Photo by nunezimage. Budapest is certainly one of the most fascinating capitals in Europe and, above all, an excellent destination for a weekend getaway . Despite being a capital, the historic center can be easily visited on foot, immersing yourself even more in its beauty, among splendid attractions and period buildings.
Here are all our tips for organizing a Budapest itinerary in 3 days .

SEE ALSO : What to see in Budapest

Buy the city card : to save on the cost of individual attractions and on transport, we recommend the purchase of the Budapest Card, which includes free access to many of the attractions proposed in our itinerary. Price from € 21.99

Day 1

  • Distance traveled : 3.1 km
  • Places visited : Chain Bridge (free), Fisherman’s Bastion (free), Matthias Church (1,800 HUF / € 5.00), Buda Castle (National Gallery 3,200 HUF / € 8.90 or History Museum 2,000 HUF / € 5.60), Cittadella (free)
  • Place to eat: Lunch at Lanchid Sorozo (Get directions), Dinner at KIOSK Budapest (Get directions)

First time in Budapest
Let yourself be guided
: for a first approach to the city we recommend a Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus tour, to identify the landmarks and learn about stories and anecdotes.

1 – Chain Bridge
Budapest is divided into two parts by the Danube River: Buda and Pest. Spend the first day in Buda , the oldest part of the city. Starting point is the wonderful Chain Bridge, in Hungarian Szechenyi Lanchid, one of the symbols of Budapest, easily reachable from every point of the historic center.
Budapest, being crossed by the Danube, has several bridges that connect the two banks, but the Chain Bridge is the most famous and oldest in the city.. Admire it from the Clark Adam ter square, on the Buda side and from where you can access the Buda Castle. The bridge is 375 m long and at the beginning there are two statues of two lions, the symbol of the city.

If possible, cross the bridge : currently there seems to be work in progress, but if possible, you should cross the bridge via the pedestrian walkway until you reach Szechenyi Istvan ter, a wonderful square from which to take fantastic souvenir photos! Get directions

2 – Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church
Once you cross the bridge, walk to one of the most beautiful attractions in all of Budapest, the wonderful Fishermen’s Bastion. The road is a little uphill, but easily accessible with comfortable shoes (550 m, 6 min).
The Fishermen’s Bastion is a belvedere that seems straight out of a fairytale . Its particular architecture and the wonderful view over the city have made it one of the most loved places by tourists. You will always find many people here, but the view is truly priceless. Do not miss a visit to the Matthias Church, or Matyas Templom, one of the oldest buildings in all of Budapestwith its approximately 700 years (variable hours, generally Mon-Fri 9: 00-17: 00, Sat 9: 00-12: 00, Sun 13: 00-17: 00; full admission 1,800.00 HUF (€ 5, 00), reduced HUF 1,200.00 / € 3.40). Inside it houses the Museum of Sacred Art, where it is also possible to admire a replica of the royal crown.

The Starbucks with one of the most beautiful views : Starbucks is a well-known international chain of coffee shops, but the one in Budapest has an edge. It is in fact located right inside the Bastion, with a splendid view of the internal courtyard and its towers. Enjoy a break here! Get directions

3 – Buda Castle: National Gallery or History Museum
Photo by Simona Mapelli. For the afternoon we recommend you to visit the wonderful Buda Castle,the former residence of the kings of Hungary and one of the most popular attractions of the city. From the Fishermen’s Bastion you can easily reach it on foot (900 m, 15 min).
Situated on a hill, its gardens offer a splendid view of the Danube and Pest. For the visit you have two options : the Castle is now open to the public and inside it houses the Hungarian National Gallery (Tue-Sun 10: 00-18: 00, in winter until 16:00; admission 3,200.00 HUF / € 8 , 90), developed on 4 floors and with numerous works, and the Budapest History Museum (Tue-Sun 10: 00-18: 00, in winter until 16:00; admission 2,000.00 HUF / € 5.60), which retraces the fundamental stages of the city. Unfortunately, there is no time to visit both, so choose one based on your interests.

