Budapest 24-Hour Itinerary
- Budapest 24-Hour Itinerary
- Heroes Square
- City Park
- Szechenyi Thermal Baths
- Great Market Hall
- Castle Hill
- Fisherman’s Bastion
- More Must-See Attractions
- How to Get Around Budapest
- Staying the Night?
- Travel Tips
Budapest – the city of thermal baths, beautiful architecture, and rich history. You have only 24 hours to experience it all, but trust me – it’s possible.
Start your day early with a visit to the famous Széchenyi Thermal Bath. There’s nothing like soaking in the warm water, surrounded by stunning Neo-Baroque architecture, and starting your day relaxed and rejuvenated. The thermal bath also offers sauna sessions and massages, so you can treat yourself to some pampering before starting your adventure.
Next, head over to Castle Hill, where you can explore the beautiful Buda Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 13th century. The castle is located on a hill, offering panoramic views of the Danube River and the Pest side of the city. Take a stroll through the old town’s cobbled streets, and visit the stunning Matthias Church, which boasts beautiful stained-glass windows and a colorful tiled roof.
For lunch, head to the Great Market Hall, where you can find a variety of delicious Hungarian dishes, including goulash, lángos (deep-fried dough with sour cream and cheese), and chimney cake. The market also offers a variety of local produce, souvenirs, and handicrafts, making it a great spot to do some shopping and soak up the local atmosphere.
After lunch, head over to the Hungarian Parliament Building, one of the most iconic buildings in Budapest. The Gothic Revival-style building is located on the banks of the Danube River and is the largest building in Hungary. Take a guided tour to learn about its history and architecture and marvel at the stunning interior decor and artwork.
Finally, end your day with a visit to the Szimpla Kert ruin bar, one of Budapest’s most famous ruin bars. The bar is in a restored old building, with quirky decor and a lively atmosphere. Sip on a cocktail or a local beer and soak up the unique atmosphere of this Budapest institution.
In just 24 hours, you can experience the best of Budapest, from the thermal baths to the historic landmarks and the vibrant nightlife. Take your time, savor the flavors, and enjoy the sights and sounds of this beautiful city.
While it’s impossible to see everything in one day, you can still get a good taste of the city’s culture, history, and landmarks by following this itinerary:
- 9:00 am – Start your day at Heroes Square, a famous landmark in Budapest that showcases Hungary’s history and culture. Admire the statues and monuments and learn about the country’s past.
- 10:00 am – From Heroes’ Square, take a leisurely walk through City Park, one of Budapest’s largest green spaces. Take in the beautiful scenery and stop at the Vajdahunyad Castle, a stunning building home to several museums.
- 11:00 am – Head to the Szechenyi Thermal Baths, one of the largest spa complexes in Europe. Relax in the hot pools, saunas, and steam rooms, and enjoy a massage or other spa treatments if you have time.
- 1:00 pm – After a refreshing morning at the baths, head to the nearby Great Market Hall to grab lunch. The market is known for its delicious local cuisine, including goulash, stuffed peppers, and chimney cake.
- 2:00 pm – Walk across the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the first permanent bridge connecting Buda and Pest. Stop in the middle to take in the stunning views of the Danube River and the city skyline.
- 3:00 pm – Take the funicular up to Castle Hill, a historic district home to the Buda Castle and several other landmarks. Explore the Castle District, admire the beautiful architecture, and take in the panoramic views of the city.
- 5:00 pm – Head to Fisherman’s Bastion, a beautiful lookout point that’s a must-see for its stunning Danube and the Parliament Building views.
- 6:00 pm – Finish your day with a relaxing dinner at one of Budapest’s many fine restaurants. If you have time, stop at a ruin pub, a popular type of bar in Budapest that’s known for its unique atmosphere.
Of course, this itinerary can be adjusted based on your interests and preferences, and there are many other sights and attractions in Budapest worth exploring. But this should give you a good overview of the city’s main highlights.
Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere in Hungarian) is one of the most iconic landmarks in Budapest, located at the end of Andrássy Avenue in the heart of the city. It’s a large square built in 1896 to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of Hungary’s settlement by the Magyars, the nomadic people who founded the country.
