What to see in Budapest in 1, 2 or 3 days by your own or with a guide? Interesting places, walking routes, ticket and tour prices 2023. Where better to stay, what to visit in the vicinity of Budapest – found out good Time for Trip.
Budapest is the largest city of Hungary and its capital. The center of gravity and souls of that not so big European country – in every sense!
Is it any wonder that foreigners are trying to visit it in the first place? Get healthy, swim and sunbathe on the shores of Lake Balaton? To explore Gyor and Eger, to delve into the almost virgin wilds of the Bukk National Park?
It’s true. But at the same time, you will not to see all the attractions of Budapest in a short visit. Therefore, based on the size and importance of the city for European civilization, it is worth spending more than 1 one day on such a trip. Definitely!
Our story is about how to explore the most interesting – not forgetting, of course, about the famous hot baths of Budapest – in just a couple of days. But first we should decide on the best time to travel…
When to Go
In order to see not so overcrowded Budapest, it is quite reasonable to choose the off-season months. Although it becomes more and more difficult to do this with every new year!
Indeed, even in May, not to mention summer months, here are enough idle people on the streets. That of course contributes to warm (in June-August – just hot) weather, teeming with sunny days.
Even in September and October in Budapest is pretty warm: up to +20-24 °C. pouring very moderate portions of water on hats, umbrellas and behind collars.
November and December are somewhat more gloomy – in winter, in addition, frosts occur here. Fog is also frequent, enveloping the Hungarian capital with an impenetrable and disturbing veil.
But all this is nonsense compared to the festive spirit that envelops the city at Christmas and little later – just after New Year Budapest looks magical.
A fair begins working on Vörösmarty Square in Pest even in late November – there you can treat yourself to traditional sausages and hot mulled wine.
Local cinnamon buns smell delicious, roasted chestnuts are also sold everywhere. As well as souvenirs that are sold in the shops on the nearby Váci Utca, the true Shopping Street in Budapest!
January and February in Budapest are cold and mostly overcast. Although this region of Hungary has never been distinguished by an abundance of precipitation for the New Year and later. The air temperature ranges from -2 to +10 °C, and still gravitates towards positive values.
Interesting Places in Budapest – Day 1
Buda Castle, which guidebooks personify with the royal palace installed in it, is the central attraction of the city. The advantageous elevated location on a hill above the Danube, the imposing appearance and the conspicuous gigantic size of the royal residence, straddling the ancient walls, are guaranteed to attract attention.
There are practically no historical premises in the palace. And therefore the main goal of tourists is museums.
Indeed, in the halls of the former royal palace today lodge the National Gallery of Hungary and the Museum of History. Tickets in 2023 start from HUF 1,700 per person – that’s just over 4 €.
An equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy proudly stands in front of the residence. He is the hero of many skirmishes with the Turks and in general one of the best European generals of all time.
It is unlikely that you will not see the Matthias fountain. That built right into the wall of the royal palace…
Do not miss the chance to walk along the pretty narrow streets on the Fortress Hill. After all, houses on them have been preserved much better than the castle. Which received massive damage during the Second World War.
Walking, you can easily reach the snow-white Fisherman’s Bastion. Perhaps best observation deck in Budapest with a fabulous view over the Danube.
It is located, which is remarkable, not on the very bank of the great river. But offers really impressive views. Including the incredibly airy, albeit huge, parliament of Hungary.
Adjacent to the Fisherman’s Bastion is the completely French-looking church of St. Matthias. Dating back to the 13th century, but totally rebuilt in the 19th.
Don’t be surprised at the purest, literally alphabetic Gothic facades and interiors!
Despite the fact the architects tried to preserve the appearance of the temple of the XIII century, destroyed by the Turks in the XVI, they clearly did not succeed. The splendor of the decoration and the thoroughness of drawing the details clearly indicate that this is not a real Middle Ages.
It was in the church of St. Matthias that Franz Joseph and his wife, world famous Empress Sisi, were crowned in the Hungarian kingdom at one time.
The rich neo-Gothic building, rising on the other side of the Danube, is one of the most prominent sights of Budapest. That is, it is probably the most important, its emblem!
Naturally, it is often considered a former royal residence. Although the building was originally intended for the meetings of the Hungarian Parliament. As a role model, choosing the Palace of Westminster in London.
The mass of the complex, which exceeds the British colleague by a meter in length and width, was so great that the bank of the Danube had to be specially strengthened. And its scale will amaze almost anyone.
You can get inside when there are no parliamentary meetings, tickets for a certain date are sold online. Current prices for citizens of countries outside the EEA are pretty high – 8,400 HUF (~ 20 €).
You can walk to the Hungarian Parliament on foot from the Buda Castle in about 20 minutes. On the way, having examined the Chain Bridge – another recognizable symbol of Budapest.
And, by the way, the first permanent crossing of the Danube since the time of the Roman Empire. Its construction ended in 1849!
On the other side of the great river, right on the embankment, you can see a lot of cast-iron shoes. This is a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.
