budapest travel guide

Here is a complete travel guide on how to enjoy and make the most out of Budapest from day to night in just one day, without compromising the essentials.

What to Love About Budapest


Irresistibly beautiful! Budapest can easily exceed anyone’s expectations. It is no wonder George Ezra wrote a song just for her. From its original architecture, romantic rivers and bridges, thermal baths and hearty goulashes; a day in this city is enough to give you a picture of what balanced life should look like and make you dream of it every since. Love is a huge word, yet for Budapest it deserves all my heart.



Budapest at A Glance:

- Heroes’ Square
- Alexandra Book Café
- Hungarian State Opera House
- Hungarian Parliament Building
- St. Stephan’s Basilica
- Lunch: Étkezde Restaurant
- Buda Castle + History Museum
- Fisherman’s Bastion
- Danube Cruise
- Széchenyi Thermal Bath
- Shopping: Il Bacio de Stile
- Dinner: Frici Papa Kifőzdéje Restaurant
- Erzsébet Square

P.S. This itinerary is split into two parts: Buda and Pest, which make up for the name ‘Budapest’.


Starting with Pest

In the morning (begin your trip early):

1. Heroes’ Square

heroes squareheroes squarebudapest

Because how can one not visit the landmark of Budapest, right?


2. Have a coffee and pastry at Alexandra Bookcafé 

paris nagy aruhaz

I am such a sucker for book cafés so much that I could practically live in one my whole life if need be.

Located inside Paris Nagy Aruhaz Building along Andrassy Street, this grand book café has ceilings designed by the famous Karoly (Charles) Lotz!

paris nagy aruhaz
paris nagy aruhaz
paris nagy aruhaz
paris nagy aruhaz

There is no other place I’d rather be for a cuppa that morning.

Opening hours: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.


3. Hungarian State Opera House

hungary opera househungary opera house

Unfortunately no good luck superstition comes with touching huge stone boobies for free.


4. Hungarian Parliament Building

hungary parliamenthungary parliament

While you may think this is just another a building, it is the work of the same guy who designed the book café in #2. If you’re lucky like I was, you could catch the handsome march performance at the parliament’s square.


5. St. Stephan’s Basilica  

st stephan basilica
st stephan basilicast stephan basilica

Hi everyone, meet Wanda!



6. Lunch at Étkezde Restaurant


Needless to say, I ordered the most traditional Hungarian dish / dessert of its sort. Two thumbs up for this place and extra brownie points for being so centralized!


From Pest, take a bus at Hild Tér to Buda

7. Buda Castle (+ History Museum inside) 

buda castle
buda castle

If you are doing a one-day trip, I suggest making a quick tour inside the museum instead of a thorough one. Otherwise, enjoy the open-roof bar and grab a refreshment or two while enjoying the view of Pest resting beautifully on the other side.


8. Souvenir shopping 

hungarian paprika

Where the bus drops you off, you will find a row of shops selling handmade goods and Hungarian products such as paprika chili powder; which is no joke, a must-buy.


9. Fisherman’s Bastion 

budapestfishermans bastionfishermans bastionfishermans bastionfishermans bastionfishermans bastionfishermans bastionfishermans bastionfishermans bastionfishermans bastion

I may not story much about this place, but it is my favorite spot out of all 15 places of interests featured here today. It takes on such a unique name because it was where fishermen used to defend this city along these walls.

Here, have a shot of traditional fruit brandy overlooking the most magical view one can imagine. Mine was apricot Pálinka. Up to 5 strangers; waiters, waitresses and tourists tried to warn me about its strong taste; suggesting politely that I might not like it, but had fun watching me trying it anyway. That made my Pálinka experience a very memorable one with lots of participation involved.


From the bastion, I took a bus and walked to the pier using Google Maps

10. Danube River Cruise

budapestdanube cruisedanube cruisedanube cruisedanube cruise

If you didn’t manage to take the cruise in Prague, fret not. Having taken both rides, now I can say this one is 10 times better.


Take a taxi to:

11. Széchenyi Thermal Bath

yellow bikini
yellow bikini

Whether you carry your bikini around, wear it inside or go all the way back to your hotel to grab it; no matter what you do, THIS is a MUST. Try all pools offering different temperatures, starting with the coolest one. Towels are provided.

Opening hours: 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.


Back to the hotel and out again in Pest

budapestbudapest train

Try the metro for a change to commute around.


12. Explore the city by foot and have an ice cream


So I met Davor, a towering, peculiar oddball who introduced me to where he believes serves the best ice cream in town.


13. Shop till you drop at Il Bacio de Stile


According to Zsofia, a darling whom you will meet in my next post, this place sells branded stuff on #foreversale so if you love shopping, mm mmm!


14. Dinner: Frici Papa Kifőzdéje Restaurant


Also recommended by a local friend for serving one of the most original paprika chicken, I have to admit his claim is legit.

If you feel like something fancier, try goulash at one of the many restaurants surrounding Erzsébet Square. (I am not providing info on this one because I personally think that the price doesn’t justify the food, though presentation wise it looks perfect.)

erzebet squareerzebet squareerzebet square


15. Erzsébet Square

erzebet square

After dinner, take a relaxing stroll around this square bursting and bustling with life of all ages.

erzebet square

I guess it’s safe to say that my travels around Central Europe comes with a happy ending and I couldn’t ask for more. <3



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