basilica boasts a harmonious blend of architectural elements, including Greek cross layout, Renaissance-inspired dome, and intricate decorative details.

The interior of St. Stephen’s Basilica is equally impressive. It features lavish decorations of marble, gold leaf, and frescoes that exude luxury and reverence. The main altar, adorned with intricate carvings and religious iconography, serves as the basilica’s focal point, while the magnificent dome offers breathtaking views of Budapest’s skyline from its observation deck.

One of the most cherished treasures housed within St. Stephen’s Basilica is the mummified right hand of St. Stephen, Hungary’s patron saint. It is enshrined in a reliquary chapel and revered as a sacred relic by believers.

In addition to its religious significance, St. Stephen’s Basilica is a cultural landmark and a venue for concerts, organ recitals, and other musical performances. Its exceptional acoustics and majestic ambience make it a popular destination for music lovers worldwide.

Szechenyi Thermal Baths

The Széchenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest’s City Park are one of Europe’s largest and most renowned thermal bath complexes. These historic baths have been an integral part of Budapest’s cultural and social fabric since they opened to the public in 1913, offering a unique opportunity to experience the healing properties of natural thermal waters in an opulent and elegant setting.

The Széchenyi Thermal Baths feature a variety of indoor and outdoor pools, each filled with thermal water drawn from natural hot springs located beneath the city. The water, rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sulphate, is believed to have therapeutic benefits for various health conditions, including arthritis, joint pain, and muscle stiffness.

The centerpiece of the baths is the grand Neo-Baroque-style building, which houses several thermal pools, saunas, steam rooms, and massage facilities. The outdoor section of the baths boasts a collection of thermal pools surrounded by stunning architecture, including ornate colonnades, statues, and fountains. You can soak in the warm waters while enjoying views of the surrounding City Park.

In addition to its therapeutic waters, the Széchenyi Thermal Baths also offer a range of wellness and relaxation services, including massages, facials, and other spa treatments. The baths are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, providing a serene and rejuvenating escape from the stresses of everyday life.

Rudas Bath House

Rudas Bath House, situated on the Buda side of the Danube River, offers a more affordable yet equally authentic experience compared to the renowned Széchenyi Thermal Baths in Budapest. Dating back to the 16th century during the Ottoman occupation of Hungary, Rudas Bath House is one of the oldest thermal baths in the city, boasting a rich history and architectural charm.

Unlike the sprawling complex of Széchenyi, Rudas Bath House is smaller in scale but no less impressive. Its centerpiece is the octagonal pool, known as the Turkish bath, which features a stunning dome adorned with colorful stained glass windows. The thermal waters of Rudas are renowned for their mineral content and therapeutic properties, making them ideal for relaxation and rejuvenation.

In addition to the Turkish bath, Rudas offers a variety of thermal pools, including a rooftop pool with panoramic views of Budapest’s skyline. You can also indulge in various spa and wellness therapies, including massages, facials, and aromatherapy sessions.

Rudas Bath House is known for its traditional and authentic atmosphere, giving you a glimpse into Hungary’s rich bathing culture and heritage. With its historic architecture, soothing thermal waters, and serene ambiance, Rudas offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, making it a popular choice for locals and tourists seeking a more intimate and affordable alternative to the larger thermal baths in Budapest.

Evening

Finish your day with a relaxing evening cruise on the Danube Promenade, enjoying the illuminated Parliament Building and the lively atmosphere of Budapest at night.

Evening Cruise

An evening cruise along the Danube River in Budapest offers a magical and unforgettable experience. It showcases the city’s stunning landmarks illuminated against the night sky. As the sun sets and the city lights come to life, you are treated to a breathtaking panorama of Budapest’s most iconic sights, including the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, and the glowing spires of St. Stephen’s Basilica.

  • Price: Euros 17 to Euros 21 per person.
  • Buy online or at the visitor’s office.
  • Be prepared for long queues, especially during sunset.
Evening Cruise Budapest
Sunset on an Evening Cruise

During the cruise, guests can relax on the boat’s deck and soak in the mesmerizing views while sipping a refreshing cocktail or enjoying a delicious dinner. Live music and entertainment add to the enchanting atmosphere, creating a romantic and unforgettable evening on the water.

In addition to admiring the city’s landmarks from a unique vantage point, an evening cruise also offers insights into Budapest’s rich history and cultural heritage. Knowledgeable guides provide commentary in multiple languages, highlighting key points of interest and sharing fascinating anecdotes about the city’s past.

An evening cruise along the Danube River is a must-do experience for visitors to Budapest. With its stunning views, vibrant vibes, and captivating atmosphere, it’s sure to be a highlight of any trip to the Hungarian capital.

Shoe Memorial at Danube Promenade

The Shoe Memorial, located along the Danube Promenade in Budapest, is a poignant and powerful tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. Consisting of sixty pairs of cast iron shoes of varying styles and sizes, the memorial serves as a haunting reminder of the atrocities committed during World War II, particularly the mass executions of Jews along the banks of the Danube River.

Danube Promenade Budapest
Danube Promenade

The Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial was created by film director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer and was unveiled to the public in 2005. Each pair of shoes represents a life lost, symbolizing the men, women, and children who were brutally murdered by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen during the war.

You are often moved by its somber beauty and emotional impact. As they stand among the empty shoes scattered along the riverbank, they are invited to reflect on the horrors of the past and to honor the memory of those who perished.

The Shoe Memorial stands as a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and serves as a reminder of the importance of remembrance and commemoration in the face of hatred and intolerance. It is a place of solemn reflection and a call to action against prejudice and discrimination, ensuring that the lessons of the past are never forgotten.

Parliament Building

The Hungarian Parliament Building, located along the banks of the Danube River in Budapest, is a majestic architectural masterpiece and one of the most iconic landmarks in Hungary. Designed by architect Imre Steindl and completed in 1904, it is renowned for its grandeur, intricate details, and imposing Neo-Gothic style.

