Ultimate 3 Day Budapest Itinerary (2023)

BySteph on inEastern Europe, Europe, HUNGARY with0 Comments

Budapest – it’s a tale of 2 cities… quite literally!

Yes split by the mighty Danube, the capital of Hungary really is a 2 for 1 deal – a phrase that is music to budget travellers’ ears everywhere!

With Buda on one side and Pest on the other, this city presents a huge range of amazing things to do.

And from time spent sailing the river to climbing the hills and partying in the street, you’re going to have a tough job to fit it all in.

So enter my ultimate Budapest itinerary, which will help you get the best bang for your buck in this brilliant city…

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Day 1: Explore Pest

Start your Budapest itinerary by exploring the Pest side of the city.

With most of the action, including the best places for budget travellers to stay, eat and drink, it’s a good place to begin.

Most of the activity centres around the Jewish district – wandering the side streets here, getting lost and stumbling upon some lovely cafes and bars is a great way to spend your first morning.

When it comes to coffee shops in Pest, top of my list are Coop Roastery, Stika & London Coffee Society.

For food, check out Caravan and Vegan Kitchen, which both offer street-style nosh in fun, outdoor settings that really get going in the evening.

And after dinner, you can’t miss the iconic Szimpla – this quirky bar, set in an old abandoned building oozes character and on a Sunday is transformed into a marketplace, where delicious local produce is on sale in a family atmosphere accompanied by live music and a real community feel.

Aside from the eating and drinking, there are a few sights in Pest you can’t miss, these include the ornate Parliament building, Grand Synagogue with its poignant Memorial and the huge St Stephen’s Basilica.

(Video) Things to Do in Budapest: 3 Day Travel Guide

Erzbet Square is a great space in Pest to get a feel for local life as young Hungarians come here in their droves to chill, play music and dangle their toes in the fountains.

City Park is another top green space in this part of the city and in the heart of it sits the incredible Szechenyi Baths.

These are the most popular and largest Baths in Budapest (and there’s a few to choose from FYI), so allow yourself plenty of time here to swim and relax in the various heated pools, as well as enjoy the saunas, steam rooms and thermal waters.

Basic entry to Szechenyi Baths is 18€ and includes a locker and unlimited day access.

You can book skip the line tickets here in advance or just turn up, queue and pay on arrival.

If you’re just going to tip up (as I did) I highly suggest either getting to these Baths early in the morning to ensure you get a sunbed space and locker or make it an evening thing and enjoy lounging in the thermal waters as the sun goes down.

By doing this you avoid peak crowd time.

Open from 6am until 10pm, the Szechenyi Baths are a part of my Budapest itinerary that definitely can’t be missed!

In fact, they’re on my list of the best things to do across eastern Europe if you’re travelling on a budget

Day 2: Explore Buda

On day 2 of your Budapest itinerary, it’s time to hit the other side of the river and explore the grand old city of Buda.

A walk across the Chain Bridge will give you an awesome opportunity to snap some shots of the beautiful Danube and looking across you can spot the 2 main areas to explore, namely Castle Hill and Gellert Hill.

Starting with Castle Hill you can either hike up, take the funicular up, or hop on board the #16 bus which leaves from the roundabout at the end of Chain Bridge.

1 ride on the bus costs 350 Forints, or buy a pack of 10 public transport tickets for 3000 Forints. All tickets must be bought at the BKK machines.

At the top of the hill, take in the Bastion and Church and enjoy elevated views across the Danube to the Parliament building.

There’s also the UNESCO-listed castle here, which you can either stroll to from the Bastion or hop back onboard the #16 bus to ride there.

The grounds of the castle are free to stroll (my choice), or you can pay an entrance fee to check out the exhibitions inside.

After the attractions of Castle Hill, you can head over to the opposing mound – Gellert Hill – where you can see the famous Citadella and the Liberty Statue, which stand out for miles around.

With any time left on the 2nd day of your Budapest itinerary, head over to Margit-Sziget, an island in the middle of the Danube that is the perfect place to relax as you stroll its gorgeous gardens and pathways, check out the fountains and enjoy a beer.

(Video) What to See and Do in Budapest (3 Day Itinerary Vlog)

There’s also some baths on Margit-Sziget if you didn’t get your fix in Pest!

Taking the trams #4 or #6 is the best way to get to the island and, after you’re done, you can hop on either of these trams to get back over to Pest.

Day 3: Explore Szentendre

And with 1 more day on your Budapest itinerary, I highly suggest getting out of the city to explore one of the gorgeous towns around.