At the center of Heroes’ Square stands the Millennium Monument, a large pillar topped with the Archangel Gabriel statue holding a Hungarian crown and a double cross. The pillar is surrounded by statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars, who led the Hungarian tribes to the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century.
On either side of the pillar are two colonnades with statues of critical Hungarian figures, including kings, politicians, and artists. The colonnades are also decorated with beautiful frescoes that depict scenes from Hungarian history.
Heroes Square is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, and it’s often used as a venue for events and celebrations. The square is surrounded by several important cultural institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art, both worth visiting.
Overall, Heroes’ Square is a beautiful and historically significant landmark worth visiting if you’re in Budapest. It’s a great place to learn about Hungary’s rich history and culture and admire some stunning architecture and artwork.
City Park (Városliget in Hungarian) is a large public park in Budapest’s heart. It covers an area of about 302 acres (1.2 square kilometers) and is one of the city’s most popular recreational areas. Here are some of the highlights of City Park:
This beautiful castle is located within the park and was built in the late 19th century to showcase different architectural styles throughout Hungary’s history. The castle is now home to the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, which features exhibits on the country’s rural heritage.
Széchenyi Thermal Bath
One of Budapest’s most famous thermal baths, Széchenyi offers indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, steam rooms, and other facilities for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden
This zoo is home to over 1,000 species worldwide, including elephants, giraffes, and lions. The botanical garden is also lovely to explore and features several beautiful greenhouses.
As mentioned earlier, this iconic square is located at the entrance to City Park and features a large monument to Hungary’s national heroes.
Ice Skating Rink
In the winter, the park’s central lake is transformed into a giant ice skating rink, a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
Located near the entrance to City Park, the Budapest Circus offers a variety of shows and performances featuring acrobats, clowns, and other circus performers.
Overall, City Park is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some beautiful green spaces and cultural attractions. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just some good old-fashioned relaxation, there’s something for everyone in this lovely park.
Szechenyi Thermal Baths
Széchenyi Thermal Baths are one of Budapest’s most popular tourist attractions and are known for its relaxing and rejuvenating thermal waters. The baths are located in City Park and are housed in a beautiful Neo-Baroque building that dates back to 1913.
The baths feature 15 indoor and outdoor thermal pools, ranging from 20 to 38 degrees Celsius (68 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit), and several saunas, steam rooms, and massage services. The thermal waters at Széchenyi are rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfate, which are said to have therapeutic benefits for various ailments, including arthritis and other joint pain.
The outdoor pools at Széchenyi are trendy, especially in winter when steam rises from the warm waters, creating a magical atmosphere. There’s also a unique “beer spa” where visitors can soak in thermal waters infused with beer, which is said to have health benefits for the skin.
In addition to the thermal baths, Széchenyi also features a range of other amenities, including a restaurant, a café, and a fitness center. Various events and programs, such as music performances and art exhibitions, are held throughout the year.
Overall, Széchenyi Thermal Baths is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to relax and unwind in Budapest. The beautiful surroundings, warm waters, and therapeutic benefits make it a unique and memorable experience.
Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall, also known as Central Market Hall, is one of Budapest’s largest and most popular indoor markets. Located in the city center, it’s a must-visit destination for foodies, shoppers, and anyone looking to experience a slice of local life.
The market hall was built in the late 19th century and featured a striking neo-Gothic facade. Inside, you’ll find a bustling marketplace spread over three floors, with vendors selling everything from fresh produce and meats to souvenirs and traditional handicrafts.
On the ground floor, you’ll find stalls selling fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and other fresh produce. This is a great place to sample some of Hungary’s traditional dishes, such as goulash soup or lángos, a deep-fried flatbread.
The first floor is home to vendors selling traditional Hungarian arts and crafts, such as hand-painted ceramics, embroidered textiles, and wooden toys. You’ll also find a variety of souvenir shops selling items like postcards, magnets, and T-shirts.
The second floor features several restaurants and cafes where you can sit and enjoy a meal or a coffee while viewing the bustling marketplace below.
Overall, the Great Market Hall is a great place to experience Budapest’s vibrant culture and sample some of its delicious food. Whether you’re looking to shop, enjoy a meal, or soak up the local atmosphere, this bustling marketplace is worth a visit.