Parliament Building Budapest
Parliament Building

The Parliament Building is the largest building in Hungary and one of the largest legislative buildings in the world. Its exterior features a stunning facade adorned with spires, arches, and intricate sculptures, while its interior is equally impressive, with lavish halls, ornate staircases, and opulent chambers.

At the center of the Parliament Building is the dome, which rises to a height of 96 meters and is crowned by a golden cross. The dome is surrounded by smaller towers and turrets, creating a striking silhouette against the Budapest skyline.

You can explore its interior on guided tours, which offer a glimpse into Hungary’s political history and architectural heritage. Highlights of the tour include the grand staircase, the ornate chambers of the National Assembly, and the magnificent Crown Jewels, which are housed in a secure vault within the building.

The Parliament Building is not only a symbol of Hungarian democracy and national identity but also a source of pride for the Hungarian people. Its majestic beauty and historical significance make it a must-see attraction, offering a captivating journey through Hungary’s rich cultural heritage and political legacy.

Other Attractions to See in Budapest

Dohany Street Synagogue

The Dohány Street Synagogue, located in Budapest’s historic Jewish Quarter, is one of Europe’s largest and most magnificent synagogues. Built in the mid-19th century in a stunning Moorish Revival style, the synagogue symbolises Hungary’s rich Jewish heritage and cultural identity.

  • Opening Timings: 10:30 AM to 7 PM Saturday to Thursday, 10:30 AM to 3 PM Friday.
  • Entrance Fee: 10800 HUF per adult and 9720 HUF per adult with Budapest Card.
  • First guided tour starts at 10:30 AM.
Dohany Street Synagogue Budapest
Dohany Street Synagogue

Designed by Viennese architect Ludwig Förster, the Dohány Street Synagogue boasts an ornate facade adorned with intricate geometric patterns, colorful ceramic tiles, and majestic onion domes. Its interior is equally impressive, featuring a soaring central nave, elegant marble columns, and a breathtaking ark housing the Torah scrolls.

In addition to its architectural beauty, the Dohány Street Synagogue holds historical significance as a place of worship and a testament to the resilience of Budapest’s Jewish community. During World War II, the synagogue served as a refuge for thousands of Jews fleeing persecution, and its adjacent courtyard became a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

Today, the Dohány Street Synagogue continues to be an active center of Jewish life in Budapest, hosting religious services, cultural events, and educational programs. You can explore the synagogue’s interior on guided tours, which offer insights into its history, architecture, and significance within the Jewish community.

In addition to the synagogue itself, the complex also includes the Jewish Museum, which features exhibits on Jewish history, culture, and traditions, as well as the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, dedicated to the memory of the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

A visit to the Dohány Street Synagogue offers a unique opportunity to learn about Hungary’s Jewish heritage, honor the memory of those lost during the Holocaust, and experience the vibrant culture and traditions of Budapest’s Jewish community.

Margaret Island

Margaret Island, or Margitsziget in Hungarian, is a tranquil oasis in Budapest’s heart of the Danube River. Spanning approximately 2.5 kilometers, this lush green island offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city life while providing a wealth of recreational and cultural attractions.

Named after Saint Margaret of Hungary, who lived on the island in the 13th century, Margaret Island boasts a rich history dating back centuries. Over the years, it has served as a royal hunting ground, a religious retreat, and a recreational park, making it a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike.

One of Margaret Island’s highlights is its stunning natural beauty. Scenic walking paths, manicured gardens, and shady groves provide the perfect setting for strolls and picnics. You can also explore the island’s diverse flora and fauna, including rare plant species and resident wildlife such as birds and squirrels.

In addition to its natural attractions, Margaret Island offers a variety of recreational activities. The island has numerous sports facilities, including tennis courts, swimming pools, jogging tracks, playgrounds, and open-air gyms. You can also rent bikes or pedal boats to explore the island at your own pace.

Margaret Island is also a cultural hub, with several historic landmarks and cultural attractions dotted throughout the island. These include the medieval ruins of the Dominican Convent, the beautiful Water Tower, and the charming Musical Fountain, which hosts nightly water and light shows during the summer months.

Chains Bridge

The Chain Bridge, or Széchenyi Chain Bridge, is an iconic symbol of Budapest. It spans the Danube River and connects the Buda and Pest sides of the city. Completed in 1849, the Chain Bridge was the first permanent bridge to link the two parts of Budapest, marking a significant milestone in the city’s development and fostering closer ties between Buda and Pest.

The Chain Bridge is an impressive feat of engineering and architectural elegance. It was designed by British engineer William Tierney Clark and constructed by Scottish engineer Adam Clark (no relation). Its graceful suspension design, with stone pillars and iron chains, reflects the neoclassical style popular in the 19th century and adds to the bridge’s timeless charm.

The Chain Bridge quickly became a symbol of Budapest’s unity and progress, serving as a vital transportation link for pedestrians, vehicles, and trams crossing the river. Its majestic appearance and strategic location at the city’s heart made it a popular subject for artists, photographers, and filmmakers, further cementing its status as an emblem of Budapest’s identity.

Today, the Chain Bridge remains one of Budapest’s most beloved landmarks, attracting visitors from around the world who come to admire its beauty and soak in the panoramic views of the Danube River and the city skyline. Illuminated at night, the bridge takes on a magical aura, casting shimmering reflections on the water below and providing a romantic backdrop for evening strolls and river cruises.

In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the Chain Bridge holds historical significance as a witness to key events in Budapest’s past, including the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and the city’s liberation from Nazi occupation in 1945. As a symbol of resilience and unity, the Chain Bridge inspires and captivates all who cross its historic span.

Elizabeth Bridge

Elizabeth Bridge, or Erzsébet híd in Hungarian, is one of the most prominent bridges spanning the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary. Named after Empress Elisabeth of Austria, also known as Empress Sisi, the bridge connects the Pest and Buda sides of the city, linking Gellért Hill with the bustling downtown area of Pest.

