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Budapest Itinerary for the Mobility-Challenged

Hello All:

In perusing this forum for useful info, I ran across something James E., a thoughtful and generous contributor, said: "After about a day in Budapest most people just toss out all of their plans and wander the streets in amazement." That sounds wonderful, except that my wife and I experience severe back pain with walks > 45 mins and require several minutes of sitting to recover. Once the pain kicks in, the travel distance between rest stops become increasingly shorter. So we're looking for a plan that maximizes public transportation and minimizes walking in order to take in the major attractions. Can you all recommend a logistically-friendly itinerary for us? Here are our particulars: Staying at Hotel Moments Budapest (Andrassy ut 8) during first week of May, Monday thru Friday. We'll be arriving Monday around 11 am via train from Vienna, and this will be the last leg of our trip, so no jet lag. We expect to be ready to leave the hotel by noon. Flight home is on Saturday, so we have 5 full nights, and 4+ days. This is our first time here, and realistically aren't sure if we'll ever make it back, so we'd like to make sure we hit all of the major sites we can. We are high on culture, art, history, and architecture; medium on food (although we do want at least one memorable meal per day); and light on wine-tasting and nightlife (although I do want to sample a ruin bar and try Tokaji). If we need to make a choice between the pain or skipping something wonderful, we'll endure whatever we have to.

Thank you in advance for any insights you may offer.

All the best,


Posted by
17907 posts

You actually picked a pretty good town for getting around on public transportation. Everything with a few very minor exceptions is readily accessible on a tram or a short metro ride plus one bus.
I would love to help you, but a four day itinerary is a lot of work and will take some time. so when are you leaving?
You will need a copy of Eyewitness Guide to Budapest. The Top Ten guide will work and its easier to carry.

Here is a start. So your train arrives at 11am. Walk to the front of the station (towards the glass windows) and go down the stairs in the center. At the bottom on the right is a tourist office. By a 7 day travel card for each of you Then go back up and at the top of the stairs look to the wall on your left.
You should see a door that says TAXI over it or near it. Anyway go out the door on that wall and it will take you to the taxi stand. Dont get in a taxi, call one; is my favorite. Remember call and reserve one. They will give you a number to look for at the stand.

You will be in your hotel at 11:30 more or less. So lets say your are out at 1pm. Lunch time. Walk out the door of the hotel and turn right. Go to the end of Andrassy ut (maybe a 3 min walk). Along the way you will see an OTP Bank. Use the ATM for Hungarian Forints. 25,000 would be a good start. If the door to the ATM is locked, swipe any card to get in.

Now at the end of Andrassy ut note the entrance to the M1 metro line (for future reference) then turn right and walk about 3 min more. You are at great typical Hungarian food. After lunch return to that metro line entrance. Look across the street, see an identical entrance there? Yup, thats the one you want. Cross the street and get on. First stop is Opera exit. Get out look on the left side of the opera house and there should be a sign advertising the tours. The ticket office is near the sign. Go buy tickets for the 4pm tour. I am guessing a bit on this as I havent done the tour in about 6 years, I know I just keep seeing the sign there and the website says despite the renovations the tours go on. Now walk in the same direction the tram was going. Sorry, a bit of a walk but you need to see this. At the next major intersection, the Oktogon, you can get back on the M1 (make sure you use the station on the same side of the road that you got out or you will end up going the wrong way) Its all free and easy cause you bought TravelCards.

Ride the metro 2 stops, get off and walk to the next stop and get back on. Again, you gotta see it. Finally you get off again at Hősök tere (hero's square) metro station

You want to be back at he opera about 3:30 for the tour..... Walk to the metro station on the opposite side of the road as the one you exited and hop on. Get off at the Opera Metro Stop.

After the tour it is the metro again. This time you are heading for the end stop, Vorosmarty ter. Get off and look around a while as you are at the end of the big tourist shopping street Vaci utca.

Then walk down to the river. You are killing time till dinner!!

If the weather is good (no idea when you are going) there are a number of nice places to eat on the Danube Corso. Still too early, Right in front of you is the 2Tram, often cited as being the most picturesque tram trip in Europe. Ride it a few stop up and back.

