48-Hours in Budapest
how to make the most of every magical moment
Get Your Bearings Aboard the Hop On, Hop Off Tour Bus
With five far-reaching routes, covering bus, boat and walking tours, that run during the day and night, you can take in every inch of Budapest without walking a single step. Tickets can be purchased for a mere 28 euros and provide unlimited use for 48 hours, so you can easily hop back on when you’re feeling a little tired. The routes cover most major landmarks, such as the Parliament building, the Citadella, the Castle District and Hero’s Square
Food lovers will be spoilt for choice with a vast array of excellent restaurants and cafes that include the very best Hungarian fare as well as all the international favourites. Some of the city’s most popular food venues include Costes – offering upscale Michelin-star Hungarian cuisine, Prime Steak – an awesome steak house, Buddha Bar – serving the finest Asian fusion, and Comme Chez Soi - with its flavoursome Mediterranean dishes.
Relax in Classic Hungarian Style at the Széchenyi Medicinal Baths
Budapest is famous for its thermal baths and Széchenyi is the largest, and arguably the best, with 21 bathing pools, several saunas, a health spa and a relaxation area. Bask in the warm and soothing waters of the outdoor pool and watch the old men play chess, whilst the iconic yellow brickwork of the building looms in the background – the picture-perfect postcard image of Budapest.
Sightseeing and a Scenic Sunset in the Castle District
Feeling refreshed? Then it’s time to take a walk and see some more sights. Get the underground to Kossuth Lajos tér and take a closer look at the magnificent Parliament building. Then stroll along the banks of the river Danube and visit the touching Shoes on the Danube monument, which pays homage to the Jews of Budapest who were shot here by Arrow Cross militiamen during WWII.
From here continue walking to the beautiful Gresham Palace, then cross over the river via the famous Szécheny Chain Bridge. At the other side you can take the vintage cable car to the top of Buda for a breath-taking view of Pest below.
Potter the quaint cobbled streets around the Castle District, feast your eyes on the pleasant architecture and feel the buzzing excitement of the tourist crowds. The Matthias Church, with its colourful tiles, is one of the highlights. Opposite you’ll see the sprawling terrace of the ornate Fisherman’s Bastion. The top of the bastion is the place to be at sunset, sitting at the little bar with a nice glass of wine whilst watching the sun descend over the city.
For dinner it has to be Rézkaka’, one of the best restaurants in Budapest, for the perfect introduction to authentic Hungarian cuisine. This high-end bistro serves a fine selection of fresh fish and succulent local beef and cuts a cosy atmosphere with its candlelit tables and atmospheric gypsy music.
A Nightcap or Two
Why not wash down your dinner with a nice glass of Hungarian wine? Home to one of the oldest classified wine regions in Europe, the wine here offers an extensive range of exquisite flavours. Most of which you’ll find on offer at Wine Kitchen, a trendy bar and bistro, with a list of over 200 locally produced wines.
Breakfast Delights at the Infamous New York Cafe
Steeped in legend, from its days as the favourite haunt of Budapest’s literati during the 1890s, the New York Café – is something of an institution. Recently renovated, and part of the grandiose 5-star Boscolo Hotel, the elegant setting serves as a nice environment in which to sip your morning coffee and enjoy a spot of breakfast.
Be at One with Nature– The Medveotthon Bear Farm
For something different from the usual city break itinerary, visit the Medveotthon Bear Farm, located a short distance from the city centre. Covering an area of about 5.5 hectares, this park is the only one of its kind in Central Europe and offers a unique experience to interact with the bears up close. In fact, you can even feed them, providing you’re brave enough.
No visitor to Budapest should leave without trying Hungary’s national dish – goulash. Naturally the city isn’t short of restaurants serving up the delicacy, but three of the best include: Baltazár, which combines beef, potatoes and csipetke noodles for a thick and hearty goulash; the Michelin-star eatery Onyx, with its light and vibrant goulash soup; and Kék Rózsa Étterem, where the décor may be no thrills but the food will knock your socks off.
An Aperitif at the Most Famous Ruin Bar
The ruin pubs of the old Jewish quarter are undoubtedly one of the main attractions here and the mecca of them all is Szimpla Kert. It's a bustling spot with unique décor courtesy of the graffiti clad walls and vintage furniture, which includes old bikes and antique Russian cars. Order a pint of Kazinczy, a craft beer that's brewed locally, or for a true Hungarian experience knock back a shot of fruity Pálinka.
Take in the fairy tale riverside panorama of Budapest one last time with a luxury cruise on the Danube. Relax and dine in style as you float by the city’s most notable sites - Buda Castle, Gellért Baths, Parliament and the Szécheny Chain Bridge – all aglow in their night-time lights. It’s a truly magical and lasting image of Budapest you’re sure to remember forever.