Budapest is a great destination for a long weekend city break. A vibrant city filled with history, culture and glorious architecture. 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 and children. Lets find out how to spend a Long Weekend in Budapest.
How to get to Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is well connected to most parts of Europe and the world. It is one of the most popular city in Europe with several budget airlines flying direct into Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. An early afternoon flight out of London and you reach the capital in less then 3 hrs.
Tips on cheap flights to Europe – Morning flights out of London and many of the other major cities in Europe are much more expensive – Try and book an afternoon flight which are much cheaper and offer some great deals. Budget airlines are not always the cheapest – Try the main flag bearer of the destination country as well.
Best Time to visit Budapest.
Budapest is an all year round city destination but the best times to visit Budapest is from March to May and September through November. Summers can get hot and crowded and winters bitterly cold.
How many days do you need in Budapest?
As the heading of my post, Budapest is perfect for a Long Weekend and you can easily see most of the city in 2 days. If you want a more relaxed trip add an extra day.
How to get to the City from Budapest Airport- There are several options available to travel from the airport to the city. You can take a bus bus or train. A taxi ride from Budapest Airport to our hotel in the heart of the City cost us roughly €25.
Quick check in to our hotel which had fabulous views, overlooking the iconic Chain Bridge and we were ready to start our Long Weekend in Budapest.
Things to do on a Long Weekend in Budapest.
Walk along the Danube
Our first evening in Budapest was spent walking along the Danube and crossing the famous chain bridge. This was followed by a relaxed dinner by the river and a sample of the much awaited Goulash.
Must eat in Hungary – Goulash
Goulash (pronounced “gooyash,” ) is a stew made up of meat and vegetables, seasoned with paprika and spices originating from medieval Hungary. You could call it the National dish of Hungary.
Ride the Big Bus Tour –
If you are travel with kids like I do, it is always a good option to try and get a deal on the hop on hop off bus. All the more when you are on City breaks and there is a fair bit of sightseeing to be done. All main cities around the World have these services and we used the Big Bus Tour service for our Long Weekend in Budapest. The 48 hrs pass gives you enough time to cover all the major attractions in Budapest. Cost for a Family Pass – 48 hrs Big Bus Tour in Budapest – €66 for 2 Adults and 2 Kids.
Explore Fisherman’s Bastion –
Your trip to Budapest is incomplete without a visit to the Fisherman’s Bastion. It is one of the most popular attractions in Budapest. Located in Buda Castle it offers panoramic views of Budapest. The neo-Gothic architecture is absolutely stunning and you can easily spend a few hours here.
Is Fisherman’s Bastion free to visit? The entrance fee to the Fisherman’s Bastion depends on which part you wish to visit. It is completely free to visit the towers and terraces of Fisherman’s Bastion. Some parts have a ticket.
Climb up Castle Hill –
The Castle hill is another place you must include in your on your Long Weekend in Budapest. Walk along the cobbled streets up to Castle Hill, lined by baroque houses, monuments and cafes. The castle hill is home to Buda Castle, which was rebuilt over centuries. Buda Castle houses the Hungarian National Gallery and Budapest History Museum. You can enjoy some breathtaking views of the city from the top of this hill and wander the gardens of Buda Castle.
Explore the City Park –
Another place to visit is the Budapest City Park – It is said to one of the first public parks to open to public for relaxation purposes.You can wander around the landscaped gardens admiring the many statues or visit the Vajdahunyad Castle which houses the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture.
Stroll around the Jewish Quarter
Another exciting place to visit in Budapest is the Jewish Quarter. The Dohany Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue. Get lost in narrow picturesque lanes filled with quirky design shops, street food stalls and bars.
Marvel at the Parliament building of Budapest.
The Parliament building of Budapest is arguably the most memorable landmark of this city and synonymous with Budapest. Standing tall on the on the banks of the river Danube, it bears a striking resemblance to the Houses of Parliament in London. The building houses the Hungarian Parliament and is a popular tourist destination in Budapest.
The Bridges of Budapest –
Budapest is best enjoyed on foot. Like most European cities you can walk along the streets and admire the architecture. Another interesting side of this city are the may bridges. A total of 8 bridges that crisscross the Danube linking Buda and Pest.
Is Budapest split? The city was split into 2 separate parts divided by the river Danube. It has only been recognised as one city in the last couple of hundred years and united by the beautiful bridges.