SEE ALSO: Visit to the Buda Castle: timetables, prices and advice

Get off with the funicular : Buda Castle is connected to the Clark Adam ter square with a wonderful historical funicular. Take it to go down and admire the city that flows slowly in front of you, an experience to try! Active every day 7: 30-22: 00, each way 1,200.00 HUF (€ 3.40). Get directions

4 – Cittadella
Once you get off the castle with the funicular it will already be mid-afternoon. You then reach what is perhaps the most beautiful viewpoint in Budapest: its Citadel. From the Clark Adam ter square it is about 2 km, which can be covered on foot (25 min) or by tram line 19 or 41 from the Clark Adam ter stop to the Szent Gellert ter – Muegyetem M stop (5 min), then you can continue on foot to the top (10/15 min).
The Citadel is the highest point in the whole city and, along the path to climb, you can admire numerous statues and remains of the ancient fortress. On the top, however, there is the Statue of Liberty, in memory of all the soldiers who lost their lives defending their country. Obviously, the best time to visit is sunset: if the day is not cloudy, get ready to admire one of the most beautiful sunsets ever! Slowly you can also admire the monuments such as the Castle, the Chain Bridge and the Parliament in the distance light up.

Reach the top without difficulty : after a day of sightseeing, climbing to the top of the Citadel can be challenging. We therefore recommend that you take the tourist bus, the stop is right on the top.

Day 2

  • Distance covered : 4.2 km
  • Places visited : Budapest Parliament (5,900 HUF / € 16.40), St. Stephen’s Basilica (free), Vorosmarty ter square, Vaci utca pedestrian street, Nagy Vasarcsarnok Market (free), Hungarian National Museum (2,600 HUF / € 7, 30), Jewish Quarter (free / Great Synagogue skip-the-line ticket € 20.16)
  • Place to eat: Lunch at Nagy Vasarcsarnok (Get directions), Dinner at Legfelsobb Beerosag (Get directions)

1 – Budapest Parliament
Dedicate the second day to Pest and start it by visiting one of the symbols of the capital and of Hungary : the wonderful Parliament (April to October 8: 00-18: 00, November to March 8: 00-16: 00; full HUF 5,900.00 / € 16.40, reduced HUF 3,000.00 / € 8.50). Located on the banks of the Danube, on the Pest side, and easily accessible by a nice riverside walk. We advise you to arrive immediately at 8:00 , to participate in the first round.
The building externally is of unique beauty : it has a Gothic style, with neo-baroque and neo-romantic influences. 268 m long, and the seat of the Hungarian National Assembly. And if the exterior leaves you speechless, take the opportunity tovisit it also inside : taking part in a guided tour (45 min, to be booked as soon as possible on the official website), you can visit the gold-plated staircase of honor, the Chamber of the Nobles and the Hall of the Cupola, where the Holy Hungarian Crowns.

Admire the work on the Danube bank : the center of Budapest is full of statues and on the river bank, a few steps from the Parliament, there is one of the most significant works, the “Shoes on the banks of the Danube”, a tribute to Jewish citizens executed on the banks during the holocaust. Get directions

2 – Basilica di Santo Stefano
Photo by Claudia Rausa. After your visit to the Parliament go to St. Stephen’s Basilica, or Szent Istvan Bazilika (Mon-Sat 9: 00-19: 00, Sun 7: 45-19: 00; free admission),impressive church in the heart of the city . From the Parliament you can easily reach it on foot following the Danube promenade (1 km, 13 min).
St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of the most important monuments of the city , as well as being one of the tallest buildings (its dome dominates the skyline) and one of the most important religious buildings in all of Hungary! It is dedicated to Stephen, the first King of Hungary and his presumed right hand is kept inside the reliquary.

Climb the dome : climb the high dome of the Basilica and admire a wonderful panorama over the whole city and also over Buda. Single admission 500.00 HUF (€ 1.40).

3 – Vorosmarty ter square and Vaci utca
Photo by Bjoertvedt. From St. Stephen’s Basilica walk (650 m, 8 min) to Vorosmarty ter square, the heart of Pest . Here in winter the wonderful markets of the city are held, as well as numerous events throughout the year. This square is a real meeting point between tradition and modernity: the historic buildings are side by side with ultra modern structures!
Furthermore, from Vorosmarty ter begins Vaci utca, a wonderful completely pedestrian street , which runs through the entire center of Budapest up to the Fovam ter square, where the Central Market is located. Enjoy a walk along the street, among the shop windows and perhaps indulge in some shopping.