Plus you can sail up the Danube to get here!

Szentendre was originally an artist town and despite receiving a lot of day-trippers nowadays, its quaint cobbled streets, galleries and cafes still hold plenty of charm.

In the peak summer months, boats leave daily from the dock at Vigado Ter, in Pest, at 10:30 am and a one-way ticket will set you back 3200 Forints and takes 1.5 hrs.

Return tickets are priced at 3460 Forints and the boat leaves Szentendre at 5 pm, reaching back to Pest at 6 pm.

Get to the Mahart Passnave dock at 10 am to buy your ticket and reserve a spot on the outside deck – the beautiful views and cool breeze as you sail up the Danube will mean you’ll want to be outside!

Once you arrive in Szentendre spend a lazy afternoon taking in the sounds, smells and feels of a Hungarian town, visit the churches or just laze by the river.

It really is the perfect way to end your Budapest itinerary.

You can then either take the Mahut Passnave boat back to the city or, for a much cheaper price, hop on one of the trains that run every 10-20 minutes directly into Buda’s Batthyany Ter Station.

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(Video) TOP 10 Things to do in BUDAPEST | Hungary Travel Guide in 4K

Budapest Travel Guide


When to Visit Budapest?


No question in my mind that you should definitely visit Budapest during the summer season.

This will allow you to get the most from the city’s lovely baths and parks and because, let’s face it, Europe is exponentially more beautiful when the sun shines!

Just beware that the seasons in this country are quite extreme, so summer days in August can reach well into the high thirties and winters can often be below freezing – pack accordingly!

How to Get to Budapest?

Getting across from many parts of central or eastern Europe to Budapest is easy via bus or train.

I actually travelled there via land, in just a few hours from the nearby city of Bratislava and found the journey easy and safe.

Afterwards, I headed all the way down to Bucharest in Romania by bus, which was long, but also safe and easy!

As always, I book all my train and coach travel across Europe using Trainline – I like the way they compare multiple journeys and use split-fare technology to get you the best prices.

Alternatively, you can also fly into Budapest from across Europe and the world.

Check Skyscanner for the best prices.

Where to Stay in Budapest


And when it comes to the best accommodation for budget travellers in Budapest, look no further than the awesome The Loft Hostel Budapest.

Totally unique, highly independent and with a determined alternative streak, this place feels more like a big house where you meet interesting travellers and artists who find it hard to tear themselves away from the gorgeous, air-conned, open communal area… at least I know I did!

Centrally located in Pest, with private rooms and dorms available, this is definitely one of my favourite hostels I stayed at in Europe.

Click here to get the best rates at The Loft Hostel Budapest.

For something a bit more private, check out this amazing deal on an entire apartment in the centre of the city or this beautiful boutique hotel, which also gets top ratings without a crazy price tag.

5 Essential Packing Items for Budapest


(Video) Things to do in Budapest in 3 days | BUDAPEST TRAVEL GUIDE

#1 Good Camera – You will be pretty much snapping non-stop during your Budapest itinerary and will need a good camera to do this gorgeous destination justice. I highly recommend the Sony A6000, which I use for all my travels and love, not least because it’s light, compact and robust!

#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking in Budapest, it’s as simple as that! Make sure your feet are comfortable therefore with a pair of New Balance Trainers. Perfect for stylish city strolling, I love mine!

#3 Good Guidebook – I’m still a massive fan of the Lonely Planet Guidebooks and do think their Budapest edition is well put together and able to save you a lot of money if you want to learn about the history of this city, but not pay for a guide!

#4 Good Water Bottle – All the city sightseeing is thirsty work, so make sure you have a metal water bottle that you can refill as you go, because Budapest tap water is drinkable… and free!

#5 Good Backpack – And to carry your water bottle, camera and guidebook, you’re going to need a decent backpack that will help you balance the weight as you walk the city streets. In my opinion, you can’t go past the Bobby Anti Theft Backpack, which is also perfect for helping you avoid pickpockets too.

Best Travel Insurance for Budapest


I wouldn’t dream of travelling anywhere these days without proper coverage and always recommend travel insurance from World Nomads which I’ve used during my time in the country and across the world.

World Nomads are actually one of the few companies that will insure you for a huge range of outdoor activities as standard – essential for a country like this.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for travel insurance with Covid-19 cover, then look no further than Safetywing’s great Nomad Insurance policies.

These guys will cover you at some seriously great prices, including if you have to quarantine!

How to Access Money in Hungary

When it comes to getting paying for things in Hungary, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when you use your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise Card away with me.

