Things To Do in Budapest in 3 Days
Budapest is divided by the Danube river with on one side the hilly “Buda” area and the flat “Pest” side. Use this 3 day-guide to explore the highlights of both sides of the city. The guide is designed so you won’t have to walk large distances.
Day 1 – Both sides of Budapest
1. Fisherman’s Bastion
The Fisherman’s Bastion with its beautiful detailed arches and seven fairytale-like white towers is a castle overlooking the entire city. It is incredibly picturesque and one of the best things to do in Budapest.
The Fisherman’s Bastion is easy to reach by Metro, followed by a short 10 min walk. To avoid the tourist buses, plan a visit before 9 AM. It is open 24 hours a day, except for the towers (9 AM).
Tip: The currency in Hungary is HUF, 1 HUF is equal to 0.35 USD.
2. Matthias Church
Right behind the Fisherman’s Bastion is the Matthias Church. The colorful roof tiles, decoration, and architecture are what makes it a unique church in Europe. Both the church and bastion have the best view on Budapest.
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After having visited these two great sights, walk down the hill towards the bridge but stop for delicious breakfast and a coffee at Zërgë Coffeeshop or Home of Franziska.
3. Széchenyi Chain Bridge
Follow your way down the hill towards the water and cross the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge – the first stone bridge that connected Buda to Pest. Once on the other side, follow the riverside towards an imposing part of history.
4. Shoes on the Danube – Imposing thing to do in Budapest
The Shoes on the Danube River is a war memorial placed on the location where over 20,000! Jews people had to take off their shoes, got shot, and fell into the river.
5. Parliament Building
Located on the opposite side of the Danube river lies one of the world’s most stunning government buildings. The impressive Hungarian Parliament, in its gothic style, is the largest ever built in the country. Via a 45-min tour, you will be able to see the inside.
6. Eat at Mazel Tov
From the Parliament, take the metro and step out at Blaha Lujza tér. Eat at Mazel Tov, a great-looking middle eastern and possibly the most popular restaurant in Budapest. Try to make a reservation in advance because there is pretty much always a long waiting line at the door.
Day 2 – Famous things to do in Budapest
7. St. Stephen’s Basilica
Start your day at 9 AM at the highest church in Budapest. With its 96 meters, detailed inside, and panoramic view from the top, it is something you can’t miss while visiting Budapest.
The domes inside may remind you a bit of the Vatican City in Rome. The entrance to the basilica is free, but a 200 HUF (~ $0.65) donation is suggested at the door. Occasionally, concerts are held inside.
Fun fact: Buildings in Budapest can’t be built higher than the basilica.
The square in front of the basilica is filled with little restaurants to have a morning coffee, but we can highly recommend the Espresso Embassy, which is one street away from the square.
8. Great Market Hall
Make your way to the city’s largest and oldest indoor market. The Great Market Hall is a two-story market that looks like an old train station on the inside — filled with small stalls selling fruit, veggies, meat, handicraft, and souvenirs. Plan to spend about 30 minutes to 1 hour inside the hall.
9. Szabadság Híd Bridge
Yellow trams crossing the green bridge have resulted in many iconic pictures. The Szabadság Híd Bridge (Liberty Bridge) next to the Market Hall is an icon of Budapest.
10. Vintage Shopping in Budapest
Budapest embraces vintage, design, and second-hand shops. All over the city center are creative shops offering beautiful products. Make sure to check out Retrock and Szputnyik D20.
11. Dip into a Thermal Bath
Budapest is the city of the thermal baths. They are inside every guide of things to do in Budapest. Thermal baths in Budapest are all over the city and loved by both locals and tourists. The most popular baths are Rudas, Gellert, and Széchenyi.
Day 3 – The Jewish Quarter of Budapest
12. Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter is the go-to place in Budapest. Less than 100 years ago, this was a slum area. Nowadays, the majority of trendy cafes, delicious restaurants, young hipster people, and street art can be found in this neighborhood. We recommend joining a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter that will include a knowledgeable guide and entry tickets.
It is also recommended to visit one of the synagogues in the area, like the Great Synagogue or the lesser-known Rumbach Synagogue.
13. Discover Budapest’s Street Art scene
Budapest is relatively unknown as a street art city, but once you walk around the city, you feel the creativity. Both local and international artists have been busy in especially the Jewish Quarter. Walk around the area, and you’ll find large beautiful murals covering the side of a building.
Also, read our 3-day Paris Guide!
14. Street food Gardens
Eat on the street! Budapest has a handful of cozy garden surrounded by street food stalls. Gather and meet people or just enjoy the good vibes while eating delicious food. Our favorite: Street Food Karavan Budapest. Have we already mentioned that Budapest is a hub for delicious vegan food?!
Tip: After lunch, relax a little in the nearby Erzsébet Tér Park.
15. Ruin Bars
Old abandoned buildings transformed into a location to gather and have a drink. Locations like Szimpla Kert are nowadays the place to go for a drink. A crazy mismatched interior is what makes this place interesting to see. There are more ruin bars in Budapest, but Szimpla Kert was the first.
How to Visit Budapest
Budapest has an international airport with lots of flights arriving from destinations all over Europe.
From the city center to the airport or vice-versa is well arranged by public bus 100E or 200E. Both stop at a Metro line to continue your journey. Tickets are available on the bus or at the machines inside a metro station. Unfortunately, there is no metro line from the city to the airport.
Getting around Budapest
Getting from A to B in Budapest is no problem. The metro system spreads throughout all popular parts of the city, and the same goes for the tram and busses. The metro in Budapest is one of the oldest in the whole of Europe and also one of the best if you’d ask us.
Renting a car in Hungary is another good option. We recommend to rent a car at a local car company through Sunny Cars. When booking through them, all insurances are included. Book your rental car here.
A single ticket for metro, bus, or tram costs 350 HUF ($1.10 USD). Multi-day passes can also be bought at the vending machines. Or save even more by getting a Budapest card!
Hotels in Budapest
Budapest has plenty of options for all budgets when it comes to hotels and hostels (you can search for your hostel here). The best areas to stay are on the Pest side between Keleti station and the Danube River, where most is happening.
Budapest’s Best Places to Eat
Budapest has plenty of great cafes and restaurants. Delicious Vegetarian and Vegan meals are dominating in the city center, which is a funny contrast against the traditional Hungary meaty dishes. It’s not all fish – or meatless, so don’t worry if Vegetarian is not for you! These were our favorites:
- Hummus Bar (all over Budapest)
- Mazal Tov
- KUSZKUSZ (Takeaway)
How much does Budapest cost?
A city trip to Budapest does not have to be expensive at all. It is also one of the cheapest countries in Europe. With a budget of around 50 USD per day, you can spend the night in the Hungarian capital, use public transport, and have lunch and dinner.
- Hotel: 25 – 100 USD / night
- Hostel: 8 – 30 USD / night
- Food: 5 – 30 USD / day
- Entrance fee: 2 – 10 USD
- Transport: 5 USD / day
- Water: 0.50 USD / 1.5L
When you purchase something through our links we earn a small fee. However, you still pay the same. Win-win!
- Find Hotels via Booking.com
- Find a Rental Car via Sunny Cars
- Find Cheap Flights via Skyscanner
- Get a Travel Insurance via Heymondo
- Book Tours & Attractions via Viator
- Book a Bus/Train/Transfer via 12Go
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I love Budapest and you really did highlight the best of the city! I also love going up to Janos Hill on the Buda side and taking the chairlift down with spectacular views of the city.