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The Complete Itinerary & Budget for Spending Three Perfect Days in Budapest

Budapest three day itinerary is the perfect solution to an everlasting question by travelers – “what all do I cover in Budapest within 72 hours or 3 days?” Well, Budapest is a traveler’s delight. The city is the best to offer within a minimal cost.

A Budapest three day itinerary plan will cost a backpacker just under $300 i.e. 87990 Ft (Hungarian Forint) Hungary is one of the very few countries with a weaker currency as compared to the rest of Europe. This proves to be an advantage for travelers planning a trip to Budapest.

What’s better than an opportunity to visit a truly remarkable destination on a budget ? Budapest has a lot to offer with hidden treasures unheard of by most people. Through the means of my current blog, I will share my Budapest three day itinerary with you. I hope it benefits you in most ways possible.

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Budapest Three Day Itinerary

If you’re somebody who has three days in hand to explore Budapest, make sure that you don’t miss out on anything. Proper planning before hand and starting your daily sightseeing early morning will be ensure that you cover all the popular places.

Touristy yet rich with local flavour in everything that it has to offer, Budapest is full of surprises.

If I were to define Budapest, I’d say real beauty lies in destinations that are yet unexplored. Hence it is important that you create and implement your Budapest three day itinerary diligently.

Day Wise Planning of Local Sightseeing under Budapest Three Day Itinerary

Here is a highlight of what your days will look like while following my Budapest three day itinerary. I’m sharing the list of places and activities that you most certainly should cover during your 3 day trip to Budapest.

Day 1

  • Free walking tour around the city
  • Visit Vorosmarty square
  • Take a Walk Across the Széchenyi Chain Bridge
  • Visit Castle Hill and Buda Castle
  • Spend time at the Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Stop by the St. Stephens Basilica
  • Watch the Hungarian Parliament lit up at night
Day 2

  • Set foot in the Hungarian Parliament
  • Visit the Danube Promenade and ‘Shoes on the Danube River Memorial’
  • Spend time at the Heroes Square
  • Go sightseeing to the State Opera and House of Terror 
  • Dip yourself in the waters of Szechenyi Thermal Bath
  • Have fun at one of the Ruin Bars
Day 3

  • Take a hike at Gellert Hill
  • Visit Matthias Church
  • Stroll around Central Market Hall
  • Stop by the Dohany Street Synagogue
  • Shop at Vaci Street
  • Take a golf cart ride at Margaret Island
  • Go cruising on the Danube river

 

Budapest three day itinerary

Hilly ‘Buda’ and flat ‘Pest’ came together in the 19th century to form the historic, yet contemporary city of Budapest. It is often referred to as the ‘Tale of Two Cities’. Located in the heart of Central Europe, Budapest in its truest sense forms the heart of Central Europe. The Hungarian capital will stun you with different architecture styles, medicinal baths and picture-perfect views.

Budapest is such a wonderful travel destination that to miss out on places would be a crime. So please plan your Budapest three day itinerary in a way so as to cover the maximum, if not all places. The itinerary shared above by you was created by me before I undertook my trip. It proved to be really useful and all inclusive.

A trip to Budapest will blow your mind with a perfect blend of history and nature. The cherry on the cake will be the offbeat activities in store for travelers across age groups. Things to do in Budapest are plenty and they are as interesting as they sound.

Let me now elaborate my Budapest Three Day Itinerary in detail for you.

Day 1 of Budapest Three Day Itinerary

Map for Budapest 3 day Itinerary

A map for all the places you should cover on day one of your Budapest trip.

The first day of your Budapest trip should be spent by taking a walking tour of many places plus a decent amount of local sightseeing. Let me share with you the all the activities and places that should be a part of day one of your tour.

Free walking tour around the city

Start your first day in Budapest with a free walking tour. Walking tours are a must do in any European city to get a perspective of what the place is like.  Free walking tours in Budapest start at different times of the day. I would recommend going for the one that starts at 10:30 am in the morning.

The walking tours take you back to the middle ages when Hungary came into being. The tour guides are extremely knowledgeable and share plenty of stories to keep you entertained throughout the walk.

During the walk, you will stop by iconic spots and understand the history behind their existence.

Visit Vorosmarty Square

The walking tours usually start at Vorosmarty Square which lies in the heart of Budapest.