That guide book I said to buy. Check every word i write against it. Everything is interesting but I am not going to point it out. For instance the metro you are riding is the oldest on the continent of Europe. Your hotel is on Andrassy ut the Champs-Élysées of Budapest.

See why this will take a while???
How do you feel about bath houses?
How late do you want to stay out
Interested in concerts and opera or theater?
What are your dates? Thats a big deal for a lot of reasons....

Posted by
4601 posts

How are you with sightseeing buses? My first day in Budapest I took the "Budapest Grand City Tour with Parliament Visit."

This tour does several things for you: it takes you on a bus from one major sight to the next, reducing walking between sights; they take care of getting the tickets for your (English) guided tour of Parliament - one less detail for you to sort out; and it really helped me to get my initial bearings in the city, making it easier for me to sightsee on my own the following days.

The tour takes you up to the castle, where there is some walking around. They drive you out to Hero's Square, with a short sightseeing stop, there. Etc.

Posted by
28 posts

@James E.: I do indeed see why this takes a while, and I appreciate and thank you for your kindness in sharing your knowledge. I apologize if my original posting was unclear, and will address your questions:

What are your dates? We are arriving on Monday, May 4, 2020, and staying through Friday, May 8.

How do you feel about bath houses? While I am normally uneasy about public baths, I recognize that this is a fantastic cultural opportunity that shouldn't be missed. Also, the warm water will be most welcome. Szechenyi would be our first choice. We will take your advice re: paying extra for a private dressing "closet". Just don't expect to see me in Speedos - the world has enough problems as it is.

How late do you want to stay out? Interested in concerts, opera, or theater? We have no problems whatsoever for late-night outings. We plan to take in a Danube evening cruise, and would welcome any suggestions for musical or theatrical performances, including (and especially) traditional folk music and dance.

@CWsocial: Thank you for the suggestion - I will check it out. In the past, such tours made me feel uncomfortably rushed. Perhaps I need to adapt.

Posted by
27104 posts

The English tours of the Hungarian Parliament Building sell out quite early; don't wait to buy a ticket until you get to the city (unless you opt for the recommended city tour that includes the Parliament). I am like you--prefer to take my time at key sights--and have noticed that tour groups usually move through them at least twice as fast I do. I haven't been inside the Parliament Building, so I can't comment about how much time I'd want to spend there.

Two other building interiors I found especially interesting:

  • The Liszt Ferenc Academy (where you might catch some sort of performance. The interior is beautiful Art Nouveau. There are occasional English-language tours with limited capacity. I had no trouble getting one during my May 2018 visit.

  • Matthias Church on Castle Hill. The interior here is geometrical, the pillars are patterned somewhat like carpets.

I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing the interior of the Pesti Vigado concert hall. I imagine that you generally have to buy a ticket to a performance to see that, but I was in Budapest on a day when there was an open house of sorts.

The Hilton up on Castle Hill has some Roman ruins you can see inside.

Truly, Budapest is a glorious destination for anyone interested in architecture.

Because of your difficulty with walking long distances, I want to warn you off the otherwise very good Cityrama Walking Tours of Buda and Pest. I really liked them, but I believe they would cover too much ground, too fast for you.

Posted by
5697 posts

Regarding the Parliament tour -- there is an option to take an elevator rather than the impressive stairway, very handy! The rest of the tour is one one level. Tour is guide-accompanied only, except that you can spend extra time in the museum after the (less than 1 hour) tour. Book ahead!
And do take time for the baths. Our 70-year-old bodies enjoyed 3 hours soaking (in January, when air temp was about 6°C) and were totally relaxed.

Posted by
17907 posts

Okay, its Tuesday.