Constructed between 1897 and 1903, Elizabeth Bridge was designed by the notable Hungarian engineer Árpád Károlyi and financed by Budapest. The bridge’s original design featured intricate Art Nouveau elements, including ornate ironwork and decorative motifs, which added to its architectural charm and elegance.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth Bridge suffered significant damage during World War II and was subsequently rebuilt in a more simplified and modernist style. The reconstructed bridge, completed in 1964, features a streamlined design with reinforced concrete supports and steel cables, reflecting the architectural trends of the mid-20th century.

Despite its modern appearance, Elizabeth Bridge remains an important transportation artery in Budapest, accommodating vehicular traffic, trams, and pedestrians crossing the Danube River. Its strategic location near major tourist attractions such as Gellért Hill, the Citadella, and the Rudas Baths makes it a popular route for locals and visitors exploring the city.

In addition to its practical function, Elizabeth Bridge also holds cultural significance as a symbol of Budapest’s resilience and renewal. As one of the city’s main river crossings, it has witnessed key moments in Hungary’s history, from periods of prosperity and innovation to times of conflict and reconstruction.

Today, Elizabeth Bridge is a testament to Budapest’s rich architectural heritage and is a vital link between the historic districts of Buda and Pest. Its panoramic views of the Danube River and the city skyline continue to enchant and inspire all who traverse its graceful span.

Budapest Eye

The Budapest Eye, a prominent landmark in the city’s heart, is a towering Ferris wheel that offers panoramic views of Budapest’s iconic landmarks and breathtaking cityscape. Located in Erzsébet Square, in the bustling downtown area of Pest, the Budapest Eye provides a unique vantage point from which to admire the beauty of Hungary’s capital.

Budapest Eye
Budapest Eye

Standing approximately 65 meters tall, the Budapest Eye features spacious, climate-controlled cabins that allow passengers a comfortable and exhilarating ride above the city. From the top of the Ferris wheel, riders can enjoy unobstructed views of Budapest’s historic buildings, majestic bridges spanning the Danube River, and the picturesque hills of Buda in the distance.

The Budapest Eye is a popular tourist attraction and a beloved symbol of Budapest’s vibrant spirit and dynamic energy. Whether visited during the day or illuminated against the night sky, the Ferris wheel offers a captivating experience that captures the essence of Budapest’s charm and allure.

In addition to its scenic vistas, the Budapest Eye provides a memorable backdrop for special events, celebrations, and romantic evenings out. You can enjoy a leisurely ride on the Ferris wheel, cherishing the sights and sounds of Budapest from a new perspective, or capture stunning photos to commemorate your visit to the Hungarian capital.

With its prime location, stunning views, and unforgettable experiences, the Budapest Eye has become an essential part of Budapest’s skyline and a must-visit attraction for tourists and locals.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Central Market Hall

The Central Market Hall, known as the Nagycsarnok in Hungarian, is a vibrant marketplace in the heart of Budapest, Hungary. Opened in 1897, it is one of Europe’s largest and oldest indoor markets, serving as a hub of commerce, culture, and culinary delights for locals and tourists.

Designed by renowned Hungarian architect Samu Pecz, the Central Market Hall is an architectural masterpiece. Its distinctive facade is adorned with colorful ceramic tiles, intricate ironwork, and towering glass windows. Its grand interior spans three levels, with a vast central hall housing rows of stalls selling various goods, including fresh produce, meats, cheeses, spices, and artisanal products.

You can immerse yourself in the market’s vibrant atmosphere by browsing the stalls, sampling local delicacies, and interacting with vendors who proudly showcase their wares. From traditional Hungarian specialties like paprika, salami, and lángos to international flavors and gourmet treats, the market offers something to tempt every palate.

In addition to its food stalls, the Central Market Hall also features a variety of shops selling handicrafts, souvenirs, and local products, making it an ideal destination for souvenir shopping and cultural exploration. The upper levels of the market house a food court and restaurants where you can dine on traditional Hungarian dishes while enjoying panoramic views of the bustling market below.

Beyond its role as a marketplace, the Central Market Hall is also a cultural landmark and a reflection of Budapest’s rich history and heritage. Its central location, stunning architecture, and lively vibes make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the vibrant streets of Budapest.

Ruin Bars

Ruin bars are a unique and vibrant phenomenon that has emerged in Budapest, Hungary. They transform derelict buildings and abandoned spaces into lively, eclectic bars and nightlife venues. These bars have become synonymous with the city’s alternative culture and have garnered international acclaim for their creativity, character, and sense of community.

The concept of ruin bars originated in the early 2000s, following the fall of communism and a period of urban decay in Budapest. Entrepreneurs and artists saw potential in the city’s neglected buildings and repurposed them into unconventional bars and entertainment spaces. The result was a series of eclectic venues characterized by their shabby-chic decor, mismatched furniture, graffiti-covered walls, and quirky charm.

Today, ruin bars can be found scattered throughout Budapest, particularly in the city’s historic Jewish Quarter and District VII. Each ruin bar has a unique character and environment, ranging from cozy and intimate spaces to sprawling complexes with multiple levels and outdoor courtyards. Many bars feature live music, art installations, and cultural events, creating a dynamic and immersive experience for patrons.

One of Budapest’s most iconic ruin bars is Szimpla Kert, widely regarded as the pioneer of the ruin bar movement. Located in a sprawling former factory complex, Szimpla Kert features an eclectic mix of rooms and spaces, including a courtyard garden, a rooftop terrace, and a labyrinthine interior filled with vintage furniture, retro knick-knacks, and quirky artwork.

Ruin bars have become integral to Budapest’s nightlife scene, attracting locals and tourists alike with their laid-back atmosphere, affordable prices, and sense of authenticity. Whether enjoying a drink with friends, exploring the eclectic decor, or soaking in the vibrant energy of the crowd, a visit to a ruin bar offers a truly unforgettable experience that captures the essence of Budapest’s creative spirit and cultural heritage.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Free Walking Tours

Free walking tours in Budapest offer a fantastic opportunity to explore the city’s rich history, culture, and landmarks while enjoying the expertise of knowledgeable local guides. These tours typically cover a variety of attractions, including iconic landmarks, historic neighborhoods, and hidden gems, providing participants with insights into Budapest’s fascinating past and vibrant present.

