2 DAYS IN BUDAPEST : ITINERARY & TRAVEL TIPS
Budapest is the capital of Hungary and it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It is characterized by being a very versatile city, but why? You can have the best time of your life if you are traveling on a budget but you can also prepare a luxury trip in this capital of eastern Europe. Spending 2 days in Budapest is probably not enough to discover every corner of this amazing city, but in this itinerary, I will cover the must to see places in 2 days in Budapest. In this case, this was my great and flexible travel companion.
- 1 2 DAYS IN BUDAPEST : ITINERARY & TRAVEL TIPS
- 1.1 2 days itinerary in Budapest
- 1.2 Day 1 in Budapest
- 1.3 Get Directions
- 1.4 Day 2 in Budapest
- 1.5 Get Directions
- 1.6 Things to do in Budapest at night
- 1.7 Accommodation in Budapest: Where to stay
- 1.8 Airports in Budapest
- 1.9 72 hour Budapest card: Is it worth it?
- 1.10 How much money do I need for 2 days in Budapest?
Here it goes a very interesting verity about the capital of Hungary, in the Hungarian revolution of 1848 Budapest suffered a defeat against Austria. The winning army toasted beers to celebrate it and, since that day, it was prohibited to toast in Budapest for the next 150 years. Although 172 years have already passed, the tradition continues so be careful toasting in public!
An important fact to know about Budapest is that the city is divided into two parts by the Danubio River: Buda and Pest. Buda is known for being the classiest part of the city and also more calm than Pest. In Pest, you’ll find the thick of the city’s restaurants and bars. Both parts together make this city awesome and it seems unthinkable to visit Budapest without visiting one of the two parts.
The itinerary that I propose could be made for every traveler, even if you are traveling on a budget. The difference will be in the accommodation chosen and in the places you decide to have dinner, which will also be discussed in the article.
2 days itinerary in Budapest
Let’s start our 2 days journey in Budapest, discovering the best of both Buda and Pest . Although the order in which you visit each essential tourist attraction is up to each traveler, I am going to suggest a sequence in order to visit in the most efficient way in order to discover the most important places in these 2 days in Budapest.
Day 1 in Budapest
My awesome first day of the 2 days itinerary in Budapest is going to start with the most iconic building in Budapest…
Total distance: 4,3 km
This is probably not the first time you hear about this building or see in on a postcard. This precious building is not only stunning from the outside but also from the inside. The Budapest parliament, the most famous building in Hungary, is located in front of the Danube river in District V and it houses Hungary’s most precious treasure: the Holy Crown of St Stephen. If you are more of an outdoor traveler you’ll probably skip the visit to the inside which is fair enough as Budapest has so many things to see in 2 days. If you are curious about how beautiful could be from the inside, I advise buying the ticket in advance. Once in the entrance, especially in the high season, there is a big queue of people waiting to buy the ticket and entering the Parliament. It is only possible to go inside with a tour guide from the Parlament. You can buy the tickets in advance choosing the time that best suits you!
There is also a very interesting tour offer as a package with the visit to the parliament a cruise on the Danube river at night while observing the fabulous Parliament illuminated.
- Entry ticket price: 10 $ for European Union citizens and 19 $ for non-European Union citizens
- Duration of the visit: 50 minutes
- Opening hours: 08:00-18:00
Széchenyi Chain Bridge
Our second stop of the first day in Budapest is the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. It is a chain bridge that connects Buda with Pest which spans through the Danube river. The contraction finished and the bridge was open in 1849 and was inaugurated as the first permanent connection between the western and the eastern sides of the city. My personal advice? Cross to Buda ( western side of Budapest ) through the chains bridge to experience what is like to be on the high part of the bridge and observe the river from the top. Also, make sure you pass through and see it also in the evening with all the lights. It measures 375 m long and is 16 meters wide.
So…third stop after crossing the chains bridge is the Buda Castle.
What makes Buda Castle special? Besides the beauty of the building itself, the location at the top of the hill is impressive. I advise visiting this area in the afternoon as it is a very pleasant walk with a great panoramic of the chains bridge and the parliament. If you are still in this area during sunset, it is really worth it to watch it from the top of the hill. There is also a very interesting visit to the Buda maze that it is totally worth it! Our next stop, The fisherman bastion which is also located in this area of the city.
How to get there?
After crossing the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, in Plaza Clark Ádám Ter, you can take the famous cable bar of Budapest, it is a great experience! An interesting fact about this cable bar is that it was the second one build in the whole of Europe and it was inaugurated in 1870.
