The perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary

Picture this: strolling along the beautiful Danube River, admiring fairytale-like architecture, and savoring delicious Hungarian food, all while keeping your wallet happy. That’s what awaits you when you visit Budapest. Whether it’s your first visit or a return trip, Budapest has something special for everyone. To help you get the most out of your holiday, we’ve put together the perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary. It’s your ticket to uncovering hidden gems and must-see places, ensuring you don’t miss a thing during your stay. Get ready for an unforgettable experience in Hungary’s capital!

Day 1: Budapest’s impressive landmarks

Start your day at Fisherman’s Bastion

The perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary: Fisherman's Bastion

Begin your Budapest adventure with a visit to Fisherman’s Bastion. This enchanting fortress, with its graceful turrets and archways, is as mesmerizing as the panoramic views it offers. On top of that, there are countless photo opportunities so make sure to bring your camera! Situated right next to the stunning Matthias Church, these two landmarks create a stunning ensemble that’s a must-see during your Budapest visit. Two landmarks in one, for the price of none!

Where: 1014 Budapest, Szentháromság tér.

Pro tip
Make sure you arrive before 9 AM to enjoy the place without an entrance fee (and without the crowds 😉). After 9 AM you have to pay a small entrance fee to visit the upper towers.

Admire the remarkable Buda Castle

The perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary: Buda Castle

A 15-minute walk takes you to your next destination: Buda Castle. It’s the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian Kings in Budapest, and dates back to the 13th century. The beautiful Baroque palace as we see and know it now, however, was built in the 18th century. So majestic! Even more impressive, is that the castle has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. And who can blame them for putting this beautiful castle on the list. 😍

Not only can you admire its beauty from the outside, you can also take a guided tour to explore the interior. There are countless options, like a walking tour, night tour, church tour,… Or if you prefer a visit to the National Gallery or History Museum, it’s all right there!

Where: 1014 Budapest, Szent György tér 2.

Cross the Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Walk 10 minutes to the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. This iconic masterpiece is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Budapest’s bridges and our absolute favorite. It elegantly connects the city’s two beloved sides, Buda and Pest. You’ll need to cross the bridge for your next destination, but make sure to stop halfway through, too. You’ll be able to see the amazing views the bridge offers of Budapest’s stunning landmarks. On top of that, it’s always nice to see all the boats, tours and cruises pass under the bridge. Especially on a sunny day!

Stop by the Shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial

Shoes on the Danube Memorial

A 10-minute walk from the bridge brings you to a place of solemn remembrance, the Shoes on the Danube Bank. This touching tribute serves as a heart-wrenching reminder of the tragic events that unfolded here during World War II. Pay your respects to the Jewish victims who were ordered to remove their shoes before they were brutally shot. This act of cruelty, where their shoes were sold for profit afterwards, marks a somber chapter into Budapest’s history. Definitely worth a visit, even for only 10 minutes.

Marvel at the Parliament Building

The perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary: Parliament Building

You’ve probably already spotted your next destination in the distance. Who could miss this beautiful perl along the bank of the Danube? Walk 10 minutes to the Parliament Building, Budapest’s most remarkable and impressive landmark.

Although there is the option to buy tickets and go exploring inside, we mainly find that this is something to admire from the outside. The main reason for this is that ticket prices are really high. For an EU resident, you have to pay almost € 13, non-EU adults even have to pay double! These high prices can be explained by the fact that you can only visit it with a guided tour, which takes only 45 minutes. We find it a little too expensive for a tour that’ll last you less than an hour. But if you’re interested in seeing The Grand Stairway, The Dome Hall and The Chamber of Peers, be our guest and buy a ticket! No matter what you decide, this stunning masterpiece, where Gothic Revival and Neo-Renaissance styles blend, should not be missed on your Budapest adventure.

Where: 1055 Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3.

Lunch at Mokka Cukka

Mokka Cukka

Located in a cozy street just 3 minutes away from the magnificent Parliament Building, you’ll find your lunch spot of the day: Mokka Cukka. This cozy gem offers delicious and affordable lunch options, the perfect meal to recharge your energy for what’s coming next. Enjoy a tasty lunch while soaking in the cozy atmosphere, creating the ideal break to refuel and enjoy your Budapest adventure to the fullest. Make sure to ask for the “fluffy Hungarian pancakes” if you’re looking for a sweet, original and local dish.

Where: 1054 Budapest, Báthory utca 3.

Relax at Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Your afternoon is all about relaxation. There’s no better place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle than Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest’s most famous thermal bath. With 3 outdoor pools and an impressive 15 indoor pools, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to unwind and enjoy. And that’s without even mentioning the beautiful architecture! Everywhere around you, you’ll see Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance elements. Super cool!

