Are you planing a trip to Budapest? Let us help, we will share our Budapest itinerary with you.
After reading our detailed guide, you´ll know exactly how to spend 3 days in Budapest. In this article, you´ll discover not only all the best things to this in this amazing city, but also some tips who derive from our personal experience in this city.
Curiosity: What we know today as the city of Budapest, were once two separate and distinct cities, Buda and Pest. To go from Buda to Pest, or vice versa, you just need to cross the Danube in one of the eight magnificent bridges that connect the two sides.
Do: Explore Budapest City Park (Városliget) & Devote some time to the famous thermal baths
Budapest is known as the city of thermal baths. You won´t regret spending a portion of your time on this activity. There are several places where you can experience these relaxing baths. We chose the most well known, the Szechenyi Baths.
There is no need to spare an entire day for the baths. We strongly advise you to seize the day at Budapest city park (Városliget), where the Szechenyi Baths are located and book the visit to the baths to the end of the day, around 17h-19h. If you go to Szechenyi Baths after 17h you will get a discount, it will cost around 15€. The price for the full day will cost around 18€. You can find more info here.
Városliget isn´t just a regular city park, it hosts Vajdahunyad Castle, one of the most beautiful castles you will ever see.
Curiosity: Are you a beer fan? Would you like to experience a Beer Spa? The bath that you can experience here will be at a warm temperature of 36ºC and it´s a mixture of water rich in minerals and all the ingredients you can find in a beer. This unique combination will help you to relax. You will also have the opportunity to drink an unlimited amount of Czech beer during the bath.
If you wish to purchase a combined ticket to the Szechenyi Baths and the Beer Spa, it will cost you 43€ per person. You can book and find out more here.
Don´t: Eat street food in Vorosmarty square (Cafe de Paris)
Why? You might ask. Because we paid 27,78€ for what you see in this picture. Each natural orange juice was 7€. The food quality wasn´t the best either, the bread wasn´t even soft. The hot dog was also 7€.
The traditional Hungarian food, Lángos, that you can see in the picture, consists of a fried dough. Usually, it´s added sour cream and cheese, but it´s possible to eat it with almost everything. It costs us 5€ and it was good. It was the cheapest thing we ate here.
Normally, we choose to eat street food to have the opportunity to try different things and because it´s cheaper, but, this time, it wasn´t a wise choice.
Eat: Try Goulash and Gundel pancakes
During our stay in Hungary, we had the chance to eat Goulash, the famous Hungarian dish, three times. It´s a meat stew with paprika. I loved the first we ate in Otkert, and it was cheap, around 4€.
The meal you can see in the photo was in a restaurant called “Porta“, we chose two menus that had the main course, a glass of wine and a dessert. We paid only 21€. Despite being cheap and the meal being very “instagramable”, I didn´t like the Goulash that they served me. It didn´t have much flavour, you couldn’t even feel the taste of paprika, unlike my previous experience in Otkert.
Another thing that I also tried and loved was some amazing Hungarian pancakes! They had chocolate, rum and nuts. Unfortunately, I cannot recall their name or the name of the restaurant, but from what I found on the internet, must have been the Gundel pancakes. I strongly recommend you to try them.
Do: Visit the famous Ruin Pubs
One of the main attractions in Budapest are the Ruin Pubs. We tried a few, but our favourite was, undoubtedly, the Szimpla Kert. If you don´t have the opportunity to visit several ruin pubs, we recommend you to go visit at least this one.
We love the concept of these bars. We praise initiatives like this that give life to abandoned places. Here, you can experience a unique atmosphere. You can stay on the first floor if you like to party and dance. If your mood is to chat, hang out with some friends, or to be with your better half, the second floor is perfect for all that.
Normally, there are security guards at the entrance, but all they do is check if you do not carry any drink to the bar. You don’t even have to pay to enter. At least all the bars we visited, work this way.
Do: Reflect on the atrocities of WW2 at the “Shoes on the Danube” Memorial
Where to find them? Just walk along the river on the Pest side, near the Parliament.
These shoes represent a sad history and evoke the less glorious past of this city. This monument is a memorial to the jews that here were lined, shot to death and thrown into the river during World War 2.