- Entry ticket price for the Buda castle maze: 8 $
- Opening hours: 10:00-19:00
Our last stop of the day and in one of the most scenic tourist attractions in Budapest (If not the most). Located by the Buda castle, it is the perfect place to see the sunset. This terrace of the neogothic style was designed and constructed between 1895 and 1902 making it the best lookout in the city. It is given the fisherman’s name as fishermen used to look after it during the middle age.
- Entry ticket price for the Buda castle maze: Free
- Opening hours: All day and night long
Day 2 in Budapest
Let’s start our second day in Budapest!
Total distance: 6 km
St. Stephen’s Basilica
This church was constructed at the beginning of 1850 and the construction was finished bt 1905 as the dome collapsed and had to be rebuild. The name is given to honor the first Hungarian king: King Stephen I.
Saint Stephen’s Basilica is actually the second-highest religious building in Hungary with a 96-meter heigh. Besides its height, the appearance is impressive from its exterior, interior, and from the top! If you see yourself climbing 364 stairs up to the top you’ll be amazed by the views. In my opinion, it is a must. From the top you will be able to enjoy one of the best views of Budapest: The Citadel, Parliament and Buda castle are seen from there. I advise spending some time in Saint Stephens Basilica as it has so much to offer.
- Entry ticket price for the Basilica: Free
- Entry ticket price for the Dome of the Basilica: 2 $
- Opening hours for the Basilica: 09:00 am to 07:00 pm from Monday to Saturday, Sunday 07:45 am to 07:00 pm.
- Opening hours for the Dome of the Basilica: 10:00 am to 06:45 pm. Check the official timetable as there may be changes depending on the season.
The Great Synagogue of Budapest
The biggest synagogue in Europe? Yes, it is! It was built in 1854-1859 and it has capacity for 3,000 people. This makes Dohány Street Synagogue the biggest in Europe and the second biggest in the world. Located in the Pest side of the city, the architecture is Romanic and Moorish and I could say that is that kind of building you do not forget easily. It is impressive!
- Entry ticket price for the Dome of the Basilica: 9 $
- Opening hours for the Basilica: 10:00 am to 07:30 pm from Sunday to Friday, Saturday close. (This timetable is only in high season)
How to get there?
As I already mention, Budapest is well connected by public transport and that makes it easy for travelers that are only going to spend 2 days in Budapest. The options to get to The Great Synagogue of Budapest are:
- Bus: line 74 Kàroly Körút
- Metro: line 2 red Astoria
- Tram: lines 47 and 49 Astoria
As the third stop of the day, we have the special Vaci Utca street. And when I say special is because…this street is known as the heart of Budapest, the street is pedestrian and is the main commercial and tourist hub of the city. This street used to be the door of the city in the middle ages when there used to be a wall delimiting the limits of the city. Nowadays, it is a beautiful place to walk with incredible shops and with excellent ambiance.
How to get there?
- Metro: Vörösmarty tér (líne M1) or Ferenciek tere (line M3).
- Tram: Fővám tér, línes 2, 27 and 29.
I guess it is not the first time you hear about Széchenyi Spa and, in my opinion, there is no best place to end your 2 days in Budapest. It is time to relax and enjoy the incredible facilities of this Spas in Budapest. It is one of the best and biggest Spas in Europe nowadays, with 15 indoor baths and 3 huge outdoor pools. I think images speak for themselves…
- Entry ticket price for the Dome of the Basilica: 20 $
- Opening hours for the Basilica: 06:00 am to 08:00 pm everyday.
How to get there?
- Metro: Line M1
- Bus: Trolebus 74
Travel insights about Budapest
Things to do in Budapest at night
My favorite restaurants in Budapest followed by the best ruin bars of the city!
What is a ruin bar? The ‘ruin pubs’ (or ‘ruin bars’) located in the inside of very old Buildings. Instead of rebuilding it and reform it, they take advantage of every single thing inside the old building and make the most of every piece of artwork. Besides its special and original decoration, they look like a big maze inside. It should not seem strange to you if you see a bathtub in the middle of the pub or even a toilet as a chair…
Best restaurants in Budapest
a) Buja Disznók: Without a doubt the best Milanese steak I’ve ever tried. Located near the parliament and inside the municipal market, it is a perfect spot to take a break having this amazing local Hungarian food.
- Estimated price per person: 9$
- Phone: +36 70 377 3322
b) Retek Bisztró: One of the most welcoming restaurants in Budapest. It is small so a reservation is recommended. Get ready to try one of the best local Hungarian dishes .
- Estimated price per person: 13$
- Phone: +36 20 344 6605
c) Lecso Hungarian Restaurant: Leco Hungarian Restaurant offers a delicious soup and a main course for only 4 $ every day of the week! Also, they provide an incredible Buffett for self-service. Besides the incredible food they cook and offer, a good advantage is that it is open from 11 am to 12 pm every day of the week. Do not miss their daily menu!
- Estimated price per person: 7$
- Phone: +36 1 349 3580
Best ruin bars in Budapest
a) Instant Fogas: Even though it is referred to as a ruin bar is more like a ruin disco! You’ll have such a good time in this special and different disco. Entry is free
b) Szimpla Kert: This famous ruin bar is simply amazing! Wherever you look inside the pub, you’ll be amazed. I am pretty sure you’ve never had a beer or wine in a place like this…Make sure you arrive early as queues can get really long!
c) Puder: Besides ingenious drinks, this ruin bar offers also really tasty food! The place is really beautiful and you’ll have, for sure, a great lunch or dinner in this place. As a good ruin bar, the decoration is really special, totally worth it!
Accommodation in Budapest: Where to stay
Budapest is a city divided by 23 districts with a wide variety of hostels, hostels, and apartments to choose from. The most common district to stay in are District I (Varnegyed) in Buda and District V (Belvaros and Lipotvaros), VI (Terezvaros), VII (Erzsebetvaros) and some zones of VIII (Jozsefvaros) in Pest.
District I – Varnegyed
Although this is a very good area to stay during your 2 days in Budapest, it is definitely not a backpacker area.
There are several good hotels where you’ll be able to enjoy the most luxurious services in Budapest.
District VIII – Jozsefvaors
GoodMo House: GoodMo House is probably one of the best hostels I’ve visited in a while. The shared facilities are incredible and the location is super good. The staff helped me find the best local places to eat during my stay in Budapest, there were really welcoming and made my stay in the Hungarian capital perfect.
- Price per night (p/p): 11 $
District VI – Terezvaros
Wombats Hostel Budapest: In Wombats Hostel Budapest the biggest advantage is the friendliness of the staff and the good vibes as soon as you walk through the door. They also have the availability of dorms and private rooms and the facilities are very clean.
- Price per night (p/p): 15 $
District V – Belvaros and Lipotvaros
Pal’s Hostel and apartments: The location of Pal’s hostel and apartments could not be better, in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica! It is close to the main touristic attractions of Budapest. The offer great 4 beds dorms and also cozy private studios to stay in. Highly recommended
- Price per night (p/p): 19 $
District VII – Erzsebetvaros
Das Nest Budapest: The couple in charge of Das Nest Budapest is super nice and the location is excellent (close to the great synagogue of Budapest). As a result of the charming owners and the way they take care of every detail in the hostel, the environment ends up being perfect. The shared areas are also really nice.
- Price per night (p/p): 28 $
Airports in Budapest
Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport and Ferihegy Airport is the only airport in Budapest. It is perfectly connected with the city center through Ferihegy High-Speed Road, only 22 km away. To go to/from the Airport from/to the city center there are buses (specifically the Bus 100E) that leave regularly every 20 minutes and they connect the Terminal 2 of Budapest Airport and Deák Ferenc Square (city center).
There is also the option of combining Bus and metro. Take the 200E, get off in Kobanya-Kispest and get the metro M3 straight to the city center.
- Bus ticket from the Budapest Airpot: 3 $
72 hour Budapest card: Is it worth it?
In my opinion, essential. Why?
Whit the 72 hour Budapest card you’ll be able to use public transport (trips on BKK’s services as well as on regional bus lines and suburban railways) for FREE among a lot of advantages more. One important factor about the card is that it is personalized and untransferable. Discounts in most of the tourist attractions in Budapest, thermal baths, discounted meals and cultural events and excellent guide city tours. What do you think, is it worth it?
Make sure, at the beginning of your trip, check out where to find the closest place to buy you 72 hour Budapest card.
- Price of the 72 hour Budapest card(p/): 39 $
How much money do I need for 2 days in Budapest?
Well, as I think you’ll probably realize during the article, Budapest is quite a cheap country (at least compared with the rest of Europe…) and you’ll be able to deeply know about its history, gastronomy and daily life for a very cheap price. In my case, I spend in 2 days in Budapest the following:
- Accommodation: 50 $
- Food and drinks: 48 $
- Touristic Attractions: 65 $
- Souvenirs: 19,95 $
TOTAL: 182,95 $
I hope you now feel ready to start your incredible journey of 2 days in Budapest! Taking into account that Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, you won’t be disappointed. If you need and an extra hand to organize your journey to this incredible country, do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you!
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