Sculpture of Sisi in Budapest
Sculpture of Sisi

One popular option for free walking tours in Budapest is the General Walking Tour, which typically covers key sights such as the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the Chain Bridge. Guides share fascinating stories and anecdotes about each location, offering valuable insights into Budapest’s history, architecture, and culture.

Another popular choice is the Jewish Quarter Walking Tour, which explores the historic Jewish Quarter of Budapest, home to landmarks such as the Dohány Street Synagogue, the Tree of Life Memorial, and the Kazinczy Street Orthodox Synagogue. This tour gives participants a deeper understanding of Budapest’s Jewish heritage and the vibrant cultural scene in the district today.

Some companies offer themed walking tours focusing on specific aspects of Budapest’s history or culture, such as street art, culinary delights, or Communist-era architecture. These tours provide a more specialized experience tailored to participants’ interests and preferences.

While free walking tours do not require an upfront fee, guides typically rely on tips from participants to support their work. As such, it’s customary to tip your guide at the end of the tour based on your satisfaction and the quality of the experience.

Free walking tours in Budapest offer an excellent way to discover the city’s highlights, meet fellow travelers, and gain a deeper appreciation for Budapest’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Hop On and Hop Off Buses

Hop-On Hop-Off buses offer a convenient and flexible way to explore the highlights of Budapest at their own pace. These double-decker buses follow predetermined routes covering the city’s most famous landmarks and attractions, allowing passengers to hop on and off to explore each stop in detail.

One of the main advantages of Hop-On Hop-Off buses is their flexibility. With multiple routes and frequent departures, passengers can create their itinerary and visit the attractions that interest them most. Whether it’s historic landmarks like Buda Castle and the Hungarian Parliament Building, cultural institutions like the Hungarian National Museum and the Hungarian State Opera House, or scenic spots like Margaret Island and the Danube River, Hop-On Hop-Off buses provide easy access to Budapest’s top sights.

Another benefit of Hop-On Hop-Off buses is the informative commentary provided on board. Passengers can learn about Budapest’s history, culture, and landmarks through recorded audio guides in multiple languages, enhancing their sightseeing experience as they travel around the city.

Hop-on, Hop-Off buses typically offer ticket options that allow passengers to use the service for a set period, such as 24 or 48 hours, allowing them to explore Budapest over multiple days. Some ticket options include additional perks, such as guided walking tours, river cruises, or discounts at partner attractions.

Overall, Hop-On and hop-off buses provide a convenient, flexible, and informative way to discover the beauty and history of Budapest’s landmarks and attractions. They offer a hassle-free way to experience all that Budapest offers.

The Floating Bus

The Floating Bus in Budapest offers a unique and memorable way to explore the city’s highlights on land and water. This amphibious vehicle provides passengers a thrilling sightseeing experience, combining a traditional bus tour with a scenic river cruise along the Danube River.

The Floating Bus Budapest
The Floating Bus

The Floating Bus tour typically begins with a land-based sightseeing excursion, during which passengers are guided on a tour of Budapest’s iconic landmarks and attractions. From the comfort of their seats, passengers can admire sights such as Buda Castle, the Hungarian Parliament Building, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Chain Bridge, among others. Along the way, knowledgeable guides provide commentary, sharing fascinating insights into the city’s history, architecture, and culture.

After exploring Budapest’s landmarks on land, the Floating Bus seamlessly transitions into a river cruise as it enters the Danube River. As the bus transforms into a boat, passengers enjoy a scenic cruise along the water, offering breathtaking views of Budapest’s skyline and waterfront attractions from a unique vantage point. Highlights of the river cruise may include the UNESCO-listed Danube embankments, Margaret Island, Gellért Hill, and the Liberty Statue.

Throughout the tour, passengers can capture stunning photos, learn about Budapest’s rich heritage, and enjoy a memorable experience that combines adventure and relaxation. The Floating Bus tour is suitable for visitors of all ages and is an ideal way to see the best of Budapest entertainingly.

Overall, the Floating Bus in Budapest offers a unique sightseeing adventure. Passengers can explore the city’s landmarks from land and water, providing a comprehensive and unforgettable tour experience.

Take a Ride on Tram 2

Embark on a journey aboard Tram 2 in Budapest—a must-do experience recommended by Lonely Planet.

Riding on Tram 2 in Budapest offers a delightful and scenic journey along one of the city’s most picturesque routes. Tram 2, often referred to as the “tram with the best view,” runs along the Pest side of the Danube River, providing passengers with breathtaking views of Budapest’s iconic landmarks and stunning waterfront.

Tram at Budapest

The journey on Tram 2 begins at Jászai Mari tér, near the Hungarian Parliament Building, and continues along the Danube Promenade, passing by notable sights such as the Chain Bridge, Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Liberty Statue on Gellért Hill.

As the tram winds its way along the riverbank, passengers are treated to panoramic vistas of Budapest’s historic buildings, majestic bridges, and scenic hills, offering ample opportunities for sightseeing and photography.

Tram 2 operates regularly throughout the day and evening, making it convenient to hop on and enjoy the ride at your leisure. Riding on Tram 2 provides an immersive and memorable way to experience the charm and grandeur of Hungary’s capital.

In addition to its scenic route, Tram 2 is also an integral part of Budapest’s public transportation network, providing a convenient and efficient means of getting around the city. Passengers can use their regular Budapest travel passes or purchase tickets on board to enjoy the tram ride and explore the city’s sights at their own pace.

Overall, riding Tram 2 in Budapest offers a fantastic opportunity to admire the city’s landmarks from a unique perspective, making it a must-do experience for visitors looking to discover the beauty and history of Hungary’s capital.

What to Eat in Budapest?

Hungarian cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors, drawing inspiration from its rich cultural heritage and agricultural abundance. Its culinary treasures include Chicken Paprikash, a savory stew infused with paprika and tender dumplings. This dish creates a comforting and hearty dish that epitomizes Hungarian comfort food.

