What to see in Budapest in 2 days: How to see the best of the city

by Rebecca
2 comments

One of Europe’s great cities, Budapest has a rich history for visitors to delve in to. If you only have a few days to explore this incredible city, you may be wondering what to see in Budapest in 2 days? Well, This blog post is for you.

From its imperial height during the age of the Hapsburg Empire to its time as a Soviet state, Hungry’s capital city will take you back through time. Rich and tasty goulash will warm you more than a swim in one of the notorious thermal baths dotted around the city. 

There are quirky neighbourhoods full of vibrant nightlife and street art contrast against the grandeur of the parliament building. Budapest Is big on art and culture. There are more than 40 theatres and over 100 museums and galleries in the city. Throughout the year concerts, festivals and events delight crowds, not to mention the regular incredible performances at the famous Opera House.

I loved my stay in Budapest. It was fascinating to learn about how life in the city has changed for its residents over the years. Hungarians also know how to boss both comfort food and beer, putting you in a perpetual good mood. The unique, colourful and atmospheric ruin bars will also ensure you have one of the best nights out in Europe.

Want to learn how to make the most of your trip to Budapest? Read on to discover what to see in Budapest in 2 days, helping you experience this incredible location to its full potential in a limited amount of time. P.S – you really do need to try the Goulash!

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What To Expect In Budapest – know before you go:

Language

The official language is Hungarian, the 13th most widely spoken first language in Europe, with around 13 million native speakers. It’s also one of the official languages of the European Union.

Currency

The official currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF) in Hungary. However, you can pay with Euros in several places.

Climate

The average temperature in summer is around 25 degrees. Surprisingly, Budapest average sunshine hours surpass most European capitals. Budapest has exceptionally high levels of sunshine hours from April to September that matches those of cities like Barcelona. During May, June, July, August, and September you are most likely to experience good weather with pleasant average temperatures. On average, the coolest month is January, with temperatures averaging at around minus 1 degrees.

Transport In Budapest

Budapest is a very well connected city with reliable and cheap public transport options, such as the streetcars and underground train system. You can reach the city easily by bus or by train, and the international Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport is only a short 30-minute shuttle bus ride away from the city centre.

Tickets are available to purchase at any subway station and valid across the metro, buses, streetcars, trolleybuses, the Cogwheel Railway and the suburban HÉV lines (only within the city limits).

To avoid lines, you can also buy tickets from street stands and newsstands. It is also possible to buy tickets from a ticket vending machine. Information on ticket pricing can be found here.

With the Budapest Card, you receive free unlimited travel on public transport. Also included with this card are free entry to several museums, two free walking tours, and 10%-50% discounts at participating baths, museums, restaurants, and spas. Cards can be purchased with a 24-hour 48-hour or 72-hour validity.

You can purchase a Budapest card here.

Where to stay in Budapest

In Budapest, you’ll find great accommodation options to fit any budget. Below are a few of my recommendations.

Budget accommodation in Budapest

Here are some of my favourite Budget-friendly accommodation options in Budapest.

Das Nest Budapest

Flow Hostel

Full Moon Design Hostel Budapest

Best places to stay in Budapest

Roombach Hotel Budapest Center

Great location, great design and a pretty decent breakfast available, Roomcach Hotel is one of the top-rated accommodation options in the city. I love the colourful furnishings but what clinches it is the affordable price.

Budapest Holidays Apartments

Fancy a bit more privacy? Stay in one of these self-catered holiday apartments. With Deak Ferenc Square Metro Station and Vorosmarty Square Metro Station right on your doorstep, exploring the city is made easy. Each unit is air-conditioned and soundproof and comes with wooden floors, a flat-screen cable TV, a safe, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a bathroom.

The Three Corners Hotel Anna Superior

With charming character and a great central location, The Three Corners Anna Superior is a great base for your getaway. This hotel is great value for money and the bonus is the Hungarian National Museum is 650 yards away.

What to see in Budapest in 2 days

From walking tours to bar crawls, there’s so much to see and do in Budapest that you’ll definitely have to throw in a visit to one of the thermal spars to relax after a hectic day of sightseeing. Below I have outlined a two-day itinerary of things to see and do in Budapest, making sure you get to pack in as much as you can in such a short amount of time. You will be surprised at just how much you can pack in over a weekend in Budapest.

Day one in Budapest:

Take a walking tour of Budapest

The first thing I always recommend doing after you arrive in a new city is to walk. So when you’re thinking about what to see in Budapest in 2 days, I say start with a walking tour. Talking walking around a new place is the best way to get a feel for your environment. Of course, you can do this independently but by joining a focused tour with a great local guide, not only will you be sure to see all the top sights but will leave having learned some pretty great facts.

Budapest have some great options for walking tours. A great place to start is looking at what free tours are on offer.

Free Walking Tours

Free Tours Budapest offer an impressive variety of different tours, starting at different times throughout the day.

I was aiming to do something a little different from the usual city tours on offer, so I took the communism walk, which delved into the political history of Hungry while seeing some great sights. If that’s not your thing, alongside the Orginal Walk, you’ll find a walk of the Jewish District and a Street & Urban Art Tour – get your cameras at the ready.

Paid Walking Tours

If you want something a little different, there are also a variety of paid tours on offer in the city.

Discover hidden gems on the alternative walking tour. For photography enthusiastic join a private photography walking tour to snap the best views across the city. Foodies can join one of the many walking and food tours available, including this one with a focus on street food. 

Indulge in Hungarian food at the Great Market Hall

Who doesn’t love to visit a bustling food market? The Great Market Hall has to be Budapest’s best. Alongside traditional market sellers, offering a variety of fresh produce, you’ll find some cheap, cheerful but oh so tasty food options.