The oldest and the most famous bridge in Budapest is the Chain Bridge.The bridge was opened to public traffic in 1849. The evening was spent walking around the city centre and crossing the many bridges joining Buda and Pest.
Most famous bridges of Budapest –
- Liberty Bridge.
- Elizabeth Bridge.
- Margaret Bridge.
- Chain Bridge.
Walking Tour of Budapest.
We started our day with a free walking tour of the city, the best way to get a comprehensive and historic impression of any new city you visit. There are many tour companies and individuals who offer a free service these days – these tours are the cheapest way for discovering the best of Budapest.
Free Budapest Tours offer two tours every day, starting at 10:30 am & 2:30 pm.
We passed some beautiful churches on our walking tour. The most impressive are the Cave Church near the base of Gellert Hill and St. Stephen’s Basilica.
St. Stephen’s Basilica is named after the first King of Hungary,Stephen. The impressive structure with the two large bell towers houses the right hand of the King in the reliquary.
Hero’s Square,the largest and most impressive square of the city. This square was laid out to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary. Heroes’ Square is one of the most visited sights in Budapest and is surrounded by two important buildings. The Museum of Fine Arts on the left and Kunsthalle (Hall of Art) on the right. Best way to reach Heroes’ Square is by using the underground station.
Thermal Baths of Budapest
Budapest is also known as the City of Spas. This is because of the many natural warm water spring that lie under the city. Visit these thermal baths has been a major pastime for locals for centuries and now attracts millions of tourists too.
The thermal water is warm all year-round and has been visited by millions for it’s medicinal purpose as well. There are many thermal baths in and around Budapest but the most impressive and popular one is Szechenyi Baths and Pool in the City Park. Book in advance to get a better deal but you can always buy tickets at the entrance if you are not sure of when you will visit.
This is also Europe’s largest medicinal bath and is housed in a sprawling Neo-baroque building with both an indoor and outdoor pool. Szechenyi Baths also has a sauna and steam room and is the perfect way to relax and enjoy your Long weekend in Budapest. Another popular bath in Budapest is Gellert.
What an experience and one which is surely not to be missed if you visit Budapest.
Cafe Culture in Budapest
Budapest has always had a thriving coffee culture and as a result it has around 500 cafes scattered around the city. The cafes served as a meeting place for it’s poet’s , writers and artists but today attracts both locals and tourists from around the globe. The one that stands out is the New York Cafe.
Visit the most beautiful cafe in the world -New York Cafe – Budapest
If you had to choose from the numerous cafes in Budapest, then this would be the one without a doubt. The New York Cafe – Affectionately known as ‘the most beautiful cafe in the world’ is housed in the beautiful building of The New York Palace – a luxury hotel. The building of this hotel was formerly the Hungarian headquarters of the New York Life Insurance Company.
Do you need a reservation for New York Cafe Budapest? If you don’t fancy waiting for an hour, I would suggest booking in advance. The best cafe in Budapest to enjoy a delicious breakfast or the perfect afternoon tea in Budapest.
Enjoy the sunset from Gellert Hill –
There are a few places where you can enjoy beautiful sunsets in Budapest. The best places to enjoy the sunset would be from the top of Gellert Hill or a trip to The citadel.
Sunset Cruise on the Danube
I could not think of a better city to enjoy a river cruise then Budapest. Cruising along the Danube under the beautiful bridges with the backdrop of the beautiful architecture. The highlight of the cruise would be passing the magnificent Parliament building.The visuals are an absolute treat and can only be experienced and not penned down.
What to shop in Budapest –
Budapest has some great shopping as well, from large modern malls to and bustling flea markets. The most popular things to buy in Hungary are
- The Traditional Hungarian Dolls.
- Hand crafted Porcelain.
- The Hungarian Secret Box.
- Tokaji Wine.
Segway Tour of Budapest.
My first experience of a Segway tour of a city and I must admit it was fun. A great way to explore a city, if it has the right infrastructure to support a Segway. I would suggest taking a Segway tour in Budapest as it covers most of the main attractions and you can choose between one that covers Budapest Castle Hill or one around the city. Minimum age for kids to use a Segway is 10 years old.