Stuffed cabbage, known as “töltött káposzta,” is another beloved classic. It features tender cabbage leaves filled with a flavorful mixture of ground meat, rice, and spices simmered in a tangy tomato sauce.

For dessert, indulge in cottage cheese balls with vanilla sauce, or “túrógombóc,” a delectable treat made from creamy cottage cheese, rolled into dumplings and served with a luscious vanilla-infused sauce.

Langos

Lángos is a beloved Hungarian street food delicacy that has become a staple of Budapest’s culinary scene. This deep-fried flatbread is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It is typically served hot and fresh with various toppings, making it a satisfying and indulgent snack or meal.

Langos in Budapest
Vegetarian Langos

Traditionally, lángos are made from a simple dough consisting of flour, water, yeast, and salt. The dough is shaped into rounds and deep-fried until golden brown and crispy. Once cooked, the lángos are typically topped with a generous spread of sour cream, grated cheese, and additional toppings such as garlic, garlic butter, chopped onions, ham, bacon, or even Nutella for those with a sweet tooth.

Lángos is often enjoyed as a street food snack at outdoor markets, fairs, and festivals throughout Hungary. Vendors prepare it fresh to order and serve it piping hot to hungry customers. It’s also commonly found at food stalls and stands in Budapest’s bustling city center, where locals and tourists line up to savor this delicious treat.

The popularity of lángos has spread beyond Hungary’s borders, and variations of the dish can now be found in neighboring countries such as Austria, Slovakia, and Romania. However, Budapest remains one of the best places to enjoy authentic lángos, with numerous vendors and eateries offering their unique twists on this classic Hungarian dish.

Coffee

In Budapest, cafe culture is deeply rooted in tradition. There is a rich history of old and traditional cafe houses that serve as hubs for socializing, relaxation, and intellectual discourse. These establishments are characterized by their elegant interiors, where patrons can savor good coffee and indulge in sugary cakes while immersing themselves in the atmosphere of a bygone era.

Confectionaries abound with tempting pastries and desserts, adding to the allure of these cultural institutions. One iconic example is the New York Cafe House, renowned for its opulent decor and grand atmosphere, attracting visitors from near and far.

Iced Latte at a Cafe in Budapest
Iced Latte at a Cafe

For those seeking nostalgia, recommendations such as the Paris Pasach cafe or the historic Cafe Astoria abound. Meanwhile, the Central Cafe House holds a special place in Hungarian literary history, a gathering spot for writers and intellectuals. Here, amidst the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, literary discussions flourished, shaping the nation’s cultural landscape.

Another noteworthy mention is the Mathild Cafe and Cabaret, where patrons can enjoy coffee, pastries and entertainment in cabaret performances, adding an extra layer of charm to the cafe experience. In Hungary, cafe culture is not merely about enjoying coffee; it’s a cherished tradition celebrating the art of conversation, creativity, and community.

Unicum

Unicum, a renowned Hungarian bitter liquor, holds a special place in the country’s drinking culture. Crafted from a secret blend of over 40 herbs and spices, Unicum boasts a bold and complex flavor profile that has captivated palates for centuries.

In Budapest, Unicum bars, known as “Unicum bárista,” serve as havens for enthusiasts seeking to savor the full spectrum of Unicum’s flavors. These establishments provide an intimate and welcoming atmosphere where patrons can indulge in various Unicum variations, from the classic Unicum to limited edition releases and experimental concoctions.

With its rich history, bold flavor, and vibrant drinking culture, Unicum embodies the essence of Hungarian hospitality and tradition, making it a must-try for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the culinary delights of Budapest.

Chimney Cake

In Budapest, you cannot miss the tantalizing aroma of Chimney Cake wafting from the numerous kiosks scattered throughout the city. Originating from Transylvania, this delectable treat has captured the hearts—and appetites—of locals and visitors.

Chimney Cake in Budapest
Chimney Cake

Chimney Cake, or “kürtskalács” in Hungarian, is a sweet pastry known for its distinctive spiral shape and irresistible flavor. The dough is traditionally coated in sugar and cinnamon before being wrapped around a cylindrical spit and baked over an open flame. As it cooks, the sugar caramelizes, creating a crispy, golden-brown crust while the inside remains soft and fluffy. The result is a delightful combination of sweet, cinnamon-infused dough that melts in your mouth with every bite.

Chimney Cake is a must-try delicacy that embodies the essence of Hungarian street food culture. So, next time you’re exploring the charming streets of Budapest, be sure to stop by a Chimney Cake kiosk and treat yourself to this deliciously indulgent delight.

Gelato

Gelato, the Italian word for ice cream, is a beloved frozen dessert that has found its way onto the streets and into the hearts of many in Budapest. While gelato originated in Italy, it has become popular worldwide for its rich, creamy texture and intense flavor.

Gelato at Budapest
Gelato

Gelato can be found in gelaterias and ice cream shops throughout Budapest. It offers locals and tourists a refreshing treat on hot summer days or a sweet indulgence any time of year. Gelato artisans use high-quality ingredients, including fresh fruits, nuts, chocolates, and dairy products, to create various flavors that cater to every palate.

One of the distinguishing features of gelato is its texture, which is softer and smoother than traditional ice cream. This is achieved through a slower churning process and a lower fat content, resulting in a denser and more velvety consistency that melts in the mouth. Additionally, gelato is typically served slightly warmer than ice cream, allowing its flavours to bloom fully and intensify.

Some popular gelato flavors in Budapest include classics like stracciatella (chocolate chip), pistachio, and hazelnut and creative combinations like salted caramel, tiramisu, and fruity sorbets. Many gelaterias also offer vegan and dairy-free options, making gelato accessible to those with dietary restrictions.

Wine

Hungarian wine is a treasure trove of diverse flavors and rich traditions. With 22 wine regions scattered across the country, Hungary boasts a long and illustrious history of winemaking dating back centuries. In Hungarian, wine is referred to as “bor,” a term that encompasses the country’s deep-rooted appreciation for viticulture.

