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Budapest

Sorry about this really general question: But I have not been to Budapest and am trying to decide whether to stay for a week or just see it in four days and move on to some other city? If we make Budapest our anchor location, can we do interesting day trips out of there? I hear the city and surroundings are great. But I could use some advice.

Posted by
922 posts

There's a person called James who frequents this Helpline and gives really good advice about Budapest. Until he comes by and responds to your question, there have been a few threads about it recently. You can find them easily if you browse the list of topics on the 'To the East' board at the link below. Also use the Search field in the upper right of this page to query 'Budapest'. https://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm/rurl/wall/to-the-east/index.html Also, Rick Steves' guidebook on Budapest was recently updated for the 3rd edition published April 2013: http://travelstore.ricksteves.com/catalog/index.cfm?fuseaction=product&theParentId=157&id=387

Posted by
12329 posts

Rose, you are kind. I love Budapest but everyone's interests and tastes vary. As much as I would like to say spend a month in Budapest, if you haven't been to the region you might want to end your trip in Budapest as it is an amazing place to unwind and just enjoy life but precede it with something as obvious as Prague or Vienna or as unique and wonderful as the High Tatras in Slovakia or a guided drive across Bulgaria or Romania. You just are not going to find a more fascinating region of the world and its time to see it before it changes too much. As for Budapest 3 full days (where you wake up and go to bed in Budapest) is a good first visit. As Rose suggested I can help you with the details. For the rest of the trip I would think about flying into Bulgaria or Romania and spending at least 3 full days before moving on to Budapest. I know good guides in both countries and the one in Romania will actually drive you to Budapest. The second option is the staid and true three Imperial cities (Prague 2 full days, Vienna 2 full days and Budapest 4 full days). BUT!!! If you really want to learn about and love Hungary the way I do: 1 arrive Budapest 2 Budapest 3 Budapest 4 Train to Eger 5 Eger and wineries 6 Train to Budapest 7 Budapest 8 Train to Gyor and See the Abbey 9 Train to Budapest 10 Train to Szentendre and the Boat back 11 home
These are all short train rides and fascinating and beautiful towns with great history. My wife and I are in Budapest 3 times a year. We take the time to visit the region but we spend at least 6 full days in Budapest each time and never get tired of it or bored. Feel free to write if I can help.

Posted by
14274 posts

There is a lot to see in Budapest, especially if you enjoy museums. I was there for 4 days and never got out of the city. Friends of mine were there longer and said there were at least 2 very nice day trips. I thought the Holocaust museum was very well done, the Folklore museum was really interesting, the Post Office museum was great (not at all what I expected) and there's the Synagogue tour, the Parliament tour, a day in Buda at the castle and surroundings, relaxing at a spa, and lots more besides the art museums. The food and wine are excellent and not expensive.

Posted by
61 posts

James: Thanks so much for your feedback. You asked about time of year. We are planning to go to Budapest for a week--7 full days-- in last week of
September.

Posted by
12329 posts

You picked a great time of year to go to Budapest. Mid September to early October can't be beat. We will be there ourselves from the 11th through the 24th of September. If you are there on September 20/21/22 there is a wonderful event called the National Gallop which is a horse race around the Hero's Square. Ghost is playing at the Operett (English subtitles), Falstaff and Giselle are playing at the Opera House. Chani, I believe that the Post Office Museum closed. The building was sold and there was a struggle to maintain the museum, not for the museum but as you know for one of the last surviving 19th / 20th century mansion home. A real shame.

Posted by
12329 posts

Larry, The last week of September Giselle and Falstaff are playing at the Opera House and if you are there on a Friday night you might enjoy the dinner and Klezmer show at Spinoza's Café. Unfortunately the shows at the Operett are not in English that week. If you speak German you might still be in luck. I really enjoy the Operett.

Posted by
14274 posts

James, that is too bad about the Post Office museum. It was a little gem. Thank goodness there is so much more to see in Budapest! I hope I get back there.

Posted by
820 posts

Hi, James lays out a nice itinerary. I would highly recommend Eger, and spend maybe spend a night or two there. One trip there, we took the bus out and the train back, all in one day. delightful. But it wasn't enough so on another trip we spent several days in Eger. And get yourself to the Opera. Who cares what language it is being performed in. Monument Park is an interesting addition which will take you through a lot of Budapest you might other wise miss.
Kerepsi Cemetary near Keleti Train Station deserves a vote. wayne iNWI

Posted by
165 posts

Just got back from the RS Eastern European Tour a few weeks ago. I liked Prague and Krakow was great but, in MHO, no match for Budapest. I found it to have a great vibe, similar to Paris. I think you would be happy spending the week in the city following James' suggestions on some side trips. I agree with Wayne about Eger. That was part of our tour and we spent an afternoon, night, and morning there. It was a great place to stay as we were in the city center just under the castle. It was a popular stop with all the tour members.