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One Day in Budapest


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The complete 1-day Budapest itinerary: What to Do in 24 Hours

This layover in Budapest, like most of the travel itineraries, tries to include some hidden gems as well as the most important landmarks. Although it is difficult to experience the entire city in just 24 hours, it is possible to see many of its parts. Thus we introduce what to see in Budapest in one day:

Sunset over Hungarian Parliament

You begin your journey in the Buda district’s central area, where you will find the Buda Castle. Next, the route takes you to Andrassy Avenue, in the Pest district.

You’ll see some of the finest examples of Gothic or Neoclassical architecture along the way. This is going to be an enjoyable trip, although most of it will be on foot.

View from Castle Hill & Buda Castle of the city

The Castle District is a great place to learn about architectural history. You’ll discover a variety of churches, public buildings, and houses in the narrow streets.

Buda Castle

These sights are each amazing individually, but it can take an entire day just to see the whole district. So you will only have time to visit Buda Castle.

The castle is located at the southern end of the district. It is the ideal starting point for exploring Budapest in 24 hours. The hill is not crowded because it’s early in morning.

One of the most popular things to do and see in Budapest is to march up the steep steps in front the castle. Turn around once you reach the top, which is just outside of the main building.

You can see the most historic parts of Budapest from Castle Hill. You can also see the surrounding areas. Take a few moments to explore the grounds, including Castle Garden Bazaar or Fisherman’s Bastion.

Many theatres and exhibition halls were built in the Neo-renaissance style. Marvelosa Restaurant is one of the many restaurants you’ll find.

It is located northeast of the castle, and opens at 10 a.m. They offer gluten-free meals and are casually family-friendly.


Follow the Danube to reach the Hungarian Parliament

You should be able look up and northeast from the restaurant to find your next destination after you have left it. The Hungarian Parliament Building is located on the opposite bank of the Danube River.

Hungarian Parliament Building

This landmark should be included in any itinerary to Hungary. It was built in 1904 and is the country’s largest building.

It is most striking when seen from across the Danube River. You can see it as you cross Szechenyi Chain Bridge. You can cross the river to reach the heart of Budapest’s old city, on the Pest Side.

Just a few blocks away, the Parliament can be found along the banks the Danube. Although the walk takes only 15 minutes, you will pass other iconic sights like Shoes on Danube Bank.

Waterside shoe sculptures are a nice attraction that honors those who died during WWII.

Expect a crowd when you get to the building. You’ll have to wait at least an hour to enter the Hungarian Parliament if you don’t reserve your tickets online. So, book early to avoid disappointment. Guided tours of the interior include museum-like exhibits, which provide some history about Budapest.

If you don’t mind the lines, exploring the exterior can be quite an enjoyable experience. It almost looks like an enormous card castle from a distance, with many statues depicting historical figures from Transylvania and Hungary.


St. Stephen’s Basilica towers can be climbed

It is possible that you won’t spend too much time at the Parliament Building as there are still historical sites such as St. Stephen’s Basilica.

St. Stephen's Basilica

You can find the basilica within a few blocks. It is surrounded with small eateries and ice cream shops as well as a cat café. Visitors to St. Stephen’s Basilica love Gelarto Rosa, which serves cold gelato in freshly made waffle cones.

St. Stephen’s Basilica is just around the corner. You can grab a gelato if you are waiting in long lines.

It takes some time to get used to the size of the central area once you’re inside. Expect a small church, but you will find yourself under the enormous 300-foot neoclassical dome.

If the guides are not in a hurry, the tour will take about an hour. Sometimes they rush the visitors through the tours, leaving no time for questions or stopping to stare at the sights.

This is the best time to take a closer look at the city. For a fee, you can take the small lift up to the towers or climb the 200-steps. You can look out over the city from the top of Castle Hill.


The famous Andrassy Avenue is worth a visit

If you walk across Budapest for a day, at least one stop will be on Andrassy Avenue. This boulevard runs north to Heroes’ Square, and then continues northeast to City Park. It is located near St. Stephen’s Basilica.

Aerial View of Andrassy Avenue

Andrassy Avenue can be divided into four sections. Your trip will take in the main commercial area. You will pass numerous boutiques and designer shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as important cultural landmarks.

You may be blinded by the large trees along the streets, which sometimes block your view of the expensive villas and historic buildings that are beyond the shops and restaurants.

There are plenty of options for you to choose from if you feel hungry. Be prepared to pay for high-end meals. Puli Restaurant is the best choice if you are looking for great value. It is located on the street’s left side, one block ahead of the Octagon.

The Octagon (Oktogon) is the intersection of four major avenues. It creates an octagonal circle around the city. Although it is confusing to drive through, it is pedestrian-friendly.


Explore the City Park and Hero’s Square

It takes approximately 30 minutes to walk along Andrassy Avenue to reach Heroes Square and City Park. This includes the time spent grabbing dinner or snacks.

Heroes' Square

Budapest’s large public square and adjacent park are must-see destinations. You could easily spend the whole day exploring the parks.

Begin with the square. The Heroes’ Square is home to monuments to the Seven Magyar chieftains and is flanked with two important museums. The Museum of Fine Arts is to the left and the Palace of Art to the right.

From afar, the highlight of the square can be seen. The Millennium Monument was created to honour the sacrifices of those who fought for the Hungarian Empire. It includes a tall column that can be seen from a distance, and is topped by a statue representing the Archangel Gabriel.

The rest of the park is located beyond the square. It includes walking trails that take you to cool places. Vajdahunyad Castle is located in the middle of the park.

The elaborately designed design, which was built in 1896, demonstrates the unique flair of Hungarian architecture. The castle can be viewed from across the small lake, or you can walk along the path to see it better.

Relax with a dip in the Szechenyi thermal baths

The 1-day Budapest itinerary included lots of walking. You can now relax and enjoy a hot geothermal bath after you have walked some of the trails through the park.

Szechenyi Thermal Baths

Budapest has at least 80 hot springs, but the Szechenyi Thermal Baths is the most well-known and largest. Although the thermal bath will be busy with tourists, it also has several pools.

The admission fee is small, but the benefits you receive are well worth it. You might also want to bring flip-flops as the concrete around the pools can be slippery.

Your 24 hour stay in Budapest could be over depending on what time it is. Explore the rest of the park if you have a bit more time. You’ll find restaurants, a zoo and botanical gardens north of the Szechenyi baths. A handful of museums can be found to the south, including the Transport Museum.

This itinerary should help you to see enough, but leave you wanting more. You can return when you have more time to explore the city or check out the top day trips from Budapest.



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