From the luscious reds of Villány to the crisp whites of Tokaj, each region offers its unique terroir and grape varieties, reflecting the country’s diverse landscape and climate. Among the renowned spirits is “palinka,” a traditional fruit brandy made from plums, apricots, or cherries, prized for its intense flavors and aromatic qualities.

What to Buy in Budapest?

Paprika

Buying paprika in Budapest is a delightful experience that allows you to explore Hungary’s rich culinary heritage and take home a taste of the country’s vibrant flavors. Paprika, made from ground sweet or hot peppers, is a quintessential ingredient in Hungarian cuisine, adding depth, color, and a distinctively sweet or spicy flavor to dishes.

In Budapest, paprika can be found in various forms, including powdered, dried, smoked, or paste, and is sold in markets, grocery stores, and specialty shops throughout the city. One of the best places to buy paprika in Budapest is at the Central Market Hall, a historic indoor market near the Danube River, where vendors display colorful displays of paprika in various grades and varieties.

You can sample different types of paprika, ranging from mild and sweet to hot and spicy, and purchase it in bulk or beautifully packaged containers as a souvenir or gift. In addition to paprika powder, the market also offers paprika-infused products such as paprika-flavored sausages, cheeses, and spreads, allowing you to experiment with this versatile spice in their cooking.

For those seeking a more specialized shopping experience, several boutique shops and delicatessens in Budapest offer a curated selection of high-quality paprika and other Hungarian spices and seasonings. These shops often feature locally sourced products and artisanal blends, making them the perfect destination for food enthusiasts and culinary adventurers.

Dolls

Buying dolls in Budapest offers a charming opportunity to discover unique and beautifully crafted toys that reflect Hungary’s rich cultural heritage and artistic traditions. Budapest is home to various shops and boutiques where you can find a wide selection of dolls, ranging from traditional Hungarian folk dolls to modern collectibles and designer creations.

Cute Dolls at Budapest

One of Budapest’s best places to buy dolls is the Great Market Hall, also known as the Central Market Hall, located near the Danube River. Here, you can browse stalls and vendors selling various handmade dolls, including traditional Hungarian dolls dressed in colorful folk costumes and contemporary dolls inspired by popular culture and fashion trends.

In addition to the Great Market Hall, Budapest is home to several specialty toy shops and boutiques that cater to doll collectors and enthusiasts. These shops often feature a curated selection of high-quality dolls from both local and international designers, including handmade artisan dolls, limited edition collectibles, and vintage treasures.

For those interested in Hungarian folk art and traditional crafts, there are artisan workshops and studios in Budapest where you can watch skilled artisans create handmade dolls using age-old techniques and materials. These authentic creations often feature intricate embroidery, hand-painted details, and elaborate costumes inspired by Hungarian folklore and traditions.

Lavender

Buying lavender in Budapest is a delightful experience that allows you to explore Hungary’s rich floral heritage and take home a fragrant reminder of your time in the city. Lavender, known for its soothing aroma and therapeutic properties, is widely used in Hungary for culinary, medicinal, and decorative purposes, making it a popular souvenir for tourists.

One of the best places to buy lavender in Budapest is at the city’s bustling markets and specialty shops, where vendors offer a variety of lavender products, including dried lavender bundles, lavender sachets, lavender essential oil, and lavender-infused beauty and home goods. The Great Market Hall, also known as the Central Market Hall, is a fantastic destination to find lavender and other herbs, spices, and botanicals, with vendors displaying colorful displays of dried lavender and lavender-scented products.

In addition to the Great Market Hall, Budapest is home to several boutique shops and apothecaries specialising in herbal remedies and natural products, where you can find high-quality lavender products sourced from local farms and producers. These shops often offer a curated selection of lavender-based skincare products, aromatherapy oils, candles, and bath salts, providing various options to indulge in lavender’s calming and rejuvenating properties.

For those looking to experience lavender firsthand, Budapest’s surrounding countryside is dotted with lavender farms and fields, particularly in the picturesque regions of the Hungarian countryside. During the summer months, you can take day trips from Budapest to lavender farms, where they can pick fresh lavender, participate in workshops and demonstrations, and learn about the cultivation and harvesting of this fragrant herb.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Coffee

Buying coffee in Budapest is a delightful experience that allows you to explore the city’s thriving coffee culture and sample a variety of specialty brews from local cafes and roasteries. Budapest boasts a vibrant coffee scene, with a wide range of coffee shops, roasteries, and specialty cafes throughout the city, offering everything from traditional espresso drinks to innovative coffee creations.

One of the best places to buy coffee in Budapest is the city’s bustling markets and specialty shops, where visitors can find a diverse selection of freshly roasted beans from local and international producers. The Great Market Hall, also known as the Central Market Hall, is a fantastic destination for coffee purchases, with vendors offering a wide range of beans, blends, and flavors to suit every taste preference.

In addition to the Great Market Hall, Budapest is home to numerous specialty coffee shops and cafes passionate about coffee and dedicated to showcasing the best beans from around the world. These cafes often feature expertly crafted espresso drinks, pour-over brews, specialty coffee beverages, and a selection of pastries and treats to complement the coffee experience.

For those looking to explore Budapest’s coffee culture firsthand, there are also coffee tours and tastings that provide an opportunity to visit local coffee shops, meet with baristas and roasters, and learn about the coffee-making process from bean to cup. These tours offer a unique and immersive experience for coffee enthusiasts and provide valuable insights into Budapest’s dynamic coffee scene.

How to Get to Budapest?

By Air

Getting to Budapest by air is convenient and straightforward, thanks to the city’s well-connected international airport, Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD). The airport is a hub for domestic and international flights, with numerous airlines offering direct routes to Budapest from major cities across Europe, Asia, and beyond.

How do you get to Budapest City Centre from the Airport?

By Public Transport

There are two options to reach the city center from the airport:

  1. Bus 100E: Take the bus to the final stop (Deák Ferenc tér). Please note that this bus costs 2300 HUF, and you must buy a special airport-city center shuttle ticket. You can tap your credit card on the bus or purchase a ticket at the purple machines.
  2. Bus 200E and Metro Line 3: Take bus 200E to the final stop (Kbánya-Kispest), then transfer to Metro Line 3 (blue line) toward Újpest-Központ. Get off at Deák Ferenc tér.

