Visiting Budapest: Advised Itinerary, What to See & Do, and The place to Keep

the old buildings of Budapest, Hungary
Posted: 3/13/2019 | March 13th, 2019

Earlier than I first visited, I imagined Budapest to be this rundown former Communist capital with little to do.

However I used to be mistaken.

Lifeless mistaken.

Budapest turned out to be a vibrant metropolis with a wealthy historical past, lovely parks and buildings, bustling meals halls, cool underground bars, and centuries-old thermal baths.

There was certainly quite a bit to do.

Since then, I’ve been again many occasions and have even led excursions there.

I like how Budapest’s drab exterior hides an internal heat. It’s hip. It’s cool. There may be a lot extra to the town in case you can look past its concrete façade. Try this, and also you’ll be rewarded with a go to to top-of-the-line locations on the continent.

Budapest is definitely two cities straddling the Danube: Buda on the west aspect is hilly and fashionable, whereas Pest (pronounced “pesht”) on the east is its flatter, wilder neighbor. (A 3rd, Óbuda, merged with the others in 1873.)

Every half has its personal persona as if the river not solely divides the town geographically however metaphysically too.

That will help you plan your go to to this marvelous Central European capital, I’ve created this itinerary with the very best matters to see and do in Budapest, taking you on — and off — the crushed path so that you not solely try the principle sights however you additionally get to know the locals and tradition too.

Visiting Budapest: Day 1

the old buildings of Budapest in Hungary
Since Budapest is so neatly divided, it’s finest to deal with every half individually. In the present day, we’re going to start out with the Buda (west) aspect of the Danube. That is the upper-class, ritzy space — full with a citadel — and it’s full of a lot of museums, historic streets, parks, and regal properties.

To kickstart your journey, begin your go to with a free strolling tour!

Take a Free Strolling Tour
I like free strolling excursions. If you happen to’ve learn a few of my different posts, you most likely know that already, since I’m at all times recommending them. They provide you a beautiful strategy to get an summary of a spot, find out about its tradition, and orient your self. Budapest has quite a few good excursions. Examine these out (and be sure you tip your information!):

After the free strolling tour, which is able to final about three hours, head over to Fort Hill.

Tour Fort Hill
This space has a variety of appeal, with cobblestone streets and slender alleys operating by the Outdated City. There are panoramic views of Pest and the Danube, nice cafés and eating places, and outlets to discover.

The most cost effective and best strategy to stand up the hill is on the No. 16 bus. The funicular is an alternative choice, however it normally has a prolonged wait. I truly desire strolling, as I don’t assume the hill is that steep.

As soon as there, discover a number of the sights listed beneath:

Buda Fort
They name it a citadel, however it’s extra of a palace complicated than anything. Although it was initially constructed within the 13th century, the massive Baroque complicated you see right this moment was constructed between 1749 and 1769. The palace’s days of being an opulent dwelling house led to World Conflict II, although, when Nazi (after which Russian) troops looted it. In the present day, it’s house to a set of museums (see beneath).

Beneath the citadel, there’s a labyrinth which you can discover. You’re free to wander the damp maze, which features a part of pitch-black winding corridors (don’t let go of the information rope!). What makes the labyrinth notably fascinating is that Vlad the Impaler (who we all know colloquially as Rely Dracula) was imprisoned there for 14 years.

Szent György tér 2, +36 1 458 3000, The courtyards are open 24/7 whereas the citadel has hours that align with the museum and gallery beneath. Admission to the labyrinth is 3,000 HUF for adults, with reductions accessible for college kids and seniors.

Budapest Historical past Museum
This museum covers 4 flooring of Buda Fort and can actually offer you a complete overview of the town’s total historical past (plus the views throughout city are wonderful!). It has some rooms that date again to the 15th century, and you too can discover the previous cellar, which additionally dates to the 15th century. Personally, I actually appreciated the “1,000 Years of Budapest” space.

+36 1 487 8800 , Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm (6pm in the summertime). Admission varies by season (2,000-2,400 HUF), with reductions for college kids and seniors, and an extra cost for taking footage (free admission you probably have the Budapest Card). An audio information is offered for 1,200 HUF. Admission is free on nationwide holidays.

Hungarian Nationwide Gallery
Opened in 1957, this museum focuses on Hungarian artists and historical past, of which I knew little or no earlier than my go to. There are a variety of treasures right here: moreover the work and sculptures, you may see a set of altarpieces from the 1400s and tour the constructing’s dome. To see what new non permanent reveals are on show, test the web site.

1014 Budapest, +36 20 439 7325, Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm (final tickets offered at 5pm). Admission is 1,800 HUF, with reductions for college kids and seniors, and an extra cost for taking footage. Audio guides can be found for 800 HUF.

