3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

 Well hello to you my reader chums! I did it, I went on my first ever solo trip. It has been a goal of mine for the longest time, to take the plunge and travel on my own. As many of you know, overcoming my travel anxiety is one of my biggest achievements so this trip to Budapest was one of the best wins so far.

3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

Budapest is a city I've heard many people rave about and one that was definitely on my list to visit this year. Initially, I hadn't planned to go alone but a cancellation of a friend meant I was forced in a sense to step out of my comfort zone and I'm thrilled I chose to go. If you're heading to Budapest soon and unsure what there is to see and do, here is my 3-day guide to the city.

This post contains affiliate links but all thoughts are my own.

Day 1 - Explore the Pest side

There are two sides to Budapest, Buda, and Pest. The Pest side of the city is the busier side with many restaurants, bars, attractions, and much more of a buzz. I loved the ambiance of the Pest side of the city. It had a calm appeal but with so much life across it and every sight I saw was incredibly stunning. Most of Pest can be reached on foot but you can easily get around using public transport. 

Mooch along the Danube River

The Danube river is what separates Pest from Buda and runs all the way through the city. The river became one of my favourite spots in the city to mooch over in the morning when it's quiet or at dusk when the sun is setting as it was so pretty. The river is long so it stretches quite a length of the city and there are many cute spots you can find along the way. I spent the most time near the Elisabeth Bridge as it's a great spot to overlook the city and next to the main hub of Pest. Also, near there is the promenade area with all the boats, which is super pretty too.

Shoes of the Dabube

One of the most iconic spots by the river is the memorial of the 'Shoes on the Danube Bank.' These shoes represent the Jews who were executed by the Nazis during the war. And honestly, it's such a powerful and heartbreaking memorial to see. 

Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament building is one of the most impressive to walk past and admire from the outside. It's actually pretty close by to the 'Shoes on the Danube Bank' memorial, by the river so really within reach. You can go inside the parliament building as well as simply admire it if you fancy learning more about the political history of Budapest. I only didn't go in as it was fully booked when I headed over for the different time slots. Tickets are around £15.

3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

St Stephen's Basilica

I adore visiting churches when I'm travelling, it brings a sense of peace to me, and especially in Europe, churches/basilicas are incredibly stunning to visit, and usually free too. St Stephen's Basilica was gorgeous in every way and lived up to expectations. The church was free to enter and in the hub of Pest.

St Stephen's Basilica

Dohány Street Synagogue

As the largest synagogue in Europe, Dohány Street Synagogue is a must-visit for everyone. I don't think I've ever been so blown away by how beautiful a synagogue was before. The detailing of the interior and exterior is everything and I loved being able to roam around and learn more about its history. Entry is 5,000 HUF (about £11) and worth every penny as it's a learning and observant experience in one.

Dohany Street synagogue

 Jewish Quarter

The synagogue is located in the Jewish Quarter. After visiting, I would recommend taking a quick mooch around to find a sweet cafe or restaurant that tickles your fancy. The Jewish quarter is pretty quirky and chill which I loved.

Budapest's Metro 1 

Budapest's public transport was some of the easiest to navigate that I've come across. And when I heard about their old underground station, I didn't want to miss out on experiencing it. Metro line 1 is the oldest route and I hopped from Deak Ferenc ter, one of the main stations in Pest to Heroes Square and loved every minute of the simple journey.

Heroes Square and Vajdahunyad Castle

When I arrived in Heroes Square, it kind of reminded me of the outside of Vatican City. It was pretty bare to look at in terms of what was going on but the statues and monuments were phenomenal, to say the least. There's not much to see in the main square apart from that, and this is why I came across the Vajdahunyad Castle. It was located behind the square in the midst of all the greenery and had that Hogwarts, magical vibe about it. The castle area had so much greenery around it, making it the perfect spot for a picnic or to sit and appreciate the day.

Heroes square Budapest

Szechenyi thermal baths

You can't go to Budapest without visiting the famous thermal baths. There are many different baths across the city but the most famous are the Szechenyi baths. They were located about a 5-minute walk from Heroes Square which made them completely accessible from there.

thermal baths budapest

The thermal baths are absolutely dreamy and the perfect way to spend a few hours relaxing, after spending most of the day sightseeing. There are many different baths on offer including the two big outdoor baths which vary in temperature and a cold swimming pool in between, Then indoors, there was a huge array of different pools from big to small, varying in temperature and medicinal abilities. It was a super fine experience trialing out the many different temperatures. I would recommend booking the baths in advance however with a cubicle, because they can get extremely busy, especially in peak season.

Day 2 - Exploring the Buda side 

The Buda side of the city was a lot more refined and quieter than Pest so I can see why some prefer it. I would say the attractions in Buda are things you spent longer doing if that makes sense and it's a spot where you can experience the glorious views the city offers.

Buda Castle

For any newbies, Buda Castle isn't actually a castle. I expected to rock up to a palace and tick it off my list, however, that wasn't the case. Buda Castle is an entire area consisting of many different buildings, viewpoints, museums, gardens, and more. It's a whole area to explore and I would say if you want to do it properly, you'll need a couple of hours at least to do so, and some good walking shoes. It's very pretty to roam around, even if you don't visit any of the museums - and plus, you'll experience the best views of Pest too.

