Two Days in Budapest
Budapest is undoubtedly one of the most captivating cities in Europe, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. If you’re only visiting for a short time, it can be challenging to decide how to spend your days. Fear not, as we have created the ultimate 2-day itinerary for those of you that want to discover the top attractions, museums, spas, and parks in Budapest and get a real sense of this romantic city.
Day 1: Exploring Buda
Start your day with a hearty breakfast before heading out to discover Buda, the most elegant neighborhood located on the western bank of Budapest. To reach the top of Castle Hill, take the Castle Hill Funicular or bus 16, 16A, or 116 and get off at Disz ter. Once you arrive at the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Pest and the Danube River.
The Fisherman’s Bastion is located next to Matthias Church and offers the best views of Budapest. From here, you can see the Hungarian Parliament, the Danube River, and the city’s many bridges. It’s a great spot for taking pictures and enjoying the view.
Labyrinth of Buda Castle
After visiting Fisherman’s Bastion, take Uri Utca to walk back to the Castle. This street has beautiful Baroque mansions and was once home to the Labyrinth of Buda Castle, one of the city’s most-visited and unique attractions. Although the Labyrinth permanently closed a few years ago, the street is still worth a visit.
Walk back to Pest down one of Buda’s many paths and cross the Chain Bridge, the oldest bridge in Budapest. Keep walking straight, taking Zrinyi Utca until you arrive at St. Stephen’s Basilica.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks and is free to visit. It’s worth taking a few minutes to admire the church’s stunning interior before heading south towards Vörösmarty Square.
Vörösmarty Square is one of the main squares in Budapest and is home to the world-renowned Gerbaud Bakery. It’s a great place to stop for a coffee and a pastry before continuing your exploration of the city.
From Vörösmarty Square, take Vaci Utca, Budapest’s most famous shopping street, until you reach the Central Market Hall. If you’re feeling a bit hungry, the market’s first floor is packed with small food stands that sell all types of dishes. If you prefer to find somewhere to rest and have a proper meal, Vaci Utca and its adjacent streets have many restaurants.
Hungarian State Opera House
After exploring the market, take the tram 47 or 49 to Deak Ferenc Ter. During the ride, you’ll pass by the Hungarian National Museum and the Great Synagogue, which is open every day except Saturdays. From Deak Ferenc Ter, walk down Andrassy Avenue until you come across the Hungarian State Opera House. If you get there at 3 pm, you can do the English-speaking guided tour, which we found curious and definitely worthwhile.
Dinner Cruise on Danube River
In the evening, we recommend booking a Budapest Dinner Cruise. One of the most memorable experiences is floating down the Danube River at night time watching the various UNESCO World Heritage sights lit up. You can choose from several cruise options, including a Budapest dinner cruise with live music or a Budapest Folk Show & Dinner Cruise.
Day 2: Exploring Pest
Start your day bright and early by heading to Heroes’ Square on the metro (line M1 – Hősok tere stop). This is one of the city’s main squares, decorated with impressive statues that commemorate the seven Magyar tribes that founded Hungary.
Museum of Fine Arts
The square houses the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the best museums in Budapest. We recommend spending about an hour exploring this gallery, and the entrance fee is relatively cheap.
Once you have left the museum, stroll towards the City Park. If you go on a Sunday, you’ll see many Hungarian families and groups of friends having a picnic or relaxing in the sun. The park is also bustling on Saturdays.
Szechenyi Thermal Bath
Szechenyi Thermal Bath is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and the perfect place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing. The bath is open every day from 6 am to 10 pm, and the entrance fee is relatively cheap.
After your spa session, you’ll probably be hungry. There are a few food stands in front of the Budapest Zoo if you want a quick bite to eat, or you can wait to get back to the city center for a more relaxing lunch.
If you still have some time left, we recommend heading back to Andrassy Avenue to admire its beautiful mansions or buy a few souvenirs in Vaci Utca.
If you’re in Budapest for over two days and have followed our 48-hour itinerary, why not organize an excursion to a nearby town or city? There are plenty of options, including Szentendre, Visegrad, Esztergom, and Eger.
Budapest is an excellent destination for solo travelers, couples, and families with children. The city is relatively safe, and there are plenty of things to see and do for people of all ages.
We hope you’ve found our 2-day itinerary helpful and that it has given you a taste of what Budapest has to offer. Remember that our schedule is flexible, and you can always adjust it according to your preferences. Don’t forget to try Hungarian cuisine, which is delicious and diverse, and to immerse yourself in the city’s culture and history. Budapest is a city that will captivate you and leave you wanting to come back for more.