Hospital within the Rock
This museum is beneath Fort Hill and only a five-minute stroll from the citadel. It has an interesting historical past, having served as a hospital, bomb shelter, jail, and nuclear bunker. You’ll find out about World Conflict II, the 1956 revolution, and the Chilly Conflict. It opened as a museum in 2008 and is without doubt one of the hottest points of interest on the town. There’s a one-hour guided tour full with wax figures, instruments, tools, and furnishings!

Lovas ut 4/c , +36 70 701 0101, Open every day 10am-8pm. Admission is 4,000 HUF for adults, with reductions accessible for seniors and anybody beneath 19.

Matthias Church
This neo-Gothic Roman Catholic church shouldn’t be what you would possibly count on. I’ve seen a whole lot of church buildings and cathedrals throughout Europe, and this one is exclusive. The colourful roof nearly appears to be like prefer it was constructed from Legos. The unique church was constructed within the 11th century, although nothing stays of it. The present constructing was constructed within the 14th century, although it noticed vital renovations within the 19th century. As soon as inside, you’ll discover the vaulted ceilings and ornate décor. It was a mosque for some time, which explains its vibrant colours and painted designs that aren’t the norm in European church buildings.

Szentháromság tér 2, +36 1 355 5657, Open 9am-5pm on weekdays, 9am-1pm on Saturdays, and 1pm-5pm on Sundays. Admission is 1,800 HUF for adults, with reductions for college kids and seniors. Guided excursions can be found for two,500 HUF.

Fisherman’s Bastion
This ornate, fairytale construction faces Pest and supplies nice panoramic views throughout the Danube River. Constructed between 1895 and 1902, the terrace includes seven lookout towers that symbolize the seven Hungarian tribes who based Budapest. (It was designed by the identical architect who constructed the Matthias Church subsequent door.) The title comes from both the truth that the terrace overlooks the fishermen’s guild or that the fishermen’s guild truly was answerable for defending that space of the wall — nobody is sort of sure.

Szentháromság tér, +36 1 458 3030, Open every day 9am-11pm. Admission is free, with an extra cost of 1,000 HUF (500 HUF for college kids/seniors) to go to the higher turrets.

Hungarian Presidential Palace
The house of the Hungarian president is known as Sándor-palota (Alexander Palace). It’s not tremendous eye-catching in comparison with the encircling buildings, however in case you time it proper, you may see the altering of the guard ceremony on the high of every hour, from 9am to 5pm, excluding Sundays. If you happen to’re actually fortunate, in the summertime the palace shall be open for excursions, although this not often occurs.

Szent György tér 1-2, +36 1 224 5000. Admission to the altering of the guard is free. There may be an extra payment for palace admission (when accessible).

Buda Tower
This reconstructed “tower” is all that is still of the Church of Mary Magdalene, which was constructed within the 13th century however practically destroyed throughout an air raid in World Conflict II. When the Turks occupied the town between 1541-1699, it was used as a mosque. Since reopening in 2017, now you can climb the 172 steps to the highest, however given the nice free views on Fort Hill, I’d skip it and simply view the tower from the skin.

Kapisztrán tér 6, Open every day 10am-6pm (however solely on the weekends in January and February). Admission is 1,500 HUF for adults and 600 HUF for college kids.

Visiting Budapest: Day 2

overlooking the city of Budapest at dusk
In the present day, let’s deal with the Pest (jap) aspect of city:

Go to Parliament
This huge constructing on the Danube is the place the Hungarian legislature meets. The literal translation means “Home of the Nation” or “Home of the Nation.” After the three cities that make up fashionable Budapest (Buda, Pest, and Óbuda) united in 1873, it was determined {that a} new parliament constructing was wanted. This huge construction took 19 years to construct, with development ending in 1904. Not solely is it the tallest construction in Budapest however it’s truly the most important in the complete nation.

Lately, you may tour the Gothic Revival edifice and watch the altering of the guard. I like to recommend buying your tickets upfront, because the strains to purchase tickets on-site could be extremely lengthy.

Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, +36 1 441 4000, Open every day 8am-6pm. Admission is 6,000 HUF for non-EU adults, 3,100 HUF for non-EU college students, 2,400 HUF for EU adults, and 1,300 HUF for EU college students.

Stroll Alongside the Danube
A stroll alongside the river is a pleasant exercise after visiting Parliament. Head south and take a look at the promenade and its many inexperienced areas and sculptures, together with the sobering “Footwear on the Danube Financial institution,” a memorial honoring the Jews who have been shot right here throughout World Conflict II.