Break at the historic Budapest venue: the historic Cafe Gerbeaud is located in Vorosmarty ter square. Order a coffee or a cappuccino and taste its wonderful desserts, excellent the Dobos Cake, the most famous Hungarian dessert in the world. The prices are definitely high compared to the average, but it is an experience to live, here it seems to have remained in the nineteenth century! Get directions

4 – Nagy Vasarcsarnok
After walking all over Vaci utca (from Vorosmarty ter about 1.3 km, 17 min), you will arrive at the wonderful central market of Budapest , the Nagy Vasarcsarnok (Mon 6: 00-17: 00 , Tue-Fri 6: 00-18: 00, Sat 6: 00-15: 00, Sun closed; free admission).
It is the largest covered market in Budapest, as well as being one of the largest in Europe! Inaugurated at the end of the 19th century, it consists of three different floors , where you can find any type of product: mainly fish in the basement, food stalls and typical products on the ground floor, stalls with souvenirs, local crafts and clothing upstairs.

Stop for lunch : the central market is the perfect place to stop for lunch. You can opt for something quick at the stalls on the ground floor, or stop in one of the restaurants to taste the typical Hungarian specialties. Find out what to eat here

5 – Hungarian National Museum
Photo by Jarita. After lunch, go to one of the most important museums in the capital, the Hungarian National Museum, or Magyar Nemzeti Muzeum (Tue-Sun 10: 00-18: 00; full HUF 2,600.00 / € 7.30, reduced HUF 1,300.00 / € 3.60). You can easily reach it on foot from the market (500 m, 6 min).
Founded in 1802, in this museum you can discover the history of the country , from its foundation until 1990. The collections include relics and works, the oldest dating back to the prehistoric age. Among the highlights we certainly find the coronation cloak of the Kings of Hungary!

Enjoy a walk at the Muzeumkert : it is the garden that surrounds the structure, a real open-air museum. Here, in fact, you can admire numerous sculptures and fountains. Get Directions

6 – Jewish Quarter and Ruin Pubs
Photo of Elelicht. Finally, reach the Jewish quarter of Budapest, which is home to the third largest Jewish community in Europe . From the museum you can easily reach it on foot, following the Muzeum krt street (700 m, 9 min).
Once in the neighborhood, visit the Great Synagogue, the second largest in the world (open from 10: 00-18: 00, in summer until 20: 00; priority ticket € 20.16), second only to the Jerusalem Synagogue. Built between 1854 and 1859, the main architectural style is Moorish, but you can also see Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic details. Given the extended closing hours , you should be able to visit it without problems, especially in summer!
Finally, also spend the evening in the Jewish quarter: it is in fact one of the hotspots of nightlife . Here are the most famous Ruin Pubs in Budapest, such as the Szimpla Kert. These are places set up inside old buildings and ruined courtyards, recovered and then transformed into night clubs. An evening in one of these ruin pubs is a must!

SEE ALSO : Visit to the Great Synagogue: how to get there, prices and advice

The beauty of the New York Cafe : in the Jewish quarter there is one of the most beautiful places in Budapest, the New York Cafe, also defined as the most beautiful coffee in the world. It is located in the New York Palace, in Baroque, Renaissance and Art Nouveau style, with also a wonderful frescoed gallery. Get directions

Day 3

  • Distance covered : 5.5 km
  • Places visited : Heroes’ Square, Szechenyi Baths (entrance with locker € 24.00), Margaret Island, panoramic cruise (€ 9.00)
  • Place to eat: Lunch at Szechenyi Furdo Bufe (Get directions), Dinner at Kiskakukk Etterem (Get directions)

1 – Heroes ‘Square
Start this last day at Heroes’ Square, one of the most beautiful squares in Budapest . The square is easily reachable from the historic center of Budapest thanks to the metro, reference stop Hosok tere (line M1; from the central stop of Deak Ferenc ter 8 min).
Heroes’ Square, in Hungarian Hosok tere, is the most famous and iconic square in Budapest , at the center of which stands the Millennium Monument, or Millenniumi emlekmu, where the statues of the country’s founders are located. The square is the gateway to the large city park, the Varosliget, inside which there are the Szechenyi Baths , the famous baths where we recommend you to spend the whole morning.

Alternatives for the morning : if you do not want to relax in the thermal baths of Budapest, in Heroes’ Square is the Museum of Fine Arts (3,200 HUF / € 8.90), one of the most important museums in the city. If you are traveling with children, you can consider a visit to the Zoo and Botanical Garden (3,300 HUF / € 9.30).

2 – Szechenyi Baths
Spend the whole morning in one of Budapest’s wonderful spas. The Hungarian capital is in fact a well-known spa town and, a few steps from Heroes’ Square (600 m, 7 min walk), completely immersed in the city park, are the Szechenyi Baths (Mon-Thu 6: 00-19: 00 , Fri-Sun 6: 00-20: 00; admission from HUF 3,500.00 / € 9.70).
The Szechenyi Baths are the most famous spas in Budapest, above all for the particularity of the place: they are housed in a marvelous neo-baroque style building. Open all year round, even the outdoor swimming pool is always accessible , thanks to the hot water which, with its smoke, gives a truly unique and surreal atmosphere. There is nothing better than relaxing here after three days of walking through the streets of the city! And if you want to indulge in some more pampering, there are numerous wellness treatments, such as massages.