It is a public square in downtown Budapest accessible through the Metro Line 1 (M1). Aim to reach Vorosmarty square at 10:00 am and wander around for some time getting to know the place.

You’d see tour guides with white t-shirts next to the Lion Fountain waiting for traveler to join them. Brace yourselves for a memorable walk which will last for roughly about three hours.

As a part of the walking tour starting at Vorosmarty Square, you will be stopping by a number of places. These include the Danube Promenade, Michael Jackson Memorial Tree, Danubius Fountain, Budapest Eye, St. Stephens’s Basilica and the Central European University before reaching the Chain Bridge.

This is the ‘Pest’ side of Budapest and is relatively flat as compared to ‘Buda’.

Take a walk across the Széchenyi Chain Bridge

The Chain Bridge is the first permanent connection between the eastern (Pest) and western (Buda) sides of the city.

A walk across the Chain Bridge marks the beginning of your Budapest sojourn. Once you cross the Chain Bridge, you will arrive in ‘Buda’ which is the western side of the city.

Chain Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges over the Danube river. It is the most visited landmark in Budapest and built entirely in stone.

Chain Bridge at Budapest

A view of Budapest from a distance. See the Chain Bridge connecting the ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’ sides of this lovely city. Below it is the beautiful river Danube that is the lifeline of Budapest. The Chain Bridge is undoubtedly one of the most iconic sights of the city.

Visit Castle Hill and Buda Castle

Once you cross the Chain Bridge, you should visit the Castle Hill and also the Buda Castle. Your walking tour will take you here. The best thing to do on the Castle Hill is to uncover the sights at your own pace.

You have an option of either taking the funicular to the top of the hill or walking through on of the many paths leading to the top. Wander about through the cobblestone streets marveling at the architecture of this district which is recognized as a World Heritage Site.

Now coming to the Buda Castle. it sits atop of the Castle Hill. Also known as the Royal Palace, it was home to the Hungarian kings in the earlier times. The castle was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times over a period of six centuries.

Hence the castle now has influence of various architectural styles. The Buda Castle has been converted into the Hungarian National Gallery and Budapest History Museum.

Spend time at the Fisherman’s Bastion

Offering the most stunning views of the Hungarian Parliament building and ‘Pest’ across the Danube river is the Fisherman’s Bastion. It is a viewing terrace built in neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic architectural style.

The ornate fairy tale towers with spectacular views of Budapest is why you must not miss a visit to Fisherman’s Bastion. This is where you walking tour will end. You can also ask the guide for local restaurant suggestions or anything else that you want to know. It is recommended that you tip your guide for what you think it was worth.

You can take a stroll around the old town and grab a bite at the famous Ruszwurm Confectionery. Mount the bus number 16 to head back to Pest.

Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest

The Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the most iconic sights of Budapest. It offers beautiful views of the city. As a traveler, you can visit its lower terraces for free but the higher terraces will cost you a minor free. In case you visit after 8 pm at night, then the entry is totally fee even to the high terraces.

Stop by St. Stephens Basilica

The St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest. Dedicated to the first king of Hungary, it is a Roman Catholic church with a dome 96 meters high serving as an observatory.

Visitors are allowed here between 10 am and 5 pm. They can either take the elevator or climb up the flight of stairs for a panoramic view of Budapest.

Watch the Hungarian Parliament lit up at night

Observing the Hungarian Parliament lit up at night should be the last activity of day one of your trip in Budapest.

Budapest by night is an exhilarating experience. The illumination on the Hungarian Parliament House and the Chain Bridge is something that you might never have witnessed before.

Millions of yellow bulbs light up the iconic sights of Budapest once the sun sets. This is remarkably going to be a highlight of your Budapest three day itinerary.

Day 2 of Budapest Three Day Itinerary – What All to Do ?

Budapest three day itinerary map

A map for all the places you should cover on day two of your Budapest trip.

The second day of your Budapest trip should be a mix of history and leisure. Budapest has a number of significant historic places. These should be prioritized on day two. For pure leisure, you should also include Thermal Bath and Ruin Bars to your second day itinerary.

Set foot in the Hungarian Parliament

Beginning day two, get ready to set foot into an architectural marvel – the Hungarian Parliament Building. An incredible example of neo-gothic architecture, the structure is a little over a century old.

The tallest spire is 96 meters high. This is because 96 is a very important number for the Hungarians. Their first king was crowned in the year 896. Hence, a law prevails that none of the buildings in Hungary will be over 96 meters tall.

