Things To Do in Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is the capital of Hungary, a country located in Eastern / Central Europe. With a population of 1.7 million, Budapest is geographically divided into 2 main areas, namely Buda and Pest. Located west side, Buda is the hilly part of the city where you probably get the best panoramic views. Pest is at the opposite east side, a flat area where most pubs, restaurants, and residential places are at.

What I admire the most about Budapest is its pure elegance and rustic ambiance. Asked about what comes first into my mind of Budapest, it would be the medieval castles and buildings, which mostly face the long beautiful river called the Danube River.
Eastern / Central Europe is a region where most capital cities like Budapest are close to each other. This is why it’s very common to see people visiting several countries in a single trip when in this part of Europe for the proximity and convenience of traveling around.
At times though, first-time travelers aren’t sure on how many days to spend per city. For Budapest, I’d say spend at least 3 days to maximize the visit in a relaxed pace. It’s a pretty big city with several points of interest and every spot deserves to be seen. I’ve listed some recommended places in Budapest that I grouped per area for an easy breezy 3-day itinerary.

Day 1: Visit the Pest area

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Hungary is a Roman Catholic nation and home of many century-old religious structures. One of which is St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István Bazilika) built in 1905. The church was named after the country's first king, Saint Stephen I of Hungary (whose right hand is said to be incorruptible).
With its neoclassical architecture distinguished by two bell towers, this basilica is one of the biggest and tallest buildings in Budapest. Eucharistic masses are held on a schedule. Entrance is free.

Hungarian Parliament Building

If I were to rank beautiful buildings I’ve seen in the world, the Hungarian Parliament Building is probably at the top of my list. But aside from being the most sought-after landmark Budapest for its architecture, it’s also significant in its history and government.
This building was constructed to house Hungary’s new government, the Parliament, in 1873 when the 3 cities (Buda, Pest, and Óbuda) finally united. Thus, it became a national symbol of sovereignty and unity. Right now, the building serves as the seat of the National Assembly, which is an all-important body in Hungary’s Parliament government.
Entrance fee is HUF 6700 for non-EU adult visitors. Entry is timed. Make sure to book in advance and online especially during its peak season, which is summertime from July to September in Europe.

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Széchenyi Chain Bridge

There may be a few bridges and paths to cross the Danube River, but the Széchenyi Chain Bridge is probably the most popular one.
While it’s basically a bridge that connects Buda from Pest that serves both vehicles and pedestrian, wait until you see it at night time: it’s very romantic!

Tip: Make sure that when you begin walking on the bridge, you already know which side you’d like to take. You cannot simply cross at the middle as it’s meant for vehicles. If you wish to cross and change side, you have to walk your way towards the end of the 375-meter bridge.

Shoes on the Danube River Bank

The Danube River is the heart of the city, which is why several activities are held by and on the river, such that of ferry boat rides for sight-seeing or several floating restaurants. All of these, of course, have a price to pay. But there are also free things you can do by the river. One of which is sight-seeing the Shoes on the Danube River Bank.
Located in the eastern side of Danube River, these shoes were sculpted in honor of the Jews killed there during World War II. They were ordered to remove their shoes and sadly were shot dead by the river.

Day 2: Visit the Buda area

Zero Kilometer Stone

Just like any other kilometer zeros in the world, Budapest’s version of it serves as the reference point where all distances are measured in the country. Made up of limestone, this sculpture of a zero with an inscription of “KM” is located at the foot of Buda Castle in Buda and close to the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.

Buda Castle

Either from afar or up close, the Buda Castle is sure to amaze you for its size and Baroque style architecture, not to mention that it’s a World Heritage Site. Located on Castle Hill, the Buda Castle is a complex of palaces that have been there since 1265. It served as residence to several kings and queens during medieval times.

Since it’s on a hill, you either climb on foot that may take 15-20 minutes to get to the top or take the Castle Hill Funicular. The funicular ride costs HUF 1200 one-way and HUF 1800 for two-way. There’s a ticketing booth at the base and take note that only HUF is accepted.
Since it’s a complex, give it at least 3-4 hours to explore the area. The Hungary National Gallery and Budapest History Museum are also located there if you are into museum visits.

