48 Hours in Budapest: What to Do, See and Eat
Budapest has become a popular destination for not just backpackers but for couples having a weekend break. We spent 5 days here on our trip around Europe, however, it is possible to see the best that the city has to offer in as little as two days in Budapest. Budapest is perfect for a European weekend getaway, so here’s our 2 days in Budapest itinerary of what to do, what to see and what to eat.
Morning – Budapest Walking Tour
To get your two days in Budapest started, head for breakfast at Szimply- Breakfast and Brunch Cafe for Avo Toast for as little as 2,900 ft. After breakfast, you will want to work out that avo toast with a walking tour, there is no better way of seeing Budapest than joining a walking tour. If you are a little tight on budget, there is a free walking tour that operates at both 11 am and 2 pm. If you have the budget and would like a more personal tour of the city then consider investing in a private tour guide. These start from as little as $23 and go right up t0 $160. These range in time so be sure you are getting plenty for your money.
If walking isn’t quite your thing you can always opt for the hop on hop off bus with tickets for a 1-day pass for €18 per adult. These are perfect for just two days in Budapest and will take you to the key sights of the city and give you a little bit of information along the way. Ticket prices generally are cheaper online compared to street prices.
Afternoon – Exploring Buda
Before heading off to the other side of the river, go and check out some beautiful Hungarian food at Drum Cafe. Try out a couple of dishes to get a real taste of Hungarian food including the Goulash and Langos.
Next, we’re going to be heading over the river Danube to Buda side of the city to explore the wonderful sites of the Fishermans Bastion, Buda Castle and Matthias Church. The views are magnificent and can be reached by public transport – if you’re struggling after the long walks of the walking tour or simply want to save time with having just 2 days in Budapest. Or you can find a 3-hour tour with pick up and drop off at a starting price of $31.
Once at Fisherman’s Bastion look out over the river and you will see the stunning views of the city and the Palace of Parliament located at the opposite side of the river. While there, discover the beauty of the exterior and interior of Matthias Church with stunning stained glass windows and exquisitely tiled roofs.
Head back into town to Váci street, this is the main pedestrian street in Budapest filled with shops and restaurants. If you don’t find anything there simply walk off into some of the smaller side streets surrounding the city to discover more cafes. There are plenty to choose from and you won’t be disappointed.
Evening – Budapest Ruin Bars
A good way to finish off your first of two days in Budapest is to head out to some of the famous ruin bars. There are plenty of tours and parties you can join that will take you along a ruin bars pub crawl. If you are looking for a slower pace you can find plenty around, the best one to start with is Szimpla Kert. The ruin bars use open derelict buildings and spaces to create a cheap place to go and drink. There is plenty to see so you can visit a few or try out just the one, they are all within a short walk of each other too. The ruin bars are not to be missed off your 48 hours in Budapest itinerary!
Morning – Budapest Markets and Bridges
To get the second day of your two days in Budapest started, head out to The Central Market Hall for some breakfast, there you can find fresh pastries, bread and a variety of drinks. The market has plenty to offer but if you want to beat the tourists go early in the morning and mingle with the locals who will be busy getting their ingredients for the evenings’ dinner. The market hall is a restored neogothic building which is host to everything you can think of finding from fresh fruit and veg to dried meats and spices.
Next, visit Szabadság Bridge, also known as Liberty bridge, the bridge itself connects Buda and Pest over the River Danube. The bridge is a wonderful green colour, be sure to walk to the middle and get a good view of Elisabeth Bridge further down the river.
Don’t forget to stop off for some lunch in the centre, you will find just a short walk down the side streets an array of beautiful cafes and restaurants to choose from like Trattoria Toscana, serving up tradition Tuscan food. Set near the waterfront it is a perfect spot for resting and people watching before heading back out exploring.
Afternoon – More Budapest Highlights
Hopefully, after lunch, you’ll have the energy to climb the 364 steps up to the Dome of St Stephens Basilica. The view from the top is breathtaking and the best you’ll see during your two days in Budapest. There are plenty of opportunities for selfies and some great panoramic shots. If you aren’t up to walking the steps you can visit the beautiful interior of the Basilica for a small donation to the Parish.
If you are looking for something more relaxing check out the Széchenyi thermal baths. Just a short car ride from the centre you can spend the afternoon relaxing in the medicinal baths making you feel refreshed and ready for an evening on the river. Széchenyi thermal baths have the largest medicinal bath in Europe so it is definitely worth checking out. Ticket prices for general admission with a locker start from 5500ft, if you are feeling extremely luxurious you can even get a private cabin or massages during your visit.
Evening – Budapest Dinner Cruise
After feeling refreshed from the thermal baths why not carry on the luxury and dine out on the river. There are plenty of river cruises to choose from lasting anything from 2 – 3 hours and ranging in prices. You can find tickets ranging from $25 to $80 for the evening, some include shows and live entertainment as well as just drinks or a 4-course meal. This is a great way to see the city lit up at night and enjoy a lovely meal, the perfect way to end two days in Budapest.
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About the Author
Cora And Helen of Inside Our Suitcase have been travelling the world together since they met back in 2014. They decided to share their adventures online, mainly so that their mums knew they were ok… but also because they wanted to help other travellers with advice and information they wish they had known when they set out on the open road for an adventure.