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4 days in Budapest -Itinerary help please!

My husband and I will be arriving from US in Budapest on Sept. 24th and will be leaving either on Sept. 27th or 28th for Vienna. I am trying to plan out all that we will see and do, and am having trouble with a few things.

First, I have been considering taking a private tour of "Jewish Budapest" but have read mixed reviews about taking a private tour vs doing it on our own and/or free tours. I have read about tours given by Timea Tarjani ( Budapest Jewish Walk), Gabriella Török ( Gabriella's Private Tours) and Andrea Medgyesi (Jewish Visitors Service). I would love to hear your thoughts about this. Should we take a private tour or not, and which one (or another) would you recommend?

Next, is how we plan our 4 days. Here too, I would love suggestions about how to plan each day. We are staying at the K & K Opera Hotel.
In addition, at night it as been suggested to us to take a night river cruise (possible dinner?), go to Ruins bars/ bar tours.

I would really appreciate any suggestions on restaurants, itinerary and anything else that would be helpful to us in terms of planning our days and nights.

Thank you so much!

Posted by
13524 posts

If you are arriving from the U.S., I am guessing between 2pm and 4pm. Take a taxi to the hotel (maybe 30 to 40 minutes tops). So you are tired and you have only half a day so I would take it sort of easy. That would mean the M1 metro tour and an easy dinner.

So, out in front of your hotel is the M1 Metro Opera Stop. Go across the street (Andrassy ut) down the stairs and look for the vending machines. Buy a 72 hour pass for each of you:

The M1 is the oldest underground on the continent of Europe. The cars are small and play Mario Bros music when the doors close. Nothing intimidating at all.

Now you only have to show the card when asked, otherwise it stays in your pocket. But don’t loose it as the fine is sort of high.

Get on the M1 five stops to the Hősök tere (Hero’s Square).
Get your guide book out (I like and of course RS book)

Now start your walk back down Andrassy ut
past the mansions and embassies an huge old apartment blocks

Along the way you will also pass the House of Terror (guide book again)
If you are tired, and it’s a 30 minute walk, you can get on and off the M1 which runs directly under Andrassy ut, at one of 7 stops from one end of Andrassy to the other.

Continue riding and walking till you get to the end of Andrassy ut (Bajcsy–Zsilinszky út stop). To your right you will see the Basilica and to the left you will se the 47/49 tram line. B oth for another day. Now walk across the great loop road and keep going in the same general direction as if Andrassy ut were continuing… This will take you through the River Boat Tourist District and on to the river front. Maybe 10 minutes through great buildings, shops, restaurants. The view on the embankment is pretty special: Chain Bridge, Castle Hill, Gellert Hill ….

Okay, two options now.

FRIST If you are up to more and its not later than maybe 5:30 pm you can get on the 2 Tram ( ride it downstream two stops and you will find yourself under a bridge. Get off, walk the stairs up to the street and you will see before you the Great Market Hall (for another day) and the 47/49 Tram line. Get on it heading away from the river and sit facing backward on the right hand side (side you enter on). After the second stop you will see the Great Synagogue as you pass it. Third stop is Deak Ferenc ter and the end of the line. From there you can see the end of Andrassy ut. Go back to the hotel and get ready for dinner.

SECOND Along the way down to the river embankment you walked through Vorosmarty ter and past Vaci utca. A little touristy, but if you are into shopping… worth looking around. At Vorosmarty ter is a stop of the M1 metro. Look for the entrance that says Mexikói út, go down and ride it to the third stop – Opera stop. You are home.

Posted by
13524 posts

Two choices. Fancy or Comfortable
FANCY, on Andrassy ut in front of your hotel is Callas Café. If the weather is good you can sit outside and watch the world go by.

COMFORTABLE and it gets you to see a bit more of Budapest is Vakvarju Its where I go when I just want good food, relax, nice people, sort of local, etc…. You wlll walk across to the opposite side of Andrassy ut and then take the side street along the rather large abandoned building (I hate saying that… place has great history). Take your first right and the restaurant is a few minutes walk down on the left. Welcome to back streets Budapest.

Wait, not done yet. After dinner, walk back up the same street you will pass a ruin pub called Anker at number 33 - visit if it suits you . Relax, at this point you are less than 4 minute walk to your hotel.

Just past the ruin bar, at the far end of the back of the ruined building we discussed before, you will see a street called Vasvari Pal utca (there is a dance studio on the corner and sometimes in the evenings you can see them dancing and hear the music. Turn right at the dance studio,, past the yellow building on your right (wave!) and down to the end of the street on the corner on the left you will find Kadarka wine bar --- my personal favorite haunt

(want more?)

Posted by
13524 posts

In addition, at night it as been suggested to us to take a night river cruise (possible dinner?),

There are riverboats with and with out dinner. Just make sure it leaves after sunset. If you dont do the dinner, eat on the embankment before the boat departs. I like

Guide for the Jewish District?

I think guides always add value, but i am not always in the mood for them. Either way you will enjoy. Guide or that Tour Book i recommended.

Posted by
588 posts

As you see James has a wealth of knowledge on Budapest, I would recommend that with so short of time you pick a few of his suggestions. As to the river cruise we booked ahead for the dinner cruise with Legenda and we were not disappointed. The meal was great and OH the view of the buildings lit up at night were spectacular. We were really fortunate with the weather as it was a hot evening in early June. I would suggest you ask your hotel to book for you as the weather may not be conducive.

Posted by
17 posts

YES...I would love more!
Thank you so much James! Your passion and knowledge is amazing!
Day 1 looks perfect and I would love Days 2, 3 & 4!
Many, many thanks!

