Will you be spending one day in Budapest? Are you looking for a Budapest itinerary and things to do in Budapest while there? Well, you have come to the right place.
I have visited Budapest Hungary several times 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.
Budapest offers quite a bit to those visiting her. While my suggestions may seem a bit ambitious, they are meant to inform you of all that is Budapest.
Read 18 Things to Know Before Traveling to Budapest to assist you with your planning.
Your personal interests and your finances will determine which locations you will visit and which to skip.
With history, culture, and attractions Budapest is full of surprises and just waiting to be explored. Here you will find the ultimate one day in Budapest itinerary with lots of suggestions of things for you to do and see.
If you will be in Budapest longer, read my 2 days in Budapest itinerary.
Experience Budapest like a local by staying at an Airbnb. Get a $55 Airbnb coupon by using my code when you book!
The Ultimate One Day In Budapest Itinerary
Adam Clark Square At The Chain Bridge
Whether you find your self in Budapest on a layover or a stopover during a European river cruise, I suggest getting started as early as possible, to see as much as you can. Times will be determined by your own personal schedule.
Begin at Adam Clark Square, which can be reached via the Buda side of the Chain Bridge.
The Chain Bridge is an architectural marvel and a crown jewel of Budapest. You will want to take a few minutes to admire its ornateness, including the lions on the bridge. Legend has it that the lions do not possess tongues. That is not true!
Today there are other bridges that span the Danube River connecting historic Buda to trendy Pest, but the beautiful Chain Bridge is the original.
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.
Look here: Budapest City Sightseeing Tour
The park and the sculpture are located at the Buda end of the Chain Bridge and below Buda Castle.
Romantic Castle Hill
A lot of suggestions on this itinerary for one day in Budapest are for your consideration. I feel visiting Castle hill is a must.
From Adam Clark Square you have many options to get to the top of the hill: Budapest’s mass transportation, ride up the nearby funicular, and quite possibly if you are daring, you can walk.
Be wary though because the hills are extremely steep, the sidewalks as well. I rode a bus to the top.
Once on top, you can explore Budapest’s cobblestoned streets. Please be aware there will be a lot of walking so wear closed-toe shoes. Leave the flip flops or sandals for another day.
Look here: Budapest: 3-Hour Live Guided Sightseeing Tour
Fisherman’s Bastion Offers Jaw-Dropping Vistas Of Budapest
I highly suggest once you arrive to Fisherman’s Bastion you head straight for the views! The sweeping panoramic views of the Danube and the Hungarian Parliament Building are not to be missed.
This location is one of Budapest’s most popular destinations. That said, it gets very crowded, very early. If you can, make every attempt to get there as early as possible first thing in the morning.
Look for the huge statue of St Stephen I of Hungary riding his horse, in the middle of Fisherman’s Bastion.
Look here: Budapest: Shared Airport Shuttle Bus Transfer
Look here: Private Transfer from Budapest to Liszt Ferenc Airport
Do Not Miss Visiting Matthias Church
Named after one of Hungary’s most beloved medieval kinds, Roman Catholic Matthias Church holds a prominent spot in Fisherman’s Bastion.
Once overtaken by Turkish invaders and used as their worship space, Matthias Church still contains the highly-ornate imprint of Turkins architecture. From its walls and ceilings to the tiles on its floors.
There is an admission fee, but this church’s architecture is so extraordinary I suggest you visit the interior if you can spare the time.
Look here: Budapest: Matthias Church Guided Tour including Admission
Look here: Budapest: Classical Music Concerts in Matthias Church
Like the area where it is located, Matthias Church gets extremely busy, very quickly. If you can manage to visit very early in the morning, or during the week, that would be to your advantage.
Budah Castle Is Worth A Quick Stop
Buda Castle referred to as the Royal Palace, is also part of Castle Hill. You can view the changing of the guard in front of the Presidental Palace.
It is a regal and colorful experience. It takes place on the top of every hour if you have time to spare during your one day in Budapest.
If visiting museums interests you, Buda Castle houses the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.
Look here: Budapest: Walking Tour of Buda Castle with a Historian
Look here: Buda Castle: History & Myths Evening Walking Tour
Look here: Budapest: St Stephen’s Basilica Tour with Tower Access
Bathe With The Hungarians To Experience Their Culture
Soaking in the warm thermal waters that flow through Budapest is an everyday way of life for Hungarians.
