Dandy of the Danube, Budapest is an extremely easy city to get around. The public transportation is simple and the walking paths are a plenty. J and I visited Budapest in November, so the weather was pretty cold (mid-30’s). There were a few times where we caught ourselves needing to step into a café to warm up, so dressing for the outdoors was essential. I recommend removable layers for when the sun comes out or when a quick espresso stop is not available.
Budapest is split by the Danube River into the Buda side and the Pest side. Using the river and bridged as a reference point we were never lost and always found our way back to our Airbnb without a map or smartphone. We covered the Buda side on one day and the Pest side on the other.
Here were our favorite 10 sites and stops along the way… (and if you’re just looking for food, click here for a some recommendations)
On the Buda side:
- Fisherman’s Bastion. You will get a great view of the Parliament and Danube Riverfront from here.
- National Gallery. While we didn’t make it inside, if you come here at night, the building is lit up and makes for a really beautiful view and photo op. It’s a great walk up to the National Gallery if you’re looking for a post dinner calorie burn. Alternatively, you can take the Funicular up to the top for a nominal fee!
- Citadel Hill. Come here during the day and take the stroll to the top of the hill for an amazing view of Budapest.
Between Buda and Pest:
- Walk across the Chain Bridge. After stopping for a look at the Parliament, continue on toward Margaret Island. During the summer there are concerts and events here, but during the winter, it’s a nice calm stroll through the park. You can rent bikes as well if you are pressed for time or just want to work the legs.
On the Pest side:
- Hungarian Parliament. Make reservations in advance for a tour in your preferred language. Some of the areas visited include the grand central staircase, stepping into the Session Room, and seeing the Great Vaulted Hall. The real highlight of the tour is seeing the Holy Crown of Hungary which shines through the glass case.
- Vorosmarty Square. While this might not be a must visit, it is a place you will walk through at least once. There’s a bunch of shopping located right off the strip, and during the holidays, this is the location of the big Christmas Market. At other times of the year this is the place for the city festivities.
- Great Market. If you’re hungry in Hungary you’re guaranteed to find something tasty here, and leave pretty full. A must stop for Foodies! We sampled a bit of everything and were definitely weighed down for the day…You have been warned 😊
- Schenzyi Spa. Check out one of the largest public bath houses in Europe. Bring your own towel, or rent one for a cash deposit. During the summer they have parties here and during winter you can hang out playing chess and enjoying the warm geothermal waters.
- Heroes Square. Located next to the Museum of Fine Arts, Heroes Square is the largest square in Budapest and memorializes the 1000-year old history of Hungary.
- Vajdahunyad Castle. While we did not get a chance to go inside, but the romantic castle is a beauty to see from the exterior. Built in 1896 for the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian State, its backdrop is a lake that becomes one of the largest skating fields in Europe during cold weather. For the Schenzyi Spa, Heroes Square, and Vajdahunyad Castle, you can take the M1 Metro line.