By Taxi

A taxi ride will cost you around 7000 HUF (approximately 23 Euros). To hire a cab, use ride-sharing apps like Bolt and Grab.

By Public Transport

Train

Getting to Budapest by train is a convenient and scenic way to travel, especially if you’re coming from nearby European cities. Budapest is well-connected to major European cities by train, with direct routes from Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Munich, and Zagreb. Check the train schedules and routes to find the best option from your departure city.

Budapest has three main railway stations: Keleti (Eastern), Nyugati (Western), and Déli (Southern). The station you arrive at will depend on the origin of your train journey.

  • Keleti Station is Budapest’s largest and busiest railway station, serving trains from eastern and international destinations.
  • Nyugati Station is in the city center and serves trains from western and northern destinations.
  • Déli Station primarily serves trains from southern destinations.

Bus

Budapest is connected to several European cities by long-distance bus routes operated by various bus companies. Tickets can often be purchased online through bus companies’ websites or third-party booking platforms.

Budapest has several bus stations, with the main one being Népliget Bus Station (Népliget Autóbusz Állomás). This station serves both domestic and international bus routes and is located in the southern part of the city.

Some buses from nearby cities may also arrive at other bus stations in Budapest, such as Árpád Bridge Bus Station (Árpád Híd Autóbusz Állomás) or Etele Square Bus Station (Etele tér Autóbusz Állomás).

Where to Stay in Budapest?

Choosing where to stay in Budapest largely depends on your preferences, budget, and the areas you wish to explore. Here are some popular neighborhoods and areas to consider:

  1. District V (Belváros-Lipótváros): This central district, known as the Inner City, is a popular choice for visitors due to its proximity to major attractions such as the Hungarian Parliament, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the Danube River. It offers many accommodations, including luxury hotels, boutique hotels, and budget hostels.
  2. District VII (Erzsébetváros): Also known as the Jewish Quarter, this district is known for its vibrant nightlife, eclectic street art, and trendy ruin bars. It’s a great choice for younger travelers or those looking for a lively atmosphere. You’ll find plenty of budget-friendly hostels, boutique hotels, and apartment rentals in this area.
  3. District VI (Terézváros): This district is home to Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its beautiful architecture and upscale shops. It’s a great choice for visitors interested in shopping, dining, and cultural attractions. Accommodation options range from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses.
  4. District I (Várkerület): Also known as the Castle District, this historic area is located on the Buda side of the city and is home to Buda Castle, Matthias Church, and Fisherman’s Bastion. It offers stunning city views and a quieter atmosphere than the bustling Pest side. Accommodation options include boutique hotels and guesthouses.
  5. District IX (Ferencváros): This up-and-coming district, also known as the Palace District, is located on the Pest side of the city and offers a mix of historic architecture, cultural attractions, and trendy cafes. It’s a great choice for visitors interested in exploring lesser-known neighborhoods. Accommodation options range from boutique hotels to budget-friendly hostels.

Here are five top 5-star hotels in Budapest:

  1. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest: Located in a historic Art Nouveau building overlooking the Danube River and the Chain Bridge, this luxurious hotel offers elegant rooms and suites, Michelin-starred dining, a spa, and breathtaking city views.
  2. The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest: Situated in the heart of the city near St. Stephen’s Basilica, this upscale hotel features stylish rooms and suites, a rooftop bar with panoramic views, a spa with an indoor pool, and fine dining options.
  3. Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest: Located in the city center near Fashion Street and the Danube Promenade, this luxurious hotel offers spacious rooms and suites, a rooftop bar, a spa, and several dining options, including a Michelin-starred restaurant.
  4. Hilton Budapest: The Hilton Budapest is a renowned hotel in the historic Castle District of Budapest, Hungary. This district is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site and offers guests stunning views of the Danube River, the Parliament Building, and the cityscape.
  5. Corinthia Budapest: Set in a grand historic building near Heroes’ Square and Andrassy Avenue, this elegant hotel offers luxurious rooms and suites, a spa with a thermal pool, several dining options, including a fine-dining restaurant, and a stylish cocktail bar.

Here are five top-rated hostels in Budapest:

  1. Maverick City Lodge: Maverick City Lodge is centrally located in Budapest’s historic Jewish Quarter. Many of the city’s major attractions are within walking distance. The neighborhood boasts a variety of restaurants offering both local and international cuisine. Visitors can also find concert venues, the Opera House, modern bars, and unique ruin pubs, each with a distinctive character.
  2. The Hive Party Hostel Budapest: The Hive is a stylish party hostel in central Budapest, established in 2015. It is the third-largest hostel in the city, with 300 beds, and is also one of the most popular. The hostel’s unbeatable location places guests in the heart of the action, with major attractions such as St. Stephen’s Basilica, The Great Synagogue, world-famous spas, the Castle District, Parliament, and the Danube River all within easy reach.
  3. Netizen Hostel Budapest Centre: This modern hybrid of a hotel and hostel offers quality budget lodging combined with professional hotel facilities and management. Guests can choose from various accommodations, including dormitories and private rooms. NETIZEN is designed with the standards of a hotel, setting it apart from typical hostels.
  4. Wombats City Hostel Budapest: Located near the Grand Market Hall and Váci Street, Wombats City Hostel Budapest offers modern dormitory rooms, a bar, a courtyard, and a communal kitchen. It’s known for its clean facilities and friendly staff.
  5. The Loft Hostel Budapest: The Loft Hostel Budapest is a welcoming community for travelers. It offers a vibrant atmosphere where guests share experiences, explore the city, and enjoy late-night conversations over a cold beer. Though small, The Loft Hostel provides a perfect space for guests to feel at home, with music, a welcoming environment, and a constant supply of tea and coffee. We hope you’ll join our happy and relaxed community.
Wombat City Hostel Budapest
Wombat City Hostel

Public Transportation in Budapest

Budapest prides itself on its efficient and accessible public transportation network, which is renowned for its reliability and quality service. The metro system operates daily from 4:30 AM to 11:20 PM, providing convenient travel options throughout the day.