First breakfast. I want you to meet some great people. You will go out the hotel door turn left and walk up the street. Know that on all of these directions if the walk is going to be more than 7 minutes I will tell you. When you reach the Opera House you will see directly across the street a rather decrepit mansion. First the Railroad Workers Retirement Home then under the commies it was the Ballet School. Now it is owned by an Israeli firm who have plans to turn it into a 5 star hotel. Those plans have been ongoing for about 10 years now. Cross the street and walk up the road on the left of the old building. After a block the road takes a very slight jog to the right and then continues. You are now on Vasvari Pal utca. On the right two buildings up is the Lion Locker. Best breakfast in town. If not for the food, then for the owner (Arpie – short for Arpad) and his wife, daughter and son. Wonderful people who will talk your ear off if you want.

After breakfast walk back to the Opera House. Now get on the Metro from the stairs on the Oprea House side of the street. Ride it to the third stop which is Vorosmarty ter. You were here yesterday. As you did yesterday, walk to the river. Now get on the 2 Tram traveling left to right. You are going to the Parliament. Oh, you purchased tickets in advance, right? I would get the 10:45 tour so there is no rush. You will need to leave the Lion Locker no later than 9:45 so there is no stress. Anyway, the 2 Tram will go along the river and then take a hard right up along side the Parliament. Then it will continue to the opposite rear corner of the Parliament. Get off at that point. You will see the tour office in front of you to the right of the parliament. LauraB tell me if I got something wrong as I haven’t been on the tour since the renovations and the Visitor Center opened.

Okay tour over and you are back to the tram by noon. Lets spend the rest of the day in Buda. I will get you there and back, but you will have to use your tour book to get around. So you need to get your tour book map out and identify Falk Miska utca. If you retrace your steps along the tram tracks back to the last curve you will be at the end of Falk Miska utca. This is the city Antiques street. Worth a walk. Head up the street and look for a place called Pinter on your left. Go in, down the stairs and wander the basements. Amazing place. Stop and look in any of the places you pass as you walk up the pretty street. At the end of the street say hello to Peter Falk and his dog then cross the street and get on the tram heading towards the river.

First stop on the other side of the river get off. No look north (up river) and you will see another tram stop. That’s the 19/41 tram and you want to be on it heading downriver (south). Trams are great they are like lovely old tour busses. If you mess up and go the wrong way, remember you ride for free. Just get off and get on the one going back the other way. In other words, relax and enjoy it.

You will stay on the tram four stops. Sit on the left so you can enjoy the view of Pest. Get off right after you pass the Chain Bridge then walk to the Funicular and head up to Buda. Now use your guide book and walk, rest, eat and enjoy. About 5 pm you want to make you way to the Hilton where you will find the #16 bus marked Deak Ferenc ter. Hop on and it will take you back to Pest very near the end of Andrassy ut. Your hotel is something less than a 10 minute walk. You want to be home intime to rest, clean up and be back out the door at 7pm for Its been a long day, so call a taxi. Same company as from the train station.

Posted by
28 posts

This is fantastic! Thank you so much. I feel as if I'm making you work too hard - is there something I can do to make it easier?

Posted by
17907 posts

Quick Lesson

utca abbreviated u. is a street
ut is an avenue or boulevard

ter is a square
udvar is a courtyard

Okay, Szentendre and Market Day.

Good morning. Back to visit Arpie for breakfast. From the Lion’s Locker continue walking in the same direction on Vasvari Pal utca. First note that right across the street is a Spanish restaurant. One of the best restaurants in town if you want meat. On the right is a yellow building. Wave, maybe I will wave back. Keep going. Just past the yellow building on the opposite side of the street, hidden in the courtyard is a Synagogue. Sometimes you can see the orthodox Jews coming and going. Beyond that, on the corner, is Kadarka Wine Bar; my favorite and good food too.
Okay, you are at the corner of Vasvari Pal utca and Kiraly utca. (Kiraly = King). Turn right down Kiraly utca. Was once a wonderful typical street, but the tourists have pretty much taken it over.,19.0590845,3a,75y,54.05h,89.22t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sn-8CCVr4NOrI1Mfnc_P0Xg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=enStill the architecture is very typical and its very interesting. At Kiraly utca 13 you will enter the Gozsdu Udvar.