Studies have been conducted that document how the mineral waters have curative and restorative properties for those suffering from degenerative diseases.
When my family and I visited Budapest, a local suggested we visit the Rudas Medicinal Baths and Spa. Located on the Buda side of the River Danube, this spa is clean and very affordable.
All services are available and plan to take a “contrast bath” in the Wellness Section of the Rudas Baths to revitalize sore and tired muscles.
The rooftop panoramic pool offers spectacular views of Budapest that simply cannot be beaten. What a luxury.
The minimum amount of time you should budget for Rudas Baths is two hours. But you can easily spend much more time there is you so choose.
For more information read these 10 Useful Tips for visiting the Rudas Baths. You will not be disappointed!
Tickets here: Budapest: Rudas Spa Wellness and Dining Experience
Visit The Shoes On The Danube For A Harrowing Reminder
This thought-provoking monument, on the Pest side of the River Danube, is dedicated to all Hungarian Jews killed in Hungary during World War II.
60 Pairs of men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes made out of cast iron line the pedestrian walkway, each an authentic replica of a pair of 1940s shoes.
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.
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.
This simple memorial, speaks volumes without uttering a sound. Well worth your time to seek out during your one day in Budapest.
Do Not Miss Out On The Spectacular Hungarian Parliament Building
The iconic Hungarian Parliament Building is something to be seen, for sure.
Located about a five-minute walk from the Shoes on the Danube Monument, take the time to visit this Grand Lady as part of your one day in Budapest. The architecture is phenomenal.
If it is possible and fits into your budget, plan to tour the building. I simply cannot recommend this enough. The history of Hungary is exceedingly interesting, and seeing the Hungarian Crown Jewels will be a memorable part of your one day in Budapest.
Look here: Budapest Parliament 45-Minute Guided Tour
Look here: Budapest: House of Parliament Visit and Grand City Tour
Word to the wise: this is a very popular tourist destination. The lines to purchase admission tickets are very long. It is best to purchase your tickets ahead to time online.
Visit the Grand Market Hall For Everything Paprika!
A five-minute stroll from Budapest’s City Center and a one and one-half miles from the Hungarian Parliament Building is the Grand Market Hall.
It is often called Central Market because of its central location in Budapest. It will be a highlight of your one day in Budapest.
It is very very popular, and probably the most visited Budapest market. Not to worry though. It is huge and handles large crowds well.
The market is three floors full of dizzying options of fresh fruits, vegetables, and paprika. Hungary is one of the leading producers of paprika worldwide, and it is a popular souvenir to bring home. Hungarian wines are also available.
You can grab a bite to eat from one of the restaurants on the second floor that offer authentic Hungarian food. Guided tours of the market are also available.
Mass-produced and hand made souvenirs are also widely available at the Grand Market Hall.
Look here: Budapest 1-Hour Evening Sightseeing Cruise
Look here: Budapest: Generation Pub Crawl
Do not miss out on visiting the Grand Market Hall during your one day in Budapest.
Visit Vaci Street For Ultimate Shopping And Dining
One of Budapest’s main pedestrian streets and perhaps the most notable street in Budapest is Vaci Street.
Loaded with upscale shops, cafes, and restaurants, this is the perfect place to visit for lunch, dinner, or an afternoon coffee. And to people watch.
The designer shops have that perfect European outfit you may be looking for, and souvenir stalls and shops are abundant.
Visiting Vaci Street during your one day in Budapest is truly a must for experiencing that true European atmosphere.
Look here: Skip the Line: Széchenyi Spa Full-Day Entrance Pass
Look here: Budapest: The Great Synagogue Skip the Line Ticket
Packing Tips For Your One Day In Budapest
I think that using these useful packing tips will enhance your trip to Budapest and help you remain organized while there.
Read How To Pack Lightly for packing tricks on how to maximize your packing space! And here for How To Survive Long Haul Flights.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring with you on your 1day 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.
You may have a pouch already and may not want to or need to invest in a new one, like me. If it does not come with the RFID protection, these RFID sleeves would be handy to prevent identity theft.
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 one day 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 one day 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 Budapest.
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 One Day 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. Hungary’s form of currency is the forint.
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 one day 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 one day in Budapest itinerary. Most of these attractions I have been to and monuments I have visited.
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 most of them during your one day in Budapest.
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Have you ever visited the Queen of the Danube? What is your favorite memory of Budapest? Did you bring home Hungarian paprika? Please leave comments below.