I can now understand why Budapest is fondly known as an Pearl of the Danube. A wonderful city to enjoy a long weekend or spend a few days. Historic buildings and statues with UNESCO World Heritage status, a vibrant night, beautiful bridges and great food and cafes all that make it a great city. Although both sides are now joined by a number of bridges, Buda and Pest are two very different cities, each with unique characteristics and plenty to offer its visitors.
You can find out more about this city with My Li’l Travel Book.
Free things to do on a Long weekend in Budapest.
- Walk across Chain Bridge and enjoy the sunset.
- Walk up to the summit of Gellért Hill for panoramic views of Budapest.
- Enjoy a free tour of Budapest’s Parliament Building. Carry your EU passport.
- Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, the largest church in Budapest.
- Visit museums with one single ticket during the ‘Night of the Museums’, held annually in June.
- Discover Budapest with a free walking tour.
- Celebrate with the locals and enjoy the fireworks from the banks of the Danube on St. Stephen’s Day on August 20th.
- Relax in Károlyi Gardens, Szabadság Square or the Millenáris Park.
- Walk along the Danube Promenade at night.
- Visit the Fisherman’s Bastion.
If you enjoyed reading about our Long weekend in Budapest, follow our City Breaks to Amsterdam and Rome.
I have visited Budapest when I was small and didn’t look at travelling the way I see it now. Should revisit ☺️
Budapest is really beautiful and sadly a little underrated! Lovely post🙂
After reading your Post I really consider about visiting Budapest next year.
Thanks. A highly recommended destination
Your pictures look amazing and it looks like you really enjoyed Budapest! It’s one of the cities that has always been on my bucket list
I was in Budapest last year and this post made me think about all amazing things that I’ve seen there. It’s very very beautiful and I think it’s so worth visiting.
I really like your blog! I think that the list of free things that you can do is the best. I think that all travellers appreciate these things :).
I’m looking forward to your next post.
Thanks for the feedback 👍
Lovely write-up! Budapest has a certain charm and its on my list since so long now. Thank you for this virtual getaway. 🙂
Excellent post! We will be going to Budapest later next year, we’ll take a few pointers from you.
Well written, Interesting……………..
I loved Budapest!!! And the New York cafe was awesome: the ceiling, the piano, the latte hazelnut!!! <3
Wow! This is so cool! Looking forward for your next trips!
The history and culture of Eastern Europe is so rich…does not get as much attention as it deserves….wrote a short story of these regions once, but further Bucharest….nicely documented journey…
I would love to venture more into Eastern Europe
wow! great architecture!!
Beautiful photos. 👍 I’m interested with their history and culture. Love to visit this as well one day.🙂
Loved the pictures and detailed post. Wow. It was a lovely read. Do check my travel tales on https://Sweetannu.com
Seems like there is so much to do here, will be putting this on my European to-visit list for sure. Thanks for sharing 🙂
I’d love to revisit Budapest for a weekend, as my only trip there was as a teenager many decades ago, and I didn’t really take in the splendour as well as I would now! I love historical cities with plenty of old architecture and an interesting culture. Castle Hill in particular is somewhere I want to see again!
I loved it and it’s s fab place
Budapest is super high up my list for the next time we go on a European weekend break! It sounds like such a great city to visit and sounds like you guys had a great weekend. The thermal baths sound awesome. I also like that you’ve listed some great free things to do; I absolutely love running/jogging in new cities so would love to check out Margaret Island or City Park
Great place. Thanks
I visited Budapest last year and it was great. I also climbed the Castle Hill and walked along the bridge. I didn’t go to thermal baths because it was too hot in the summer. Would love to go back one day!
It’s a great experience.
Budapest looks beautiful with architectural wonders and nature sights. Cruising through Danube river must be fun and beautiful thing to do here. Good to know that Europe’s largest medicinal bath is Széchenyi and I love thermal baths due to medicinal and natural therapy option. These outdoor thermal bath is on my list during my visit to Budapest. Thanks for sharing!
Welcome and it’s a great place. Don’t miss the bath if you around Budapest
The Parliament building is the most iconic landmark in Budapest so of course, one needs to enjoy a proper view of that. Apart from that, Fisherman’s Bastion looks amazing and the views from top of the Castle Hill are superb. I’ve not been to Budapest yet, thanks for this guide!
