I am flying to Budapest from Italy to join up with friends for a tour of several countries. I will arrive in Budapest before they arrive and will have one full day to sight see on my own. I am staying near the airport so that I can meet their flight when they arrive from the US. Any suggestions on things to do on my own? Thanks.
If you don't yet have a hotel reservation or if you can cancel the reservation you might want to consider it.
So you will arrive a day early. You will get a hotel near the airport. Then since there is nothing to see or do near the airport you will need to be transported to the city center. Lets suppose you are doing it by taxi which will cost about $25 each way. Of course depending on what time they are arriving vs check out time you might have some coordination issues. But at any rate, to see anything will cost you $50.
OR, you could get a hotel in an interesting part of town. You could take a taxi when you arrive or you could take the shuttle bus. The cost, depending on your choice, would be between $17 and $25; then when you go to meet them at the airport again it would be $17 to $25. So maybe cheaper but no more expensive to stay in the center city where you can enjoy the day before your friends arrive. Travel time is 30 to 45 minutes depending on traffic and where exactly you are staying.
What to do? Depends on what a day means? Most of one day, overnight and till noon or so the next day?
I would hang close to the Pest riverfront. Maybe hop on and off the river front trams. The #2 Tram is famous for its views on the Pest side of the Danube. It ends just shy of the #4/6 Tram just beyond the Parliament. The #4/6 will take you across the Margarit Island Bridge to Pest. There you can find the #19 Tram (a few hundred feet up river of the 4/6 stop – you will see the tracks). The #19 will take you down the Pest side to the Liberty Bridge where you can cross on the #47/49 Tram and find yourself back to the #2 Tram (stop is below the bridge). Just a big circle up one side of the river and down the other. The good thing is you can hop on and off at your hearts content if you purchase a Travel Card for the day. This route will take you along the Danube Corso, the Great Market Hall, Parliament, the base of funicular to Buda’s castle hill, the Gellert Hotel and Bath House, Margaret Island, the Chain Bridge; to name a few places. Maybe a total travel time an hour or so if you don’t get off and look around a lot.
Or maybe just spend the day zoning out at one of the baths. Bliss!! And tell your friends to come meet YOU.
Thanks. I need to decide now!
Thanks again! I'm going to stay a few blocks from where we will be staying as a group. We will be at the Radison Blu and this is nearby. I will have time to sightsee a bit. I appreciate the help. Going out of my comfort zone in this!
My wife and I took a day trip to Budapest during a recent trip to Vienna. If you really want to see the city I would say hire a local tour guide for the day. The rates are not that expensive vs. traversing a new city on your own.
Since it was a weekday (Monday) we decided to do the jump-on-off bus. Tickets are available on any major street corner. We started by seeing the Great Market Hall and then walked to the Shoes on the Danube, along the river. We jumped back on the bus and went to the Citadella for a great view of the city.
There are two HOHO companies in town. They both stop near the train station: http://www.citytour.hu/en and https://www.bigbustours.com/en/budapest/budapest-bus-tours/
Not sure I have ever seen anyone selling tickets near the station, but you can buy them on line in advance.
Billbowe - like your idea of hiring a private guide. Will probably have one day for 4 people 2018 and none of us have been there before.
I like this guide: http://www.guideinbudapest.com/
My two cents worth - just pay attention to what James E. says.
We spent 6 nights in Budapest a couple of years ago - and his advice was invaluable.
Stay in the city center. If nothing else - walk across the Chain Bridge at night and see the Parliament Building illuminated. That view in and of itself will make you glad you didn't stay out at the airport.
I think Linda already came and went.....