A guided tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building takes visitors through the main staircase and the Upper House Hall. What you would also see are the coronation jewels, including the Holy Crown of Hungary safely guarded within the parliament premises.

Tickets are available online prior to the date of visit, and a limited few are available over the counter for the same day. Multiple tours in different languages run throughout the day. It is advisable that you buy tickets in advance to not miss out on this extraordinary experience.

Visit the Danube Promenade and ‘Shoes on the Danube River Memorial’

Hungary’s Parliament Building lies on the banks of the river Danube. Right across the street starts the Danube promenade with a phenomenal view of the Chain Bridge and Castle Hill.

Shoes on the Danube are an important memorial on the promenade. The significance of the 60 pairs of iron shoes is to reminisce the dark times of Hungarian history. It is a tribute to hundreds of those who lost their lives during World War II due to the Arrow Cross Rule.

Spend time at the Heroes Square

At entrance to the city park lies the Heroes Square. It is a popular landmark and the largest square in Budapest. The iconic statue at the Heroes Square was built in 1896 to celebrate the 1000th year of the Hungarian state.

Thus, it is also called as the Millennium Monument. A stroll in the city park beyond the Heroes Square is a good way to savor mother nature.

Budapest three day itinerary

Heroes Square is the national monument in Budapest for Hungary’s heroes and is also known as the Millennium Monument. At the top of its central column stands a statue of archangel Gabriel, holding a crown in his right hand. According to mythology, the archangel appeared to Saint Stephen in a dream and offered him the crown of Hungary. 

Go sightseeing to the State Opera and the House of Terror 

The State Opera, House of Terror and Heroes Square are three important places to visit on day two of your trip.

Built in neo-Renaissance style architecture, the Hungarian State Opera boasts of the third best acoustics in an opera house in Europe. Though it is not comparable to the world-class Italian and French opera houses, the Hungarian State Opera is worth a visit if you’ve never been to an opera before. The structure is under renovation since the last couple of years. When operational, they organize tours that give you a brief of what is it like to witness an opera.

The House of Terror is now a museum. This building was originally the headquarters of the Hungarian Nazi Party during the second World War. After the Soviet Union occupied Budapest, the State Security Authority too made the building their headquarters. After the fall of USSR, it was renovated and opened to public in 2002 as a museum called House of Terror. It describes the life under Communist and Nazi rule and is set to touch your heart.

Dip yourself in the waters of Szechenyi Thermal Bath 

What better way to spend an evening than to rejuvenate yourself in the thermal baths of Budapest ?

The Szcheneyi bath is the largest and most popular of all thermal bath houses in Budapest. It has a mix of both indoor and outdoor temperature controlled pools.

The Szcheneyi Thermal Bath houses eighteen pools, and numerous steam and sauna rooms. The tickets to the spa baths can be purchased over the counter. 

Have fun at one of the Ruin Bars

The most unique place of visit on day two of your trip are the ruin bars of Budapest. The city is known for these ruin bars built in derelict spaces. If you have the time, do take a tour of the ruin bars of Budapest.

‘Szimpla’ was the first ruin bar built in 2004, and it continues to be the most popular one till date. Hundreds of locals and visitors head to the Szimpla every evening to chill and grab a drink. 

Day 3 of Budapest Three Day Itinerary – What All to Do ?

Budapest itinerary map

A map for all the places you should cover on day three of your Budapest trip.

Your third and last day at Budapest should be spent lazying around the city and indulging in non-tedious activities. Hiking, cruising, and perhaps worship should be the highlights of your day.

Take a hike at Gellert Hill

Wake up in the wee hours of the morning on the last day of your Budapest three day itinerary and hike up the Gellert Hill. You will uncover a mesmerizing view of the river Danube and the Chain Bridge. It is a long walk with a considerable number of stairs, through the view makes it worthwhile.

There is a lovely Citadel, also known as Budapest’s Statue of Liberty that sits atop the Gellert Hill. It is surrounded by parks and is a great place to spend an hour.

At the foot of the Gerrert Hill is the Gellert Bath. I guess, only one visit to a thermal bath is never enough when in Budapest. So in addition to the Thermal Bath you visited on day 2, indulge in a little dipping on day 3 as well. The architecture of Gellert Bath is inspired from the Art Nouveau style and is charming in its own way.