Matthias Church

Not far from Buda Castle is the tall and colorful Matthias Church, a Gothic style Catholic structure built during the 11th century. It has both religious and historical significance, as this church served as venue to coronations of former Hungarian kings. Also, during the World War II when the Soviets occupied Hungary, the church served as camp of the Germans and Soviets.
To get inside the church, there’s an entrance fee of HUF 1,000 for adults and HUF 700 for children.

Fisherman’s Bastion

If you want to see something like it came out of a fairy tale book, then the Fisherman’s Bastion is probably the place-to-be. It’s a beautiful terrace in Gothic and Romanesque style located across Matthias Church and part of the Castle Hill District.

Aside from being a very Instagram-worthy place, spending time there with the view of the Danube River from its arched windows and staircases is simply relaxing. Entrance is free.

Day 3: Do what the locals do

Széchenyi thermal bath

One of the things that you shouldn’t miss on your Hungary itinerary is going to their thermal baths. It’s an authentic experience that not only gives you a taste of real Hungarian culture, but also relaxes you in every way. There are several thermal baths in Budapest, but the Széchenyi thermal bath is probably the largest and most popular.

This thermal bath consists of several indoor and outdoor pools with varying temperature. As said, the therapeutic way to do it is to dip into hot water first for a few minutes, then switch into cold water, and return to the hot pool. Thermal baths are said to give health benefits such as improving blood circulation, relieving muscle pain, and promotes good skin.
There are several packages, but the basic and cheapest entry to the Széchenyi thermal bath costs HUF 5500 on weekdays and HUF 5700 on weekends and holidays. The price includes usage of the locker room, shower, and changing room.
Tips:
- It’s better to bring your own towel. Otherwise, a towel for rent costs HUF 2000 plus HUF 2000 deposit.
- Keep yourself hydrated while doing the thermal bath. Bring bottled water and drink every 20 minutes.
- The flooring is, most often than not, wet and slippery. Bring and wear flip flops (especially for the cemented area of the pools because it hurts to walk barefoot!).

To get there, take the metro line 1 and go down at Széchenyi Furdo station. Once you exit the station and go up, the thermal bath is in right in front.

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How to move around Budapest

Budapest is a tourist-friendly city with easy-to-use and accessible modes of public transportation. While the usual taxis, buses, trams, and subways are there, and even touristy rides like ferry boats on the Danube River and cable car to climb and descend the Buda Castle, what I can recommend the most is to move around on foot.

Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes such as rubber shoes. Aside from the fact that most paths are cobblestones and hilly, which tend walking to be a bit more challenging, landmarks aren’t always too close from one another. But just take your time and enjoy the sights. You will get there anyway.

You may also rent a bicycle to move around. Budapest promotes bicycle riding, and there are lanes dedicated to cyclists.

How to get to the center

Aside from taking a taxi or Uber (which I always find expensive in any given city), there are cheaper means to reach the center from Liszt Ferenc International Airport. There aren’t metros connecting the airport and the city center, but you can take the bus.

The easier but slightly expensive way is to take the airport city center bus, also known as bus 100E, which directly brings you to the city center at Deak Ferenc Square.
To buy the ticket, look for the purple ticketing booth. The only setback is the trip is every 30 minutes and tends to have more passengers since this is more known by many. Also, the fare costs a bit more at HUF 900. There’s a designated ticket booth to buy the ticket. You buy the ticket then insert it in the machine inside the bus for validation.

Another way is to take bus 200E. To buy a ticket, go to the right side of the airport’s arrival area to see the purple ticketing machines. The fare costs HUF 350. Once in the bus, do not forget to insert the ticket to get it punched by the validating machine.
Normally, bus 200E brings you up to Kobanya-Kispest district, but with the on-going construction where there’s no operation between Kobanya-Kispest and Nagyvarad ter metro line 3 stations, bus 200E currently extends up to Nagyvarad ter district. From there, you can take the metro line 3 at Nagyvarad ter station by buying a single ticket at HUF 350. Other ticket types such as 24h, 48h, and 72h tickets are also available, which you may find useful if you wish to take public transportation several times for a couple of days.

Do you find Budapest romantic? Which landmark is your favorite? 













Things To Do in Budapest, Hungary Things To Do in Budapest, Hungary Reviewed by Shelly Viajera Travel on 18.7.19 Rating: 5

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