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Budapest for 24 with itinerary and must see and do in such a short time??

We will be on Budapest for 24 hrs prior to boarding a river cruise, staying at Danubius Hotel Gelert
We will be flying and wanted to know approx cab fare to hotel from airport and best way to get to the Viking Pier just between Elizabeth Bridge & Chain bridge, is this walkable?( trying to figure out how much Hungarian money we will need for such a short stay?
Also would love some great ideas on what to do for the short time, plan on a few hrs at the spa at Hotel Gellert and I have read about the free walking tours, love some local favorite resturant ideas, nothing fancy , just local great food.

Thanks so much for your help...

Posted by
16591 posts

I am guessing that you arrive mid afternoon from the U.S.? You must be young and strong, cause after an overnight 17 hour trip from the U.S. I take a 3 hour nap before I can function. So for me after resting and cleaning up it would be time for a nice tour walk from the hotel through an interesting part of Budapest to a very typical Hungarian restaurant. Then an evening stroll through another great neighborhood that ends at a very good little wine bar before heading back to the hotel. In the morning I would hire a guide for a whirlwind tour before reporting to the ship.

If it sounds like a reasonable plan I can put together some details.

Money? Go to an ATM and pull 7,500 to10,000 forints but use your credit card as much as possible and you should be fine.

Posted by
16591 posts

Taxi:When you get to Budapest, get your bag, look for the sign that says nothing to declare. Go through the nondescript black glass door and you will find yourself in the Arrivals Hall. Continue walking straight (past all the private taxi drivers hawking their services) and in This is the contract taxi company for the airport. Tell the person in the kiosk where you are going, he/she will give you a slip of paper and you move about 30 feet to the first cab in line where someone will help you with your bags and open the car door for you. Give the driver the slip of paper and 30 minutes and $35 dollars (including a small tip) later more or less you will be at any of the hotels mentioned. You pay the driver, not the kiosk person. You can pay with a Credit Card, or Euros or Hungarian Forints, or probably US Dollars (but check with the person in the kiosk on that one). The cheapest way will be the credit card or the Hungarian Forints. I have been a lot of places and few are this easy and this cheap.

Posted by
93 posts

James , thank you so much for the valuable info. Yes would love to hear your suggestions. We are arriving from Rome at about 3PM, so no jet lag, love your ideas about great food, wine etc...

Thanks for the very prompt reply...

Posted by
16591 posts

Get a map
Okay, so your flight arrives at 3pm. Deplane, bags, taxi, drive, check-in, unpack, cleanup, etc: Its 5pm and you are in the Gellert Hotel in Buda. This is the same Gellert Hotel preferred by the likes of Heinrich Himmler and Oscar Schindler.

In front of your hotel you will find a tram stop. You want to get on the 47/49 Tram heading towards the river. This will take you into pest. Market Hall is on the right immediately after crossing the bridge (first tram stop). Most likely closed by the time you go by. On the left across from the market hall is the end of Vaci utca which was the main shopping street for communist leaders from all over the soviet empire. Here western goods could be purchased and here was the first McDonalds behind the iron curtain.

At the third stop get off and walk in the direction you were traveling on the tram. Look to your right until you spot the Great Synagogue and what was the entrance into the Jewish Deportation Ghetto during WWII. Again, its late and I think it will be closed. Still a magnificent building.

Walk up the left hand side of the Synagogue, look through the fence, the tomb stones and the tree of life. Turn down the first street on your left (Rumbach Sebestyén utca) and you will go past the famous Rumbach utca synagogue.

Continue walking and at the next intersecton take the pedestrian road to your right. You are in the Gozsdu Udvar (udvar = courtyard) You are about 15 minutes from dinner but you don’t want to eat before 7pm so pace yourself.

When you reach the first pedestrian intersection turn left and this will take you to Kiraly utca . Turn right on Kiraly utca and walk about two blocks to Kazinczy utca Turn right on Kazinczy utca and ahead on the left is my current favorite restaurant in town, MACESZ HUSZAR

Okay, so now it is close to 8:30pm, but this is a wonderful safe town. Walk back to Kazinczy utca, then back to Kiraly utca, then turn right and go to the first street on the left; Vasvari Pal utca. On the corner is a little wine bar called Kadarka. Enjoy! But not too long.

Continue down Vasvari Pal utca until you reach Andrassy utca (you have to make one little jog to the right) . In front of you is the Opera House. Walk to the right until you get to the Okatogon and enter the M1 Metro at that point so you get to see some of Andrassy ut. Enter the subway at the side of the street you are on and stay on the M1 to the Hosok tere stop (Heros’ Square) which is beautiful all lit up at night (as is all of Andrassy ut) and

Now it get tricky. You want to be back at the 47/49 Tram by 11pm because I think it quits running sometime between 11 and 11:30. If you have time (15 minutes) you can take the M1 back down to the Oktogon stop (where you got on) and walk the lower half of Andrassy ut. If time is short then take the M1 two more stops which will put you at the end of Andrassy ut. The more of Andrassy ut you walk the better so get a map of the Metro line and figure 15 minutes from the Oktogon to the 47/49 tram and another 10 minutes more for each stop before the Oktogon.

At the end of Andrassy ut you will see the 47/49 tram to your left. Get on and ride till you see your hotel.

The next day, hire a guide. I’m tired.

Posted by
93 posts

James, WOW, you should do this for a living, maybe you do in the Bay area, I can see you really love Budapest...

Thank you, thank you so much for this fabulous advice, we are not going until late Sept will let you know how it went, can't wait...

Posted by
4637 posts

Well, James, Frisco...San Francisco. No wonder they think you are from Bay Area. Matagorda or Alamogorda Bay area?

Posted by
1878 posts

My wife and I visited Budapest less than three weeks ago before boarding our own river cruise. It was a second visit for us, and I wondered whether it was really so great as it seemed on our previous visit in May 2011. Yes, it was. I strongly suggest going to the Gellert Baths first thing in the morning. In 2011 we visited in the evening and it was gritty and a bit gross, on our morning visit recently it was completely different in a good way. The outdoor pool was open this time, which also helped to make it less crowded. As for restaurants, not local food but you might consider this Greek restaurant: The service can be lax but the food is good and big portions so don't order too much. Otherwise take a hard right out of the Gellert and there is a Hungarian place half a block down. I don't recall the name but they have music in the evenings. We did not eat there but the Gellert bistro seemed to have a reasonable menu as well. As for other sights, the Terror Museum is really worth visiting, take the metro which runs only a few feet below street level. It's worth walking a few blocks down Andrassy Ut as well, say down to the opera house. The church in the rock, right next to the Gellert, is worth a quick visit. Castle hill is very well worth a visit as well, especially at sunset. Catch bus #100 from the foot of the hill, on the Buda side of the Chain Bridge. Best views of the Chain Bridge are on the trail down, about half way. You can probably easily get to your ship by walking across the Liberty Bridge to the tram stop on the other side. The tram runs right up the side of the Danube, with a good map you will easily be able to figure out how to catch your ship. I advise taking $200 or so out upon arrival, and when you check out of your hotel pay partially cash and partially credit card to empty your pockets of Forints. (Maybe you have prepaid hotel though). Enjoy your brief time in Budapest, you will want to go back for a longer stay.