The easy way to spend abroad with the real exchange rates, no markups and no sneaky transaction fees, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in Hungary… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold!

Get yours here.

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And there you have it, my ultimate Budapest itinerary for budget travellers.

With lots of free and cheap stuff to see, Budapest makes a fantastic backpacker destination and I hope this 3 day schedule will give you some great ideas.

So tell me… have you visited this city?

What did your Budapest itinerary look like?

(Video) BUDAPEST, Hungary - Best itinerary (2 Days)

Tags: City Guide, Itinerary

FAQs

Are 3 days enough for Budapest? ›

3 days is the minimum amount of time you need to experience the best of what Budapest has to offer. With 3 days, you will have time to explore the Buda Castle, Fisherman's Bastion, and Matthias Church (on a free walking tour); see the Parliament Building, St.

How many days is ideal in Budapest? ›

If you are wondering how many days in Budapest you need, two days is adequate to see the whole city, as long as you're efficient. Three days will allow you to get to more of the top attractions at a slower pace and maybe give you a chance to relax and soak in one of the thermal baths.

What is the best month to go to Budapest? ›

In spring and fall — May, June, September, and early October — travelers enjoy fewer tourist crowds and milder weather. This is one of the best times to visit Budapest. However, it's also prime convention time (especially September), when hotels tend to fill up and charge their top rates.

Is Budapest more beautiful than Prague? ›

Prague is generally considered more picturesque than Budapest, thanks to the many medieval buildings that are still standing today. Particularly around the historic city center surrounding the Old Town Square. Prague is smaller and has an intimate charm that Budapest doesn't have.

Is Budapest a walkable city? ›

Planning Your Trip to Budapest

Getting Around: Budapest has an excellent public transportation system, which makes it very easy to get around. It's also a very walkable city, so if you are centrally located you can walk everywhere.

Is it better to stay in Buda or Pest? ›

Reputation. Buda – Definitely the classier and more residential side of the city, Buda is known for being a bit quieter and the place to go for a leisurely sightseeing experience. Pest – Known for being where all of the action happens – the place to be touristy, hang out and have fun.

What should I be careful of in Budapest? ›

Be particularly careful on busy public transport, in train stations, at markets and at other places frequented by tourists. Theft of and from vehicles is common. Don't carry large amounts of cash. Always ask to see the menu and price list before ordering drinks or food and check your bill carefully before settling up.

Is Buda cheaper than pest? ›

A luxury hotel is likely going to be just as expensive in Pest as it would be in Buda, but you may actually find things like a well-located hostel or Airbnb to be a bit cheaper just because there are far more options to choose from.

Is it rude to cheers in Budapest? ›

Hungarians vowed not to cheers with beer for 150 years. While that time frame is over - Hungarians still don't 'cheers' with beer. Nevertheless with any other alcoholic beverage like wine or pálinka it's considered rude not to look the other person in the eye when saying cheers ('egészségedre').

Do and don'ts in Hungary? ›

DON'Ts
  • Don't be careless, and hold onto your valuables! Even though Hungary is considered to be one of the safest places, crowded places attract pickpockets.
  • Don't hail a cab on the street. ...
  • Don't exchange money at the airport! ...
  • Don't expect everyone to speak a foreign language. ...
  • Don't make the cheesy Hungary-hungry pun.

What food is Budapest known for? ›

10 Best Local Dishes from Budapest
  • Lángos.
  • Gulyás.
  • Rakott krumpli.
  • Töltött káposzta.
  • Lecsó
  • Húsleves.
  • Főzelék.
  • Pörkölt.

Is Budapest a cheap city? ›

One of the biggest reasons that travelers love Budapest is its reputation as a budget-friendly place to visit. Although it has become more expensive over the years, many visitors still find it's still cheaper than other European capitals.

Is Budapest cheaper than Prague? ›

Budapest tends to be 30-40% cheaper than Prague. Just keep in mind to avoid the restaurant and bar areas. A few streets can be quite noisy, especially in the Old Town.

What I should know before traveling to Budapest? ›

Pass for a local when visiting Budapest with these insider tips
  • Learn a few words in Hungarian before arriving. ...
  • Pack for the pool. ...
  • Wear a swimming cap in swimming pools. ...
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes (but not sneakers) ...
  • Bring an umbrella. ...
  • Book tickets in advance for popular museums. ...
  • Bring forints, not euros.
14 Feb 2022

Is the train from Prague to Budapest scenic? ›

The most picturesque way to travel from Prague to Budapest is definitely on the train. Along the way, you'll see beautiful rolling hills, views of the Visegrád castle, and peeks of the Danube river and the North Hungarian Mountains in the background, as the train rolls alongside them.