The baths are located in the City Park (Városliget), so after your afternoon of relaxation make sure to walk around the park, too! You can find countless attractions and landmarks here, like Vajdahunyad Castle, Heroes’ Square or BalloonFly.

You can reach Széchenyi with a pleasant 40-minute walk, or take bus 72 from Báthory utca (just an 8-minute walk from Mokka Cukka). After 8 stops, you’ll arrive at Széchenyi fürdő M. The bus stops right at the thermal bath! There’s also a subway station nearby (Széchenyi fürdő, yellow line), from there it’s only a 5 minute walk to the baths.

Where: 1146 Budapest, Állatkerti krt. 9-11.

Dinner at Dobrumba

Dobrumba Budapest

End your day with a delicious sharing dinner at Dobrumba. It is the perfect go-to spot for a relaxed and cozy dinner with friends. Lots of sharing dishes, an exceptional wine list, and a cozy atmosphere, what more do you want? All these ingredients make it the perfect place for an amazing dinner experience. Make sure to try out their hummus tahini which comes with some amazing, oven baked pita bread. Delicious!

To reach Dobrumba, take bus 72 back to Astoria M (12 stops) or take the yellow line back into the city for 7 stops until you reach Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út. After that, it’s a 4-minute walk from Astoria or a 7-minute walk from the subway station.

Where: 1074 Budapest, Dob u. 5.

Day 2: Culinary adventures and panoramic views

Start your day at Best Bagel Basilica

Best Bagel Basilica Budapest

Start your day with some delicious bagels at Best Bagel Basilica. Best Bagel Basilica lives up to its name, serving the city’s best bagels. What’s in a name, right? Plus, the terrace boasts a stunning view of the basilica – a real bonus! There are only a handful of tables available on the terrace, so if you want to be sure of a table, arrive at opening time (8:30 AM). Also good to know, you have to order inside and they will bring the food to your table. Regarding recommendations, you can’t go wrong with either the Brutal Best Bagel or the Avocado & Cream Cheese Bagel.

Where: 1051 Budapest, Zrínyi utca 16.

Climb to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica

The perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary: St Stephen's Basilica

A stone’s throw away from Best Bagel Basilica you will find your next destination: St Stephen’s Basilica. For some incredible views of Budapest, a visit to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica is an absolute must. Whether you’re up for the 364-step climb (just like we did), or prefer the ease of the elevator, the experience is well worth it. From the top, you’ll be treated to stunning panoramic views of Budapest in all directions. Tickets to the panoramic terrace cost about € 8,5 per person and can be bought from the ticket office on the right side of Basilica, across the street. You can also pay an additional € 5 to get access to the church, making it a great sight all around.

Where: 1051 Budapest, Szent István tér 1.

Admire the Dohány Street Synagogue

Dohány Street Synagogue

A 15-minute walk will take you to your next destination, located in the hip Jewish Quarter. Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest one in the world. Its impressive architecture is a true gem, no wonder it’s one of Budapest’s most eye-catching buildings! Just passing by here, or having a coffee in one of the taverns across the street, is already impressive. You literally will not know where to look first, the attention to detail in the ornaments is incredible! If you want to explore the interior, you’ll have to book a guided tour so keep that in mind. This also explains the rather steep price of about € 24, but you do get a 10% discount if you have the Budapest Card.

Where: 1074 Budapest, Dohány u. 2.

Lunch at Karaván

Karaván Budapest

Walk 5 minutes to Karaván, your lunch spot of the day. This vibrant outdoor food court offers a wide range of both Hungarian and international street food options. Whether you’re in the mood for traditional Hungarian favorites like Lángos and Goulash or international dishes like burgers and nachos, Karaván has you covered. It’s the perfect spot to gather with friends and family, and to share some food and drinks. And that in a trendy setting!

Looking for some recommendations? Make sure to try the Spicey Lángos, the chicken wrap, and a shot of raspberry Pálinka.

Where: 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy utca 18.

Explore Szimpla Kert, Budapest’s original ruin bar

Szimpla Kert Budapest

On the same street as Karaván, you’ll come across Szimpla Kert, Budapest’s original ruin bar. Once you’re inside, you’ll be immersed in a maze of rooms filled with intriguing antiques, creative art installations, and even more to keep you entertained. There’s graffiti all over the walls, some doors are boarded up, and multiple rooms look completely abandoned. So cool!

At this ruin bar you can enjoy budget-friendly drinks in an inexplicably cool and vibrant atmosphere. Order at the bar, and take a seat anywhere you want. Yes, anywhere! On Sundays, you can also visit the Sunday Farmer’s Market at Szimpla Kert, a market where you can sample and buy local specialties.

