4 Days in Budapest: The Ultimate City Break Itinerary

If you’re wondering how long to stay in the Hungarian capital, let me start by saying that you should spend way more than 4 days in Budapest if you can make it work. This city has been on the back burner of my bucket list for quite some time, and when I actually got to visit, I was blown away.

I know it’s a cliche, but Budapest is truly is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe I’ve seen. It has everything you need in a city break, but the thing that especially made me fall in love with it was that each building looked completely different and unique, and they all seemed to have so much history to tell.

But trying to describe why Budapest is worth visiting in a couple of sentences is impossible, so let’s dive into this detailed itinerary, that will hopefully help you make the most of your trip.

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Looking for the best way to spend 4 days in Budapest? Here's my detailed 4-day Budapest itinerary!


BUDAPEST IN 4 DAYS – WHERE TO STAY

I stayed in a lovely central apartment that unfortunately isn’t available at the moment. Check out these other highly-rated accommodations instead.

BUDGET

Pal’s Mini Hostel: Located near the State Opera House and offers both dorms and private rooms with a shared or private bathroom. Read reviews and check availability here.

MID-RANGE

Anabelle Bed and Breakfast: Located near the Parliament building and the Danube River and offers fully-equipped rooms (breakfast is included). Read reviews and check availability here.

LUXURY

Hotel Parlament: A boutique hotel situated near Liberty Square. It offers various types of rooms from standard twin rooms to deluxe suites. Read reviews and check availability here.

Note: If you want to book an apartment, please avoid staying in the Jewish Quarter. The local guide in one of the walking tours I had taken talked about how the apartment rentals, specifically in the Jewish Quarter, were hurting the locals, causing high rent prices and disturbing noise.

views over the Danube in Budapest


4-DAY BUDAPEST ITINERARY: TIPS AND NOTES

Here are a few things to know before visiting Budapest:

Budget: Budapest is considered a budget-friendly city. Everything from food to attractions is relatively cheap (in comparison to other big European cities), and you can take quite a few fun free tours like a classic free walking tour of Budapest and a free evening tour.

Local currency: Hungarian Forint – HUF (1 USD = 294.5 HUF, 1 EUR = 357.2 HUF). Bring some HUF with you, but know that you can also exchange money or draw money at an ATM (American Express is not always accepted).

When to visit: I loved visiting in spring because the weather was perfect. You can also visit in summer and early fall, and the city can also be an amazing winter break destination.

– If you have more than 4 days, visit Budapest as part of a longer Hungary itinerary or even an Eastern Europe itinerary by train.

Getting from the airport to the city center: I preferred taking a taxi for convenience, but you can use public transport instead. Read here for more info on that.

Most of this itinerary is done on foot, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes. When you need to use public transport, purchasing a single-ride ticket should be enough.

– Vegans, this one is for you. Although Hungary is not the most vegan-friendly destination, finding places to eat vegan food in Budapest is a lot easier than you think.



4 DAYS IN BUDAPEST – DAY 1 – BUDA

BREAKFAST

Head to A La Maison Grand (Szervita tér 3), where dreams come true and where your needs in a delicious and insta-perfect breakfast are satisfied.

With every dish having several versions (like 5 types of pancakes, 5 types of eggs benedict, etc.), the menu looks more like a book.

I highly recommend taking a look at it in advance on their website, or else you’ll be spending your first half an hour (if not more) just trying to decide what to devour.

With yummy, picture-perfect food and modern, inviting decor, A La Maison Grand is, without a doubt, one of the best breakfast and brunch spots in Budapest.

A la Maison Grand - a cafe in Budapest

The rest of the day will focus on the landmarks on the Buda side of the city. You can visit them on your own or take a guided tour of Buda / a free walking tour.

FISHERMAN’S BASTION

Who doesn’t love visiting places that look like they belong in a fairytale? That’s surely why Fisherman’s Bastion is one of Budapest’s top attractions.

Surprisingly, even though it is called a bastion, it actually never served as a fortification in Budapest. It was built in the late 19th-century, so there would be a proper place to enjoy the views of the Danube river and the Pest side of the city. Genius, right?

The combination of the unique architecture and the beautiful scenery is definitely magical, yet you should expect to be surrounded by quite a few people.

If you want to take photos with no tourists around you, you’ll have to visit Fisherman’s Bastion very early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Apart from the upper towers, which cost 1000 HUF (less than 4 Euros) to access, all the other towers and balconies are completely free to stroll around.

How to get there: Fisherman’s Bastion is located in the Castle District on the Buda side of the city. Bus number 16 gets there all the way from the Pest side.

Fishermans Bastion

MATTHIAS CHURCH

Right next to Fisherman’s Bastion, you’ll find the stunning Matthias Church. Dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries, the current building has hosted countless important events throughout the years.

Ceremonies like King Matthias’ royal weddings and the coronation of King Franz Joseph have made the church a significant historical landmark, which is now one of the most visited places in Budapest.

