2 Days in Budapest: A Sample Itinerary

Hugging the Danube River on either side, Hungary’s capital rose from the ashes of communism to become what is now one of Eastern Europe’s most dynamic cities. From extravagant palaces to gaudy cathedrals and synagogues to bubbling hot springs and thermal baths, Budapest truly has it all. Consider adding 2 days in Budapest if you’re visiting Vienna or Prague.

Two days in Budapest is adequate to see the whole city, as long as you’re efficient. Three days is a good amount of time to spend in the city if you like to travel at a slower pace, and you can add a fourth day if you want plenty of time to relax. 

2 Days in Budapest

If you have 2 days in Budapest, stay at a hotel in downtown Budapest, we’d recommend the Aria Hotel Budapest. Begin your first day at St. Stephen’s Basilica in Pest. This lavish neoclassical church never fails to stun. A tedious climb to the top of the northern tower offers excellent views of the city. After visiting St. Stephen’s, make your way to the Vörösmarty Tér for lunch at one of the food stands which offer cheap but delicious and authentic Hungarian cuisine. The food in Budapest is delicious — even the traditional touristy food such as the goulash soup and paprika chicken served at practically every restaurant never fails to please one’s appetite.

St Stephens Basilica in Budapest -- What to see with 2 days in Budapest

After lunch, take a stroll down the Váci Utca, a thin street lined with mostly Western merchandise stores, each located in a different, beautiful Neo-Classical building. If you walk all the way down the Váci Utca, you’ll end up at Ferenciek Tér. There’s really nothing to see here, but there is a metro stop (Földalatti in Hungarian). From here, if you walk a few blocks to the northeast, it will be difficult not to notice the massive moorish style edifice with two clock towers topped with green onion domes. This is the Dohány Synagogue, the second largest synagogue in the world. A trip inside is worth it — there’s also a small museum with a display of Jewish artifacts from the region, and an impressive Holocaust memorial behind the museum.

Dohany Synagogue in Budapest -- Two Days in Budapest

After a visit to the synagogue, make your way back to the Deak Ferenc Tér metro station, and take Line 1 to the Hösõk Tér, or Heroes Square. Here you’ll find a massive memorial guarding the entrance to the Varosliget, or the City Park. Wind down and relax in the park at the Szechenyi Thermal Baths, a large, wedding-cake like bathing facility where locals and tourists alike go to relax. For dinner, consider going back to the Jewish quarter for dinner at Cafe Spinoza. Although there are several Jewish style restaurants in the area, Spinoza is one of the only ones that still cooks it’s food in accordance with traditional Jewish dietary laws — in short, it’s one of the only kosher places left. My personal favorite dish at Spinoza is the roasted goose with plum sauce and potato dumplings.

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23 Comments on “2 Days in Budapest: A Sample Itinerary

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  1. As someone who has lived in in Budapest for a couple of years, this is a really great overview and itinerary that highlights much of what the city has to offer. Great job Max! I’m super impressed that you’re only in the 9th grade. Keep on traveling 🙂

      Thanks for commenting Adelina and I am glad to hear you approve of Max’s recommendations! Let me know if you have any “must dos” to add.

    Budapest is one of my fav cities in Europe! I loved it architecture and atmosphere! I guess I could live there 😉

    Wonderful post! So well written. Budapest is one of those places that just keeps evading me. I actually had flights booked to go there a few years back when I was living in London but they had to be cancelled for personal reasons. One day when I am next in Europe it is top of my list! Thanks for sharing your experience and passion Max and thanks Tamara for showcasing such a talented young man.

      Thank you Jen for stopping by and leaving such an encouraging comment.

    Great post! We were actually in Budapest for a week in October and absolutely fell in love with it. I agree with everything you said other than not to stay more than 4 days…I personally could have stayed much longer and in fact could see myself living there. I suppose though if you’re touring around Europe and have other places to see 3-4 days could be long enough. We did do everything you had listed including the baths and enjoyed it all.

      Great Sarah! It seems like a few bloggers have stayed there for a year or two.

    I loved Budapest, it’s definitely one of my favourite European cities so far. Excellent article, you really highlight the best bits of Budapest. I would have liked to have explored Buda Castle and spent some more time there, but at the time there was some sort of fayre happening so it wasn’t all open. I think my favourite site was St Stephens Basilica – It was a couple of minute walk from out hotel!

    Fantastic itinerary! Been seeing a lot of connecting flights through Budapest lately with long overlays. I guess, it’s worth saving a penny on flying and splurging it into seeing the city!

    Great tips and advice! I’ll be over that way during the summer and I may just have to take advantage of this guide. 🙂

    Fisherman’s bastion is very cheap!! $7 for 4 people to enter. We were just there last month! Also found a great cafe for coffee as we were walking through the city – Central Cafe. Loved the architecture in Budapest. Parliament was amazing!

    Hello,

    We were in Budapest a few months ago and we will be publishing a review of Budapest for our blog in the next days. I must agree with you, it’s a fantastic city to spend a few days.
    Just one note, we didn’t have any problem finding people who speak English, and as you said Hungarian is way too difficult to try and learn anything 🙂

    http://www.couplertw.com

    Insightful article indeed. I’m coming to Budapest on business soon and will have only one day to explore the city. My question would be, what is the best way to get into the city from the airport?

    Hello, my3 are travelling in December, do you still think we can follow your itinerary this time of year? Or are their other suggestions for this colder time? Any advise greatly appreciated,
    Thanks Libby

      Most of these sights are good year round. It will be so pretty in December!

    My 3 girlfriends and I will be in Budapest for 3 days. Your 2- day itinerary looks perfect for us. Thank you for sharing

    Hello,

    Thank you so much for such a well explained itinerary 🙂

    My husband I will be travelling to Budapest this December for two days and will reach Budapest via Train from Prague, an overnight journey. Since most of the places close by 4 during this time, do you have any suggestions as to how I can modify my itinerary, if I replicate yours :). Also, I am taking the the liberty to follow day 2 schedule on day 1 as we will reach Budapest at 9 in the morning and then head to hotel to change and freshen up. So 1/4th of our day will be wasted.

    Also, if any other suggestions or recommendations to visit during this time of the year would be appreciated.

    Thanks much,
    Pooh 🙂

      One thing I want to do when we go in march is visit the Central food hall and also a boat ride on the Danube.

    A great article. The Tip about the Citadel is very good, because the view is absolutely magnificent, especially at sunset. As you say, it’s a tough climb, but there is a public bus going there: Line 27 (but not to the very end). As far as I remember, also some hop-on hop-off buses go there.

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