How long is train journey from Prague to Budapest? ›

How long does the train from Prague to Budapest take? The average journey time by train between Prague and Budapest is 7 hours and 59 minutes, with around 18 trains per day.

What is the best area to stay in Budapest? ›

The 5th district is the best overall neighborhood to stay in Budapest for tourists. Plenty of attractions, and loads of restaurants and cafés to enjoy. While it isn't exactly a nightlife hub, the 5th is well-connected by public transit – you'll be able to hop over to the Jewish Quarter if its bars you crave.

Can you walk along the Danube in Budapest? ›

Along The Danube

The finest introduction to the city is a walk along Budapest's iconic river, the Danube. Slicing between Buda and Pest, it skirts a selection of the city's best sites. Start this iconic Budapest walk at the Hungarian Parliament Building, and wander along the river towards Széchenyi Chain Bridge.

Are there any Covid restrictions in Budapest? ›

Travel in Hungary

Wearing a face mask remains mandatory in hospitals and social institutions. Social distancing rules are currently not in force.

Is District 7 Budapest good? ›

The 7th is located in central Pest, making it an ultra convenient area to stay in Budapest. The district itself is quite large. Your best bet is to stay within the inner part of the district. Book a hotel between Károly krt (Charles Boulevard) in the west and Erzsébet krt.

Can you walk from Buda to Pest? ›

To get from Buda to Pest you must cross the Danube River. To do so we suggest taking the Chain Bridge, the first permanent bridge across the Danube and a landmark of the city.

Do you have to pay for Buda Castle? ›

The buildings of the Buda Castle are currently occupied by 2 museums (the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum) and the National Library. All of these attractions can be visited, but there is an entry fee. There is no area in the Castle building, which is 'castle only', as all rooms, halls etc.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Budapest? ›

Tap water is safe to drink in Hungary so be sure to bring a reusable bottle to fill up before you start your day. If you decide to buy bottled water pay attention to the coloured lids, you will notice different coloured caps.

Do I need a Covid test to enter Hungary? ›

Are COVID-19 tests required to travel to Hungary? COVID-19 testing is not required when traveling to Hungary.

Do you tip in Budapest? ›

Although not mandatory, tipping in Budapest is considered courteous and is followed by locals as well. It is considered polite to tip in hotels and concierge services. A 10% to 15% tip can be applied to restaurant bills as well unless service tax is already added.

How much is Buda Castle entry? ›

Admission: Adult: 1 400 HUF. Children up to 6: free.

How much should I budget per day Budapest? ›

You should plan to spend around Ft26,380 ($67) per day on your vacation in Budapest, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, Ft6,559 ($17) on meals for one day and Ft3,122 ($7.95) on local transportation.

Why is the Chain Bridge in Budapest closed? ›

The broken stones on the front wall of the tram tunnel have been repaired and replaced, and the renovated balustrades on the south side are being replaced. The renovation of the Chain Bridge could not be postponed any longer, so the reconstruction of the Danube crossing by A-Híd Zrt. started in spring 2021.

Are Budapest thermal baths optional? ›

Nobody can be naked at any of the public areas of the major thermal Baths of Budapest. The only place where nudity is allowed is the showers. However, on the corridors, outside, in the pools, in the saunas and steam rooms, you will have to wear your swim wear.

How do you say hello in Budapest? ›

But if you're just around friends (for example, at a party, get-together, or bumping into each other on the street), here's how to say hello in Hungarian language: “Hi/Hello/Bye” = Szia! “Hi guys/Bye guys” [Plural] = Sziasztok!

Is it rude to clink glasses in Hungary? ›

Hungary. Unless you want to be considered offensive, don't clink your glass during a toast. The rule is supposedly linked to the 1849 executions of Hungary's 13 Martyrs of Arad. Legend has it a group of Austrian generals celebrated by clinking their beer glasses as the Hungarian revolutionaries perished.

Can I use euros in Budapest? ›

Hungary's official currency is Hungarian Forint (HUF). Many stores and other places accept Euro* as well. However, the exchange rates at such places often don't follow the most up-to-date bank rates, and this is not in favor of the customers. Be prepared to get the change in HUF.

Can you drink alcohol in Hungary? ›

Drinking Laws -- The legal drinking age in Hungary is 18. Beer, wine, and hard alcohol are sold everywhere including grocery stores, nonstop convenience stores, and even some discount stores.

