3 days will be enough for you to see the essentials in Budapest:
Symbol of Budapest and main attraction. It was built facing the Danube with 268 m long. It’s a real masterpiece that you can admire day and night.
The Danube is the second largest river in Europe after the Volga with 3020 km crossing Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine . It is called the capitals river (Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade).
The Danube divides Budapest into 2: Buda and Pest. At any time you are on the banks of the Danube, a wonderful landscape awaits you.
It overlooks Buda hill with a magnificent view of the Danube and Pest.
To go to Buda Castle, you can take the stairs just after the Chain Bridge from Pest. But the easiest and most spectacular way is to take the funicular down the hill.
The funicular is chargeable: HUF 1,400 (€ 4) for one way, HUF 2,000 (€ 6) for 2 ways. I advise you to take it, only for going up. You can go down the stairs to change
Matthias Church & Fisherman’s Bastion
After visiting the Buda Castle, you can take a short 15-minute walk to reach Matthias Church (Mátyás Templom). With a baroque and gothic style, the church is magnificent. You can enter by paying 1,800 HUF (5.5 €)
On the church esplanade you will find the famous Fisherman’s Bastion. With a splendid view on the Danube and the Parliament, do not hesitate to take a little photo shoot. It’s also the favorite selfie spot in Budapest. The Bastion used to gather fishermen to sell fish. It also served as a watch tower for possible invaders.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
It is a must-see in Budapest that has the name of the first king of Hungary. Entrance is free
It’s probably one of the best known attractions in Budapest. The city is full of thermal baths. We have chosen to bathe in the 2 best known:
Széchenyi thermal bath
Located in the Varosliget Park (City Park) next to the « Széchenyi fürdő » metro station. The place is magnificent in neobaroque architecture with yellow stones.
The main attraction is to bathe in the three outdoor baths between 27 ° and 38 °.
One-day access costs HUF 6,400 (€ 19) with a cabin, or HUF 5,900 (€ 17.5) with a simple locker. You can have one cabin for 2 persons or thet ypu will use just to change.
You will find showers, toilets, hairdryers and also self-service wringing machines.
You can also rent towels, bathing suits, and caps (necessary to access the central outdoor pool. But, it is not necessary to swim in this pool which looks more like an Olympic pool)
There are also spas and saunas surrounding the outdoor pools:
Gellért thermal baths
These are the most luxurious baths in Budapest. They are in a very nice Gellert hotel in the Buda district
One-day access costs HUF 6,700 (€ 20) with a cabin, or HUF 6,300 (€ 18.7) with a simple locker. Note that you can have a cabin for 2 which will be used just for changing like the Széchenyi thermal baths.
The principle of assigning cabins is very simple: You get a small bracelet, which you scan at the entrance to find your cabin number. The bracelet is also used to lock and unlock the cabin door. It is exactly the same principle in the Széchenyi thermal baths.
The Gellert thermal baths offer the same facilities as Széchenyi (showers, toilets, hair dryer, and even wringing machines) with the possibility of renting bath towels, bathing suits, and caps
The Gellért thermal baths are located at the foot of the hill of Gellert. To climb there, two possibilities:
- Climb the steps in front of the entrance to the Gellert thermal baths up to the top, but this requires a little effort. We had left this choice for the descent.
- Go to metro (4) station : « Móricz Zsigmond körtér », then take the bus 27 to the stop « Búsuló Juhász (Citadella) ».
Once there, you will discover a wonderful view of the city at 235 m high:
At the top of Gellért Hill, you find the Budapest Statue of Liberty in memory of the liberation of the city.
The translation is « Simple Garden ». It’s a gathering of bars in a building in ruins. These bars in ruins is an attraction in itself in Budapest. The Szimpla Kert is worth at least a visit.
Advice : Go during the day, because at night it is very complicated to access it with the big number of visitors (There may be a queue of 100m!)
Varosliget Park (City Park) & Vajdahunyad Castle
It is the largest park in Pest with 1 km². It brings together several museums, a zoo, the wonderful Vajdahunyad Castle, the Széchenyi Baths and a huge ice rink in winter
Heroes’ Square & Millennium monument
Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) with its Millennium Monument (Millenniumi emlékmű) marks the entrance to Varosliget Park. It is a semicircular esplanade celebrating the arrival of the Magyars and the glorious history of Hungary.
Great Market Hall
Open every day except Sunday. It is an indoor market where you can find local Hungarian specialties. It is more animated in the morning.