A couple of hours spent in the spa baths after a tiring hike up the Gellert Hill proves to be relaxing.

Visit Matthias Church

The Matthias Church is a Roman-Catholic church in the heart of Buda district. It is an important landmark of the city located on the Square of the Holy Trinity.

The church is named after King Matthias Corvinus who was responsible for reconstructing the church in Renaissance style in the 15th century. Most of the Hungarian kings were coronated in this church also called as ‘Church of Our Lady’.

Stroll around the Central Market Hall

The Central Market Hall is popular among locals and visitors for the variety that it offers. You can also buy gifts and souvenirs to take back home from the Central Market Hall on your Budapest three day itinerary.

A brisk walk in the morning calls for a good breakfast. So, head to the biggest market in Budapest for some farm fresh produce. 

Stop by Dohany Street Synagogue

Budapest is home to a large Jewish community.The Dohany Street Synagogue reflects the Jewish influence on Budapest. Also known as the Great Synagogue, it is the second largest synagogue in the world.

A peak into the Dohany Street Synagogue will leave you impressed with its massive 1200 square meter interiors and a seating capacity of 3000 people.

Visiting the Dohany Synagogue in Budapest

Also known as the Great Synagogue or Tabakgasse Synagogue, the Dohany Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. It has a seating space for around 3000 people.

Shop at Vaci Street

Right next the Vorosmarty Square is a street lined with boutiques and cafes. The Vaci Street is a shopper’s paradise and one can easily spend an entire afternoon here.

You can fine dine in one of the many up-market restaurants here or grab a quick meal at the budget snack outlets.

Take a golf cart ride at Margaret Island

Ever visited an island park in the middle of a river? Well, Margaret Island is located between Buda and Pest in the river Danube. It is the best park in the city and accessible by public transport.

The island is 2.5 kilometers long and bus number 26 runs through it end to end. At its widest, the island measures 500 meters. You can rent out a bicycle or a golf cart to ride within the Margaret island.

The island has its very own Palatinus thermal bath where you can go for a dip. The other things to do on the island include a stroll in the Japanese and Rose gardens and watch the musical fountain.

Go cruising on the Danube River 

End your Budapest three day itinerary with a picturesque cruise in the river Danube. The river cruises give you an opportunity to look at the city from a different perspective.

You can choose from a regular one-hour cruise or go for a two-hour dinner cruise. I went for a 1 hour cruise and it costed me only 3000 Ft i.e around $10. It was organized by Viator and honesty, it was damn good for this low a cost.

If you are a budget traveler like me, feel free to check out this nominal cruise.



Entry tickets to Popular Attractions Mentioned in the Budapest Three Day Itinerary

You can find below the approximate rates for entry tickets to various attractions in Budapest. This will help you with a fair budget planning for your Budapest itinerary.

Matthias Church1500 Ft

St Stephen’s Basilica – 600 Ft

Hungarian Parliament Building – 6000 Ft

House of Terror – 3000 Ft

Szecheneyi Thermal Bath – 5200 Ft

Gellert Bath – 6000 Ft

Dohany Street Synagogue – 3700 Ft

Danube River Cruise – 3000 Ft

Note: Please note that the mentioned rates hold true as on date and are subject to change. Also, the international exchange rates in US dollars at the time of my trip were as follows – 1 USD ($) = 293 Ft (Hungarian 

Planning the budget of a trip is extremely important before visiting it. Even though Hungary is nominal as a country, you should still know some money saving hacks. After all, there is no harm in saving some extra bucks and investing them for a trip later. Right ?

So let me share my budget with you.

How Much Money Should you Spend for 3 Day in Budapest ?

I traveled from my home city Mumbai to Budapest. Spending 72 hours in Budapest cost me exactly 185872 Hungarian Forints (Ft). This amounts to 45000 INR in my native currency and to 633 USD as an international standard. 

This includes my to and fro flights, accommodation, food, sightseeing and shopping costs. You know you can reduce the cost even further. I travel from India all over Europe so it costs me more owing to a native weak currency. But if you’re from the west, you can easily visit Budapest under $300.

If you’re a budget traveler, you should most certainly read this blog on how to travel to Budapest in under $300. Trust me, it can be done. All you need to do is plan ahead and do your research. That is all.

Visa Needs for Budapest Three Day Itinerary

As a traveler, you should know that Hungary is a member of the European Union and also among the European states that are part of the Schengen Area. Now this implies that traveling to Hungary is comparable to visiting other Schengen states.

