I will be flying to Budapest from Paris in late July, and I will be staying there for 4 nights (3 full days). I am looking for ideas on things to do and see, as well as any suggestions on accommodations. I have traveled Europe a few times, but this is my first trip to Budapest. I would like to visit the natural hot baths, and see as much as I can while I am there. Thank you for your help!
You are going to have a great time. Budapest is absolutely one of my favorite European cities. Frankly, I was surprised on how much there is to do there and how grand the city is. When we visited two years ago we stayed for three days but definitely needed a fourth. I stayed in the Belvaros area of town which is on the Pest side, near the Parliament building. Most of the sights in Budapest are on the pest side, save for the Castle Hill, of course. Pest also has better transportation connections with the metro and tram network, not to mention the national railways. Day one we did Rick's Pest walking tours, Grand Market, and Gellert Hotel baths. Day two we went to Bratislava for the day, then climbed up to the Fisherman's Bastian at sunset, which was beautiful. Day three we did Castle Hill, Museum of Terror and an evening in Szentendre. If I had a fourth day, I would have done the Sculpture Park, Great Synagogue, and a number of other sights. PM me if you want more details.
A huge amount of info is here: http://www.budapest-tourist-guide.com/index.html Consider a visit to St. Stephen's Bascilica (an easy walk in and walk out), the Central Market Hall - ideal at lunch time, if the day is nice a walk along the river past Parliament to Margaret Island, and while in Budapest you must do the baths - we liked Szechenyi which is near a large park and the zoo, just off the metro line. We particularly liked the K&K Opera Hotel which is also located on the metro, near the ceenter, and adjacent to the Opera. If you have an interest, opera tickets are very reasonable compared to the USA . The performances are very good and the Opera House is an attraction in itself.
there are many options for accomodations, and the one i used last time was an old lady at the train station. she has a poster about her apat, just cross street from the train station. it's about 20euro per night. i had my own living area, a bedroom and a private bath. the hot shower is not great but for such a low price i thought it was ok. if you run out of things to do in budapest you can head out to santander (a small town about 1hr away) for half day just walk the old town, or you can go to eztergom. the cathedral on top of the hill is pretty majestic, and you have a nice view of the danue and slovakia across river.
Thank you for the helpful info. I have been looking on booking.com for accommodations and seen a few hotels/apts that are near the bridge and metro stations. So now I just need to pick a good one. I am hoping to take a couple day tours, or half day tours (bike/walking, out of town, etc), maybe even a pub crawl as I like to sample different brews and socialize with people (I am traveling solo). I am going to get Rick Steves guidebook to see what tours he recommends...but do any of you have specific tours that are "must see"?
I just returned from 10 days in Budapest. There is more than enough to see to fill your time there even without doing sidetrips. The metro system is very efficient and will get you where you want to go easily and quickly. There is an outfit called "Free Walking Tours" (or something pretty basic like that.) They do 3 different types of tours: a general tour, a communist era focused tour, and a Jewish focused tour. They all leave from Vorosmarty Ter. The general ones go every day at 10:30, the communist and Jewish ones alternate and leave mid-afternoon, just google them and get the exact info from their website. There were a couple of single travellers on our general tour (the only 1 of the 3 we did.) I think they also have a general one that is a bit later in the day for those who tend to stay up late and have a bit later start to their days! Szechenyi baths is a lot of fun and I definitely recommend it. The entry proceedure is much easier than you might find covered in tour books, staff are young and pleasant and speak some English. Castle Hill on the Buda side is very charrming with an older European flavour to it. Make sure to get there and just enjoy the atmosphere. And of course the food! Plentiful and economical especially in comparison to other major cities. The Central Market Hall is great for milling around, get the langos at the very busy stall on the top floor, totally delicious, enjoy with a brew. Take tram #2 for its entire length along the Danube. Sorry, no accom suggestions as we staed in private accomodations. Enjoy!!