Beyond its history, the church’s Gothic-style architectural details, along with the colorful roof tiles and unique interiors, are a feast for the eyes (and the camera). To enter, you’ll need to buy a ticket with a specific time slot on the church’s official website.

Bonus tip: Matthias Church also hosts several classical concerts throughout the year, which you can book here.

Matthias Church in Budapest

OTHER THINGS TO SEE NEAR FISHERMAN’S BASTION AND MATTHIAS CHURCH

Colorful streets: It’s so odd to see the area of the church and bastion packed with people while the surrounding streets are almost completely deserted. Take advantage of this serenity and enjoy some colorful streets and squares like Táncsics Mihály and Bécsikapu.

Hospital in the Rock: This unusual museum is dedicated to a secret underground WWII military hospital. You can only visit it with a 60-minute guided tour, where you’ll wander through the different rooms which have been restored to resemble wartime conditions. You can also take a guided tour of Buda that includes the Hospital in the Rock.

House of Houdini: A museum dedicated to the Budapest-born magician Harry Houdini, showcasing original items of his and preserving his heritage.

Tóth Árpád Promenade: A lovely avenue filled with beautiful trees and overlooking the city. If you visit in spring, you’ll get a chance to see some gorgeous pink bloom.

Toth Arpad Promenade
Toth Arpad Promenade

LUNCH

Scattered around the streets surrounding Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church, you’ll find quite a few restaurants and cafes. Are you a dessert person like me? Don’t miss the bakery Ruszwurm Cukrászda (Szentháromság 7) and have a piece of one of their delicious cakes.

BUDA CASTLE

As the former Royal Palace, the Buda Castle is a must-have on your 4-day Budapest travel itinerary.

Today, it houses the National Széchényi Library, the Budapest History Museum, and the Hungarian National Gallery. Each has its own price, but you can also wander around the courtyards for free.

For something more unique, take a night tour or explore the cave system underneath the castle.

At the foot of Buda Castle, you’ll find the Castle Garden Bazaar. This 19th-century complex of elegant buildings and gardens was designed to create an attractive cityscape near the castle. It is free to visit and can make a perfect afternoon stroll.

Buda Castle

DINNER

For a hearty dinner in a cozy environment, head to the nearby Marvelosa Restaurant (Lánchíd 13), and indulge yourself in a Hungarian meal.



4 DAYS IN BUDAPEST – DAY 2 – PEST

BREAKFAST

Start your day at one of the Jewish Quarter’s cozy cafes. A few options to consider are Vintage Garden (Dob 21), Solinfo Cafe (Wesselényi 6), and Pantry Brunch & Coffee (Dohány 5/B), but you’ll find plenty of other breakfast places in this lively area.

DOHANY SYNAGOGUE

I absolutely love exploring my Jewish heritage when traveling, and since the 19th-century Dohany Synagogue is the largest in Europe and second-largest in the world, I had to include it on my itinerary.

Even if you’re not Jewish, this is a remarkable landmark in Budapest you don’t want to miss. To learn more about it, you can also take a guided tour of the synagogue.

Dohany Synagogue in Budapest

JEWISH QUARTER

I loved roaming the beautiful streets of the Jewish Quarter. They’re packed with street art, shops, restaurants and cafes, and unique buildings, and definitely deserve a couple of hours of exploring.

Tip: Have a cup of coffee and some delicious cakes at The Sweet (Dob 21).

beautiful building in the Jewish quarter in Budapest

LUNCH

There’s no shortage of places to eat in the area, but if you’re looking to have Hungarian food, try Klauzál Café (Klauzál 23) or Korhely Faloda & Daloda (Liszt Ferenc tér 7).

FREE JEWISH HISTORY WALKING TOUR

Continuing with the Jewish theme, I highly recommend taking a free Jewish history tour. It covers the Jewish landmarks in the area (including the synagogue, but only on the outside) and talks about the history of the community in Budapest.

I had an amazing guide, so I really enjoyed this walking tour, which you can learn more about here. The meeting point is Elizabeth Square (where the Budapest Eye is located), and it starts at 3:30 PM (on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday). Alternatively, book one of these Jewish heritage tours.

The tour ends in Szimpla Kert, one of the most iconic ruin bars in Budapest. What are ruin bars?

Essentially, these are old, abandoned buildings turned into quirky, budget-friendly drinking joints. Szimpla Kert is a pretty big one, and even though it has become touristy, it’s worth visiting. It also hosts a farmers’ market on Sundays.

Memorial in Dohany Synagogue
Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial

HEROES’ SQUARE

Whether by foot or by Metro (line number 1), head to Heroes’ Square. This iconic square commemorates important Hungarian rulers, including the seven chieftains who founded the country (there’s actually a fascinating European legend about the birth of the Hungarian nation).

You’ll also find the Museum of Fine Arts and the Műcsarnok (Hall of Art) on both sides of the square.