Stroll Throughout the Chain Bridge
Persevering with south, you’ll attain the Széchenyi Chain Bridge connecting Pest with Buda. This wrought-iron and stone suspension bridge is 375m in size. It opened in 1849, although it needed to be rebuilt after World Conflict II. On the Pest (east) finish of the Chain Bridge is the Gresham Palace, a gorgeous Artwork Nouveau constructing. It was as soon as an opulent workplace/house constructing and is now an opulent lodge, the 4 Seasons.

Eat on the Nice Market Corridor
Inbuilt 1897, that is the oldest and largest indoor market within the nation, a bit southwest of the Jewish Quarter. You’ll discover principally produce, meats, baked items, and sweet on the bottom ground, whereas the higher ground is house to eating places and memento outlets. It has a variety of conventional locations to eat, so be sure you stroll round and discover first. Positive, it’s touristy (it’s the central market, in any case!), however I nonetheless discovered the meals tasty. My favorites are the outlets on the second ground, on the best aspect, closest to the entrance.

Vámház körút 1–3. Open Monday 6am-5pm, Tuesday-Friday 6am-6pm , and Saturday 6am-3pm. Closed on Sundays. Admission is free.

Stare upon St. Stephen’s Basilica
That is the most important church in Hungary and might’t be missed. It’s lovely in and out, with ornate structure, attractive art work, glowing marble, and a tall dome. No marvel it took 50 years to construct! If you happen to go inside, try all of the little chapels and St. Stephen’s mummified hand. If you happen to’re there on a Monday, you may go to an organ live performance.

Szent István tér 1, +36 1 311 0839, Open weekdays 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-1pm, and Sunday 1pm-5pm. Entry to the basilica is by donation, although it’s 600 HUF per individual for the tower/commentary deck.

Take a look at Dohány Road Synagogue
Often known as the Nice Synagogue, that is the second-largest synagogue on the earth, inbuilt 1854 and seating 3,000 folks. Ensure you go on the guided tour (included with admission) to get extra perspective on the constructing. The guides are tremendous educated, and also you’ll study concerning the development of the synagogue, Jewish life throughout wartime, and much more. Additionally try Wallenberg Memorial Park (proper behind the synagogue) and the close by Hungarian Jewish Museum.

Dohány u. 2, +36 1-343-0420. Hours range from month to month; name forward for particulars. Admission is 4,000 HUF for adults and three,000 HUF for college kids.

See the Hungarian State Opera Home
You possibly can go inside this neo-Renaissance masterpiece or simply view it from outdoors. I like to recommend the latter, because the auditorium is being renovated, and the tour doesn’t cowl a lot of the constructing. If there are performances while you’re on the town, attempt to catch one. It could even value lower than a tour!

Andrássy u. 22, 1061, +36 1-81-47-100, Tour admission is 2,900 HUF for adults and 1,900 HUF for college kids.

Get together on the Damage Bars
Damage bars are all the trend in Budapest and have been round because the 2001 founding of Szimpla Kert, the mecca of all break bars. They’re in Budapest’s District VII neighborhood (the previous Jewish Quarter) within the ruins of deserted buildings, shops, or heaps. This neighborhood was left to decay after World Conflict II, so it was an ideal place to develop an underground bar scene. (Not so underground anymore, although!) From the skin, these bars seem like regular properties. They don’t have massive indicators pointing the way in which, you don’t hear any loud noise, and there’s no line of individuals ready to get in. Listed below are my favorites:

  • Szimpla Kert – That is the unique and most well-known break bar and began this pattern. As soon as an deserted manufacturing facility, it has a big open courtyard, a high ground with eclectic furnishings, cocktail bars, and even an previous, stripped-down Trabant (Communist-era automobile) you may have a drink in. Kazinczy u. 14, +36 20 261 8669, Open 12pm-4am on weekdays, 9am-4am on Saturdays, and 9am-5am on Sundays.
  • Instantaneous – Occupying a whole house constructing, Instantaneous is the most important break bar, with greater than 20 rooms. They’ve knocked down most of the partitions to attach the flats and make house for the DJs and dancing. Akácfa u. 49-51, +36 70 638 5040, Open every day 10pm-6am.
  • Fogasház – The “Home of Enamel” bought its title from an previous dentist’s workplace signal they discovered after they have been constructing the bar. It has bicycles and glasses hanging from the ceiling and is artsier than the opposite break bars. Akácfa u. 49-51, +36 1 783 8820. Open every day 4pm-6am.
  • Anker’t – Positioned in a former manufacturing facility in downtown Budapest, this minimalist however fairly huge house is made up of enormous, connecting courtyards, a huge dance ground to get your celebration on, and loads of couches to lounge on if dancing isn’t your matter. Paulay Ede u. 33, +36 30 360 3389. Open Monday-Wednesday 2pm-12am, Thursday 2pm-1am, Friday-Saturday 2pm-4am, and Sunday 2pm-12am.

