We visited for the second time the Queen of the Danube, beautiful Budapest the capital of Hungary. A city built on the banks of the Danube river, a city once divided into the Buda and the Pest, now one of the largest cities in Europe, Budapest dominates with its aristocratic vibes. After many years it’s time to freshen up our previous post about Budapest! Shall we take a look into Hungary’s beautiful capital? Read our 3 + 1 day itinerary for a short getaway in Budapest!
The Buda and the Pest
Budapest emerged from the union of the two regions that are located by the banks of the Danube River, with the Buda being met on the one side and the Pest on the other! The merging was made in 1873. Budapest is located 216 km southeast of Vienna, 545 km south of Warsaw, 443 km southeast of Prague and generally is a city that most travelers combine with a visit to Bratislava and Vienna!
From the to airport of Budapest to the city centre
Take the bus line 100 E or 200 E and you will find yourself easily in the center of Budapest with a ticket of 2-3 euros. We recommend the 100 E the one with the fewer stops and the last of which is the Deák Ferenc tér Central metro station locates right in the city center. The bus starts every 30 minutes and the journey lasts about 35 minutes! Tickets can be found just outside the airport on special machines outside terminal 2B or online!
Accommodation – Where to stay in Budapest
Choose a central apartment or hotel as the city is ideal for walking. The accommodation, apart from the hostels, is a bit expensive we would say as we talk about a rather touristy city chosen by many tourists especially on the festive days of Christmas and New Year!
Things to do in Budapest
Almost Every point of interest is worth seeing in Budapest! We re talking about a city with dozens of tourist points and main attractions so choose the sights you d like the most based on your preferences and travel style!
- St Stephen’s Basilica
- Chain Bridge (Pest)
- Kalvin Square
- Liszt Ferenc Square
- Heroes Square
- Keleti Railway Station
- Margaret Bridge (Buda)
- WestEnd Shopping Centre
- Arliamentanrassy Ave. 4
- Marcius 15. Square
- Fovam Square
- Kalvin Square
- Corvin Plaza
- New York Palace
- Liszt Ferenc Square
- Keleti Railway Station
- Bathyany square
- Parisi Udvar
- Castle garden
- West end shopping center
- Margaret Island
- Basilica Square (Nice sunset from the tower and has a laser show in the afternoon every half hour)
- Vorosmarty Square
A perfect travel itinerary for Budapest
Whether you are visiting Budapest on Christmas time or any other time of the year, the itinerary remains similar. Below we have a nice proposal for your visit to the Budapest Christmas markets as well, as most people prefer to travel there on festive days and it is certain that they will spend several hours out on the streets and the squares with the wonderful and fragrant Christmas markets!
We begin our trip from the Pest side of Budapest on foot (depending on the area you ll choose to stay of course and based on the pins that you have already placed on the above points of interest)! We end up in Buda and the Buda Citadel on the Gellert Hill. After walking around the area, enjoying the unique panoramic view of Pest and Danube we had the first hot wine drink of the day before moving towards the castle! We are still in the Buda side as we ascend either on foot (many steps), you can take a cable car instead (7 euros) or arrange a tour that will tour you around the castle area and reach the Fishermans Bastion (19th century) from where you will admire the wonderful baroque style Parliament building! After tasting local delicacies in one of the following proposals we have the opportunity to take you to the squares and of course to the adorable festive Christmas markets with the most famous ones being the Vorosmarty and Basilica square.
Hop on and off bus in Budapest – Budapest Sightseeing Hop on off bus
If travelling with family (as we did), you can choose the hop on – off bus which will cost you only 33 euro for 3 days, including unlimited boat rides (afternoon too), a free walking tour, 2 routes to all points of interest and a night bus tour throughout the city!
