Perfect Budapest 3-Day Guide
Budapest, the Paris of the East, is a very underrated city in Europe. With all the history, ruin bars, and Roman baths, you can easily spend 2-4 days here. Use this as a guide to plan your trip to Budapest to see for yourself why it’s called the Paris of the East!
Day 1: St. Steven’s Basilica, Synagogue, and Ruin Bars
Begin your morning at a bakery with a fresh pastry and coffee. You can check out my favorite gluten-free and vegan bakery, called “Free a Glutenmentes Pekseg.” There is no website, but Google Maps will find it for you!
After breakfast, take the metro ($1.25) or walk to the Synagogue. Budapest has a large Jewish community, so checking out the Synagogue is a must. It is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the entire world!
Take a short 15-minute walk from the Synagogue to St. Stephen’s Basilica, a beautiful cathedral! The area around St. Stephen’s Basilica is full of shops to wander through. Afterward, continue walking for another 15 minutes, and you will arrive at Budapest’s Parliament building.
Grab some lunch near the Parliament Building, and then see the “Shoes on the Danube.” This moving monument is for Jews that were shot and thrown into the Danube River, that divides the city into Buda and Pest.
RUIN BARS: In the evening, don’t forget to check out the amazing ruin bars! My favorite one was Szimpla Kert. Even if you don’t like to drink, they are cool to check out, and Szimpla Kert has food as well! You can even join a pub crawl one night to different ruin bars!
Day 2: All Things Buda Castle & Roman Baths
Walk across the Szechneyi Bridge to the Buda Castle. There are two options–walk to the top, or ride the cable car, the Funicular, to the top! The Funicular ticket price is 1,200 HUF ($4.30) one way for an adult. I chose to walk and although it’s a big hill, it wasn’t too strenuous and the walk up was beautiful!
At the top of the Buda Castle, you will be able to see an amazing view of the Szechneyi Chain Bridge. Along with the view, there is a place you can get mulled wine for only two euros!
Once you have soaked in the beauty of Buda Castle, grab some typical Hungarian goulash in the city center or along the river!
Take the subway to a thermal bath of your choice! I chose the Szechenyi Thermal Bath. It has 18 pools and is open every day of the year! It was 35℉ (2℃) outside but the baths are around 90℉ (32℃), so it’s an amazing feeling to chill in the bath during winter! The baths are full in the summer as well. There are many indoor baths as well as saunas. If you want, you could spend a whole day there with food, massages, and facials!
Day 3: Market, Bunker Hospital, & Fisherman’s Bastion
Take the morning to check out the Great Market Hall in Budapest! If you didn’t try Goulash before, you can get it there, along with other typical Hungarian food! There are fresh fruits and veggies along with gifts to bring home to family.
Tip: Postcards and other gifts are cheaper at this market than any stores in Budapest!
Come out of the market, turn left, and you will see the Liberty Bridge!
Catch the tram right outside of the Great Market Hall to the Hospital in the Rock Nuclear Bunker Museum! It cost 4,000 HUF ($14) but was completely worth it. It is part of 6-miles (10km) of interconnected caves and tunnels underneath Buda Castle Hill. It was used as a hospital in WWII and during their revolution. It was then turned into an emergency nuclear bunker!
TIP: One hour tours are the only way to visit, and they begin every hour on the hour, from 10AM-7PM. So make sure you arrive about ten minutes before the tour to get a ticket.
After learning about the Bunker Hospital, walk down the hill to Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. The view is breathtaking.
Grab some dinner and enjoy one last night at the ruin bars! Csendes Vintage Bar and Cafe is one you shouldn’t miss! They don’t have a website, but Google can show you exactly where it is.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Hungary doesn’t use Euros! Their currency is called Hungarian Florint, or HUF. Prices seem crazy, but 279 HUF is only $1.
- Budapest doesn’t have Uber, so if you need to take an uber, their version is called Taxify. It works the same as Uber. Check it out here.
- Metro tickets are $1.25 each, but there are daily, weekly, and monthly passes that could be cheaper based on the length of time you will be in Budapest! Personally, I didn’t use the subway a lot, so I paid per ticket when I did use it. If you don’t like to walk during your three-day stay, I would suggest getting the package of 10 tickets for $10!
Places to Stay:
- Airbnb–If you haven’t used Airbnb, you can check it out here. I had an amazing AirBnb, where we had the entire apartment to ourselves in an amazing location!
- If you aren’t picky, you can stay at hostels! The first time I went to Budapest, I stayed at Unity Hostel for $6 per night!! It was an amazing hostel, with a ruin bar right downstairs!