We end a tour in Vienna and decided to spend 2 days in Budapest before flying back to USA. Due to the limited time on our first visit to Budapest, can you please recommend hotels centrally located and the must see sights? We would love to make the best of the time we have there. Thank you!
Normally I say get out of the thick of the tourist zone, but with just a couple of days I would suggest either the Marriott or the Intercontinental on the river front. Good location to reach everything and beautiful views and cafes in the evening.
We liked the Kalvin House, less expensive than the ones James recommended and further south, near the Great Market. That would be one of the top sights, along with Stephansdom, the Parliament, St. Matthias Church, the Great Synagogue, the House of Terror, the Opera, Andrassy ut, and one of the major baths. You could see them all, though not in depth, in two full days, or pick those that appeal to you most. Others might make other choices. Budapest has easy trams and subways, many people speak enough English, and the city is great for strolling, café-sitting and people-watching.
James is a font of good information on Budapest and hopefully will come back here and second-guess me to make your visit even more enjoyable! Our visit a few years ago, a few days longer than yours, was unforgettable.
I stayed at the Hotel K+K Opera between the cathedral and the opera house. Four star rating, nice facility, the best breakfast buffet I have had anywhere, and it included champagne.
We stayed at La Prima Fashion Hotel - a very nice hotel right by the river and the pedestrian zone but with a ridiculous name! The rooms are exceptionally big for a European hotel and the breakfast was very good. Highly recommend.
For the first 5 years or so we stayed at the K&K and its still the first place i recommend. In this case with just two days, i thought the best impact of the city would be its beauty and there is nothing more beautiful than the river front in the evening. https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ai7Zk-szxfTJhetDiDMQQ_eCxFySKw
We spent nearly a week at the K+K Opera. Helpful front desk staff, huge breakfast, great location one minute walk to metro. My only suggestion would be to ask for a room not facing the front entrance street....a disco immediately opposite the front door and open only over the weekend attracted really loud crowds waiting to get in. We were on the fifth floor or so but the noise was unbelievable and kept us awake for a long while, starting around midnight. If you go, tell them David sent you...we saw no champagne at breakfast during our stay :)
I am very fond of the area near the Great Market, off Fovam ter and the Liberty bridge is right there, too. 2 minute walk to a tram and metro station, at the end of a pedestrianized street so quiet yet still plenty busy. I liked the Residence Baron on So utca and would be staying there again in May on my 4th trip in as many years but my dates weren't available.
2 days in Budapest
I never know what people really mean by days and nights…
So if two days means you:
0 arrive from Vienna late
1 day in Budapest
2 day in Budapest
3 day depart Budapest
Then my suggestion would be:
When you arrive for Budapest, assuming its after 5pm, then spend it first on Vorosmarty ter, Vaci utca and on the Danube embankment (dinner, drinks, etc). Two out of the three photos I posted are on the embankment between the Marriott and the Intercontinental. Vaci utca and Vorsomarty ter are right behind both hotels.
Day One: Use the No.2 tram located in-front of the hotels to reach the Great Market Hall at one end and the Parliament Building at the other. After the parliament you can walk to the St Stephens Basilica and the pedestrian zone in front of it. Finish the day time by walking to Vaci utca; maybe as far as the Opera.
Day Two: Walk the Chain Bridge and take the funicular up to the Buda Castle District. Come back down and get on the 19/41 Tram to the Hotel Gellert. From there you can take the 47/49 Tram past the Great Market Hall (saw it yesterday) to the Dohany utca Synagogue. Worth the tour. A little further up on the 47/49 Tram takes you to Deak Ferenc ter where you can get on the M1 metro line to Hero’s Square, then walk back down Andrassy ut. Stop at the House of Terror on the way back.
Now you have two evenings to fill. Something at the Operett or the Erkle Opera House or one of Budapest’s Jazz Clubs is always good. Maybe dinner with a gypsy band? A wine bar or the ruin pubs? Budapest is great to walk in the evenings…
Some of this is determinate on the day of the week and time of year. When do you arrive and leave?
The highlighted places and transportation are worth googling for history. And there are literally dozens of other options depending on your interests.