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Budapest Itinerary Feedback

Happy Thursday Forum! I have been a bit lazy in planning some details for our autumn trip coming up late September early October. I spent sometime yesterday penciling out a rough plan after reading through several post, trip reports, and Rick Steve's most recent guide which will unfortunately not be updated until after my trip. I spent some time last week crossing out all his suggested restaurants that have closed since the pandemic. My goodness there were a ton. It made me sad. I will want to do a evening boat cruise one evening and will probably make some reservations for dinners as well. This is totally open to suggestions... As mentioned this was all done in "pencil" so easily changed. I am totally open to suggestions other than changing our one over night in Eger and our day with our guide. Please be kind but constructive and I thank you in advance for your responses.

Day 1.. Arrival - Arrival Airport 1:45 pm. Taxi to Airbnb located off Liszt Ferenc.

Day 2.. Full Day (8 hours) with guide Andrea Makkay- We started booking guides for certain cities in 2021 and have found a tremendous value in it. I am not sure what we will really have time for but she list the following.. Should have time to fully or lightly cover "lightly cover" St. Stephens, Parliament exterior and area, 1956 memorials, Andrassy Ave, Great Synagogue interior & exterior, Jewish quarter sites, Shoe Memorial, Covered Market. Buda Castle District, Matthias Church, Royal Palace exterior.
Possible sites depending on time.. Gellert Hill, Gellert Bath exterior, Fisherman's Bastion, Mememto Park, Heros Square, City Park, Vajdahunyad Castle.

Day 3 Parliament Tour - I am still trying to book this. Tickets have not been released for our dates.
Rick's Andrassy ut Walk if not covered prior on tour
House of Terror

Day 4. Train to Eger.. Eger sites.. ( Over Night Eger)

Day 5 Train back to Budapest.. Drop off luggage ..
City Park & Szechenyi Baths

Day 6 ( Monday) Opera Tour
Gellert Baths
Castle Hill Sites if we wish to return
Momento Park

Day 7 Last Day in Budapest.. Things we missed or a half day trip to Godollo Palace. Keeping this day pretty open.

Days 8/9 Sárvár - We are meeting a friend here that grew up here. Borrowing her mom's car to visit Lake Balaton and will see the castle etc. in Sárvár. Heading to Vienna on the evening of Day 9.

Would love to know from those of you that have been often what you think. Thank you!

Posted by
18785 posts

Sounds like a great trip and sounds like you have it pretty well worked out.
Dont rush Andrassy ut on the first day. Your accommodations are on Andrassy ut and you can pick it up easily later in the trip. For instance, if you go to the bath house, just walk up Adrassy ut. I have walked Andrassy ut hundreds of times and it never gets old; the Champs-Élysées of Central Europe.

I suspect that your Parliament tickets (September / October) will be available in the next week. Watch because they sell quickly.

Posted by
191 posts

Thanks Mister E! We are planning on walking it some our first day of arrival along with picking up a few grocery items. We really don't plan on eating in much as there will be so many coffee houses to visit and places to dine! It looks like our tour guide covers some of Andrassy ut as well and seeing as we are staying so near I am sure we will get plenty of time to check in out. If you see anything here that seems like an odd pairing or would be better another day let me know!

Posted by
191 posts

Kadarka is actually on my list!

Thanks for the heads up about the Parliament tickets. There doesn’t seem a reasoning for when they are released. In the beginning of April it seemed they released most of summer but we are still waiting on September. Fingers crossed.

Posted by
18785 posts

Just so I dont oversell this, Kadarka is just a neighborhood wine bar, mostly locals. Nothing elaborate. But the wine starts at about $2.50 a glass and the service is good and sometimes entertaining. https://www.google.com/search?q=kadarka+budapest&tbm=isch&chips=q:kadarka+budapest,online_chips:kir%C3%A1ly+utca:W-buztn3VWg%3D&rlz=1C1VDKB_en&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwic87nHhJ6AAxXFG94AHVkSDd4Q4lYoAXoECAEQNA&biw=1148&bih=646

Upscale is a place called Dobolo wich is a short walk away, but it serves mostly tourists and the prices reflect it. Still, I visit it a few times a week. Also, very amazing service and live music. https://www.google.com/search?q=dobolo+budapest&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwiHoPHahJ6AAxXqFd4AHfIQBC0Q2-cCegQIABAA&oq=dobolo+budapest&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQAzoECCMQJzoGCAAQBxAeUOsKWO8RYIUVaABwAHgAgAFMiAHFA5IBATeYAQCgAQGqAQtnd3Mtd2l6LWltZ8ABAQ&sclient=img&ei=PI25ZIeSLuqr-LYP8qGQ6AI&bih=646&biw=1148&rlz=1C1VDKB_en&hl=en

And, because Hungarians make some pretty good wine, there are several others to choose from.

Posted by
4341 posts

Somehow this does not sound like lazy planning to me. LOL. The only thing I would add is that I don’t know that there is any way I could do that 8 hours on Day 2, but it will be a great tour if you are up for it. It covers a lot of ground.

The Opera and the House of Terror are much closer together - but also close to where you are staying, it sounds like. So probably not particularly out of the way to do them on separate days.

Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
191 posts

TexasTravelMom- Thanks for your feedback. If you could see my other itineraries for other trips we have done you would know I am somewhat winging it. Lol

The tour will be our first day after arrival. Hoping for a good nights sleep. We typically push ourselves on day/night two to stay up all day and evening until at least 9pm so we should be able to keep up. Caffeine is out afternoon friend in this case. We did a similar 8 hour tour of Rome with a guide the day after arrival in 2021 and it was one of our most favorite days on our trip. The tips given were so helpful for the rest of our stay.