When you see the Horizont Taproom you will turn right and in a few blocks you will find yourself out on the inner loop road. To your right is the 47/49 Tram Stop. Since it’s the end of the line you cant get on it going the wrong way. Ride it sitting on the left and facing forward. Soon you will see the Great Synagogue pass by (another day). Then get off at the third stop, this is Fővám tér and the Great Market Hall. Use a guide book and have fun for about an hour or so.
Now get on the same tram, heading in the same direction. Get off at the next stop. Look for a tram marked 19/41. Take it heading up river (toward the Parliament). Sit on the river side for the view. About 5 stops up is Batthyány tér. Get off and follow the signs to the H5 Commuter Train. Once you go down the stairs keep an eye to your left for the ticket window. Show them your TravelCard for a discount on the train ticket to Szentendre. Trains leave about every 20 minutes all day long. You will eat lunch in Szentendre….

Wednesday continued.

The end of the train is Szentendre. Takes about 30 minutes. Typically just follow the other tourists but the direction is up river and towards the river. This unfortunately is about a 10 minute walk. When the church tower comes into view that is your destination. Get to it then choose where you will have lunch or stop at one of the places along the river on your way. Use your guide book in Szentendre.

Szentendre is a good 2 hour place and it it speaks to you 3 hours or more. You will be going back to Budapest on the boat. The boat back is at 5pm. Walk down the boat ramp about 4pm to get your ticket. If the weather is good you want to be on the top deck. Its amazing to see the Parliament rise before you as you enter Budapest. Fantastic. First stop is in Buda, second stop is in Pest. You want Pest and will be there about 6pm.

Next is Dinner.

Make reservations at for 8pm. That gives you time to get home and clean up. Oh, getting home. Walk from the pier to Vorosmarty ter (you know where it is) and take the M1 just 2 stops. Okay, Rezkakas Bistro, one of the few remaining places with a gypsy band and great food and service.

Posted by
5697 posts

Yes, James E 's directions to Parliament are spot on. Visitor center is down a short flight of wide stairs (with handrails if needed.)
We used trams 47/49 for taking joyrides -- randomly riding from one end of the line to the other, just looking out the windows at various architectural styles. Love that transit pass!

Posted by
17907 posts

We have to do this on Thursday cause a lot is closed on the Friday in anticipation of the Sabbath. This will take a tad bit more walking than the other days.

First, let’s go for breakfast at Café Vian in the Gozsdu Courtyard. So cross the street from your hotel and go up the road. This one has enough turns in it that I am giving you a map. Don’t eat anything sweet because we will be going past my favorite kosher cukrászda (pastry shop). Beats anything in Vienna.

First stop along the way after breakfast is the Rumbach Synagogue. Sometimes its open, sometimes not. Let’s hope yes, because the renovations have been amazing the the place is beautiful. If not look up at the wonderful old Moorish Style architecture. Note you will see a few signs on this street in Hebrew.

Next is the Carl Lutz Memorial (read about him before the trip). Sort of a strange thing. Oh, here and every day, look down: Don’t forget when you turned right inside the Gozsdu Courtyard you were firmly in what was the Jewish Deportation Ghetto. At the end of WWII it was completely walled and bodies were stacked on the sidewalks like cordwood.

Now head up Dobb utca to my favorite cukrászda at number 22,19.0613535,3a,75y,332.93h,75.16t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVpfUP2qBGjosV_tUF7F12Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

Then on to the Dohany utca Synagogue (Great Synagogue). Through out this walk you need your guide book. As i mentioned before, i will get you to the right places, but you have to sort of self-guide as to what is there. Google says 16 minutes of walking. I would figure closer to 30. Throw in breakfast and pastry and you have been out about 2 hours.

Take the tour at the great synagogue. It takes about an hour and is well worth it. If you arent too tired, ask for the tour of the museum as well (another 30 minutes).

All done. Okay its probably around noon. If this topic interests you let me know and that’s what we will concentrate on. If not I have a plan B. Personally I can think of nothing more interesting than a few hidden synagogues, maybe a tour of the old jewish cemetery, and of course the holocaust museum. But before we go on, is this working for you? But because of the distances involved I am going to recommend a guide with a car (maybe 100 euro). Or we can hop a lot of trams and do the same thing the hard way.