For an extended listing of the finest break bars in Budapest, click on right here.

Visiting Budapest: Day 3

overlooking the city of Budapest at dusk
Discover Gellért Hill
Begin your day again in Buda with a visit to Gellért Hill, south of Fort Hill. This hill gives the very best views of Budapest, and it’s a well-liked spot to observe a sundown from. (If you happen to go for the sundown, take a flashlight for the journey house!)
There are a number of monuments on the hill that you simply’ll wish to cease and recognize:

  • Liberty Statue – This bronze statue was erected in 1947 to have fun the liberating Soviet forces who defeated the Nazis. It’s 14m tall and sits on a 26m pedestal. When Hungary adopted democracy in 1989, the transcription and which means of the statue was modified to replicate this.
  • Statue of Queen Elisabeth – This statue is devoted to the Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, Elisabeth, who married Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria.
  • Statue of King Saint Stephen – This statue is devoted to Hungary’s first king, who reigned from 1000 to 1038 CE. He helped set up the nation as a Christian nation and supplied a interval of relative peace and stability.
  • Szent Gellért Monument – This monument is devoted to Saint Gerard, who was the primary Bishop of Csanád in what was the Kingdom of Hungary in 1030 CE. He kicked off the conversion of Hungary to Christianity, and a monument was constructed in his honor in 1904.

See the Cave Church
Other than these picturesque statues and the epic view, Gellért Hill is house to essentially the most uncommon church within the metropolis. Within the 1920s, monks constructed this church in a cave that had been beforehand utilized by a hermit monk. It was used as a hospital throughout World Conflict II, and the Communist authorities coated the doorway in concrete after the struggle and executed the top monk. There’s much more to the historical past of this church than I’ve room to cowl right here, so be sure to make use of the audio information.

Sziklatemlom út Gellért Hill, Open Monday-Saturday 9:30am-7:30pm. Admission is 600 HUF.

Go to the Museum of Terror
On this horrifying museum, you’ll study what life was like for Hungarians beneath the fascist and Communist regimes of the 1900s. The constructing was utilized by the ÁVH (Secret Police) and Arrow Cross Get together (the Hungarian Nazi celebration). The everlasting reveals are unfold over 4 flooring and home all types of previous propaganda, weapons, and informative multimedia shows. Over 700,000 Hungarians have been killed or imprisoned by the Soviets, and the museum does an excellent job at illustrating simply how dreadful their every day lives have been. For data on the non permanent reveals, test the web site for essentially the most up-to-date data.

Andrássy út 60, +36 (1) 374 26 00, Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Admission is 3,000 HUF for adults and 1,500 HUF for college kids and seniors.

Tour Heroes’ Sq.
On the finish of Andrássy Avenue is the most important sq. in Hungary. Its centerpiece is the Millennial Memorial and the statues of Hungarian kings and different historic figures, together with the seven chiefs who led the Magyars (modern-day Hungarians) within the ninth century CE. The monument was inbuilt 1896 to have fun Hungary’s 1,000th anniversary. Presently, Hungary was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire dominated by the Hapsburgs, and house was left for statues of future Hapsburg leaders.

The sq. is on the entrance to Metropolis Park, the place you may go to the zoo and the Széchenyi Baths (see beneath) if there’s time. The Museum of Positive Arts and the Palace of Artwork are positioned close by as properly, making for fascinating stops in case you’re keen on artwork.

Soak on the Baths
Hungarians love their thermal spa baths. Budapest has greater than 100 mineral sizzling springs which have been put to good use since Roman occasions. With 18 swimming pools, the Széchenyi Baths in Metropolis Park are the most important and most well-known in Europe. The gorgeous yellow buildings have been inbuilt 1913, and it’s a well-liked spot for locals and vacationers alike. If you happen to’re solely going to at least one thermal spa, that is the one!

Állatkerti krt. 9-11, +36 1-363-3210, Open every day 6am-10pm. Admission begins at 4,900 HUF (2,000 HUF for a tour) and relies on the day/time of your go to.