Castle Hill is a historic district located in the heart of Budapest, and it’s one of the city’s top attractions. It’s named after the beautiful Buda Castle, which sits atop a hill overlooking the Danube River and the Pest side of the town.
The Buda Castle complex is home to several museums, including the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum, as well as the Royal Palace, which was once the home of the Hungarian royal family. The castle is a beautiful example of Baroque architecture, offering stunning city views from its hilltop location.
In addition to the castle, Castle Hill is home to several other historic buildings and landmarks, including Matthias Church, a beautiful Gothic-style church that dates back to the 14th century, and Fisherman’s Bastion, a terrace with seven turrets and panoramic views of the city.
The district’s cobblestone streets and colorful buildings are also home to many restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it a great place to wander and explore. The pedestrianized area makes it easy to stroll around and enjoy sights.
One of the best ways to explore Castle Hill is on foot, as there are many hidden alleys and courtyards to discover. Alternatively, you can take the funicular railway from the foot of the hill to the top, which is a fun and scenic way to reach the castle and enjoy the views.
Overall, Castle Hill is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, and culture, as well as those simply looking to enjoy some of the most beautiful views of Budapest.
Fisherman’s Bastion is a beautiful terrace on Castle Hill in Budapest, Hungary. It was built in the late 19th century and is named after the guild of fishermen who once defended this stretch of the city walls.
The Bastion is located next to Matthias Church and offers panoramic views of the Danube River, the Pest side of the city, and the Parliament building. Its seven turrets and white-stoned walls resemble a fairytale castle, making it one of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks.
Visitors can climb the stairs of the Bastion for free to take in the stunning views of the city. The Bastion also has several balconies, each offering a different city view. The upper terraces require a small fee to access, but the views from there are worth it.
In addition to the beautiful views, Fisherman’s Bastion is a popular spot for photographers, especially at sunrise and sunset when the light is stunning. There are also several cafes and restaurants nearby where visitors can enjoy a drink or a meal while enjoying the views.
Overall, Fisherman’s Bastion is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Budapest. Its stunning architecture and panoramic city views make it a truly unforgettable experience.
More Must-See Attractions
Budapest has many attractions and sights to see, and if you have extra time to explore the city, here are some other must-visit places:
St. Stephen’s Basilica
This stunning cathedral is the largest in Budapest and boasts beautiful architecture, including a dome with panoramic city views.
Hungarian Parliament Building
One of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks, this beautiful Gothic Revival building is home to the country’s legislature and is a must-see for its stunning architecture.
A popular spot for hiking and sightseeing, Gellért Hill offers panoramic views of the city and is home to the Gellért Baths, a beautiful Art Nouveau spa.
Hungarian National Museum
If you’re interested in history, this museum is a must-visit. It showcases Hungary’s rich past and exhibits everything from its prehistoric past to modern history.
Take a stroll along the riverfront and enjoy the beautiful views of the Danube River and the city skyline.
Shoes on the Danube Bank
This moving memorial is a tribute to the thousands of Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II. The memorial features bronze shoes along the riverbank to symbolize the shoes left behind by those killed.
This beautiful island in the Danube River is a popular spot for picnics, jogging, and cycling. It also features several attractions, including a musical fountain and a medieval ruins garden.
House of Terror
This museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Hungary’s 20th-century history. It features exhibits of the country’s fascist and communist regimes and is housed in a building that was once the headquarters of the secret police.
These are just a few attractions and sights worth seeing in Budapest. Depending on your interests and time, this beautiful city has many more places to explore.
How to Get Around Budapest
Budapest has an efficient and extensive public transportation system, which includes buses, trams, metro lines, and suburban railways. The public transportation system is a cost-effective and convenient way to get around the city.
The metro system is handy, as it covers most of the city and is the fastest way to get around. The Budapest Metro has four lines (M1, M2, M3, and M4), and each line is color-coded and numbered. The metro system operates from early in the morning until around midnight.
The trams and buses are also an excellent option for getting around Budapest, especially if traveling to areas not covered by the metro. There are also several night bus and tram lines that run throughout the night.
Another popular way to get around Budapest is by bike. The city has an expanding network of bike lanes and several bike rental companies throughout the city. Renting a bike is a great way to explore Budapest’s parks and bike-friendly neighborhoods.
Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Bolt are also available in Budapest but are more expensive than public transportation.
