Budapest is a great destination for a long weekend city break, not only because it’s beautiful and there are loads to do but also because it is not as expensive as some of the other European cities. Budapest is one of the most affordable European city breaks you could take and there is a lot to do and see for both adults as well as kids.
An early afternoon flight out of London (morning flights out of London to any European cities are much more expensive) with a flight time of 2.5hrs we landed in the beautiful city of Budapest , the capital and by far the most populous city of Hungary and one of the largest cities in the European Union.
A quick taxi ride (€25) to our hotel in the heart of the city and opposite the iconic Chain Bridge we were ready to hit the streets of Budapest.
First evening was spent walking along the Danube and the chain bridge followed by dinner and a sample of the famous Goulash.Goulash is a stew of meat and vegetables, seasoned with paprika and other spices originating from the medieval Hungary and a popular meal predominantly eaten here.
Plan : Spend the next 3 days in Budapest and enjoy this beautiful city.
Day1. If you are travelling with kids like I was, a good option is to try and get a deal on the hop on hop off bus in any of the main cities in Europe. We went with the 48 hrs pass which would cover our entire trip. Family of 2adults and 2 kids €66 for 48 hrs. https://www.bigbustours.com/en/budapest/budapest-bus-tours/
Places to visit :
Explore Fisherman’s Bastion a gorgeous combination of stunning city views and beautiful neo-Gothic architecture, Budapest’s Fisherman’s Bastion, located on the Buda bank of the Danube, is a must-see during any trip to the city.
Climb up Castle Hill above the Danube on the Buda side of the city. You’ll enjoy some more incredible cityscapes from the top of this famous hill. At the summit you’ll find Buda Castle, whose gardens are free to wander.
Explore the City Park which is home to the city zoo and one of its most famous thermal baths. You have to pay to enter the zoo and baths but you can avoid the entry costs in favour of strolling around and admiring the many statues, as well as the façade of Vajdahunyad Castle.
Stroll around the Jewish Quarter home to Europe’s largest synagogue and presenting a maze of narrow and picturesque streets and the historic neighbourhood is well worth a walk.
Marvel at the Parliament building arguably the most memorable of Budapest’s archaeological triumphs, this landmark on the banks of the Danube bears a striking resemblance to the Houses of Parliament in London.
The evening was spent walking around the city center and crossing the many bridges joining Buda and Pest together as one, the bridges of Budapest have an interesting history to read up on, and what better way to appreciate their history than walking to and from Buda and Pest. If you fancy ticking off the key bridges, don’t miss out Liberty Bridge, Elizabeth Bridge, Margaret Bridge and Chain Bridge.
Day 2. After a nice breakfast we started the day with a free walking tour of the city the best way to get a comprehensive historical background and impression of a new city, this tour is easily the cheapest method for discovering the best of Budapest. Free Budapest Tours offer two tours every day, at 10:30am and 2:30pm respectively.
We passed some beautiful churches across the city, including the Cave Church near the base of Gellert Hill. It is St. Stephen’s Basilica with its two large bell towers and Neo-Classical vibes.
Next stop was the famous Hero’s Square,the largest and most impressive square of the city. This square was laid out in 1896 to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary. Heroes’ Square is one of the most visited sights in Budapest surrounded by two important buildings, Museum of Fine Arts on the left and Kunsthalle (Hall of Art) on the right, Heroes’ Square is also a station of the Millennium Underground.
Completing our tour of the famous sites we headed to relax at the thermal baths. Bathing is a major pastime for locals as well as tourists in Budapest, and there are plenty of baths to choose from. The thermal water is warm all year-round including the winter. Book in advance to get better offers but tickets are available at the entrance as well. The most famous of all of the baths – and also Europe’s largest medicinal bath is Széchenyi, a sprawling Neo-baroque building that’s home to indoor and outdoor pools as well as a sauna and steam rooms. Another popular bath in Budapest is Gellert.
What an experience and one which is surely not to be missed if in Budapest. Spending some time here and rejuvenating ourselves we headed to the famous New York Café to feed our hungry souls.
We followed on to the top of Gellert Hill for one of the most memorable sunsets in Europe.
The evening was spent on a river cruise and this was an absolutely a treat with visuals that can only be experienced and not penned down.
A bit of shopping for the Mrs in the city centre and some souvenir before we finished of our day and headed to the hotel for some much deserved rest.
Day 3. We had a late afternoon flight home so the morning was spent with the kids on the Segway, a fun way of seeing Budapest and a very popular one to.
A quick walk along the Danube and it was time to head to the airport for flight home.
I must say it is very easy to fall in love with these two cities, Buda and Pest which are divided by the majestic River Danube. Although both sides are now joined by a number of spectacular bridges, they’re two very different places, each with a unique character, and each offering plenty to keep you busy.
Check out the beautiful views of Pest from Fisherman’s Bastion.
Marvel at the interior of St. Stephen’s basilica.
Relax at the thermal baths.
Try the traditional Hungarian goulash at the Opera House.
Eat cake at Cafe Ruszwurm.
Free things to do in Budapest
Walk across Chain Bridge and you will understand why Budapest is often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’.
Take a free walking tour.
Walk up to the summit of Gellért Hill for panoramic views of Budapest.
EU citizens bring your passport for a free tour of Budapest’s Parliament Building.
Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, the largest church in Budapest. It’s free to enter the church and there is only a nominal fee of HUF 500 to go up to the observation deck.
Enjoy the views from the Danube Promenade at night.
Visit museums with one single ticket during the ‘Night of the Museums‘, held annually in June.
Celebrate with the locals and enjoy the fireworks from the banks of the Danube on St. Stephen’s Day on August 20th.