In 1944-1945, it was from here that the Nazis took thousands of Jews to execution: men and women, old people and children…
Where to Stay
First, we recommend paying attention to hotels located in the center! To find yourself in an architectural fairy tale as soon as you walk out the door.
Pay special attention to the rarely empty Buda Butik Rooms, by BQA. Located near the Chain Bridge, but despite this, keeping fairly reasonable prices!
The guests also praise the chain ibis Budapest Castle Hill. Stationed, as you might guess, near the Fortress Hill of Buda.
Have heard something about the Gellert Hotel? It’s quite expensive, true. But due to its proximity to the famous thermal baths of Budapest, is also very popular.
For travelers with limited time it is better to spend it in the vicinity of Budapest. Luckily, there’s a lot to see there!
Firstly, we advise getting to the tower of Erzhebet (named after the already mentioned Austro-Hungarian empress), rising on Mount Janos (526 meters) just west of Buda. Especially on a clear day – from there you will see not only the city, but even the peaks of the Tatras.
You can climb the mountain on foot. But it is more correct to do this with the help of the Zugliget Chairlift cable car.
Not new-fangled with booths, but old-fashioned: with double open chairs. The impressions from such a trip will be simply incredible.
On the southern outskirts of the Hungarian capital, the pretty Baroque Nagytétény Palace has been preserved. Once an aristocratic family lived here, today the building functions as the Budapest Museum of European Furniture. Inside, there are a lot of interesting exhibits dating back to the 15th-19th centuries!
Szentendre and Visegrad
20 km north of the Hungarian capital is the photogenic town of Szentendre. All consisting of houses and churches of the XVIII century. And there are a lot of art galleries here, where you will surely pick up a little thing for yourself, which you can then show to your friends.
There are also well-known museums in Szentendre: for example, marzipan or Christmas.
On the outskirts of the city is Szentendre Skanzen Village Museum, the Hungarian equivalent of the Swedish open-air museum. Its exposition consists of original buildings collected from all over Hungary.
You can get to Szentendre by regular train. Take which you can at the stations combined with the Budapest metro: Batthyány tér and Margit Híd.
If you drive another 20 kilometers in a northwesterly direction, you will find yourself in the tiny town of Visegrad, nestled right in the bend of the Danube. But once it was the capital of the Hungarian kingdom!
The ruins of the local fortress and the Renaissance palace of Mateusz Korvin attract travelers like a magnet. Just beautiful and the view from the fortress hill to the Danube.
An interesting pastime option is a trip from Budapest to Eger. After all, visiting the legendary fortress there and tasting the BikavHr, or “Bull’s Blood” wine is considered by most guidebooks to be absolutely mandatory events for foreigners coming to Hungary.
Along the way, you can take the local healing baths in Eger. Well, or go to another famous thermals nearby, in Miskolc-Tapolca.
Definitely worth considering going for a day to Vienna. For the distance (240 km) between the Hungarian and Austrian capitals literally provokes a tourist to make such a step.
For most travelers visiting Budapest, it is pre-departure time. Perhaps that is why it should be devoted to relaxing activities.
Such, for example, as a walk in the Varosliget park. And a visit to the exquisite beauty of the eclectic Vajdahunyad castle.
The easiest way to get here is by metro. Get off at Széchenyi fürdő station.
By the way, keep in mind that on the last weekend of November Budapests castle hosts a festival of young Hungarian wine and cheese. Combined with a tasting, of course!
Next to the park is the Museum of Fine Arts – the country’s main art gallery. As well as the Heroes’ Square with the mighty Millennium Column, on top of which stands the statue of the Archangel Gabriel, and the monument to the Unknown Soldier.
If you love water in all its manifestations, it is appropriate to visit the Széchenyi Baths, the largest in Europe. The central complex looks like a palace.
But inside you will find swimming pools, saunas, baths, healing mineral waters. And you can order other wellness services, including massage.
Baths open even in winter. And after the visit, anyone feel as if he were born again.
A ticket for the whole day costs from 7,100 HUF.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Without fail, you need to see the outside, and even better, inside the Basilica of St. Stephen. Probably, go up to the observation deck of the church – there are wonderful views of Budapest from there.
Famous shopping street Vaci and Central Market Hall? Even if you are not a shopaholic, we advise you to visit there!
In the afternoon, consolidate joyful impressions with a visit to the 235-meter Gellert mountain above the Danube (metro station Szent Gellért tér). The best views of Budapest open up from the deck on its top.
Down in the rock mountain in the first half of the 20th century, the Cave Church was cut down. During the years of Soviet power it did not work, but today has been restored. Services are held, tourists can also get inside.
At the foot, there are less pretentious than Széchenyi, but also privileged Gellert Thermal Bath. Preferring to call themselves differently – Gellert Spa.
On the embankment nearby there is another water complex – Rudas Bath. It is chosen mainly because of the rooftop pool, from where you can look at the central part of Budapest.
If you have time, try to visit the Budapest “Invisible Exhibition”, similar museums still work today only in Warsaw and Prague.
They are dedicated to the world of blind people, excursions are carried out here in complete darkness. So that visitors can understand how difficult it is to live without seeing anything.