Budapest was elected number 2 best cities to visit in 2015 by CNTraveler and with my guide you will see why. Here are my tips about what to see, where to eat and what tour is worth to take in Budapest. I’m including pictures of everything and a map of the city. All the addresses are hyperlink so you can easily found all the information.
I booked my Eurotrip kinda last minute, a month before going and found a great package (flight and hotel) deal on tripmasters.com. That website has the best packages, at unbeatable price and you can easily customize them.
Things to know:
- The best place to stay is on the Pest side which is the modern side of the town, anywhere close to the Danube River. If you end up staying farther, no worries, the transportation system is excellent and very easy to use. You can just take the bus and get to the Danube River in 5 min
- Just drink beer or their Vodka
- You are not a dessert person…Well you will be there. They know what a Café is.
- The currency is Florin but most places accept Euros.
3 days in Budapest:
If you love those city tours you catch one on Vorosmarty Square, however I think you can pass.Just in case, see information for a free city tour .You can do that free walking tout by yourself.
Start by the Danube Promenade by the little princess statue. You will have a great view of the Buda Castle and the Danube. Then walk towards the Vorosmarty Square and the Lion Fountain. That Square is at the end of the Parisian Arcade. Built in the early 20th Century, the Parisian Arcade was once an ornate and lavish shopping center and it hasn’t change; you can found all the stores there. It’s a great meeting point for shopping or to grab coffee. Indeed, on that square you will found the famous Gerbeau Café. That café is a must go to grab coffee or to have dinner. What a beautiful and romantic setting that place is. Next to it, there is a pastry place called Cafe Dorortya; try one of their hungarian pastries Malnas Turotorta or Dobos Torta.
From there, walk towards St Stephen’s Basilica. No need to climb stairs, you can just get elevator tickets and go by the bells to have a 360 view of the city. From the top, you can see the small street that will take you to Chain Bridge.
Before getting to the bridge, go towards the Hungarian Parliament Building (Az Országház). If you want to go inside, you need to book a tour 1 day ahead. The outside of it is breathtaking. You will have a chance to see it again from the Chain Bridge and the Castle. On the way back towards the Chain Bridge, you will pass by those Shoes on the Danube. It is a memorial.
Take the Bridge now. Szechenyi Chain Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Europe, and the first permanent bridge to connect the Buda and Pest.
Cross the Bridge. Welcome to Buda.
Take the Funicular and found yourself in the Castle District Area. Visit the Royal Palace (Budavári Palota), the Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom) and the Fisherman Bastion (Halászbástya). You need tickets for the Church and the Fisherman Bastion. You have to go inside of the Church, all the walls are covered by decorations. For the Bastion, it is not worth getting tickets. A part of Bastion has to be accessed with a ticket but the other part does not required a ticket. Go there and look at the most spectacular views of the Danube and city.
In the alleys from the Palace to the Church, you will see the sign for the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth of Buda Castle is situated in a complex of caves and cellars underneath the Buda Castle district. The Labyrinth of Buda Castle has four circled mini-labyrinths: a Labyrinth exhibition, a project room, a cafe and a restaurant.
Once done, you can walk down to the city. There is nothing to do on the Buda side which is the old part of the town. Come back to the Pest side.If you feel like Italian restaurant, go to Trattoria Pomo D’oro by St Stephen’s Basilica. For Drinks, you can go to Aria Hotel Budapest that has a great view rooftop. The other great bar/club is Otkert.
Start you day at the Gellert Hill. The Walk to the top, start with the visit of a Church inside of the Mountain. Then continue for 20 minutes and you will get to the Liberty Statue (Szabadság Szobor). Sitting atop Budapest’s Gellért Hill, it is a soaring symbol of the city. The Citadel that was once behind there is not anymore.
Take a break and go to one of the bath and spa Budapest is famous for. The 2 most famous ones are The Széchenyi Bath & Spa and the Gellért Fürdő (Gellért Spa & Bath). But I want to suggest you to go to Rudas that was just renovated. It has a covered pool but you can go on the roof and have a great view of Gellert hill.You can rent everything there from towel, to shower cap. They offer message services. Just know they don’t accept euros but only Florin and credit cards.
Early evening, enjoy a cruise along the Danube and discover why they call Budapest the city of light. The evening sightseeing cruise that starts at 8:15pm is combined with a sound and vision show. The boat departs from the center of Budapest and makes an hour round trip in the city.
For the Bar scene, head to Szimpla, the most famous and must go ruin bar in Budapest. Situated on Kazinczy Street, that street is full of bars and clubs back to back. Be ready for a bar hopping night.
Start your day at the Great Market. You can buy all of your souvenirs on the 1st floor and have traditional food for lunch. Have a Langos, which is fried bread with cream cheese and anything else you want on it.
From there walk to the National Museum and the Great Synagogue (The Dohány Synagogue). Then you can walk or take a metro to the Terror Háza (House of Terror). The building is a museum functioning as a memorial to the victims of both Fascism and Communism.Take the metro to Hősök Tere (Heroes Square), located at the end of Budapest’s main shopping street, Andrássy Avenue (Pest’s greatest boulevard). Heroes Square is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Then walk to the Vajdahunyad vára (Vajdahunyad Castle). During the summer and fall, residents and tourists can boat leisurely on the lake, while in winter it becomes an ice skating ring. The Castle is open from 10 am to 5pm and it’s free.
At night, get tickets for the Hungarian State Opera House (Magyar Állami Operaház). That opera is beautiful.