Will you be spending 2 days in Budapest? Are you looking for a Budapest itinerary and things to do while there? Well, you have come to the right place. I have visited Budapest Hungary and loved every minute I was there.
Budapest has reemerged at one of Europe’s great cultural capitals. She is divided by the romantic Danube River and connected by the iconic Chain Bridge. Hillside and historic Buda is on the eastern banks and cosmopolitan and trendy Pest is on the west.
With history, culture, and attractions Budapest is full of surprises and just waiting to be explored. Here you will find the ultimate 2 days in Budapest itinerary with lots of suggestions of things for you to do and see.
Table of Contents
The Ultimate 2 Days In Budapest Itinerary
Day 1: Begin your 2 days in Budapest by exploring the Buda portion of the city.
Stop 1: Start Your Day At Adam Clark Square And The Chain Bridge
The best way to really get a taste of Budapest’s character and history is by starting on the Buda side of the Danube. Buda, the hilly and majestic part on one side of the Danube and the flat trendy Pest on the other were first joined together in 1849.
Count Istvan Szechenyi was responsible for uniting the two communities with the building of the Chain Bridge that linked them together.
Begin your day at Adam Clark Square on the Buda side of the Chain Bridge. The Chain Bridge was and still is an architectural marvel. You will want to take time to admire its ornateness. And check out those lions gracing the bridge. Do not listen to the legend, they DO have tongues.
Today there are other bridges over the Danube that link Buda and Pest together, but the Chain Bridge is the original permanent bridge across the Danube.
Adam Clark Square houses the limestone sculpture “0.” This milestone Kilometer 0 monument is the reference point from which all road distances to Budapest from throughout Hungary are measured. The park and the sculpture are located at the Buda end of the Chain Bridge and below Buda Castle.
Look here: Budapest City Sightseeing Tour
Now you can make use of Budapest’s bustling mass transportation options to get to the top of the iconic Castle Hill. Or you may choose to ride up the funicular to the top. And of course, for the most leisurely of options, you can always walk.
Be wary though, the hills are very high and the sidewalks are steep. When I visited Budapest, we took the bus up to the top.
Stop 2: Explore Romantic Castle Hill
On top of Castle Hill is where you will be rewarded with sweeping massive vistas of glorious Budapest. Once on top, you will have the chance to explore cobblestone streets and the quaintness of Buda.
Even if you take a bus as I did, busses can only transport you so far. You will have to climb a portion of Castle Hill. Important – those cobblestone streets are uneven. Take your time and do not rush. I recommend you wear closed-toe supportive shoes. No sandals for this part of your exploring.
Look here: Grand Budapest Sightseeing Bike Tour
Stop 3: Watch The Changing Of The Guard At Buda Castle
Buda Castle, also referred to as the Royal Palace is part of the iconic Castle Hill. The changing of the guards in front of the Presidential Palace is regal and stunning. With the precise choreography, you would expect of such an event.
The changing of the guard ceremony takes place daily on the hour and lasts a few minutes. It is certainly worth considering adding to your 2 days in Budapest itinerary.
Buda Castle is where you will also find the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.
Look here: Budapest: Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Look here: Walking Tour of Buda Castle with a Historian
Look here: Budapest: 2-Hour Night Bus Tour
Stop 4: Visit Fisherman’s Bastion For Sweeping Vistas of Budapest
Be forewarned! Fisherman’s Bastion is one of Budapest’s most popular tourist destinations. The sweeping views of the Danube and Parliament Building attract huge crowds. When I visited it was on a weekend and it was indeed super crowded.
You will want to take time to get lots of memorable pictures of the Danube and of her Queen, Budapest. Fisherman’s Bastion is a great place to get pictures of the marvelous Parliament Building.
For the best chance at great pictures, I would suggest you head to Fisherman’s Bastion very early in the morning. Perhaps just at sunrise. People begin showing up soon thereafter.
Look for the statue of St Stephen I of Hungary in the middle of Fisherman’s Bastion, riding mightily on his horse.
Look here: Organ Concert in St. Stephen’s Basilica
Stop 5: Admire The Architecture Of Matthias Church
I love to tour churches and basilicas when I am in Europe. I feel they are so inspiring and come with interesting past histories. Named after one of Hungary’s most beloved medieval kings, Roman Catholic Matthias Church looms large over the Fisherman’s Bastion.
At one point in its history, Matthias Church was taken over and used as a worship space by Turkish invaders for a period of time when Budapest was under siege. There is an admission fee to enter inside this church but it is so unique I think you will agree it is worth it.