When utilizing public transportation, it’s essential to have a valid ticket for each journey, whether on a bus, tram, or metro, even when changing lines. Tickets can be purchased at public transport stations or newsagent kiosks, and it’s important to remember to validate your ticket before boarding.

A single ride costs 440 HUF, and tickets are available from various stations’ purple and white machines. Each ticket permits one journey, except metro trips, where passengers can make one transfer.

For additional assistance and navigation tips, consider using the Budapest Go app, which offers valuable insights into the city’s transportation options. Additionally, green bikes, also known as “Boobie,” provide an eco-friendly and convenient means of exploring Budapest’s streets.

Overall, the Budapest Travel Card is an excellent option for visitors looking to explore Budapest’s attractions while enjoying the convenience of unlimited public transportation and discounts on admission fees. It offers flexibility, value, and convenience, making it a popular choice for tourists visiting the Hungarian capital.

Is Budapest Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Budapest is generally considered safe for solo female travelers, but like any city, it’s important to take common-sense precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips for solo female travelers in Budapest:

  1. Stay in Well-Lit and Busy Areas: When choosing accommodation, choose hotels or hostels in safe and well-lit neighborhoods, especially if you plan to walk around at night. District V (Belváros-Lipótváros) and District VII (Erzsébetváros) are popular and relatively safe areas for tourists.
  2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas, tourist attractions, and public transportation. Avoid walking alone in dimly lit or deserted areas, and trust your instincts if something feels off.
  3. Use Reliable Transportation: Budapest’s public transportation system is generally safe and reliable, but be cautious when using taxis or ride-sharing services. Stick to official taxis with clearly marked logos, or use reputable ride-sharing apps like Bolt.
  4. Keep Valuables Secure: Keep your belongings secure at all times, especially in crowded places and tourist areas where pickpocketing may occur. Consider using a crossbody bag or money belt to keep your valuables close to your body.
  5. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption: While Budapest is known for its lively nightlife, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, especially if you’re alone. Drink responsibly and be mindful of your surroundings to stay safe.
  6. Research Local Customs and Laws: Familiarize yourself with local customs and laws, especially regarding dress codes, cultural etiquette, and safety tips specific to Budapest and Hungary.
  7. Stay Connected: Keep in touch with friends or family back home and tell them your itinerary and whereabouts. Consider sharing your location with trusted contacts or using a safety app for added peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Budapest in One Day

Q: Is it worth going to Budapest for one day?

While spending just one day in Budapest may feel rushed, planning your itinerary wisely and prioritising the city’s highlights can still be worth it.

Q: Is 24 hours enough in Budapest?

While spending just 24 hours in Budapest is relatively short, it can still be enough time to experience the city’s highlights and immerse yourself in its culture and history.

Q: Is Budapest a walkable city?

Budapest is a walkable city, especially in its central districts and along the Danube River. Many of the city’s main attractions, historic landmarks, and cultural sites are within walking distance of each other, making it easy for you to explore on foot.

Q: What are must-see attractions in Budapest?

Budapest has numerous iconic landmarks and attractions, including Buda Castle, the Hungarian Parliament Building, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Chain Bridge. If you focus on visiting the most famous sights, you can still taste Budapest’s beauty and history in one day.

Q: How long should you spend in Budapest?

Exploring Budapest thoroughly requires a minimum of 3 to 4 days, accommodating diverse preferences, interests, and travel styles. While some visitors opt for a brief stay to witness the city’s key attractions, others relish a lengthier visit, allowing ample time to uncover Budapest’s rich cultural tapestry, delve into its storied history, and unearth its lesser-known treasures.

Q: Is the Euro accepted in Budapest?

In Budapest, the official currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF). While some businesses, particularly those in tourist areas, may accept Euros, using the local currency for transactions is more common. It’s advisable to exchange your Euros for Hungarian Forints at banks, currency exchange offices, or ATMs to ensure you have the correct currency for purchases and transactions during your stay in Budapest.

Q: Why is Budapest so cheap?

Budapest is often perceived as affordable compared to many other European cities. The overall cost of living in Budapest, including housing, transportation, and daily expenses, is lower than in many Western European capitals. This lower cost of living translates to lower prices for goods and services, making Budapest a budget-friendly destination for travelers.

Closing Notes

While a single day may seem brief, Budapest generously offers a captivating glimpse into its rich tapestry of history, culture, and beauty. From the majestic banks of the Danube to the towering spires of Buda Castle, each moment spent wandering its storied streets is an immersion in the city’s timeless allure.

A day in Budapest promises to leave an indelible impression, beckoning the curious traveler to return and delve deeper into its endless treasures.

How can you support me?
You know how much I love coffee, so you can buy me a coffee – Buy me Coffee!

Or you can purchase from one of the below travel resources without any extra charge to you:
Travel Resources
Book your flight on Skyscanner.com or Trip.com
Reserve your accommodation on Stay22
Reserve your stay at a hostel on HostelWorld
Use RentalCars or DiscoverCars for hiring self-driven cars
Book your tours and travels or purchase tickets on Viator or GetYourGuide
For a universal SIM card, use DrimSim
Buy comprehensive travel insurance on SafetyWing and WorldNomads

If you liked this article and if it was helpful in your planning or travelling, do share, tweet, or pin this post.

Follow me on Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

PIN for later reference – Budapest in One Day

Disclaimers:

  • The prices mentioned in the post are valid only at the time of publication. Ensure that you check the booking websites for up-to-date information and prices.
  • My opinions and views are unbiased. If the post is a collaboration, then they are specifically mentioned.
  • Ensure that you check the relevant websites for up-to-date information on COVID protocols.
  • For any adventurous activities, please note that there is a risk that can be dangerous. Ensure you read the terms and conditions recommended by individual agencies and do them at your own risk.
  • For visas, it is best to see the embassy website for changing rules.
  • While using the recommended guides, auto-drivers or taxi drivers, do your due diligence and trust your judgement.