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Beautiful Budapest: A 3-Day Summer Itinerary




Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a must-do if it is your first time visiting the region. It was the first stop on our Central European adventure and it definitely lived up to the hype. The name Budapest actually comes from joining the names of 2 cities, Buda and Pest, together. Buda lies west of the Danube river while Pest falls on the eastern side. There are also many day trips that you can do from Budapest, such as taking the train to the charming town of Szentendre.

How long should you spend in Budapest?

We stayed 4 nights (3.5 full days) and felt it was the perfect amount of time to get a feel of the city and cover all the main attractions. We spent a day each exploring the Buda and Pest sides respectively and a third day exploring the nearby town of Szentendre. Although, if you are a museum and history enthusiast, you can consider extending for a night or two.

Getting Around

Getting public transport tickets is convenient using the BudapestGO app. A single ticket only costs around €1. We did not end up taking public transport as often, so using single tickets was more economical for us than purchasing a travel card.

Screenshot of available bus passes on Budapest Go appl

You can buy physical tickets from vending machines at metro stations too but do remember to validate your ticket (IMPORTANT) once you get on a bus or train. On the bus or train, you will find little ticket machines where you can insert your ticket for validation. If you’re unsure about this, just ask a local and they will gladly help you. If you are buying your ticket on the app, you will have to scan a QR code on the bus or train to validate your ticket.

There are many ticket officers checking for unvalidated tickets, so do beware as the fine is €35! Check out this link for more information on the public transport system in Budapest.

Things To Do

This is how we would recommend spending 3 days in Budapest. Of course, depending on the pace and duration of your trip, this itinerary can easily be modified or extended. To easily find all these locations, check out our Google Maps here!

Day 1: Explore Pest

1. Walking tour of the Pest side of the city (2 hours):

In Central Europe, we discovered that free walking tours are a great way to get an introduction to a city. We would highly recommend this company. Our tour guide, Rita, gave us a great introduction to the city, its history, main attractions and some local food recommendations. The best thing about doing this on the first day is that you get an overview of the main attractions, which you can then choose to revisit in more detail on subsequent days of your trip. Not to mention, you can check out those food recommendations too! It is customary to tip the guide at the end of the tour as for a lot of them, this is their primary source of income. We tipped 5000Fr (~€14) for the both of us.

2. Hungarian Parliament Building (1 hour):

Hungarian parliament building
Hungarian Parliament Building

This is by far the most stunning and iconic building in all of Budapest. To be able to see the inside, you need to book your tickets at least a month in advance from the official website. As we did not book early enough, we had to get our tickets from a third-party website, Headout, which was much more expensive. The ticket includes a 45-minute audio-guided tour of the main rooms in the building. The architecture was simply superb and we’d definitely recommend getting tickets for this if possible.

3. Jewish Quarter and Dohány Street Synagogue (Tabakgasse Synagogue) (1 hour):

Dohány Street Synagogue

The largest synagogue in Europe and second largest in the world, the Dohány Street Synagogue is definitely worth a visit. The entrance fee is a bit steep (9000Fr / €24 for an adult ticket), but there are guided tours every half an hour that are included in the ticket price. If you had to pick one synagogue to visit in the Jewish Quarter, this would be it.

4. St. Stephen’s Basilica (Left below)

We only saw this structure from the outside during our walking tour but if you have the time, you can check out the inside where the holy relic of St. Stephen’s right hand resides.

5. Shoes on the Danube Bank (Right below)

Along the Danube Bank, you will find several sculptures of shoes. This memorial pays tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.

Day 2: Explore Buda

Várkert Bazár
Várkert Bazár

1. Várkert Bazár

Located at the foot of the Buda Castle, Várkert Bazár is a great place to take some Insta-worthy pictures with its beautiful gardens and stunning views of the Danube.

2. Buda Castle

The Buda Castle is an iconic monument in Budapest perched atop Castle Hill. You can't miss it from either side of the Danube. The entrance to the castle complex is free, but you would need to pay a small fee to visit the National Gallery and Museum of History of Budapest inside the complex.

3. Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion
Fisherman's Bastion

You will have to climb several stairs to get here, but the views on offer more than make up for the hike up. Located on Castle Hill, Fisherman’s Bastion is a fairytale-like structure from where you can get amazing panoramic views of the city. There are a few cafes and food stalls here which make it a perfect lunch or dinner stop.

4. Széchenyi Chain Bridge

The most famous, and the first, bridge that connected the Buda and Pest sides of the city, the 19th century Széchenyi Chain Bridge is an architectural marvel with lion sculptures and grand arches. You can walk across the bridge to get from the Pest to the Buda side, or vice versa.

5. Central Market Hall (on the Pest side)

Paprika at the Central Market Hall
Paprika at the Central Market Hall

This market hall has a vibrant atmosphere and lots of fresh produce, spices, local delicacies, and traditional crafts on offer. It’s the perfect place to pick up local souvenirs such as Paprika, Unicum and Palinka (traditional Hungarian liqueurs). If you’re into dessert wine, Hungary is famous for it and you can pick up a bottle here too! Our walking tour guide recommended Tokaji Aszu, which we really enjoyed! The second floor of the market hall offers a variety of local food options if you want to grab a bite.

Day 3: Day trip to Szentendre

Pretty street with hanging rainbow coloured umbrellas

Szentendre is one of the most popular day trips from Budapest. Its cobblestone streets, colourful buildings and lovely ambience make it a perfect escape from the city. There are numerous art galleries, museums and craft shops selling local products. It is also located along the Danube so you can enjoy a leisurely, and much less crowded, walk along the riverbank.

Getting to Szentendre is very easy by public transport. There is a direct train, H5, from Batthyány tér station which takes around 40 minutes. There is also the option to take a boat ride back to Budapest along the Danube, which is what we chose to do. It takes an hour and costs around €10 per person. Tickets for the boat can be purchased near the port at Szentendre itself.