Along the edges of the upstairs balcony are some of the best hot food vendors. I tried a chicken breast baked in cauliflower cheese, but other tasty dishes, including a selection of stews, were on offer.

Visit the Parliament Building 

The Parliament building in Budapest is not only one of the biggest buildings in the entire country, but it is also the heart of the countries political system, housing hundreds of parliamentary offices.

The exterior may be damn impressive but if you are curious to see inside, certain areas of the buildings are open daily for tours. 

Make sure to bring identification with you and your bag may get searched upon entry. You can book onto the top-selling guided tour of Budapest Parliament here.

 

Be Horrified by the House of Terror

What’s more frightening than the truth? A visit to the House of Terror is an eye-opening journey through the fascist on the communist past of Hungary, as well as standing as a memorial to the victims of these regimes. 

The building was once the former headquarters of the Fascist Arrow Cross Party. It later became a prison and torture chamber for the State Security services of Hungary, before it’s current incarnation as a museum. 

For those interested in the darker sides of human history, this museum makes an interesting visit.

Budapest Ruin Bar Crawl 

Standing in once crumbled buildings within Budapest’s Jewish District you’ll find an attraction almost as popular as Buda Castle and the Hungarian Parliament Building. What first started as a hopeful idea to rejuvenate these buildings, that were left empty since the end of the Second World War, these unique, alternative bars are now the perfect place to party in the city. To find out more about the history of the ruin bars, visit Buda Flow’s awesome blog post.

The best way to get a flavour of some of these bars is to go on the Budapest Ruin Bar Crawl. I loved this chaotic and fun night! A huge group of us descended on the bars, the perfect way to make new friends from all over the world. To book into the bar crawl, simply CLICK HERE!

The bar crawl is an affordable and fun way to get an insider’s perspective into some of the best Ruin Bars in Budapest, lead by knowledgeable local guides. It’s also one of the best ways to make friends with fellow travellers. During the Bar Crawl, I met so many lovely people including another girl from England and two lovely Mexican gals.

 

Day Two In Budapest

 

Relax in Budapest’s Thermal Baths

One of Budapest’s most unique and famous features is its stunning thermal baths.

The history of settlement from the Roman and Ottoman empires made popular the pastime of bathing in the mineral-rich thermal water from beneath Budapest’s surface. Visiting one of the many baths in Budapest is a way to spend a relaxing day in the city.

The baths are said to have medicinal properties with waters rich in calcium, magnesium, sulphates, fluoride and bicarbonates. All of which are believed to help people with certain illnesses and pains, such as joint issues.

Having only two days in Budapest, you’d be hard pushed to find the time to visit every bath in the city. That’s why I recommend heading to Szechenyi Bath for the ultimate thermal spa experience, you can book your skip the queue ticket right here.

I loved my visit to the Szechenyi Bath, with its famed bright yellow exterior and host of different temperature baths to choose from.

There are plenty of different packages on offer when visiting Szechenyi Bath. You can book a luxurious VIP Spa experience with a relaxing private massage to relax to the fullest in Europes biggest thermal spring spa.

Hungarian National Museum

Find out more about the history, art, culture and religion of Hungary by paying a visit to the spectacular national museum. Founded in 1802, this museum still tells the story that is now not even considered to be areas within Hungary’s remit, such as Transylvania.

The museum is open daily from 10 am until 18:00 and tickets cost 2 600 HUF for each adult visitor. This museum is a fantastic place to visit if you are thinking about what to see in Budapest in 2 days.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Standing tall as one of the most important religious buildings throughout Hungary, St Stephens Basilica also holds an unusual relic. It holds what is reported to be the right hand of the first king of Hungary, King Stephen.

Apart from this weird legendary right hand, the Basilica holds regular classical music concerts and Organ performances open to the public. You can book tickets to one of these magical concerts right here.

If you visit the Basilica on a clear day, make sure you climb up to the top of the tower for great views across the city.

 

Indulge in Hungarian cuisine at Gettó Gulyás

You may be busy thinking about what to see in Budapest in 2 days, but don’t forget about all the yummy food in Budapest. Gettó Gulyás is one of the best restaurants in Budapest’s Jewish District. The menu offers a range of traditional Hungarian dishes, including the amazing venison stew with dumplings that I ordered. This cute little eatery is the perfect place to eat after a busy day of exploring, and to relax with a pint of Dreher while you wait for your food to arrive. Located close to Budapest’s Ruin Bars means after your meal, you’re ready to party the night away. For more information, visit the restaurants, Facebook Page.

Hungarian Goulash

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Find out how to see the best of Budapest in just 2 days, from incredible places to eat in Budapest and the best attractions such as the Budapest thermal baths and the ruin bars in Budapest.I hope you enjoyed reading my guide to what to see in Budapest in 2 days.

If you are also planning on visiting Vienna during your trip to Europe, make sure to check out my full-on guide on how to spend one day in Vienna. 

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2 comments

Jyoti 02/01/2019 - 3:00 pm

Hi Rebecca, I really enjoyed reading your comprehensive city guide. It reminded me of our visit a couple of years ago. I found the Alchemy museum, a hidden gem in the city and loved the walks on the river. We stayed at the Hilton within the castle and it was an amazing location. There is so much to do in Budapest that I hope to visit again.
Btw, I found your blog on Pinterest

Reply
Jyoti 07/08/2019 - 7:28 pm

Hi Rebecca, I really enjoyed reading your comprehensive city guide. It reminded me of our visit a couple of years ago. I found the Alchemy museum, a hidden gem in the city and loved the walks on the river. We stayed at the Hilton within the castle and it was an amazing location. There is so much to do in Budapest that I hope to visit again.
Btw, I found your blog on Pinterest

Reply

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