Posted by
13524 posts

Karen, I'm going to take the easy way out. I will send you a PM with some ideas.

Posted by
1 posts

James and Karen,
I am in the same situation and have following James' suggestions. Is it possible to share the itinerary suggestions for Days 2-4 in Budapest also? We will be spending 3 days in Budapest before embarking on a Viking River Cruise up the Danube.
Many thanks.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi Karen. We are also going to Budapest on Sept. 25 to 30 before boarding a river cruise. Could you please forward the suggestions you have gotten from others to me, as well?
Thank you so much.

Posted by
1 posts

Heading to Budapest nov,3 for 3 days, would love for info to be forwarded to me as well, also what we might expect for weather that time of year.

Posted by
13524 posts

ssimmonite; sent you an email. Hope it helps. If not post your questions here. Lots of good folks with lots of good ideas...

Posted by
22 posts


Also coming to Budapest as part of a broader trip (Oct 20-22). I would also greatly appreciate any additional ideas via PM. Thanks!

Posted by
6866 posts

What's ridiculous is that I know all the places James is giving directions to--after two visits.
Don't worry about speaking the language. The younger Hungarians all speak English, and they are often seen speaking English in public--practicing. The millennials are pretty hip people in contrast with the population my age that look and act like old Iron Curtain citizens (they were.)
We find Budapest easy to travel around in, and the food palatable to North American tastes. And familiar restaurants are also available.

Posted by
43 posts

I know I am too late for the OP, but if anyone is looking for a private guide to truly understand the history of the Hungarian Jews then Andrea Medgyesi (Jewish Visitors Service) is your guide. My husband and I spent one day with her in October 2015. She is the real deal, her parents are holocaust survivors. Her knowledge and passion made this day unforgettable. She helped me piece together my family's history. There are many guides to choose from when it comes to touring the Jewish District, but it is not the same if the guide does not have a connection to the Jewish people. I took a tour in Prague and the guide was not Jewish. It felt cold. He was knowledgeable but lacked the passion and understanding of the Jewish History.

Posted by
64 posts

Big thank you to James. We just returned from Budapest and prior to leaving, read this forum with great interest. Just like Karen, we also stayed at the K & K Opera Hotel, so all of your info was quite relevant. We had lunch at the Vahvarju on our first day and couldn't have been happier with our introduction to a Hungarian restaurant. Thanks, Carol

Posted by
26 posts

We will be finishing a river cruise in Budapest in July . Would love the email from James with all the suggestions. Could one of you please send it? Thanks!

Posted by
64 posts

Hey Judy,
Karen/James might be able to help you. I was using the information James gave on this forum and I never contacted him privately. However, there were a couple other blogs that I used when preparing for our trip including one by Joanne in which the subject is "Thank you and trip report". Anyways, Joanne has a wonderful blog that was quite helpful. Here's her link:
Wishing you a safe and wonderful journey. (I absolutely fell in love with Budapest!)

Posted by
74 posts

Karen, James...just please share the suggestions here. Or, you could forward to me as well! Thanks to you both.

Posted by
13524 posts

BarbaraJ, its a city with a lot of history and a lot of beautiful culture. Its all about what interests you. Otherwise I would have to write a book. I can tell you what I do when I entertain guests in Budapest.

First, they need four full days, plus arrival day.

On arrival day we do Andrassy ut just to see the buildings and Hero's square and maybe the park. Dinner is close to home, a simple Hungarian place Vak Varju.

The evenings are either a nice restaurant, the ruin pubs, a jazz club, an Operett or the Opera House. Sometimes in good weather just sitting in an outdoor restaurant on the embankment looking across to Buda.

Then we spend a day in Pest mostly along the 47/49 Tram Line and the 2 Tram Line. That picks up the end of Andrassy ut, the Great Synagogue, the Great Market Hall, and the outside of the Parliament as well as the Danube Embankment. Time allowing we see all or part of Vaci utca -- the famous old shopping (tourist) street.

Next day is Jewish Pest. A few more synagogues, the market at Gozsdu Courtyard and coffee at the New York Palace. All this is a lot deeper into the neighborhoods and mostly walking.

Third day is Buda. A walk across the Chain Bridge, then up the Funicular. Depending on interests this can be easily a half to a full day. The balance is ususally devoted to a particular interest like museums, churches, shopping, etc...

Fourth day begins with St. Stephen's Cathedral and then the metro over to Buda to pick up a noon commuter train to Szentendre. Followed by the boat back into Budapest. No better way to see Budapest than from the river entering town.

With a fifth day we work in a trip to Eger or Gyor.

Posted by
17 posts

Dear James,

Greetings from Goa, India.

I have been following your posts on the Travel forum and really appreciate and thank you for your time and passion and knowledge sharing on Budapest. Hats off.

We are to couples arriving on 10th May by 11 am at Budapest and plan to proceed to Vienna in the afternoon train on 13th May. So we have 0.5 day on 10th, 2 full days on 11th & 12th & 0.5 day on 13th. = 3 days. Is this OK, should we add another day?
I sincerely request if you could kindly suggest an itinerary for us...Will be thankful.

We would like to see all the main sights. Right now i have booked our accommodation in Vinolia Apartments, 1056 Budapest, 5 Duna utca, after reading that this would be a good location. We hope we have made a right choice.

We love exploring and sampling local cuisines, culture etc... Would be thankful if i can get some suggestions on "Not to miss" restaurants, Beer gardens/ halls, places where the locals go etc...

my email is

Thanks again,

Posted by
83 posts

I am just finding this helpful post as we will be in Budapest in April for 3 nights prior to a river cruise. We will have 3+ days and also staying at K+K Opera. I wonder how the original poster's trip turned out?