Buda Castle

Matthias Church

This church had to be my favourite in Budapest. I couldn't get over how beautiful it was inside and the many details of the mosaic the church boasted. It was one of those places I could have admired for ages by its sheer history and boldness. The church also only cost 800HUF to enter (about £1.80), which is a bargain if you asked me. You could also pay the entry fee to climb up the tower and see the city for a similar price I believe.

Matthias Church

Fisherman's Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion is one of the cutest spots in the entire city and the perfect place to get your gram-worthy photos to show off back home. The monument is made up of towers and archways that overlook the city ahead, with significant history, where this part of the castle walls was protected by the guild of the fisherman, hence the name. The Fisherman's Bastion is free and opens 24/7 so you're able to roam whenever you wish. I actually visited when a snowstorm began, which made it certainly a unique experience! 

Fisherman's bastion

Gellért Hill

I had Gellért Hill on my itinerary list before I headed to Budapest but didn't really think much of it until I made the jump and headed over there - and I'm so glad I did. This hike isn't for the faint-hearted as there is a lot of steps involved to reach the top. However, once you get to the top, the view is worth it as you're able to see the entirety of Budapest in front of your eyes. Halfway up to the top, there's also the Gellért statue - which is impressive in itself to see.

Gellert hill


I came across Labyrinth as I was roaming around the Castle Hill area near Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias Church, to see what was on offer. It was located along a random back road and offered a pretty unique experience if I'm honest. Labyrinth are underground tunnels where count Dracula was once imprisoned. Entry fee is 3,000 HUF (about £6). I have to admit, the tunnels were pretty creepy as they weren't well lit, however, it was something interesting to do in a new city.

Day 3 - Soak up the hustle and bustle

Great Market Hall

I am obsessed with food and all things food markets so I couldn't leave Budapest without checking out their local famous market. The Great Market Hall reminded me of a smaller version of Borough Market with lots of fresh and traditional produce on offer. I could tell, it's definitely a place many locals do their shopping and grab something to eat which I loved. There were a few fresh food stalls to try traditional Hungarian grub and many souvenir stalls too.

great market hall budapest

House of Terror

I love museums and the House of Terror is one I'd highly recommend if you're only going to pick one museum to do on your stay. It's an incredibly harrowing experience to learn about the fascist and communist regimes in 20th century Hungary, but also quite an eye-opener too. I think the hardest part was visiting the basement area where a lot of the crimes were committed and learning the gut-wrenching facts of the ordeals that the victims experienced.

house of terror

Liberty Bridge

Budapest offers some beautiful bridges and another one worth seeing is the Liberty Bridge, the bright green oce, located near the Great Market Hall. 

Liberty bridge

Fashion Street

If you're a bit of a shopaholic, Fashion Street is a winner for you. Located right near the Budapest Ferris wheel on the Pest side of the city, the street offers all the classic high street stores, restaurants, and cafes, and is ace for a window shop mooch or simply a browse.

Enjoy your favourite parts of the city

Budapest has a calm and homely kind of vibe about it, and once I had experienced all of the attractions and the must-see things, it was time to fully appreciate that and roam as I pleased. I loved walking around random roads to discover pretty architecture, cute shops, and eateries. I could fully experience the solo travel way of life as I saw many other people walking freely on their own and dining alone. One place I found and fell in love with was Massolit Books and Cafe. I'm a big bookworm so as you can imagine finding a cafe which is surrounded by books, is the ultimate dream really. I spent a couple of hours in there reading and resting up after a few days of walking my way around the city and felt so at peace.

3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

Where to stay

I'm still obsessed with the place I stayed in Budapest. It was a gorgeous apartment, sat in the heart of the Pest side of the city, and had the prettiest balcony overlooking the Budapest Ferris Wheel. The apartment was around the corner from the bus station, Deak Ferenc ter, which is the last stop on the airport shuffle into the city - super convenient. It was modern, clean, secure and the perfect spot for a solo travel trip.

I would say because the city is so easy to get around that you could stay on either Buda or Pest side, but I would recommend Pest as there is more going on, with the busy vibe, restaurants, bars, and attractions.

How to get around

Budapest is one of the easiest cities I found to navigate around. You can easily travel around this city on foot and walk to all the attractions if you're fit and well enough. However, if you're not up for a lot of walking, public transport in the city is a dream. The buses, trams, and metro are incredibly cheap and very easy to understand. I basically used Google Maps to figure out the nearest bus/tram/metro stops to attractions and found it super straightforward. Metro tickets you can buy at the metro station and bus/tram tickets, you can purchase either on the purple machines that'll be near many bus stops or on the Budapest Go app.

3 day guide to Budapest: what to see and do

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you planning to go to Budapest?

Thank you for reading <3

1 comment

  1. Budapest does look incredible, I love the photos you have taken! x

    Lucy Mary


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