These are another baths round city:

  • Király Baths – The constructing was first constructed beneath Ottoman rule within the 16th century and nonetheless retains components of the standard Turkish tub, together with the big dome roof and octagonal swimming pools. Open every day 9am-9pm. Admission begins at 2,800 HUF with no locker.
  • Veli Bej Tub – That is one other Turkish-style tub, with an opulent really feel. Constructed in 1575, it’s one of many oldest (and arguably most lovely) on the town. Open every day 6am-12pm and 3pm-9pm. Admission begins at 2,800 HUF.
  • Dandár Tub – This can be a no-frills tub that a variety of locals go to. Opened in 1930, it has an artwork deco fashion and was lately refurbished. It’s also possible to get pleasure from massages, a diving pool, and a sauna. Open weekdays 6am-9pm and weekends 8am-9pm. Admission begins at 1,500 HUF.
  • Gellért Baths – Positioned in Resort Gellért, this complicated was constructed within the early 1900s and renovated in 2008. There are a number of indoor and outside swimming pools which can be nice for stress-free and, some say, curing sicknesses. The mosaic flooring and stained glass home windows are lovely and make for fairly the washing expertise! Admission begins at 6,100 HUF for a full-day expertise. Guided excursions are 2,000 HUF.
  • Rudas Spa – On the foot of Gellért Hill, this spa’s inside dates again to 1550 and Ottoman rule. There are six remedy swimming pools right here in addition to a swimming pool, with the water mentioned to treatment all types of sicknesses. Admission varies vastly by day, time, and pool, beginning at 1,700 HUF for a weekday night go to to the swimming pool.

When visiting the baths, don’t overlook your bathing go well with and flip-flops. You possibly can sometimes hire towels and lockers.

Different Matters to See and Do in Budapest

Budapest lit up at night
You probably have greater than three days in Budapest, you’re in luck. There are many different actions to fill your time.

Go to an Island
For a singular expertise, go to an island on the Danube. Listed below are those I like finest:

  • Margaret Island – This widespread island is smack in the midst of the Danube, related by the Margaret and Árpád Bridges. Guests primarily tour the park, go to the swimming swimming pools, and watch the Musical Fountain, which sprays water excessive into the air in sync with the music. There are additionally some dance golf equipment (that are particularly busy on the weekends).
  • Óbuda Island – This island is thought for its outside actions, together with wakeboarding, jet snowboarding, and golf on the driving vary. It comes alive in August when hundreds of individuals go to for the Sziget Competition of music and tradition, and a on line casino will quickly open.

Go to the Home of Houdini
Harry Houdini was one of the crucial well-known and well-known illusionists on the earth. He was identified of his elaborate escape methods, and he was truly born in Hungary. That is the one museum in Europe devoted to the Budapest native. It’s house to fairly a number of Houdini props and items of memorabilia, in addition to reside magic exhibits.

11 Dísz Sq., +36 1-951-8066, Open every day from 10am-7pm Admission is 2,600 HUF per individual.

Take a Tour
Past free strolling excursions, Budapest has tons of different nice strolling, meals, and historic excursions. They aren’t free, however you’ll undoubtedly get your cash’s price! Listed below are a number of price trying out:


Budapest is a enjoyable metropolis that basically does have one thing for everybody. Don’t let the grim façade idiot you. Budapest is vibrant and fashionable and filled with superior matters to see and do, whether or not you’re a historical past buff or evening owl seeking to celebration (or each!). It’s top-of-the-line capitals to go to in all of Europe so that you higher be sure you add this quirky, historic vacation spot to your bucket listing!

Ebook Your Journey to Bangkok: Logistical Ideas and Tips

Get Your Information
Take a look at my detailed information to planning a go to to Bangkok with instructed itineraries and knowledge on locations to remain, matters to do, the place to eat, and how you can get round. Simply click on right here to get the information and proceed planning right this moment!

Ebook Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite engines like google, as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe, so that you at all times know no stone is being left unturned.

Ebook Your Lodging
You possibly can e-book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use because it constantly returns the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost inns. I exploit it on a regular basis. My favourite locations to remain in Budapest are:

  • Retox – A giant celebration hostel positioned subsequent to Budapest’s largest nightlife space. This one is for severe partiers!
  • Carpe Noctem – The employees right here will find yourself feeling like household, and there are organized journeys out in town each evening.
  • Wombats – One other celebration spot, however it’s clear and comfy, and considered one of my all-time favorites.
  • Hostel One – Nice rooms, nice employees, and loads of frequent house to socialize in. The employees will even prepare dinner for you!
  • Large Fish – This can be a new hostel positioned proper on the principle boulevard of Budapest. New beds, an enormous kitchen, and a comfortable frequent room!

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes mistaken. I by no means go on a visit with out it, as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions previously. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite firms that supply the very best service and worth are:

In search of the very best firms to save cash with?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the very best firms to make use of once you journey! I listing all those I exploit to save cash — and I feel they’ll provide help to too!

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