Posted by
28 posts

This is a significant part of my wife's heritage, so we are indeed interested in maximizing our time in the Jewish Quarter. As for the private driver vs. trams, I'll trust your judgement as to which would be more scenic/informative/fun. Thank you again for your efforts, and to all who have offered suggestions. We sincerely appreciate it!

Posted by
5697 posts

Yes, please keep going James -- details we have missed on prior trips (and I am becoming less mobile / appreciative of rest stops.)

Posted by
17907 posts

I tell you what, lets try this the hard way. Really, it shouldn’t be hard. Leave Great Synagogue and walk to the large avenue in front. Now turn left and walk down that avenue. Still if these walks are more than about 7 minutes I will warn you. In very short order you will find yourself at the 47/49 Tram stop at Astoria. You want to board the tram going the same way you were walking. Get off at the first stop. Now look and you will see the entrance to the M3 metro station. Go down the stairs and look for the metro line heading in the direction of Kőbánya-Kispest and get off at the first stop. Sometimes coming up from a metro station leave you at a loss for orientation. I use a cell phone compass a lot. But in this case look around for the tram line. Now walk up the main street that runs perpendicular to the tram line. Second street, turn right, you are at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Very well done. Leave a huge contribution.

If you are up to one more great adventure then walk back to that tram line. That’s the 4/6 Tram. Both directions will take you back to the river and the 2 tram. But we are going to a Jewish Cemetery. Facing the tram you want to ride the one going left to right. At the fourth stop, Blaha Lujza ter, get off and walk back about a block where you will see a McDonalds and trams heading up an intersecting street.,19.0709228,3a,75y,125.93h,84.23t/am=t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1s3-MNf4dE42w3z6gVjlbvBA!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en
Now get on a tram marked 37A. About 6 min into the ride you will think you have entered no-mans land. Great, get up and walk to the front of the tram and push the button. Otherwise the tram wont stop at the next stop. If you miss it, get off at the following stop and walk back.,19.0972092,3a,75y,350.42h,90t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipN2m4m70-l2Tcuzfk8qPhA2wqCx8kfF7oP09pjn!2e10!3e11!!7i6000!8i3000?hl=en
This is Salgotarjani street Jewish Cemetery one of the most amazing places in Budapest. Again, leave a good donation.

Now back on the 37A to its terminus where you began. Then turn right up the Great Loop road and walk about a block to the New York Palace Café where you can sit in Budapest opulence, enjoy a coffee and a pastry and talk about the events of the day.

To get home, continue walking the loop road till you find the next Tram stop. Hop on heading in the same direction to the third stop (the Oktogon) get off and walk down Andrassy ut to your hotel or if you want its two stops down on the M1 metro line.

Its may so all of the theaters are closed, but tonight you have two choices. Opus Jazz for dinner and a jazz concert or an Organ Concert at the Basilica or dinner and wine at Kadarka. Okay, that’s three choices.

Posted by
17907 posts

Okay, so you traveled all over Budapest. Usually if you spend more time traveling than actually being there its a negative. Not so in Budapest. Here is a city that for the most part was constructed between 1880 and 1920 and reflects the style of that period. Here is some of the best in Europe of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bahaus and Neo Classical architecture. During WWII the majority of the buildings were hit by the allies; but few in Pest were damaged beyond repair. Then along comes the Russian occupation. Generally speaking, other than the imposition of communism the citizens of Hungary weren't treated worse than those of any occupied country. The real damage was socialism; it kept Budapest 50 years behind the West. The good thing is that mean that none of the old architecture was torn down for modernization. As a result, on your tram rides through Budapest, you will be traveling through a fairly well preserved 1940's city. Pretty neat.

You have a Travel Card. For the trams you show it if asked by a guy wearing an armband otherwise it stays in your pocket. On the metro you show it if there are guards at the entrances to the metro stations. Its that easy. So, on your trips around Budapest if you see something of interest out the window ... get off. Go look, then hop back on and finish the trip. Thirsty? Hey there's a bar, hop off, relax, enjoy, then back on. Enjoy the trip. Much better to enjoy than see it all.