The best way to get around Budapest depends on your preferences and itinerary. Public transportation is likely your best option if you plan to visit many of the city’s top attractions and landmarks. However, renting a bike or taking a taxi or ride-sharing service may be a better choice if you prefer a more independent way of exploring the city.
Staying the Night?
Budapest offers numerous accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are some popular areas to stay in Budapest:
District V (Inner City)
This is the heart of Budapest, a popular area for first-time visitors. It’s home to many of the city’s top attractions, including St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Hungarian Parliament Building. The Inner City has many luxury hotels and more affordable options.
District VII (Jewish Quarter)
This trendy and vibrant area has many bars, restaurants, and cafes. It’s a popular area for young travelers who want to experience Budapest’s nightlife. The Jewish Quarter has many hostels, boutique hotels, and apartments for rent.
District I (Castle District)
This is a historic and picturesque area located on Castle Hill. It’s home to many historic buildings and landmarks, including the Buda Castle complex and Fisherman’s Bastion. The Castle District has many boutique hotels and apartments with stunning city views.
District VI (Terézváros)
This lively area has many shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, including the Hungarian State Opera House and Heroes Square. The Terézváros district has many hotels and apartments for rent, and it’s a good option for travelers who want to be close to the city’s cultural attractions.
Budapest is a safe city; visitors can find suitable accommodation in many different areas. It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the high season (June-August) and around major events and festivals.
here are some additional tips for visiting Budapest:
- Buy a Budapest Card: The Budapest Card is an excellent option for travelers who want to save money on transportation, attractions, and tours. The card offers unlimited public transport, free entry to museums and attractions, and discounts at restaurants and shops. You can buy the card online or at many tourist information offices throughout the city.
- Try local cuisine: Budapest is known for its delicious cuisine, including hearty soups, stews, and savory pastries. Don’t miss out on local dishes like goulash, chimney cake, and langos. Budapest also has many trendy cafes and restaurants serving international cuisine.
- Visit thermal baths: Budapest is home to many, a relaxing and rejuvenating way to unwind after a long day of sightseeing. The thermal baths include Szechenyi, Gellert, and Rudas. Be sure to bring a swimsuit and towel.
- Be aware of scams: Budapest has its fair share of scams and pickpocketing, like any tourist destination. Be cautious of people approaching you on the street and trying to sell you something or ask for money. Also, be aware of taxi drivers who overcharge tourists. It’s best to use reputable taxi companies or ride-sharing services.
- Respect local customs and traditions: Hungary has a rich cultural heritage, so respect local customs and traditions. For example, it’s customary to greet people with a handshake or nod, and it’s polite to say “please” and “thank you” when interacting with locals. Dress modestly when visiting churches and other religious sites.
- Learn some basic Hungarian phrases: While many Hungarians speak English, it’s always appreciated when visitors make an effort to learn some basic Hungarian phrases, such as “hello” (szia), “thank you” (köszönöm), and “please” (kérem). It can help you connect with locals and enhance your travel experience.
Here are some helpful resources for planning a trip to Budapest:
- Budapest Tourism Official Website: The official website of Budapest Tourism provides information on accommodations, attractions, events, and transportation. It also offers a free Budapest City Guide, maps, and suggested itineraries. Link: https://www.budapestinfo.hu/
- TripAdvisor Budapest: TripAdvisor is a popular travel website that provides user reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants, and attractions in Budapest. You can also find travel tips and forums on the site. Link: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g274887-Budapest_Central_Hungary-Vacations.html
- Lonely Planet Budapest: Lonely Planet is a well-known travel guidebook publisher that offers comprehensive information on Budapest. The website provides practical travel advice, suggested itineraries, and insider tips from locals. Link: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/hungary/budapest
- Budapest by Locals: Budapest by Locals is a travel blog that provides in-depth information on Budapest’s hidden gems, local restaurants, and cultural events. The blog also offers practical transportation, safety, and budget travel tips. Link: https://budapestbylocals.com/
- Budapest Card: The Budapest Card is a discount card that provides free public transportation, free entry to many museums and attractions, and discounts at restaurants and shops. You can buy the card online or at many tourist information offices throughout the city. Link: https://www.budapestcard.org
I hope these resources help you plan your trip to Budapest!