As for the itinerary, I was trying to have one big item daily but I am open to swapping things around if you think something else pairs better. Let me know! Your trip report was very helpful btw.

Posted by
191 posts

Good tip Mr. E. Anything feelings on trying for an afternoon Parliament reservation that day and shoot for the morning for the House of Terror or should I try for a different day?

Posted by
18785 posts

Sure, that would work. But only if you get comfortable with the public transportation because they are a bit of a stretch. But part of the beauty of the city is "the places inbetween" so thats not a bad thing.

Maybe the fastest from the House of Terror (and most interesting) is the 4/6 Tram from the Oktogon to the last stop before it crosses the river (Jászai Mari tér) then the 2 tram one stop to the information office at the Parliament. If you are running early, then you can get off the 4/6 and see the Eiffel designed Nyugati Train Station (most of the outside is covered right now for renovations .... sorry) Or rather than take the 2 tram you could walk up Falk Miska u. and visit a really interesting basement antique shop .... and several other antique shops.....

Lunch here: Elysée Bistro & Kávéház

The key here is learn the trams (bring a small map) because with that Budapest is yours.

Posted by
4341 posts

I will also add that Google Maps does a good job for me on public transportation, with the exception of often (always?) leaving M1 out of the mix. Download to use offline. :)

Posted by
4341 posts

It does. I have experimented with it but not used it as much yet. I usually try to cover all my bases - so I always download Google Maps in case for some odd reason my cell data isn’t working. And then I get lazy and use Google for directions. 🙈

islandfam2008, I like how you have a major thing for morning and then one for afternoon. With the good transportation, the order doesn’t really matter as much because you aren’t trying to pack too much in to too short a time. And you can easily do a morning House of Terror and afternoon Parliament tour - leaving a couple of hours in between (maybe a little more if you need a sit down lunch). You could schedule an evening cruise (and the Shoes) after Parliament.

Posted by
191 posts

Thanks for the tips on transport! I am sure we will have a few mistakes but will figure it out. Normally by the time we leave somewhere we have the transport mastered. Lol

Thank you TexasTravelMom in regards to the two big things a day. We really hate rushing through cities. We have done that before. We prefer slow travel. This will be our first time to Budapest. Once we leave there we will be off to Vienna but it will be our second visit there so we only have 4 days there to cover things we missed last time.

Thank you and Mr. E for all your feedback. Super helpful!

Posted by
18785 posts

Your comment on getting lost comes back to what I think is one of the most intriguing beauties of the city; and that is that "the places in-between" can be as interesting and are certainly as beautiful as the end points. So if you go the wrong way on the tram, you just get to see more.

The first is my favorite short that sort of explaines it: https://youtu.be/0nd9DuDGCz0

The full episode is here: https://youtu.be/KBCP1gVdcFA

I love TexasTravelMom's view of the city. This falls in line with something in the Webmaster's current thread. I see things one way because of all the time I have spent there. But often, spending a lot of time begins to blind one of the most obviouse reflections on a destination. She has seen more and done more in a few weeks than I have in the last few years. She is great.

Posted by
174 posts

I just got back from Budapest - your itinerary sounds great. I especially approve of going to Szechenyi and Gellert Baths! both are amazing.

Also highly recommend getting to House of Terror at or before opening. no advance tix and it gets very crowded.

Mister E says he doesn't want to oversell Kadarka wine bar, but it's so fun! If you are with him, you will also get great service. You can sit outside and get knowledgable wine advice from the guys who run it, and we had excellent bar food (flatbreads with toppings, and hummus,etc.). We bought some wine to take home to our apt. as well! Fun night!

Public transit in Budapest is so easy. Tram, subway, bus, it's all good and on time. If you buy a 15 day transit pass for about $18 you will not have to worry about anything. I know you're staying fewer days than that, but that's the shortest length pass they have...pretty cheap!

Posted by
175 posts

annemargaret recommended getting a 15 day transit pass for $18, is that different than the budapest travel card which I priced out to be €154 for 96 hrs for 2?

Posted by
18785 posts

Sue, yes, sort of .... but not really.

They have complicated things with similar names.
There is a TravelCard which is a public transportation only card. It is fairly cheap and goes up to hourly limits
Then to confuse matters they switch names to Budapest Pass for the 15 day and longer cards.
There is a Budapest Card which is tourist card for public transportation and discounts on lots of other things. Its a bit expensive.

This page explains all the shorter term cards
https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/prices/travelcards-valid-for-one-or-more-days/

But to further complicate things the 15 day pass is explained here
https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/prices/monthly-passes/

To further muddy the water the Budapest Cards are truly "cards" while the TravelCards and Budapest Passes are paper tickets 🤣😂🤣

And all can be purchsed as "electronic" by downloading the BudapestGo App https://bkk.hu/en/tickets-and-passes/budapestgo/

Personally, I carry the paper ones. And you could be different but I dont know anyone that came out ahead by buying the Budapest Card (the expensive one you asked about). Just get the cheapest option that covers your stay. Its worth the investment of a few dollars. Quick conversion right now is each one thousand forints = $3.

Posted by
18785 posts

UPDATE on public transportation costs.

First of September the cost of a single ride ticket is going from 300 forints (about $0.86) to 450 forints (about $1.30).

Good news is the rate increase is only on single use tickets. The government was pretty open in making it clear that this was to have short term visitors subsidize those using longer duration passes.

Buy a TravelCard and dont worry about it.

24 hour 2,500 forints ($7)
72 hour 5,500 forints ($16)
15 day 6,500 forints ($19)
Month 9,500 ($27)