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What to do in Budapest?

Hello all!! So I've been wanting to go to Budapest for some time now, I am in the midst of planning an extended trip next summer to Europe. One of the destinations on my itinerary is Budapest, a friend of mine who has been there before said I should only spend about a day there of skip it all together as opposed to the 3 days I was planning on. Is my friend right? If not any recommendations on what to do or see? Thank you!

Posted by
6543 posts

No one can say whether your friend is right or wrong - there is no right or wrong about where to travel. Some places resonate with some people and totally turn off others. I spent 6 days in Budapest last summer (2014) and wish I could have stayed longer. I loved it there, it has a very young vibe which appealed to me (even though I'm a senior) and there was so much to see and do there. My daughter lived in Ukraine for several years and Budapest was one of her favorite places to travel to when she had some free time, I think she went there 3 or 4 times, sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. It was on her advice that I decided to spend 6 days there when I went so I could see as much as possible as I probably won't have the chance to go back. I can't imagine going all the way there and only spending 1 day, but others will agree with your friend.

For specific recommendations on what to see and do, I'm sure some of the Budapest 'experts' will chime in. Otherwise do a search above on Budapest and select Travel Forum and specify within 1 year so you get some up to date responses.

Posted by
3336 posts

I spent one night in Budapest this past summer and was kicking myself for not staying longer! There is quite a lot to do and see there and, in my opinion, you should spend three days. You can take an evening cruise on the river (no one knows how to light up their city at night like Budapest!), spend time at one of the Victorian-era baths (decadent!), take in the view from the hills above the river and see all of the historic sights up there, wander through the neighborhoods that are filled with beautifully creative shops and restaurants, enjoy the nightlife either indoors or out, and see numerous museums. That's the short list but it really is a lovely city with so much to offer!

Posted by
2338 posts

Ah, Budapest! I spent 4 days there last August, quickly realized that wasn't nearly enough because it worked a strange magic on me so I'm returning next May for a full week. I discovered my family came from a town called Tata and want to visit that as well as a couple of other day trips. And just to wander happily through the city and eat more of their delicious food!

This is what I did while I was there:

Day 1--arrived mid-afternoon on train from Vienna, got situated at my hotel near the Liberty (Szabadsag) bridge and headed onto the metro to the Museum of Applied Arts, enjoyable if you like the Art Nouveau movement. Then back to my neighbourhood for some wandering and to the Grand Market Hall for dinner, more wandering on Vaci utca and the waterfront, all close to my hotel.

Day 2--had an advance ticket to tour Parliament, then across the square to the Ethnographic Museum, up Falk Miksa for lunch and antique shops, metro to the Terror House on Andrassy (highly recommend), walk down to tour the Opera House and then just meandered and people-watched.

Day 3--day trip via HEV train to Szentendre, lovely little artist's colony on the Danube. Enjoyed the Margit Kovacs museum, did some shopping and had a great late lunch. Relaxing and enjoyable day. Back to Budapest for some exploring across the bridge into Buda, the Castle Hill area.

Day 4--breakfast at the Market Hall, then tried unsuccessfully to find the Ecseri Piac, a flea market on the outskirts. Much less English spoken out there and as it was very hot and I was getting very cranky I headed back to spend my last day in the St Stephen's and Andrassy area and walked along the Danube, eating as much food as I could. Early night as my flight home was at 6 am.

Obviously I didn't do everything there is to do in Budapest, after a hectic week in Vienna I was dragging and wanted to explore and relax, mostly. I stuck to museums that particularly interested me and there are a couple I will see on my next trip as well as a few other sites. Not one for public bathing. I felt very comfortable and at-home in Budapest, the people are extremely kind and helpful, the metros and trams very efficient and easy to use, and the food is absolutely wonderful. 3 days should do adequately if you plan an itinerary or follow James' suggestions.

Posted by
77 posts

Well we love Budapest and can't imagine spending just 1 day there ...we spent 4 days in 2011 and 5 days in 2013 and would love to return for even longer. We found so much to see and do. There are excellent web sites to check things out. Check if any festivals are on because the people are wonderful, the food great and the beer & wine pretty good too! We always felt comfortable and safe, even later in the evening. This year we spent our time in Germany but hope to spend time in Budapest next visit to Europe as there are still things we would like to see and we feel "at home" there.

Posted by
207 posts

I would agree with all of the posts above. I am in BudaPest and it is my 4th night and the city is magical. Buda being so different than Pest and so easy to walk. I have one more day and I will return.

It took me a little while to get my bearings as I arrived via a wonderful river cruise but the water levels are very low but weather is amazing, we had to be bused from Solvakia to BudaPest. Actually a wonderful road less traveled.

So spend 4 days if you can and from the above posts, I now have much more to do. Tomorrow the thermal baths!!