What to See in Budapest in 3 Days

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Table of contents

Why Visit Budapest?

Budapest is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, blending a rich history with a vibrant modern lifestyle. The city is split by the Danube River into two distinct regions: Buda and Pest. Whether you are into history, architecture, or just want to relax in thermal baths, Budapest has something for everyone.

How to Get to Budapest

Most international travelers arrive at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, which is well-connected to the city center via public transportation and taxis. Alternatively, Budapest can be reached by train from many European cities.

Best Time to Visit Budapest

The best times to visit Budapest are in the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild and the city is less crowded. However, each season has its charm, so any time can be a great time to discover Budapest.

Brief Historical Overview of Budapest

Budapest has a rich history dating back to Roman times. It was officially created in 1873 from the merger of Buda, Pest, and Óbuda. Today, it stands as a testament to centuries of architectural and cultural development.

Day 1: Exploring the Historical Center

Morning: Walking Tour of Pest

Start your day in Pest with a visit to St. Stephen’s Basilica, named after the first king of Hungary. This beautiful neoclassical church offers panoramic views of the city from its dome. This is a must-see in any three-day itinerary for Budapest.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Next, take a stroll down Váci Street, the city's main shopping avenue filled with boutiques, cafes, and souvenir shops. It’s perfect for a leisurely morning walk.

Midday: Market and Lunch

Head to the Great Market Hall, Budapest’s largest and oldest indoor market. Here, you can sample local cuisine like langos, a deep-fried dough topped with sour cream and cheese.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Afternoon: Cultural Landmarks

Spend your afternoon exploring some of Pest’s cultural landmarks. Start with the Hungarian National Gallery, located in Buda Castle, to see a comprehensive collection of Hungarian art.

Then, take a tour of the Hungarian State Opera House, one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world.

Evening: Walk Along the Danube Promenade

End your first day with a leisurely stroll along the Danube Promenade. Don’t miss the iconic Chain Bridge, especially beautiful when illuminated at night.

Admire the majestic Hungarian Parliament Building from across the river. For dinner, consider a river cruise on the Danube, a magical way to see the city’s landmarks while enjoying a delicious meal.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Day 2: Historical Heritage of Buda

Morning: Walk Around Buda Castle

Begin your day with a walk around the Buda Castle District. Visit the Fisherman’s Bastion for some of the best views of Pest.

Explore Matthias Church, known for its colorful roof tiles and Gothic architecture.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Midday: Buda Castle

Spend the rest of the morning at Buda Castle, home to the Budapest History Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Afternoon: Spa and Thermal Baths

In the afternoon, relax at the Gellért Baths, one of Budapest’s most famous thermal baths.

Evening: Dinner in a Historic Restaurant

End your day with dinner at a historic restaurant in Buda, enjoying traditional Hungarian cuisine and wine pairings.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Day 3: Modern Culture and Entertainment

Morning: City Park (Városliget)

Spend your morning at City Park (Városliget). Visit the Vajdahunyad Castle, which showcases architectural styles from different eras.

Families might enjoy a visit to the Budapest Zoo, one of the oldest in the world.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Midday: Margaret Island

Take a break on Margaret Island, a green oasis in the middle of the Danube. Rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll across the island. Enjoy lunch at one of the island’s cafes or bring a picnic.

Afternoon: Shopping and Contemporary Attractions

Head back to the city and explore Andrássy Avenue, Budapest’s grand boulevard. Visit a modern art museum to see the latest in Hungarian art.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Evening: Budapest’s Nightlife

Experience Budapest’s famous ruin bars, set in abandoned buildings. For those looking to explore more, the city offers plenty of nightlife options from live music to dance clubs.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Unique Local Experiences

Culinary Masterclasses

Learn to cook traditional Hungarian dishes in a hands-on cooking class.

Bike Tours

Explore the city on a bike tour, a great way to cover more ground and see hidden gems.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

River Cruises

Enjoy a romantic evening with a boat trip on the Danube. Many cruises offer dinner and drinks.

Local Festivals and Events

Check out local festivals and events taking place during your visit. From food festivals to cultural celebrations, there’s always something happening in Budapest.

Additional Information

Transportation Tips in Budapest

Budapest has an efficient public transportation system, including metro, trams, and buses. Consider getting a travel card for unlimited travel during your stay.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Where to Stay: Hotel and Neighborhood Recommendations

The city offers a range of accommodations from budget hostels to luxury hotels. Consider staying in central districts like V, VI, or VII for easy access to attractions.

Safety and Behavior Tips

Budapest is generally safe, but like any major city, it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Use common sense and enjoy your trip.

Travel Apps for Budapest

Download apps like Google Maps, Budapest Transport (BKK FUTÁR), and a translation app to help navigate the city and communicate.

Useful Phrases in Hungarian

Learn a few basic Hungarian phrases to enhance your experience. Locals appreciate the effort and it can make your interactions smoother.

Conclusion

General Recommendations

We hope this three-day itinerary helps you make the most of your visit to Budapest. Remember to take your time, enjoy the sights, and soak in the beautiful atmosphere of this stunning city.

Extending Your Trip

If you have more time, consider taking day trips to nearby places like the Danube Bend, Szentendre, or even Vienna, which is just a short train ride away.

Useful Resources and Links

For more detailed information and bookings, check out local tourism websites and guides.

Interactive Map of the Itinerary

Use an interactive map to plan your route and ensure you don’t miss any highlights.

What to do in Budapest in 3 Days

Popular excursions in Budapest
Nighttime or Daytime Sightseeing Cruise: Discover Budapest in a New Light
Nighttime or Daytime Sightseeing Cruise: Discover Budapest in a New Light
Discover the dazzling beauty of Budapest at night with our enchanting sightseeing cruise along the River Danube, featuring panoramic views of the city
from €10
per person
2416 reviews
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With Drink: 70-Minute Sightseeing Cruise on Danube (Daytime & Nighttime)
With Drink: 70-Minute Sightseeing Cruise on Danube (Daytime & Nighttime)
70-minute 30-language audio-guide river cruise on the Danube with 1 drink of your choice included
from €15
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Evening Cruise with Optional Drinks and Live Music
Evening Cruise with Optional Drinks and Live Music
Join a night cruise and discover the lovely Hungarian capital with your favorite drinks. Starting from the center, admire the UNESCO-listed banks of the Danube aboard the elegant Gróf Széchényi ship.
from €21
per person
3360 reviews
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Danube cruise Budapest with dinner and Piano Battle Show - Weekdays
Danube cruise Budapest with dinner and Piano Battle Show - Weekdays
Enjoy a captivating Danube River cruise featuring exceptional piano performances, delicious international and Hungarian cuisine, and stunning views.
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1033 reviews
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Hungarian Dinner Cruise on the Danube
Hungarian Dinner Cruise on the Danube
Combine a cruise on the Danube River with a Hungarian dinner and live music to get the most out of your time in Budapest.
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Cocktail Cruise Downtown Budapest
Cocktail Cruise Downtown Budapest
The cruise takes place during sunset, providing our guests with the most fabulous views of the illuminated Budapest. While enjoying the gorgeous panorama, guests can indulge in 3, freshly prepared cocktails on board. (3 cocktails included in the price)
€40
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Budapest Unlimited Prosecco Cruise
Budapest Unlimited Prosecco Cruise
A boat ride along the nighttime Danube...the unrivaled view of Budapest. Enjoy sipping on an unlimited supply of premium prosecco during your journey.
from €25
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Budapest City Discovery Tour
Budapest City Discovery Tour
Visit the famous Opera House, known as one of the most beautiful in the world, Heroes Square, the St. Stephen's Basilica, and more.
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