Surprisingly, Budapest, Hungary is city that’s more than just do-able in a single weekend – I never had to cut corners or leave out things I wanted to do, and I had quite the list. I had the chance to visit the city earlier this year, in February, and despite having reservations about the limited time (over a weekend), and having a case of FOMO, I was quite happy to tick off a lot of places in Budapest.
Despite how far apart a lot of places look on the map, they actually are not; most tourist-y or things that are worth checking out is reachable via walking. I saved quite a bit of money and I always find walking really makes you feel connected to the place and feel like a real local!
The views in Budapest are undeniably spectacular – some of my favourites include:
- Walking along Andrássy út, an upscale shopping street in Budapest
- Relaxing at Erzsébet tér (Elizabeth Square), the largest green area in the city
- And the views across the Elizabeth Bridge during dusk for a spectacular view of the Danube River, and the cities of Buda and Pest
Since this post is a little long, here is a Table of Contents for you to preview what’s I’ll be featuring on the post.
- Free Views: Get a panoramic view of Budapest for free!
- Historic Sites: Where to go to see historic parts of Buda and Pest
- Thermal Baths: Budapest is known as the spa capital of the world, so a visit to a thermal bath is a must-try!
- Museums: for the culture buffs!
Budapest is already relatively inexpensive by most standards, but free is free, and who wants to spend the money when you can do it for absolutely no cost?
Gellért Hill: The view from the top gives you a breathtaking vista of the Budapest skyline and overlooking the Danube River. It was named after Saint Gellért, a martyr who was thrown from this hill to his death. You can cross the green bridge and walk to the hilltop or take bus #27 from Moricz Cz!
Janoshegy/János Hill: The highest point in Budapest and is also a popular tourist and local spots for picnic and a panoramic view of the city. Don’t forget to visit the Erzsébet Lookout Tower to see a birds-eye view (visit is free)
Elizabeth Bridge: The most popular tourist bridge is the Chain Bridge/Széchenyi Chain Bridge, notable for its significance in “connecting the East and West” as well as being considered a modern engineering marvel. It is the equivalent of Brookly Bridge in New York or London Bridge in London. In order to get a good view of the Chain Bridge, my favourite spot is from Elizabeth Bridge, just a short walk away and gives you the perfect postcard-ready shot of both Buda, Pest, the Danube, and Chain Bridge.
St. Stephen’s Basilica: A majestic Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest, this church was named after the first king of Jungary. It houses sacred relics including St. Stephen’s mummified right hand, the Szent Jobb (Holy Right Hand) as well as the cupola from which you can see the stunning view of Budapest. Entry fee to the cupola is charged.
» Location: Szt. István tér, district V., M3 (blue line) metro Arany János utca station
Matthias Church: is a Roman Catholic church in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion at the heart of Buda’s Castle District. What’s unique about this church is its ornate roof and its Gothic style architecture.
» Location: Budapest, Szentháromság tér 2, 1014 Hungary
Fishermen’s Bastion: An almost-free site to visit, the Fisherman’s Bastion is located across the Matthias Church and provides a 360 view of Danube, Margaret Island, Pest and the Gellért Hill. It is named in honour of the fishermen who defended this stretch of the city walls in the middle ages. It’s free during the off season, and from 9pm-7am.
» Location: Szentháromság tér 5, 1014 Hungary
Must-Go: Thermal Baths
A legacy left behind by the Turks, Budapest is now known as the spa capital of the world for its vast abundance of thermal baths. The hard part, is picking just one of the many places available, and which pool to do first.
Széchenyi thermal bath is the largest thermal baths in Europe. Featuring 15 indoor pools and 3 outdoors, you’ll want to spend an entire day here. In addition to the pool, be sure to take advantage of the 10 saunas / steam cabins, several massage therapies, facial treatments, and gym therapies. Entry starts at HUF 4300.
» Location: Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary
» Other Baths in Budapest to Check Out
During my weekend, I only had time to visit Széchenyi Thermal bath, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others worth checking out. Here is a list of the Thermal Baths you could check out during your next visit!
- Gellért Thermal Bath: Kelenhegyi út 4, 1118 Hungary
- Lukács Thermal Bath: Lukács Gyógyfürdő, H-1023 Budapest, Frankel Leó utca 25-29.
- Kiraly Medicinal Bath: Fő u. 84, 1027 Hungary
- Rudas Gyógyfürdő és Uszoda: Döbrentei tér 9, 1013 Hungary
- Veli Bej Bath: Árpád fejedelem útja 7, 1023 Hungary
National Museum: Where you can find an overview of the Hungarian history, art, and archeology (Múzeum krt. 14-16, 1088 Hungary)
National Gallery: Where you can find a collection of fine arts from the 15th Century to modern day (1014 Budapest, Szent György tér 2., Hungary)
Museum of Applied Arts: For anyone interested in applied arts, this is not to be missed. The third oldest applied arts museum in the world, the museum houses all sorts of metal work, furniture, textile and glass collections (Üllői út 33-37, 1091 Hungary).
Holocoust Memorial Center: This is a renovated synagogue that serves as a memorial and museum for and about Hungarian Jews that were killed during The Holocaust.
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