Two days in the gorgeous Hungarian capital will no doubt leave you wanting more, but if 48 hours is all you have, then we can show you some highlights to cram in and show you the best the city has to offer.
Located along the Danube River, Budapest is a stop for many river cruise ships. We had the opportunity to experience this wonderful city partly on our own and partly with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise tour guide. I had no expectations for Budapest before getting to visit. It was not one place that was high on my list of cities to visit, but it turned out to be one of my favorites out of all of the cities that we toured.
The airport in Budapest is about a 30 minute drive outside of the city limits. We can book you a private transfer or you can take a taxi into the city center. The airport has a great taxi system that makes it easy to grab one and head into town and won’t cost you a fortune. Our private transfer was the kindest Hungarian man who pointed out many of Budapest’s highlights and gave us the best recommendations for traditional Hungarian food that we had to try. Being that we were tired from the long travel day, we just decided to check into the hotel and find a restaurant close by to have dinner. After goulash, chicken paprikash is definitely the most well-known culinary creation of Hungary. I can also say the most delicious! It is definitely a MUST try when in Budapest. We also had the courage to try Goose Liver Pate which is another delicacy of Hungary and not as bad as you think it would be.
Our first full day in Budapest started off with breakfast at our hotel and we checked in with cruise line that we would be sailing with that week. The cruise itinerary didn’t actually start until that evening, so we decided to go out into the city and explore on our own. We made our way to Hősök tere which in English means Hero’s Square. The square is surrounded by two buildings, Museum of Fine Arts on the left and Palace of Art on the right. The central focus of the square, as well as the landmark of Budapest, is the Millennium Memorial. It is also within a ten minute walk of the Budapest Zoo and home to the Budapest sign which is a great photo op! The afternoon was spent just wandering around the city and taking in all of the beautiful buildings that Budapest has.
The city scenery that is by all accounts perfectly lovely during the day becomes magical after the sun goes down. I highly recommend taking a cruise down the Danube at night by boat or ferry ride. Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, and several other famous landmarks all light up at night, casting a warm orange glow onto the river, but it is the Hungarian Parliament Building that you really won’t want to miss. There were fire works that just so happen to be going off at the same time we were sailing past and that is a moment in my life that I won’t soon forget.
The morning of our second day was spent doing a walking tour with our Uniworld Cruise guide. We stumbled upon a mini outdoor festival where they had booths set up with homemade products, food and beer vendors and live music playing. Our group got around that morning on the public transpiration system. It is so easy, and the buses, subways and brightly colored trams go everywhere in the city. You can purchase a single ticket on any transportation for the equivalent of $1 USD.
One of the many things that Budapest is known for is their great markets. Our tour guide took us to a local market that not many tourist know about or go to. We were able to see the locals doing their shopping and going through their day to day routines, which was really cool to see! They had fresh flowers, fruit and all the meat and vegetables that you could possibly want. You have to make sure you pay a visit to the Great Market Hall, the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. This unique 19th century market is made up of three floors of fresh food vendors, delicious – smelling food stalls, and little souvenir shops. This is the perfect place to have lunch to try some authentic Hungarian food and do your souvenir shopping. Everything was moderately priced. While Hungary has their own currency, the Hungarian Forint, they do accept Euros in most locations.
That afternoon we spent just wandering around the city. We saw the Dohány Street Synagogue, also known as the Great Synagogue. It is the largest synagogue in Europe seating around 3,000 people and is located in the Jewish district of Budapest. Located next to the synagogue is the Garden of Remembrance, a mass grave for Jews murdered by Hungarian Nazis in 1944/1945. It is a beautiful location with so much history in it’s grounds.
While I feel like we saw quite a bit in the 48 hours that we were in Budapest, there is still so much of the city we did not get to explore. If you are lucky to have more than just two days we would also recommend….
- Having a soak in one of the famous thermal baths
- Going inside St Stephan’s Basilica
- Taking a tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building
- Take part in Ruin Pub crawl one night
- And visit the Buda Castle to get a stunning view of the city
Budapest is a beautiful city and defiantly blew any expectations I had out of the window. If you would like to plan a trip to Budapest or any other destination, contact our office. Our expert travel consultants would be happy to help you check another destination off of your bucket list!
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