VAJDAHUNYAD CASTLE

Right behind Heroes’ Square, you’ll see the fairytale-like Vajdahunyad Castle. It is seriously dreamy, and sunset is ideal for visiting it and taking hundreds of pretty pictures from every possible angle.

It was originally built to celebrate Hungarian architecture, and it definitely looks like a celebration. Today, it houses the Museum of Agriculture, but the courtyards and surroundings are free to wander.

Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest
Places to visit in Budapest in 4 days – Vajdahunyad Castle

DINNER

A nearby Hungarian restaurant that will make you feel like stepping into a cozy cabin with its unique decor is Paprika Vendéglő (Dózsa György 72).



4 DAYS IN BUDAPEST – DAY 3 – PEST

BREAKFAST

Going back to the Jewish Quarter for breakfast, you can start your day at Stika (Dob 46/a) or Rézkígyó Coffee House (Paulay Ede 15).

MUSEUM OF SWEETS & SELFIES

The Museum of Sweets and Selfies (Paulay Ede 43) is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I personally loved this hidden gem in Budapest!

It’s a different kind of museum where the whole purpose is just to have fun like a kid (and take insta-worthy pictures). You’ll go through rooms like the sprinkles pool, banana swing, and neon room, which are all unique and colorful.

Opening hours: Every day 10 AM – 6 PM.

Price: 2990 HUF or 10 Euros on weekdays and 3500 HUF or 11 Euros on weekends.

If you want to check it out, a second museum was opened recently called the Museum of Sweets & Selfies BUBBLES (you can purchase a combined ticket for both museums).

museum of sweets and selfies in Budapest

ANDRASSY AVENUE AND THE BUDAPEST OPERA HOUSE

The museum is located only a minute away from the beautiful Andrassy Avenue, specifically from the spot where you’ll see two stunning buildings on both sides – the Hungarian State Opera House and the Drechsler Palace.

Stroll along the avenue towards Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Metro station, and turn right to get to St. Stephen’s Basilica.

ST. STEPHEN’S BASILICA

Probably one of the most distinctive landmarks in Budapest, St. Stephen’s Basilica is the third-largest church in Hungary, which is named after Stephen, the first King of Hungary. Admire its exterior architecture or go inside to have a look at its impressive interiors.

Skip the lines and get your ticket in advance or learn more about the basilica with this free tour of Budapest.

St Stephen Basilica

LUNCH

You’ll find dozens of restaurants around the basilica of all kinds of cuisines.

FREE STREET ART WALKING TOUR

I’m obsessed with street art, and Budapest did not disappoint me. To learn more about the local scene, I took this free walking tour (with the same company as the Jewish history tour).

I highly recommend it to every street art lover because it adds more meaning to your visit and shows another side of the city. The meeting point is Elizabeth Square, and the tour ends in the Jewish Quarter.

street art in Budapest

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING

You can either walk alongside the Danube River or use the tram or metro to get from the Jewish Quarter to the Hungarian Parliament Building, which is one of the most stunning buildings in the city and a notable Hungarian landmark.

Take some time to take all that beauty in, and on the side that faces Kossuth Lajos Square (one of the prettiest squares in Europe), go and see the guards circling the national flag. You can also learn more about the parliament with this free tour.

Tip: If you decide to walk from the Jewish Quarter to the parliament, stop at the Shoes on the Danube Bank, a memorial that honors the Hungarian Jews who were shot into the river during WWII.

Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest
What to see in Budapest in 4 days – the Hungarian Parliament Building

TRAM 2 AT SUNSET

To enjoy the sunset, get on the yellow Tram 2 at Kossuth Lajos Square tram station (right behind the Parliament).

It passes alongside the Danube River and overlooks the Buda side of the city, and sunset time is when everything looks soft and glowy. You can take the full route and then go back with it to the Parliament or get off wherever you want.

Alternatively, you can also book a sunset/evening Danube River cruise (with a drink) or an evening cruise with a candle-lit dinner.

DINNER

If you do go back to the parliament, there are quite a few bistros (and other restaurants) in the area.

Kossuth Lajos Square in Budapest
Kossuth Lajos Square


4 DAYS IN BUDAPEST – DAY 4 – DAY TRIP

When you only have four days in Budapest, you can definitely spend another day exploring the city itself, visiting places like:

Otherwise, you can take a day trip to see a bit more of Hungary’s cities, towns, and countryside. If you prefer booking a guided day tour, here are some highly-rated ones:

If you like to take day trips on your own, a few easy ones reachable by public transport are the picturesque town of Szentendre, Gödöllő and its famous royal palace, or the town of Visegrád.

You might also like:



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About Or Amir

Hey, I'm Or! I'm a passionate traveler with a severe coffee, chocolate, and pastry addiction (or any other carb for that matter). Obsessed with anything Spain-related, I'm always planning my next trip (and the excitement alone can bring tears to my eyes, not that it's difficult to make me cry).

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