Rich history and architecture aside, Budapest also offers vibrant nightlife. Here are some of the places we visited that we would recommend.

1. Szimpla Kert (Ruin bars)

Szimpla Kert is a collection of several bars located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter, and is a must-do when in Budapest. We can safely say you would not have been to a bar like this before!

2. Danube Boat Cruise

On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday nights, there is a party boat that takes you on a pleasant cruise along the Danube. This gives you a stunning view of the Parliament Building at night. This is quite popular and usually sells out, so you have to get your ticket at least a day in advance if you want to secure your spot. This is sure to be a highlight of your time in Budapest! Use this link to get your tickets.

Our Food Recommendations

Of all the various delicacies we indulged in around Central Europe, Hungarian cuisine was definitely a favourite. Here are some of the eateries we enjoyed the most.

Estimated price (per pax):

€: 0-10; €€: 10-20; €€€: 20-30

1. Hungarikum Bisztro

Crispy duck leg on mashed potato
Crispy Duck Leg

Cuisine: Traditional Hungarian

Rating: 5/5

Price: €€€

Address: Budapest, Steindl Imre u. 13, 1051 Hungary

What we got: Hungarikum menu (goulash soup, crispy duck leg, apple pie)

Review: Our best meal in Budapest! The service was excellent and every course hit the spot. They even give you a complimentary amuse-bouche before the meal and a shot of Palinka, a traditional Hungarian hard liquor, after dessert.

2. Lángos N More

Bread with sour cream and cheese on top

Cuisine: Hungarian Street Food

Rating: 5/5

Price: €

Address: Budapest, Király u. 8, 1061 Hungary

What we got: Langos with cheese, butter and sour cream (terribly sinful but absolutely amazing)

Review: This is a quaint little street stall that happened to be located conveniently close to our accommodation. A deep-fried flatbread, topped with garlic butter, sour cream and cheese. Need we say more?

3. Tulipano Restaurant

Catfish paprika, with dumplings and sour cream
Catfish paprika with dumplings

Cuisine: Hungarian

Rating: 4/5

Price: €€

Address: Budapest, Honvéd u. 17, 1055 Hungary

What we got: Beef goulash soup, Catfish paprika with dumplings

Review: A pleasant restaurant located a short walk away from the Hungarian Parliament Building. We really enjoyed both the dishes we ordered. However, the portions were really big for our appetites and we struggled to finish them.

4. à table!

Eggs Florentine (top) and Hungarian Eggs (bottom)
Eggs Florentine (top) and Hungarian Eggs (bottom)

Cuisine: Western, Hungarian, Brunch

Rating: 4/5

Price: €€

Address: Budapest, Wesselényi u. 9, 1077 Hungary

What we got: Eggs Florentine, Hungarian Eggs

Review: A great place for a hearty brunch, with a very cute vibe. The Eggs Florentine was amazing and worth going back for.

5. Ciao Bella

Cheesy Cannelloni and Salami Pizza

Cuisine: Italian

Rating: 5/5

Price: €€

Address: Budapest, Dob u. 2, 1072 Hungary

What we got: Salami pizza, Cannelloni, Tiramisu

Review: A simple restaurant with outdoor seating and friendly service. One of the best pepperoni pizzas we’ve had!

Our Accommodation Review

Hostel One Budapest (Address: Budapest Rumbach Sebestyén u. 6, 1075 Hungary)

About: Hostel One is a chain comprising several hostels around Europe. They are currently in Budapest, Prague, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Porto.

Price: €37 per person per night (mid-May)

Location 5/5: Hostel One Budapest has a great location. It is just 4 minutes away from the nearest metro station and is within walking distance of many of the popular attractions such as the Dohány Street Synagogue, St. Stephen's Basilica and the famous Hungarian Parliament Building. There is also a direct bus (2200Fr/€6) from the airport (Bus number 100E) that takes you to a bus stop a 5-minute walk away from the hostel, within 40 minutes. The area is full of cafes, restaurants and bars so you won’t have to go far for a good meal.

Comfort 4.5/5: We got 2 beds in an 8-person mixed dorm. There were 4 double bunk beds in the room so we got 1 whole bed to ourselves. There were 2 large drawers below the bed to keep our belongings, including our backpacks, with ample space to spare. Every bed had a curtain, night light and 2 charging points which was amazing. The toilets were shared among all the rooms on the level but there were enough cubicles and showers such that we never had to queue to get in. There is a bar by the reception which is open almost every night and offers really cheap alcohol (€2 for a beer). There is a coffee and tea counter which is free for all, as well as a common fridge and pantry area in case you want to store or cook some of your own meals.

Note: Locks and towels can be rented for an extra cost.

Vibes 4.5/5: The hostel staff are really friendly and make you feel at home from the moment you check-in. Most of the other travelers who stay here are very social and participate in the hostel activities. There are day and night activities almost every day. The day activities normally involve going to a popular spot around Budapest and having lunch with the group. The night activity usually starts with drinking games in the hostel bar, followed by hitting a bar or a nightclub later in the night.

How involved you want to be in all the hostel activities is completely up to you and there is no pressure to join if you’re not in the mood. That being said, as majority of the people are quite enthusiastic about the activities, it can be quite intimidating if you’re the introverted type. Unfortunately for us, we were sick the first couple of days in Budapest and couldn't join as many activities as we would have liked to, but still ended up having a great time and making some new friends.

Final Thoughts

We absolutely loved our time in Budapest and were especially wowed by the grand architecture. While there is truly so much more to do and see, this itinerary provides a basic guide suitable for your first visit. To find out more about other places to visit in Central Europe, check out this other blog post!

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