Thanks. Yes a beautiful city and one go to put on your list specially if you around the EU
My itinerary for Budapest was very similar to yours – we hit up a lot of th same spots 🙂 I’m vegetarian so didn’t try traditional goulash while there. I did, however, have a delicious garlic soup in a bowl made from bread (there’s a name for it but I can’t remember!) and I haven’t tasted anything quite like it since!
Do you really find morning flights from London to be more expensive?? I always find them (at least from Stansted and Gatwick) to be cheaper, but I’m talking super early morning here like 6am.
Thanks. The really early ones are less expensive eg before 6am. But with kids can be tough to get that early. Plus if you flying into EU and take such an early flight you land and struggle to get check inn so early. That’s why try and land mid day.
I would love to visit Budapest. In fact, it is part of my bucket list. I feel that these place is full of stories and rich culture. I would love to hear more about their history and experience first hand their way of life.
Budapest has so many gorgeous architectures! The Parliament building especially looks marvelous from afar. I will definitely be up for a thermal bath when visiting there!
Very recently I found some cheap tickets to Budapest, but somehow the dates didn’t suit me and I didn’t book it.
I’m really hoping to explore Eastern Europe in late 2018 or early 2019 and Budapest is definitely in the list. Let’s see.
Cave Church sounds interesting. The Hero Square is just fascinating.
Thermal Bath Spa sounds just divine. But the crowd is bit scary though. I’m not a big fan of crowded places!
Must go place. Hope you can make it soon
Wonderful place, I hope to visit Hungary one day <3
Budapest looks absolutely amazing. I cant believe how much you have seen and experienced there. The Széchenyi bath looks very inviting, it is quite obvious why so many people like it. The Hero’s Square looks huge and also very appealing. I like that so many interesting spots are obviously so close to each other and within walking distance. The New York Café also looks very WOW, I guess the Ice cream was as delicious as it looks 🙂
Thanks. Yes there is a lot to see and do in Budapest and I would highly recommend it
What a full Budapest itinerary! The thermal baths sound amazing and I didn’t know they were open all year. I’m grateful for your Musts suggestions since we sometimes debate whether to skip something. Fun trip!
The bath is one of the most popular things in Budapest
You have some lovely photos of Budapest makes me want to go back there. I loved exploring the city as well and found it a lot cheaper than other european destinations as you say. Thanks for some great tips.
Indeed a great destination and much more affordable then some other Europe
Happy to note that Budapest is one of the most affordable European city breaks and from the way it looks, does come across as a must see place. Neo-Gothic architecture at Fisherman’s Bastion stands out. Apart from this, the archaeological richness is evident be it the Jewish Quarter or the Parliament or Hero’s Square! Amazing long weekend itinerary to Budapest.
Great place to visit and one you must try n get to
What a lovely fun-filled itinerary for Budapest. The views from Fisherman’s Bastion look incredible, so I think I’d head there first. And don’t get me started on the parliament building! It’s known for being one of the most beautiful in the world, and I totally understand why. The New York Cafe is pretty special, and grand looking, for an afternoon refreshment! What a lovely city.
Thanks. Indeed a beautiful city.
Budapest looks like a place for architecture lovers like me. I am absolutely fascinated by the castle hill and those beautiful dolls as souvenirs. What are they made of? Thermal spas sound quite relaxing!
The thermal baths definitely a winner
Haha! I was in Budapest 2 weekends back. My posts on the city are coming up soon.
I did miss out a couple things there, but that’s ok. With a tiny baby in hand, some things aren’t possible.
I’m awaiting my gal to grow up so we too can do the Segway tour! 😉
Indeed it’s quite a lot to see but with a small baby makes it difficult to do all.
We stayed in the Jewish Quarter and we absolutely had the best time in Budapest. What a fantastic city with so much to do. Love the mix of street art, the ruin bars and all the old history culture. Loved the cuisine and all the Hungarian wines we tried. And chain bridge is just stunning isn’t it? Day and night! Glad you guys had such a great time!
It’s a beautiful city 🌃
The bridges of Budapest looks magnificent and majestic. I can picture myself taking long walks, basking in the sun and taking plenty of selfies here. All this can be possible post Covid. Loved yr post Amar. You make me yearn to travel.
Thanks. Hope we can all travel again soon and visit these beautiful destinations
Budapest is beautiful! Stunning architecture!!
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