Out of my 34 days in Europe, 3 days were spent in Budapest in which I traveled solo. I was a little afraid, a little uncertain at first but it looks like I had nothing to worry about and yeah I made it back in one piece ! There was so much to do in Budapest and the best part is, it’s one of the most affordable countries in Europe. Here is a quick insight to how much I spent for the 3 days in Budapest :
- 2 nights in Wombats Hostel = 19 x 2 = Euros 38
- 3 Days Budapest Travel Card = HUF 4150 (~ 14 Euros) (the card will cover public transportation in Budapest, it can be purchased when you arrive at the Keleti Station, which is the main railway station of Budapest ).
- Food = 45 Euros
- Entrance Fee to Gellert Baths & Szechenyi Baths = 23 EUROS
TOTAL = 120 EUROS
If you happen to be travelling from Vienna to Budapest roundtrip by train (like me) , then factor in another 82 Euros for the train ride.
You should change a bit of Hungarian money, the Hungarian Forint (HUF), because Euros is not accepted in general, especially for places like small eateries and the central market. You’ll be able to use credit card for major attraction sites (these are the places I used the credit card in the itinerary- the two thermal baths, the two cafes and the 3 Days Budapest Travel Card). The Keleti Station has decent exchange rates.
The 3Days 2 Nights Budapest Itinerary
Day 1 : Travel from Vienna to Budapest –> Parliament Building –> Stroll along the Danube Bank –> Buda Castle + Fisherman’s Bastion (both in the vicinity of Castle Hill) –> see the glowing parliament at night.
Visit the magnificent parliament building. Guided tours (45 minutes) are available at 5200 HUF for non EU citizens. There are English tours at 9.45 am , 10 am , 12 pm, 1 pm, 2pm and 3 pm. Refer to this website if you need more information on planning. The change of guards ceremony is at 11.30 am, so you might want to plan to be there around that time (and take a picture with the
For a piece of Hungarian history, take a stroll along the Danube Bank in the vicinity. You’ll find rusty shoes which is a memorial to holocaust victims during World War II. The Jews were forced to stand at the edge of the river and fell into the river as they were shot to death, leaving their shoes behind.
Castle Hill is also known as the Castle District. The district is dominated by quaint cafes, museums and historical sites such as the Buda Castle, Matthia’sChurch, Fisherman’s Bastion, Hospital on the Rock, Mary Magdalene’s Tower and the Buda Castle Labyrinth.
As night falls, visit the parliament building again because it is even more alluring at night, glowing like a piece jewel floating on the river. The bridges nearby are also much more stunning at night.
Day 2 – Gellert Hill –> Central Market –> Gellert Bath –> St Stepehen’s Basilica –> Elizabeth Square
Start the day with a morning hike up Gellert Hill. It’s one of the best vantage points to see the sprawling Budapest City and River Danube beneath you. The hill was named after Saint Gerard (Gellert) (980 – 1046) who was given a mission to preach Christianity to the Hungarians. Unfortunately he was unappreciated and thrown to death into the Danube River. His statue, or the Gellért Monument is seen on the northeast slope of the hill.
As you reach the top of the hill (which takes about 40 minutes), you’ll be greeted by the Liberation Statue (Szabadsag Szobor) – the lady statue holding a palm leaf. The statue was erected in 1947 when the Soviet Union ended the occupation of Nazi Germany.
Head over to the Central Market for some souvenir shopping and treat yourself with great local eats such as goulash, langos and dobos torte.
Pamper yourself at the Gellert Thermal Baths (in Gellert Hotel) to experience the mineral pools fit for a king. Plan for at least 3-4 hours at the bath for some pool-hopping.
Day 3 – Breakfast at Cafe Gerbeaud –> Heros Square –> Szechenyi Baths –> New York Cafe –> Train to Vienna.
Enjoy breakfast at the opulent Cafe Gerbeaud on Vorosmarty Square. I particularly liked it at breakfast because there was hardly anyone there and I had the whole place to myself. Do a little shopping afterwards if you wish as Vorosmarty Square is also a shopping district.
Then, visit Heros Square, or the Millennium Monument, which was completed in 1900 to commemorate the 1000th year of the Hungarian State founded by Stephen I. If you are into arts, there are two art museums flanking the square – the Palace of Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts.
I fell in love with the thermal baths at Budapest, so I tried another one – the Szechenyi Baths situated in Varosliget Park that’s about 10 minutes walk from Heros Square. This one is much much bigger than Gellert Baths you will need at least half a day if not a full day there.
Lastly, indulge at the palatial New York Cafe – dubbed the most beautiful cafe in the world.
The above are the places I had visited in Budapest during my 3 days trip, and as usual, there was too much to see and too little time. Below are a tonne of places I did not get to visit but would love to :
In the Castle Hill Vicinity (Var-hegy, Vizivaros & Obuda):
11. Hercules Villa Museum Official Website (visits by appointment only, with a minimum of 10 people)
12. Margaret Island
In the Gellert Hill & the Taban Vicinity
1. Cave Church – http://www.sacred-destinations.com/hungary/budapest-cave-church
In the Vicinity of Belvaros & Lipotvaros, with plenty of splendid architectures such as Gresham Palace and Hungarian Academy of Science.
In the Vicinity of Terezvaros, Erzebetvaros, & Varosliget
In the Vicinity of Jozsefvaros & Ferencvaros (near Central Market)
For Excursions Out of Budapest