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Must see spots in Budapest

My wife and I are starting a river cruise in Budapest and will arrive a couple of days before the cruise starts. Our interests are history and local culture. What would be your suggestions of must see places to visit. Thank you.

Posted by
1687 posts

If you invest a bit of time going back through the Hungary forum postings here, you are going to find a wealth of wonderful information.

Posted by
765 posts

Some of the sights we most enjoyed were:

The Chain Bridge, Buda Castle, the Matthias Church, the Fisherman's Bastion, and walking around the castle district.

The Museum of Terror (very well done and not cheesy at all, in spite of the name)

Heroes Square

The Parliament building and the nearby Museum of Ethnography

The Great Synagogue

The Opera House (so gorgeous inside--I've heard it's the most beautiful in Europe)

Andrassy Avenue (we stayed near there and never tired of walking along and looking at the architecture)

A Ruin Pub

The Cave Church

The Great Market Hall

The baths. We went to one every second day (3 baths in total). We went to the lovely Széchenyi Baths, the Gellert Baths, and Veli Bej. All were different from one another and all were enjoyable, beautiful and interesting.

There were some things we didn't see and I wish we had, such as the Shoes Along the Danube and Memento Park.

Posted by
13410 posts

With just a couple of days using the time efficiently in a town with so much to see and experience is a bit of a chore. For starters, if you are on a Viking Cruise they sell additional nights in Budapest at a rather expensive rate; often they use the Hilton in Buda. You can do better on cost and location by booking yourself. Then there is a lot of day of the week and month specific ideas. So, which cruise, when do you arrive in Budapest (and arrival time), where are you staying, and when do you have to be at the dock? Any particular interests? With that we can dream up a do it yourself tour that avoids the things that are on the Viking sponsored tour and get the most out of it.

Posted by
3254 posts

Great ideas from BB up thread. When we visited Budapest in 2019 we had recommendations from relatives, friends, blogs, Guidebooks, & RS Forum- James E. One of the best things we did was to hire a guide- Timea Tarjani. Her tour met our interests. Like you we were looking for history & local culture. Timea has the knowledge and passion of her native country. Highly recommend! https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/hungary/how-to-connect-with-a-private-tour-guide-in-budapest

Posted by
13410 posts
Posted by
765 posts

Adding that posters here, particularly, James E, were fabulous resources for our trip, also.

Posted by
4 posts

Wow, so many good replies. Our trip is not scheduled until September so we haven't made plane reservations yet and we are on Avalon Waterways cruise and do not know where it will load yet. We plan on arriving in Budapest on Sept. 12 and will be due on board ship on Sept. 15, so that will give us a good two and a half days to explore. Thanks to all of you for you great suggestions. I will get busy and research the suggestions.

Posted by
13410 posts

lyoungjcmo;

My ideas for the first and second day are here: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/hungary/arriving-a-few-days-early-for-a-cruise-out-of-budapest

You have yet another free day. Any particular interests? History (which period), Architecture, Museums, Baths, Big Foodie, Theater, Music, nature, hiking, wine

And do you know if the Cruise line will have a tour before they sail? Maybe the description of that tour (so you dont repeat things)?

Do you have a hotel in mind?

Posted by
49 posts

James E - the link to the eyewitness guide that you posted does not come out until July 22, 2022. Do you recommend a previous version of this book? I looked on Amazon and there are many Eyewitness guide choices.

Posted by
13410 posts

Just get the most current one available. When ever I visit a city they have a guide for, I get one. I think they are the overall best available. The regular guides are great for planning and reading. The Eyewitness Top 10 for Budapest is a shorter, more compact version and easier to carry and is generally all I carry in what ever city I am visiting. Just my way, preference. Everyone has their favorites.

Posted by
2365 posts

Here is a new attraction that needs to be on the must do list.

Beautiful space! The permanent exhibition sounds marvelous:
The House of Music, Hungary is a tree of life in the heart of Városliget, with a trunk, and a crown of golden leaves on slender branches. We are standing here by its roots, which provide the institution with its spiritual sustenance. The roots are entwined, like a labyrinth, and we walk among them. Our journey begins far back in time and space, back at the birth of music itself where we can grasp the roots of Hungarian folk music and European music.