If Fisherman’s Bastion, where the church is located, is busy with tourists, the same can be said about the Matthias church, so if you can schedule your 2 days in Budapest itinerary, try to get to Matthias Church on an off day (not weekend) or early morning for best viewing.
Inside the church still contains the Turkish imprint from those invaders from so long ago on its walls and in the tiling on its floors. I have never seen anything like it. I would suggest not missing this opportunity to see this unique worship space.
Tickets here: Matthias Church Guided Tour including Admission
Tickets here: Budapest: Classical Music Concerts in Matthias Church
Stop 6: Enjoy Hungarian Cafe Culture By Stopping At A Coffeehouse
Coffee-to-go in a paper cup is not very popular in Budapest. Most Hungarians like to start their day with coffee, usually a super strong espresso. In a china cup. The cafe culture is strong in Budapest. Some of the legendary cafes have been restored to their beautiful former opulence.
The cafes in Budapest do not only serve coffees, but they also offer delicacies such as delicious pastries and cakes, which are amazing.
Look here: Budapest: Hungarian Cuisine Tasting Program
Look here: Budapest: Craft Beer Tasting
Stop 7: Cruise The Danube To See Beautiful Budapest
Either cruising during the daytime or cruising in the evening, Budapest is beautiful from the waters of the River Danube.
Not much compares to seeing the Hungarian Parliament Building illuminated at night!
Tickets here: 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise with Welcome Drink
Tickets here: Budapest: Dinner Cruise with Live Music
Tickets here: Budapest Candlelit Dinner Cruise
Tickets here: 1-Hour Sightseeing Danube River Cruise
Day 2: Continue Your 2 Days In Buda Exploring Cosmopolitan Pest.
Fun Fact: Budapest is pronounced Budapesh. The “Pest” portion is spoken as “Pesh.”
Look here: 3-Hour Walking Tour of Pest with a Historian
Stop 1: Start At Heroes’ Square, The Largest Square In Budapest
Located between the end of Andrassy Avenue and City Park, Heroes’ Square is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Budapest and a World Heritage Site. City Park is considered the entrance to Heroes’ Square, a wide-open plaza of monuments and statues.
In its center, you will see the Millenium Monument, impressively laid out to commemorate the 1,000-year history of Hungary. A large statue of the Archangel Gabriel stands in the center of it.
I visited Heroes’ Square during my visit to Budapest, and I can say the history of Budapest is truly amazing. This is worth the stop.
Look here: Alternative Budapest Walking Tours
Look here: Budapest: Private Half-Day Walking Tour
Stop 2: Experience the ambiance of Budapest along the chic Andrassy Avenue.
Given the distinction of being a World Heritage Site, Andrassy Avenue is home to upscale shops, homes, and hotels.
You can take a walking tour if you desire to gain first-hand knowledge of this Champs-Elysees of Budapest, or simply stroll her lovely avenue yourself exploring and discovering shops and cafes.
Tickets here: Budapest: 3-Hour Live Guided Sightseeing Tour
Tickets here: Budapest: 1-Day Unlimited Cruise Ticket
Stop 3: Visit The Hungarian State Opera House To Learn About Hungarian Culture
Even if you do not like or appreciate opera, it is worth it to pay a visit to the Hungarian Opera House. It was modeled after the great opera house in Vienna and considered one of the most beautiful of all the European opera houses.
Recently, the opera house has been under renovation. When I visited Budapest, it was closed and I was very disappointed I did not have the opportunity to visit this jewel.
Its ornate neo-renaissance architecture beckons you to come and see it for yourself. Often the inside is referred to as an “enchanted jewel box,” so gilded and glamorous it is.
You can take guided tours of the interior, and even attend a ballet or opera!
Stop 4: Take A Bath With The Hungarians That You Will Never Forget
Soaking in the thermal waters that flow in and through Budapest is simply a part of Budapest’s everyday culture. Medical studies have demonstrated that the baths’ mineral waters have restorative and curative properties for those suffering from degenerative joint diseases.
The Szecheni Baths complex is very large and offers bathers a multitude of options to select from. There are indoor and outdoor therapy pools both hot and cold. You will find the temperature of each individual bath at its location. There are steam rooms and hot saunas as well.
My visit to the mineral water of Szecheni is one of the most memorable things I did in Budapest.
Tickets here: Budapest Széchényi Spa Package and Parliament Visit
Tickets Here: Budapest: Rudas Spa Wellness and Dining Experience
Tickets here: Skip the Line: Széchenyi Spa Full-Day Entrance Pass
Tickets here: Budapest: Full-Day Skip-the-Line Gellért Spa Ticket
Stop 5: Visit Váci Street For The Ultimate Shopping And Dining Experience
One of the main pedestrian streets, and arguably the perhaps the most famous street in Budapest, you will find everything tempting on Vaci Street.