While citizens of some countries might need a visa to enter Hungary, others don’t (within a prescribed time frame). In case you are looking forward to read all the visa guidelines in detail, feel free to visit this blog on how to get a tourist visa for Hungary. 

Once you have a legit visa and passport, nobody can stop you from traveling to Budapest for three days or more.

What Eating Places should be a part of your Budapest Three Day Itinerary ?

The native people of Budapest are great foodies. They don’t like compromising on good food. Hence, the city has a plethora of eating places. Best part is that these places won’t even hurt your pocket.

As somebody whose spent quite a lot of time at Budapest, I have some suggestions to offer in terms of food and eating places. While in Budapest, do try the native Hungarian cuisine.

The three places that serve delicious Hungarian food are Chef Cafe and Hungarikum Bistro.

 Chef Cafe 

Chef Cafe is a lovely eating place where families as well as solo travelers come to try out some authentic Hungarian food. The menu here is quite elaborate with each dish well explained. Hence, you won’t find it difficult to order here.

The owner is quite polite and hospitable. He will personally help you with the selection of food and wine in case you face any difficulty. This personal touch is something that will make your dining experience lovely.

Food here ranges from a mere 1000 HUF right up to 8000 HUF

Hungarikum Bistro

Hungarikum Bistro is such a popular place in Budapest that reservations here need to be made at least a week in advance. This place never witnesses empty tables. It is more expensive than the earlier mentioned Chef Cafe but I can tell you its worth the increased cost.

If you’re lucky, you might be served complimentary bread decorated in the colours of the Hungarian flag. Try the Goulash here. It is quite nice and savoury. Also, the Cabbage Roll.

You will pay anything above 1000 HUF for a meal here.

Budapest three day itinerary

Goulash is extremely popular in Budapest. Some people even call it the national dish of Hungary. Over the years, Goulash has been evolved and now it comes in various forms. Suit yourself and go for the variety you prefer.

4 Important Points to Note for First Time Travelers Visiting Budapest

Now that you know all about the places that must be a part of your Budapest three day itinerary, it is important that you keep in mind a few things while heading you to this lovely city as a traveler.

Knowing some important tips and hacks before visiting a new place always helps. You know there are some very important tips that every first time traveler ought to know about Budapest.

Use Travel Card for local transportation 

The travel card for local transportation is available for 24-hours, 48-hours, 72-hours, 96-hours, 1 week and more. Choose your travel card wisely based on the number of days you wish to stay in Budapest.

Budapest three day itinerary recommends the 72-hour travel card.

Always travel with a ticket

Do not ever travel without tickets in Budapest. The ticket checkers will take you by surprise at any point in the metro, trams and buses. There is a very heavy penalty if you are found traveling without tickets.

You would have no option but to pay the fine. If you are not carrying cash at that point, you are required to submit your passport and later go to the Police Station to pay the fine and collect your passport.

Beware of Pick pockets

Beware of pick-pockets in crowded tourist spots. Pick-pocketing is not uncommon in Budapest. Take care of your belongings wherever you go and do not leave them unattended.

Plan a trip to other European cities

Budapest is easily accessible from other European cities like Vienna and Prague. You can convert your Budapest three day itinerary into a longer one by adding a couple of other cities to it.

I’ve written in detail about visiting Prague on a budget. Read it if you feel like.

All the days I’ve spent in Budapest will always be remembered by me. I wish to return there in the near future perhaps for a longer time. Budapest has surely become a special city for me. 

If you’re planning to visit Budapest, it will surely turn out to be special for you as well. In fact, it will turn out to be one of your best travel decisions in a while. Trust me you will bid adieu to Budapest with a promise of coming back again because you wouldn’t be content with a single visit.

Happy wayfaring.

About the Author

Budapest three day itinerary

Shreya Doshi is a Mumbaikar at heart but her soul takes her globe trotting. She has traveled over a hundred cities, from bustling metropolitans to quaint countryside towns. However it’s at the beaches that she finds true solace. In line with her entrepreneurial spirit, Shreya co-founded ‘Traversia’ focusing on personalized itineraries, customized packages and travel consultations. She strongly believes in travel therapy and that solo-travel is the best teacher. Reach out to Shreya on Instagram and Facebook.

Budapest three day itinerary