Posted by
17907 posts

Okay, Friday. Geeeeee. What to do on Friday?

You know the tram lines and the 1 and 3 metro lines so thats good. Hmmmmmmmm.....

I am going to suggest we make it shoes, terror, museum, basilica, shopping and bath house day...... and then, in payment for my assistance I will ask one favor. I will PM you the favor.

Posted by
17907 posts

Friday, Last Day

Okay, so good morning! A much easier day today.

How about breakfast with your new friend Arpie. Then walk back to your hotel and beyond to the end of Andrassy ut. Usually, but not always, there is a flower vendor at the corner. If she is there, Rivka likes flowers too….

Now on to the basilica. Where is it? Look up! Walk to the front, go inside, maybe take the elevator to the top. In the square out front are restaurants and shops (yes, I know, I dragged you to the lions locker, but I happene to like that family … you could easily find breakfast here too).

One of the best souvenir shops is located to the left of the front of the basilica up a side street just a bit.

Now with your back to the basilica walk to the river examining every shop along the way. Walk therough the middle of the Four Seasons. Freaking fantastic old architecture. Go out the front and look for the tram line. That’s the 2 Tram again. Get on…

After the tram turns right behind the parliament, get off. Now walk to the river, down the stairs and look for people standing around on the river bank on your left. That’s were the shoes are. Go….. There are those that believe that a person lives as long as their name is remembered..

Back on the 2 tram from wence you came. Get off just past the chain bridge and walk inland to the Vorsosmarty ter, then walk the length of Vaci utca and shop and drink and eat and shop…. You will come out in front of the Great Market hall and the 47/49 Tram. This is a long walk. Maybe 20 minutes. Its all shopping and restaurants and places to sit, drink and relax. Very pretty too.

Ride the tram one stop away from the river, get off and walk a block or so to the Hungarian National Museum.

Back on the tram to the end stop. Get off and walk to the end of Andrassy ut. Get on the M1 Metro towards Mexico ter and get off at the Oktogon. Continue walking up Andrassy ut till you reach the House of Terror. Worth the wait to get in. Then back on the M1 to Hero's Square. Get off and there is a museum on each side of the square. Then walk to the bath house and dive in. Oh??? Did i tell you to bring flip flops and a swim suit? Please do..... More details on the bath house later and on a great place to eat not terribly far away (for after the bath). Then I have an idea ending for the trip with wine on Gellert Hill.

More to come

Posted by
17907 posts

Okay, change of plans. After you have soaked for a few hours get on the M1 metro at the stop next to the bath house and ride it towards Vorosmarty ter. Get off at Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út and walk to your hotel. Rest, then let's go to Kadarka for dinner and wine Be sure to bring glasses from the hotel. About 9pm buy a bottle of what ever you liked, pay the dinner bill and call City Taxi for a ride to Citadella Kilato (lookout). By the time you get there the tourist busses will be gone and you can toast Budapest with this view

Posted by
28 posts

@James E. : Sir, this has been more than just a friendly sharing of knowledge and advice. This has been a labor of love and I truly appreciate it, as I am sure everyone in the future who reads it will as well. Thank you so much for your time and effort. I will honor your request, and if you can think of some way I can repay your kindness or pass it forward, please let me know.



Posted by
17907 posts

I have been doing something I havent done in years, I've been playing tourist. It reminded me of a few things that I will post as I have time.

Great Market Hall

Its best in the morning before its gets busy. You must go down to the basement. It where the fish and pickled vegetables are. The smell of the fish will knock you out, but the smell at the end where the pickled vegetables are is amazing. You can buy the veggies in cute little gift jars. Great gifts.

For traditional hand stitched clothing and table cloths there is a really nice place about 46 or 48 Kiraly utca not far from the Opera and very near the Kadarka Wine Bar.

My friends at Kadarka have opened a new wine bar called Borka Bistro at the corner of Dohany and the outer loop road, across the street from the New York Palace. Bigger kitchen, bigger menu, same kind service and excellent wine selection. I went to a wine tasting party there last night. Very nice place, a bit classier than the original. I am going to guess a little older clientele. There is also a Kadarka on Margarit Island.