There are many cafes for a coffee and pastry, restaurants for lunch or dinner, and designer shops to entice you. Plan to take time out of your 2 days in Budapest sightseeing to rest and refresh on Vaci street.
Look here: 3-Hour Live Guided Sightseeing Tour
Stop 6: Get Your Paprika At The Grand Market Hall
Located just a 5-minute walk from Budapest’s city center, the Grand Market Hall is often called Central Market Hall as well because it is so centrally located in Budapest. It is wildly popular and probably the most visited of all of Budapest’s markets.
Inside you find three floors full of fresh fruits, vegetables and paprika (one of the leading souvenirs to leave Hungary!) You may also purchase Hungarian wines and even take a guided tour of the market. Homemade meals and snacks are offered.
Stop 7: Observe A Moment Of Silence At The Shoes On The Danube Monument
This moving monument, located on the Pest side of the Danube, is dedicated to all Hungarian Jews killed in Hungary during World War II. Jewish victims were lined up and shot into the Danube River. Not before they removed their shoes though, because shoes were valuable at that time.
60 pairs of men’s, women’s and children’s shoes made out of cast iron make up this monument, with each pair modeled after an authentic pair of 1940s shoes.
Every evening at sunset, locals and tourists alike, gather at the Shoes by the Danube monument. They pray, light candles and have a moment of silence for the victims of such an atrocity.
To me, this simple yet striking memorial, speaks volumes. It was overwhelming. A definite do-not-miss during your 2 days in Budapest.
Tickets here: Budapest: The Great Synagogue Skip the Line Ticket
The haunting Shoes of the Danube memorial.
Stop 8: Marvel At The Marvelous Hungarian Parliament Building
You know the Hungarian Parliament Building. You have seen its picture used for advertising Budapest and Europe in general. It is that bold. It is that grand. It is the largest building in all of Hungary and the tallest building in Budapest. At night is when this building shines: the bright welcoming beacon of Budapest.
Built in the neo-Gothic style, precious stones, and real gold were both used abundantly in her construction. You can tour the beautiful and massive Hungarian Parliament Building during your 2 days in Budapest when the national assembly is not in session.
But, word to the wise: it is such a popular tourist destination that lines for admission tickets are very long and slow moving. Best to purchase your tickets in advance and online.
I was able to tour the Hungarian Parliament Building and see the breathtaking Hungarian Crown Jewels and learn Hungary’s history. I highly recommend!
Tickets here: Budapest: 1-Hour Parliament Tour with Hotel Pick-up
Tickets here: Budapest Parliament 45-Minute Guided Tour
Packing Tips For Your 2 Days In Budapest
I think that using these useful packing tips will enhance your trip to Budapest and help you remain organized while there.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring with you on your 2 days in Budapest. This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can keep your most valuable documents safe and secure next to your body.
This configuration comes with enough passport and credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your current pouch or wallet. These are the kind my family and I use not only when traveling but at home as well.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast! I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about. And if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use. It is made of durable aluminum and is very lightweight and easy to carry. I love mine and I think you will enjoy it too!
Don’t forget to bring along a universal power adapter on your trip to Hungary. This worldwide power plug is a great example and will charge your phone at the end of your busy days. And this world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time.
This is what you will need when there are several people traveling in your group, or if you bring several electronic devices on your trip that require charging at the same time.
I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am sold. These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel. I cannot believe how much more organized I am now! And I never leave without them anymore.
Hydration is so important. When I visited Budapest it was warm and having water with me was very important. You want to remain hydrated to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your day 2 days in Budapest. You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for travel and it will fit nicely in the pocket of a backpack or your purse. Also when filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the Bobble carbon filter ensures fresh clean water whenever and wherever you fill the Bobble. You can find filter replacements here.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space in your suitcase at all. And you will be receiving a set of two.
You will want to bring a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.
Perhaps you need a more substantial backpack for your international travel. This antitheft backpack has a charging port, is water-resistant and can comfortably carry up to a 15.6″ laptop. It comes in a range of colors to choose from and it is inexpensive as well.
You will be walking more than usual during your 2 days in Budapest. A sturdy and comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must-have. These waterproof all-season shoes are extremely affordable and yet fashionable.
Mostly everyone is familiar with the Skechers brand, and these Air Run high fashion sneakers come in a lot of colors to match your outfits and are still affordable. I know from experience you need sturdy shoes when navigating the cobblestoned streets of Croatia.