Red Route runs from 9:00am – 4:00pm, every 30 minutes. Duration – 140 minutes. Yellow Route runs from 9:00am – 4:00pm, every 30 minutes. Duration – 80 minutes. Some of the tours stop at Margaret Island, but it’s advised to check the timetable upon arrival. Night tour runs from 8:00pm – 9:50pm, and lasts approximately 110 minutes. Meeting point – St Stephen’s Basilica (Red Route stop 1). you choose to do a night tour, you’ll have the chance to see this beautiful city under a blanket of darkness. The 1-hour panoramic night tour runs every night from the pick-up bus stop 19 on the red route. The departure time changes seasonally, for more information please check your bus ticket in Budapest. The free walking tour provides a tour of the Pest side of the city. The departure time is 11:00 AM from the pick-up point, which is the Big Bus customer service center, 3 Andrássy AvenuePlease note, that with your voucher you can start the tour at any of the Big Bus hop-on hop-off stops, not only at the meeting point (stop 1).
We continue our walk to the city’s top attractions and join a free walking tour to learn some local tips! A trip to Budapest is not completed without including a bath (or… more) in one of the many thermal baths of the city. Book your ticket in time or get ready for a long queue! On the festive days there are no online tickets! Szechenyi baths and Gellert Baths are the best known and most popular in town with affordable prices for an all-day entry ticket and use of the hot baths, either indoors or outdoors! There are showers, toilets and lockers to keep your things while you enjoying your bath! As the night falls we recommend a night bus ride in the city! The night city lights lights give Budapest a magic sense and a special charm that you will definitely love!
If you find yourself in Budapest on the New Year’s eve you can celebrate the new year and fireworks show in the hot baths for the price of 50-60 euro!
On the third day we start with the district around the Hungarian Parliament and of course we choose to walk on the banks of the Danube river where shortly after the chain Bridge we stop at the point where one of the most touching “monument ” was created and of course we are talking about the bronze shoes in honor of the tens of thousands Jews who lost their lives in 44′-45′. We continue with a coastal ride on tram 2A for some truly incredible views of Buda, the tram is located on the Pest side of the city. Our day will finish with a night cruise on the Danube for a 9 euro ticket and a glass of hot Gluhhwein at only 1.5 euro! Also you can dine onboard for something more and taste local cheese and wine with a view of the enlightened Budapest which is equally, if not more, beautiful and charming than it is in the day!
If you travel to Budapest on Christmas time seek for the Christmas tram that is adorned and lit in a special way only for those festive days!
Today we will take a morning cruise on the Danube river, we will reach the Market hall marketplace where we will spend some time tasting delicacies and buying souvenirs! For shopping enthusiasts we recommend a walk to the shopping center! To complete the trip to beautiful Budapest do not omit to attend an opera or concert show! We suggest the National Erkel Theatre with tickets starting from 3 euros for the balcony seats! We enjoyed the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven for only 6 euros for two persons!
Food in Budapest
What to eat in Budapest
- Gulash soup and all kind of other local soup which can be found is totally suggested
- Chicken with paprika and some local spaghetti is a traditional dish you have to taste
- Langos something like a local fast food
- Kurtoskalacs the delicious chimney cakes
- Gluhwein, the hot wine we all do love while visiting Christmas markets
Where to eat in Budapest
- Lugas restaurtant
- Hungarikum Bistro
- Chritmas Markets
- Bite Breakfast
- Lions Locker reastaurant
- For Sale Pub
Combine your trip with a visit to Vienna or Bratislava (for only 12 euros), the train station will take you easily and economically wherever you choose to go, you can even travel to Prague! If you travel in spring time we suggest that you spend a day on the island of Margaret (the Central Park of Budapest), for winter trippers a cruise that passes you around the island is more than enough.
For bars crawlers explore the Ruin bars and the Jewish quarter in general, you ll find all kind of cute, underground bars!
Budapest is a favorite destination for travelers and not unfairly since it has so many attractions to visit that you wont get enough of it in just one trip! Read our 3 + 1 day itinerary for a short getaway in Budapest and we advice you to enjoy it for something more than just a long weekend and get the chance to admire all its grandeur! An aristocratic city next to the imposing Danube and neighbor to other wonderful cities like Bratislava and Vienna, worth visiting in one or more trips!