Want to read more about the Memorial? Click here.
Visit: Margaret Island and watch the Show on the Fountain with Lights and Music
Just like as New York has the famous Central Park, Budapest has Margaret Island or Margitsziget. This park is huge and it´s perfect to spend an afternoon around here.
Getting to the park is quite easy, even on foot. You just have to follow along with the river, on the Pest side. If you are near the Chain Bridge (the bridge that has lions) move in the direction of the Parliament. After sighting the Parliament, you just have to continue to walk until you reach a yellow bridge. That bridge will lead you to Margaret Island.
One of the things on the Island that we strongly advise you not to miss is the show with lights and music that takes place near the fountain, at the end of the afternoon. I think the last show is at 9 pm and it starts at 6 pm.
On the first day, that we went to Margaret Island, we lost the notion of time while venturing into the park. When we, finally, arrived at the beginning – where the fountain is -it was already too late and the show had finished. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to come back the next day. The music and the lights create a magical and romantic atmosphere. It´s definitely, a not to miss for couples.
Warning: The show can only be seen between March and October.
Do: Dinner with a scenic view to the Danube River
During your visit to Margaret Island, take the opportunity to have a romantic dinner overlooking the Danube at an affordable price. Buddha Express restaurant is located just outside Margaret Island and it has good Asian food and takeaway service. Getting to Buddha Express from Margaret Island will take you 20-30 minutes.
Do: Enjoy the beauty of Budapest at night
Do: Go to the Panoramic Tower of St. Stephen’s Basilica
If you wish to have a panoramic view over Budapest city, don’t just visit the Basilica, you should visit its panoramic tower as well. You will have to climb a few hundred steps, but the view will be very rewarding.
A ticket costs just over 1,5€. It´s only possible to enjoy this view from 1 April to 31 October. At least, this is the information I found on the internet.
Visit: Fisherman’s Bastion
I had already seen so many photos of this monument that I already knew I wanted to visit it. It´s located on the Buda side and looks straight out of a fairytale. This is one of my favourite monuments and results from a combination of Neogothic and Neo-Romanesque architecture.
Fun Fact: The seven towers of this monument represent the seven Hungarian tribes that founded the country in 895.
Visit: New York Café
One of our favourite social networks is Instagram, do you know why? Because it allows us to discover amazing places. There, we discovered this café, wich also functions as a restaurant, but it looks just like a palace. Here, you can feel the charm of the Belle Époque.
This cafe had a glorious past and was attended by writers and editors . However, after World War II it began to be neglected and to serve as a sports goods store. Fortunately, years later the place was restored recovering its former charm.
New York Cafe is part of Hotel Boscolo Budapest.
We found this cafe on the last day before our departure. We were afraid that we would need a prior reservation. Fortunately, it wasn´t necessary.
We had two hot chocolates, each one costs 7€.
Do: Eat Hungarian cakes
Hungary is well known for its cakes and we only regret not having experienced more of them.
The cake that you can see in the photo was bought at the supermarket. We decided to buy it so we could have something to eat during our journey to watch the sunrise -which didn´t go as planned because it was too cloudy. Back to the cake, when I saw it wrapped in the supermarket, I wasn´t impressed and neither was eager to try it, but, at dawn, hunger kicked in, and after the first bite I felt very sad for not having bought 5 boxes full of this cake. It was delicious with an addictive cherry filling.
When, one day, we return to Budapest, cake tasting will be part of our itinerary!!
How many days should you stay?
To fully enjoy the city, you should spend in Budapest at least 3 full days. If you have more than 3 days to explore it, that´s even better. There were still so many interesting things we wanted to have done.
If we had more time we would have liked to visit the House of Terror Museum , Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest City Park (Városliget) and the dreamy Vajdahunyad Castle, climb to Gellert Hill, visit Heroes’ Square. And we´re just naming the first things that come to our mind.
Where to stay?
What kind of accomodation are you looking for? Sometimes we just want something affordable, but whenever we can we always try to search for accomodations well located and with a unique touch, even if that means spending a little more. But it all depends of our budget.
If you have a short budget, Budapest also has plenty of accomodations for you. The city is filled with great hostels. Book your hostel here
Some of our favourite accomodations in Budapest are: