Three Day Budapest Itinerary

three day budapest itinerary
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The Hungarian capital is an incredibly charming city that deserves a place on every traveler’s bucket list. Famous for its thermal baths, stunning architecture, history, as well as its nightlife, it’s no wonder this lively city has become more and more popular with tourists in recent years. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Budapest is very affordable, so if you’re looking for an interesting destination that won’t break the bank, Budapest is a great option! One thing you may wan to know before visiting is that Budapest was divided into two separate cities up until 1873 – Buda on one side of the Danube River and Pest on the other. Before jumping to the three day Budapest itinerary, let’s first have a look at where to stay and how to get around the city!

Where to stay in Budapest

Budapest offers plenty of accommodations for all budgets! I stayed at Maverick Urban Lodge, which is a budget friendly hostel located on the Pest side and had a great experience.

  • Luxury: Áurea Ana Palace by Eurostars. An incredible traditional five star hotel, situated at the heart of Budapest. The hotel is beautiful and features a spa and wellness centre with a sauna, among other things.
  • Mid-range: Gerlóczy Boutique Hotel. Set in a historic building, this boutique hotel is located in the very center of Budapest.
  • Budget friendly: Maverick Urban Lodge one the best hostels I’ve stayed at! Amazing facilities, beds have privacy curtains as well as plug-ins and a reading light. Prices from as low as 9EUR per night!

How to get around Budapest

Public transportation in Budapest is efficient and easy to use. It consists of a metro system, trams and buses and tickets can be purchased online or on the BKK vending machines at the stations. A single ticket costs 350 HUF (around 0.9 EUR). I always bought my tickets through the BKK app, which is available for Apple and Android users and can be downloaded here. Note that you need to activate your ticket before using it! This is done in the orange machines at the stations, or if you bought the ticket through the app, you simply activate it in the app.

Budapest is pretty walkable, but you will probably want to use some sort of transportation to get from one part of the city to another.

Three day Budapest Itinerary Day 1: Pest side

I’d say that one of the best ways to start your day in Budapest is with a breakfast or brunch at Double Shot Coffee & Brunch. They have bagels, acaí bowls, eggs benedict, french toasts, burritos and whatnot – everything I tried there was delicious (especially the salmon bagel!). Note that it’s a very popular place (cause it’s that good), so try to arrive before 11am, and/or reserve a table in advance!

three day budapest itinerary: where to eat in budapest
a breakfast at Double Shoot Coffee & Brunch

Now it’s time to head to the Dohany Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe. For those that are into history, check out this guided tour that includes a visit to the Dohany Street Synagogue, as well as a walk through the Jewish quarter.

From there, you can do a 20 minute walk or opt to take the bus to Shoes on the Danube bank, a memorial of Jews who were murdered there during World War II. Then do the 10 minute walk along the Danube promenade to the Hungarian Parliament, one of the most famous landmarks in Budapest.

three day budapest itinerary
the Hungarian Parliament

Next up on this three day Budapest itinerary is St. Stephen’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic basilica. Side note, you can take some cute photos of the Basilica from the street Zrínyi Ulica :))) During winter there is also a market on that street, as well as in front of the Basilica. If at this point you feel like sitting down and grabbing a cup of coffee, I can recommend Madal Café and Cause Café & Roastery. Or, if you wanna have coffee in the company of lots of cats, there is a Cat Café really close to the Basilica :))) Then you can take a walk through the Jewish Quarter, located in District 7. Make sure not to miss the Jewish Ghetto Wall Fragment.

St. Stephen’s Basilica, taken from the Zrínyi Ulica street

For dinner I’d recommend Bestia – it’s a nice restaurant (yet not overly expensive) that offers hamburgers, meat, fish and soups, as well as some vegetarian dishes. Then if you’re up for it, Budapest has those so called ruin bars that are worth checking out, even if you aren’t really a going-out type of person. The ruin bars are a collection of bars, situated inside neglected pre-war buildings that have been transformed into cool & unique bars. The most famous of those bars is Szimpla Kert. Just like the rest of the ruin bars, it’s furnished with garage sale type of furniture, which gives them this unique vintage vibe. It consists of two floors and a total of nine bars! And don’t worry if you’re on a budget – a beer costs less then 2 euros!