Where: 1075 Budapest, Kazinczy utca 14.

Good to know
Ruin bars are often housed in repurposed abandoned buildings. They may look rundown from the outside, but inside, they’re bursting with character and creativity!

Dinner at Twentysix

Twentysix Budapest

Walk 7 minutes to Twentysix, your dinner spot of the day. This Mediterranean gem boasts a menu filled with incredible, inventive dishes that are sure to impress. It was literally our favorite restaurant in all of Budapest! And let’s not forget the stunning interior – this cozy urban oasis is hands down the most stunning restaurant in town. From the moment you walk in, you’ll feel like you’re in the jungle. Talk about a unique and amazing experience! The food here is so good, well above other restaurants in Budapest when it comes to creativity! Make sure to try the roasted carrots, drizzled with maple tahini and mango amba as an appetizer!

Where: 1061 Budapest, Király st. 26.

Drinks at 360 Bar

360 Bar Budapest

End your day by sipping on your favorite cocktail while soaking in some magical city views at 360 Bar. This rooftop gem, located a 10-minute walk from Twentysix, treats you to breathtaking panoramic views of Budapest. You can see just about any landmark the city has to offer from here, like the St. Stephen’s Basilica or Parliament Building in the distance. We loved the views from this rooftop bar the most during our trip to Budapest (which says something 😉). What’s also important: the cocktails are delicious! Prices are a little higher for Budapest standards, but still very affordable (€ 10 or less).

Where: 1061 Budapest, Andrássy út 39.

Day 3: Relaxation and evening river cruise

Start your day at Szimply

Szimply Budapest

Start your day off right with a tasty breakfast at Szimply, nestled in a small alley near the Dohány Street Synagogue. Despite its compact menu, this cozy brunch spot delivers big on flavor. Whether you’re craving something savory or sweet, Szimply’s dishes are true culinary masterpieces. They not only taste amazing but also look great for your Instagram. 😉 Plus, the prices won’t break the bank, making it a must-visit for your morning meal in Budapest. What more could you want? Make sure to try their banana bread as a desert after your savory (or sweet) meal!

Where: 1052 Budapest, Károly krt. 22.

Do some souvenir shopping at Great Market Hall

The perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary: Great Market Hall

No city trip is complete without buying some souvenirs, right? Walk 15 minutes to Great Market Hall, the hotspot for authentic souvenirs. From Hungarian spirits and porcelain, the options are boundless. On the ground floor you’ll find local produce, while the upper floor is home to food stalls and charming souvenir shops. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, a quick visit is a must to soak in the bustling atmosphere.

Looking for recommendations? Try a chimney cake on the ground floor, and decide between a tasty Goulash or yummy Chicken Paprikash from one of the stands on the top floor!

Where: 1093 Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3.

Cross the Liberty Bridge

The perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary: Liberty Bridge

A stone’s throw away from Great Market Hall you’ll find the majestic Liberty Bridge. Admittedly, we prefer the Széchenyi Chain Bridge when it comes to looks, but that doesn’t mean this bridge isn’t worth a visit, too! You’ll need to cross this bridge for your next stop anyways, so make sure you make the most of it. Why not enjoy the stunning views the Liberty Bridge has to offer along the way?

Relax at Gellért Thermal Bath

Relax at Gellért Thermal Bath

Once you cross the bridge, you will find your next destination right in front of you: Gellért Thermal Bath. With 2 outdoor pools and 8 indoor pools, it’s the perfect spot to chill out and relax. While it may be smaller than Széchenyi, we found Gellért to be exceptionally cozy and actually prefer this thermal bath. It offers a more intimate experience with even more beautiful architecture, especially inside. Make sure not to forget to eat something in the restaurant here, too, since you’ll be going straight to the next activity later!

Where: 1118 Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 4.

Enjoy Budapest by night on an evening river cruise

Enjoy Budapest by night on an evening river cruise

What better way to end your 3 days in Budapest than an evening river cruise past all of Budapest’s landmarks? No matter what type of cruise you get, all of these cruises will depart from one of these docks. To get here you need to walk 10 minutes to the metro stop Fővám tér M (coming from Gellért). From here, take metro 23 to Jászai Mari tér (7 stops). After that, it’s a ten-minute walk, depending on the dock from which you depart. The number of our dock was 42, all the way in the back, and it took 10 minutes. For a chance of a good seat, make sure to arrive at least 20 minutes before boarding to be one of the firsts in line. Once they let you board, take a seat on the cruise (make sure to pick one outside!) and enjoy the city’s stunning landmarks illuminated under the night sky. 🥹 Truly magical!

Whether it’s your first time in Budapest or you’re about to revisit the Hungarian capital, this perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary is your ticket to an unforgettable city trip.

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