SEE ALSO : Visit to the Szechenyi Baths: timetables, prices and advice

Buy priority entrance: being the most famous spas in Budapest, they are often the most crowded. To secure your seat and avoid the long lines at the ticket booths, purchase priority entry, which also includes use of the locker or booth. Info and costs here

3 – Margaret Island
In the afternoon, reach Margaret Island, the green lung of Budapest , located right in the middle of the Danube. Then go back to Heroes’ Square, take the M1 metro line and get off at the Oktogon stop (5 min), here get on the tram line 6 and get off directly at Margitsziget / Margit hid, or the Margaret Bridge, which leads to the island.
Margaret Island extends for about 2.5 square kilometers and is the ideal place to spend a few hours in the midst of nature, especially during the summer. But it is in spring and autumn that nature releases all its beauty. On the island you can do many activities, such as walking along the paths, renting bikes to visit it faster or admire the view over the city. There are also several places to stop for lunch or play areas if you are traveling as a family.

Conclude the trip with a Danube River cruise – the cruise is a must-do activity in Budapest. After dinner, head to Dock42, near Margaret Bridge, to enjoy a scenic cruise with welcome drink. Duration 1 h, numerous departures during the day.

How much does a weekend in Budapest cost
Budapest, despite being a European capital, and a cheap destination, also ideal for low cost travelers. The city is connected to the main European destinations by low cost flights and, from Northern Italy, it is also possible to arrive with companies such as Flixbus.
For accommodation, the best choice is to stay in the center of Pest : here, in addition to the well-known luxury hotel chains, you can find many offers and accommodation such as apartments and hostels. For getting around, you can easily move on foot , but public transport is still efficient and advantageous: per metro and tram single ticket 350.00 HUF (€ 1.00), daily 1,650.00 HUF (€ 4.80). Alternatively, you can also use the tourist bus, great for getting to know the city. Finally, having lunch and dinner out is also very affordable, so you can taste many typical specialties (average cost € 10.00).
Let’s see in detail the costs for a weekend :

  • Costs for eating : about € 30.00 per day per person (including breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Costs for museums and attractions : average price € 23.00 per day per person following the itinerary suggested by us
  • Transport : average price € 5.00 per day per person (indicates costs for public transport, any taxis and transfers to and from the airport)
  • Hotels, accommodation and b & b : from € 20.00 per room (for hostel options), from € 30.00 per room per hotel – see the offers
  • Leisure : from € 10.00 per day per person (including snacks, coffee, aperitifs, drinks, …)
  • Total cost of a weekend in Budapest : from € 205.00 per person (flights and / or transfers excluded)

Before leaving: useful tips

  • A low cost destination : in Budapest you can stop in less touristy places and spend just € 10.00 for very abundant dishes. Don’t forget to taste street food and sweets like the famous kurtos;
  • Avoid winter : in winter only December is recommended for the Christmas markets. In January and February, however, it gets dark early, the cruises have reduced hours and it is definitely very cold – find out more here;
  • How to get there: the reference airport p Budapest-Ferenc Liszt 20 km from the center, connected by train (900.00 HUF / € 2.50) or taxi (25 min, average cost 7,000.00 HUF / € 20.00) ).
  • Where to sleep: in Buda in the Varkerulet District I. In Pest, for families District V Lipotvaros-Belvaros, for nightlife and young people District V Lipotvaros-Belvaros and District VI Terezvaros, to save District VII Erzsebetvaros – find out more here;
  • Get around on foot or by public transport : the historic and intimate center and the main attractions close together. To reach more distant points, such as Heroes’ Square, you can use the metro or tram (daily 1,650.00 HUF / € 4.80). The tourist bus is also recommended to get used to the city – find out more here;
  • Choose the most suitable spas for you : we have recommended the Szechenyi Baths, the most famous and absolutely not to be missed, but there are so many spas in the city, like the Gellert Baths near the Citadel – find out more here;
  • Currency and exchange rate : Hungarian forint (HUF) / exchange rate: € 1.00 = 360.30 HUF. In many places you can pay by card, in others cash is still required. Don’t exchange money at the airport, but wait until you arrive in the city.
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