The ruin bars are located in Budapest’s old District, the VII neighbourhood (the old Jewish quarter). The neighbourhood was left to decay after World War II, so it was a perfect place to develop an underground bar scene, which I guess is not so underground anymore, though :))

Day 2: Buda side

On the second day of this three day Budapest itinerary, it’s time to check out the other side of Budapest, the Buda side! Buda is a more upper class part of the city, while also having a more residential feel. For breakfast, or just to grab a coffee, I can recommend 4minutes cafe, a small cozy place with great coffee, pastries (vegan!) and overnight chia.

three day budapest itinerary: Fisherman's Bastion
Fisherman’s Bastion in December

One of the most famous landmarks in Budapest is located on the Buda side, the Fisherman’s Bastion. Located on top of a hill, this fairytale-like castle offers panoramic views of the city – and in my opinion, is the most instagrammable place in Budapest! Entry to the Fisherman’s Bastion is free of charge, but if you want to visit the upper towers there is a 1000 HUF (2.6 EUR) fee to be paid. While you’re at it, check out Matthias church, which is located right next to the Fisherman’s Bastion.

three day budapest itinerary
the view from Fisherman’s Bastion – side note: if you want to take a photo like this, make sure to do so from the arched windows outside, not the ones located inside, as the lighting there is horrible :)))

Next up on this three day Budapest itinerary is the Buda Castle. An historical castle and palace complex that’s often referred to as the Royal Palace, as it used to be where the Hungarian kings lived. It’s one of the main symbols of Budapest and houses the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest Historical Museum. To get to the castle you can either take the funicular or you can take the steep stairs from the Chain Bridge. I’d recommend taking the funicular – thank me later!

From there, head over to Gellért Hill, a hill overlooking the Danube river as well as the city. The walk up to the hill is relatively easy and takes 15-20 minutes. If for whatever reason you don’t feel like walking, the Budapest Hop-on Hop-off bus also makes a stop at Gellért Hill. Make sure to visit Citadella, an historic fortress located on Gellért Hill. Note that Citadella is closed until later in 2023 due to reformation, but you can still explore the rest of Gellért Hill.

After exploring Gellért Hill, head back down and walk across Liberty Bridge. Just as you cross the bridge, you’ll spot your next stop, Central Market Hall. It’s the largest market hall in Budapest, a beautiful vibrant market where you’ll find all sorts of foods, wines, souvenirs, clothes, household items and whatnot. Note that unfortunately some of the businesses seem to take advantage of tourists by overcharging, refusing to give a receipt or tell you what exactly you’re paying for, so just keep that in mind. The market is still worth a visit, even if it’s just to walk through and explore.

budapest liberty bridge
Liberty Bridge // photo edited with the Film lightroom presets

In the evening, I’d recommend having dinner and/or drinks at 360 Bar where you have views of the city’s skyline, live music as well as a selection of cocktails! During winter, they even offer heated igloos on the roof that will keep you warm – just make sure to book one in advance.

Day 3

The third and last day of this three day Budapest itinerary will start with a visit to the famous Széchenyi Thermal Baths. As the mornings there are less crowded, this is the ideal time to visit. After relaxing at the thermal baths, and perhaps grabbing some lunch, the Vajdahunyad Castle is next up on the itinerary. The castle is located within one of the largest public parks in Budapest, City Park, just a short walk from the Széchenyi Baths. It’s worth adding that during the winter there is an ice skating rink there as well! Before leaving the City Park area, make a stop at Heroes’ Square, one of the major squares in Budapest.

Once you have checked out Heroes’ Square, now head over to Budapest Eye, which is roughly a 10 minute metro ride away (take the M1 metro line to the Deák Ferenc Tér stop). The Budapest Eye is a huge Ferris wheel that will give you a bird’s eye view of Budapest. Each ride lasts around 10 minutes, with the wheel going three rounds. Standard tickets to the Budapest Eye are 3900ft (around 10EUR).

I hope this three day Budapest itinerary has helped you plan your trip to Budapest! If you want to get notified when I publish new blog posts, simply click the red bell in the lower right corner or follow me on Instagram where I usually announce new posts :))

In case your trip to Budapest is a part of a larger journey through Eastern Europe, you might want to check out my posts about nearby Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina.


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