Okay, so you are going to get off the train in Keleti and walk towards the front of the station. Right in the middle near the front you will see stairs going down. At the bottom of those stairs on the right you will find an information office. Walk in and buy a 24 hour TravelCard for each of you. You aren’t really going to get your money’s worth out of it on your short stay, but this is the easiest thing for you to do. They will cost you 1.600ft each or about $5.25.
Now you are going to follow the signs to the RED M2 metro line. If you aren’t comfortable on metros, not to worry, this one is simple. When you walk through the control point if anyone is checking, just show the cards you just purchased and keep walking.
The metro direction is described by the end stop. You want to go in the direction of Déli pályaudvar. The third stop will be Deák Ferenc tér (maybe a 5 minute ride). Get off and follow the signs to the stairs up to the street level.
Welcome to beautiful Pest.
At the top of the stairs use your phone GPS or a map for a bout a 5 minute walk to Szent István ter where the smaller of the two markets is located. See the Basilica and the markets and maybe eat lunch at Belvárosi Lugas Restaurant located across the street directly behind the Basilica. Then use your phone GPS or a map to get to Vörösmarty tér where the larger market is located. Maybe 5 – 7 minutes from the Basilica.
After shopping and drinking and …. walk past Vörösmarty tér to the Danube River and get on the Number 2 Tram. Ride it right to left (downstream) to reach Fővám tér where you will find the Great Market Hall (closed on Sunday). You will know you are at the right tram stop when the tram stops under a bridge. The Market is at the top of the stairs. This one of the worlds best tram rides by the way.
After your market visit look for the tram that runs across the river. Hop on, then get off at the stop on the opposite side of the bridge. This is the 47/49 Tram. You are in front of you is the Gellert Hotel. Once home to the Nazi officers and where Oscar Schindler reportedly stayed when he came to Budapest to warn the Jewish leaders. The hotel bath house is lovely and can be seen in an Anthony Bourdain show about Budapest.
In front of the hotel where you got off you will see other tram lines. You want the 19/41 Tram. Hey, trams are Budapest’s better answer to HOHO busses. Get a seat facing the river and head upstream. You will see Pest across the river, the Chain Bridge (under renovation), the Basilica, the Four Seasons (beautiful historic building) and lastly the Parliament building.
The tram will stop directly across from the parliament. Stay on until the following stop: Margit Híd, Budai Hídfő. Hop on the 4/6 Tram that runs across the Margret Island Bridge and back to Pest. The first stop is mid span of the bridge, so you want the second stop.
When you get off if you look across the street (towards the Parliament) and up the first side street (Balassi Bálint u.) you will see the end of the Number 2 Tram line. Hop on and it will take you to the Parliament and then back to where you started with magnificent views of Buda along the way.
Tram rules. You get on and you get off at your hearts content. See anything interesting, hop of and get on the next one that goes by. No validating and no tickets. Just that TravelCard you purchased that you show if and when you are asked by a guy wearing a BKK armband. Rarely happens.