What time is dinner in Budapest? ›

#6 - In Hungary, people usually eat dinner between 7 and 9 p.m., and it's the main meal of the day. For the best experience, try booking a table for 8 p.m. Most fine dining restaurants turn only one table an evening, meaning that you should be able to score an 8 p.m. reservation.

What is a traditional Hungarian breakfast? ›

In Hungary, a typical breakfast may consist of fresh bread, cold sausage type minced meat products (such as kolbász or szalámi), some vegetables or jam. Lunch is the main meal of the day, usually consisting of three courses: soup is followed by a main dish and a dessert.

What do they drink in Budapest? ›

Hungary has a very diverse and rich drinking culture. Hungarians mainly drink 3 kinds of alcohol: wine, beer and pálinka.

How much money do I need for 3 days in Budapest? ›

How much money you need for 3 days in Budapest? Depending on your needs and taste, the minimum budget you need for visiting Budapest is €25-€30 including all meals of the day and at least one attraction. From here the limit is the sky as the city is offering luxurious accommodation, dining and sightseeing options.

Which is cheaper Lisbon or Budapest? ›

Cost of living in Budapest (Hungary) is 26% cheaper than in Lisbon (Portugal)

How much does a cup of coffee cost in Budapest? ›

The price of the espresso is around 1,5 Euros and a cup of cappuccino costs 2-2.5 Euros. If you prefer new wave/specialty coffee shops they charge notably more (a cappuccino is around 3 Euros).

How many days do u need in Budapest? ›

If you are wondering how many days in Budapest you need, two days is adequate to see the whole city, as long as you're efficient. Three days will allow you to get to more of the top attractions at a slower pace and maybe give you a chance to relax and soak in one of the thermal baths.

Is there a direct train from Budapest to Prague? ›

Yes, it is possible to travel from Budapest to Prague without having to change trains. There are 6 direct trains from Budapest to Prague each day.

Can you do a day trip from Vienna to Budapest? ›

It's really easy to go on a day trip to Budapest from Vienna. You have four options for travel between the two cities (and countries): bus, train, renting a car, or going on an organized tour from Vienna to Budapest (like this one on Viator). We opted for the 2 hour bus ride offered by Flixbus.

Can you do Budapest in 3 days? ›

However, if you're trying to work Budapest into a greater European itinerary, 3 days in Budapest is the perfect amount of time for a first overview of the city: you'll see the bulk of the major sights and attractions, get a taste of the nightlife, and have enough time to fall just enough in love with the city that you ...

How much should I take to Budapest for 3 days? ›

How much money you need for 3 days in Budapest? Depending on your needs and taste, the minimum budget you need for visiting Budapest is €25-€30 including all meals of the day and at least one attraction. From here the limit is the sky as the city is offering luxurious accommodation, dining and sightseeing options.

How can I visit Budapest in 3 days? ›

Ultimate 3 Days in Budapest Itinerary For Culture & Food Fans
  1. Start with a free walking tour.
  2. Take a tour of Hungarian Parliament.
  3. Shoes on the Danube.
  4. Széchenyi Spa Baths.
  5. City Park.
  6. Head for a hearty Hungarian dinner.
  7. Evening boat cruise.
6 Aug 2022

Is 4 days enough in Budapest? ›

The short answer to this question is, yes. Four days in Budapest is certainly enough to cover all of the cities highlights. Not only can you cover the hotspots during this time, but you could also squeeze in some of the hidden gems in Budapest. You know, the places you don't often see on most Budapest itineraries.

Can you do Budapest in 2 days? ›

Budapest is one of the best European capitals to discover in two or three days. We have created a 2-day itinerary for those of you that land in Hungary's capital on Friday afternoon and leave on Sunday afternoon.

Is Budapest cheaper than Istanbul? ›

Cost of living in Budapest (Hungary) is 6% cheaper than in Istanbul (Turkey)

Is it best to take cash or card to Budapest? ›

On markets, in smaller restaurants and in little shops most likely you can't pay with credit card. So make sure to always bring some cash.

Is Buda Castle free? ›

Buda Castle is a must-see landmark when visiting Budapest. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic castle was first constructed in 1265. Later a royal palace was added, now housing the Hungarian National Gallery and Budapest History Museum, but there's just as much to see around the castle grounds – for free!

Is the train ride from Budapest to Vienna scenic? ›

Train travel from Budapest to Vienna is quite a scenic ride through the beautiful and dramatic landscapes of Austria and Belgium on board a comfortable train.

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