You may be visiting Budapest in warmer weather as I did, and you may want a pair of sandals to wear exploring. I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals.
I have several pairs of these exact Vionic sandals in several colors that I bring with me *everywhere* I travel. They are very comfortable. I also sometimes bring along my Vionic Tides flip flops. The toe post is so comfortable which makes wearing these super comfortable.
If experiencing culture at the Hungarian baths is on your list you will want to bring along swimwear. This lightweight men’s swim trunk is quick drying and affordable. I like this women’s one-piece bathing suit. It has a moderately high leg cut and is lined for modesty’s sake. It has a built-in bra and comes in neat colors.
You may want to bring along beach towels. But you do not want to add anything heavy or bulky. This fast drying, lightweight and very absorbent towel is the perfect solution. You choose what color and size you wish and it is extremely affordable.
You may want to bring along a wet-dry bag for your suits and towels once you are finished lounging in the baths. This wet dry bag with handles is a good option. It comes in several patterns and two sizes to pick from. Or you could opt for this mesh swim backpack bag that has separate areas for dry and wet items.
Bring a lightweight scarf or shawl. Scarves and shawls are very popular in Europe and Budapest is no different. Both men and women wear scarves, both decoratively and as a layering piece to keep warm. This cotton unisex lightweight scarf is versatile and can be worn in any season. I like this colorful oversized scarf too. So many colors to select from!
And here’s another option to consider: this lightweight sunscreen shawl scarf would do double duty to protect you from the sun in the warmer seasons as well as being a fashion accessory layering piece. This Coolibar sunscreen scarf has USB 50+ protection from the sun’s rays & comes in great colors.
We all need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.
If you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you. I like polarized sunglasses because they remove the glare off the water and help you to see things more clearly. This will be very helpful in Budapest.
If you are in need of new luggage, this expandable soft side spinner luggage is affordable and comes in lots of colors. If you like hard-sided better, then you may favor this hard-sided luggage set better. Both sets come with TSA approved zippers locks and 8 wheels per piece. Either will be great for the plane or train or even your car depending on how you plan to travel to Budapest.
How To Get Around In Budapest
By subway. Did you know that Hungary’s capital city of Budapest is home to mainland Europe’s first subway system? It was constructed in 1896 to celebrate Hungary’s Millenium celebration. It was commissioned to run underneath Andrassy Avenue so as not to detract from its charm and beauty.
Today Hungarians and tourists alike use the Millenium subway system to get around town.
By Tram or trolly. Budapest has an extensive tram and trolly system operating in the city since 1866. It is one of the largest in the world. If you use the tram you can head out and about town and see just about all the sights and attractions that interest you.
Budapest buses stop all over the city. If you plan to hop on and off frequently avoid the express buses.
Try a ride on the cable railway. The funicular runs from the foot of Castle Hill to the top of the Castle District.
Quick Tips For Your 2 Days In Budapest
Here are some quick tips and tricks I’ve learned, along with the ones above, which will enhance your trip to Budapest. And hopefully, make it a bit less stressful.
Before you leave home, contact your credit card company and check to see if your credit card does or does not have foreign transaction fees.
If it does, inquire about the possibility of applying for one that does not carry foreign transaction fees attached to it (the small fee charged you whenever you use your card out of your home country.) Also, remember to notify your bank of the dates you will be out of the country.
When you visit an ATM in Hungary, check to be sure it is on the same network as your bank, so you are not charged a transaction fee every time you withdraw cash. Withdrawing larger amounts of money will help you limit bank transition fees. Croatia’s form of currency is the Kuna.
Purchase advanced tickets to attractions whenever possible. Admission tickets purchased online are usually offered at a discount, and you will save a lot of time waiting in lines to buy tickets at the individual attractions.
Your 2 days in Budapest will be less stressful when you have your plan and can pace yourself and not have to worry about the availability of tickets at each location you wish to visit.
Here I have included the best Hungary has to offer in this 2 days in Budapest itinerary. Most of these attractions I have been to and monuments I have visited. Some I did not have the opportunity to, and I want to make sure you have plenty of options during your 2 days in Budapest.
You may not want to visit every place I have listed, but if you budget your time wisely, it is possible to pay a stop to each of them during your 2 days in Budapest.
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Have you ever visited the Queen of the Danube? What is your favorite memory of Budapest? What specifically do you recommend a traveler to Budapest do? Do you have a fave coffee shop or restaurant? Did you bring home Hungarian paprika? Please leave comments below.