2 Days in Budapest Itinerary – The Ideal Itinerary for Budapest in Hungary

Budapest is one of the jewels of Central Europe and many of my friends have always asked for a Budapest itinerary when they were planning a visit here.

I have visited Budapest more than 20 times over the past decade and it has been wonderful to see the city transform.

2 Days in Budapest Itinerary – The Ideal Itinerary for Budapest in Hungary

Budapest is one of the jewels of Central Europe and many of my friends have always asked for a Budapest itinerary when they were planning a visit here.

I have visited Budapest more than 20 times over the past decade and it has been wonderful to see the city transform.

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Hi, we’re Rach & Marty!

We’ve visited every country in the world and want to help you get the most out of your travels!

Whether you need an expertly planned itinerary, some experienced hints and tips, or just craving a delicious food adventure, we’ve got you covered!

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2 days in Budapest Itinerary budapest 2 day itinerary

I always find something new to see, do or eat. I know the majority of visitors come here for 2 days and this is what this Budapest 2 Day Itinerary was based on.

If you have only one day in Budapest and looking for a more condensed itinerary for Budapest, this can still be a helpful guide. And if you are spending 3 days in Budapest, I will include some additional places to visit in Budapest and some great day trips. 

Before we start with the details of the 2 days in Budapest Itinerary, here are a few frequently asked questions about Budapest.

4 Questions about Budapest:

1. Where is Budapest located?

Budapest is located in the north-central part of Hungary on the river Danube. The river Danube connects 4 European capitals (Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade).

Budapest on the map of Europe
Budapest 2 Day Itinerary – Budapest on the map

2. What is Budapest famous for?

Budapest is known as the city of two cities! In 1873 the two cities (technically three), Buda and Pest formed the new city of Budapest.

It’s also known for its thermal spas, nightlife and Danube cruises. Budapest is referred to as “The Pearl of the Danube”.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Map Budapest 2 Day Itinerary
Budapest 2 Day Itinerary

3. When is the best time to visit Budapest?

The best times to visit Budapest are from April to May and September through October. If you don’t mind the rain and cooler days, March and November can be also good months as there are a lot fewer tourists.

The main tourist season is during the summer months in July and August when Europeans have their school/summer holidays. The temperatures can reach 30+ but it’s not as hot as in southern Europe.

Our two days in Budapest itinerary was based on visiting during the warmer months May – October. If you visit in December, you will enjoy the Christmas Markets.

4. What does this 2 Days In Budapest Itinerary include?

This Budapest itinerary is written as a step-by-step guide. You can follow it throughout your two days in Budapest. It covers these places to see in Budapest as well as some really cool things to do. Simply use Google maps or Maps.me to get from one place to the next.

Or even better, get the app Rome2Rio.com so you know how to get around on public transport too.

Best Places in Budapest to Visit.

Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, Budapest Central Market Hall, Vaci Street, Dohany Street Great Synagogue, St Stephen’s Basilica, Heros Square, and Széchenyi Thermal Bath.

Best Things to Do in Budapest

2 Days in Budapest – The perfect step-by-step itinerary

Day 1 of the 2 Days Itinerary in Budapest:

Fisherman’s Bastion (Halaszbastya) 

We start the day with Fishermans Bastion which offers fantastic views over the city of Budapest. You’ll be able to see the Parliament Building as well as St Stephens Cathedral from here.

To get to Fisherman’s Bastion, you can walk up the hill and set of stairs (it takes about 15-20 minutes) or you can catch the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular for 1200 FT. It starts at the bottom of the hill Clark Adam Square and you’ll pop out near the Buda Castle from where you walk. Or you can take it down.

Fisherman’s Bastion is a decorated fortification that was built at the end of the 19th century. The 7 pointy towers represent the 7 leaders of the Magyar tribes that settled here. (Magyars are a nation and ethnic group native to Hungary and Hungarians are descendants of the Magyar tribes).

The fortification was actually never used, but today it offers an excellent place for views and photos.

Great views, and you can walk around the grounds to find a statue of the first Hungarian king, St. Stephan, here and the Mathias Church.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Fisherman’s Bastion
Budapest 2 Day Itinerary Fisherman’s Bastion

Matthias Church (Matyas Templom)

You can’t miss this church. Once you’ve had enough of the views of Budapest from Fisherman Bastion, you will see a beautiful church with colourful tiles on the rooftops.

Today’s church dates from the 1970s, as it was destroyed a few times, and during the Ottoman (today’s Turkey) occupation of the city of Budapest, it was even turned into a mosque.

A must-see on our 2 days in Budapest itinerary. While it’s gorgeous to see from the outside, pay the fee to see inside of it and you can also access the rooftop.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Matthias Church
2 days in Budapest Itinerary – The Statue of the King St Stephans next to the Matthias Church

Buda Castle / Royal Palace

If you took the funicular up the hill, you might have explored the Buda Castle (also called Royal Palace) first. If not, stroll over here for more views of Budapest.

The castle is home to the Budapest History Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery, but I recommend coming here for the views, maybe exploring a little, and then heading down to the Pest side of the town.

This time, you will see the Szecheni Chain Bridge below, along with the St Stephen Basilica. You can take the steep stairs down or use the funicular.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Buda Castle
Budapest 2 Day Itinerary – The Buda Castle

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

You will arrive at the Clark Adam Ter (Ter is a square in Hungarian ). It’s named after the Scottish engineer who completed the work on the adjoining Chain Bridge.

He also saved the Chain Bridge from being blown up by the Austrian army attempting to suppress the Hungarian Uprising of 1849. 

The Chain Bridge is the oldest suspension bridge in Budapest. Before it was built in 1849 (it took 20 years to complete) there were no other bridges across the river Danube.

This is also why two different cities, Buda and Pest, were located at the Danube and developed separately. 

Once you cross the bridge you will be at Stephen Széchenyi Square, check out the gorgeous building that now houses the Four Seasons Hotel.

You will be close to St Stephen’s Cathedral as well, but it’s better to continue across Vaci St and head to Central Market Hall so you can have lunch there.

Vaci Street

This is THE tourist street of Budapest, and you will eventually end up here, so I have decided to include it in your 2 days in Budapest itinerary.

It’s a typical pedestrian street filled with cheap souvenirs, some main shopping brands (H&M and ZARA and more), and many not-so-good restaurants.

But it’s fine if you need a quick coffee on the way to the Central Market Hall or a fridge magnet

It will take about 20-25 minutes to walk across the street and arrive at the Central Market.

If you need a coffee or lunch, Double Shot Coffee & Brunch located just off Vaci Street is a great choice.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Central Market
Vaci Street will lead you to the Central Market Hall in Budapest – Budapest 2 Day Itinerary

The Central Market Hall (Nagycsarnok)

Get ready for a fantastic experience. The Central Market Hall is the largest and oldest market in Budapest.

At some point in its history, it was closed entirely. Today, it’s one of the main attractions and a must-see and do on our 2 days in Budapest itinerary.

While you can enjoy and stroll the market yourself I highly recommend doing a food tour here.

The most popular tour is the delicious Culinary and Wine Walking Tour or a 2hr Budapest Market & Tasting Tour.

The market is open every day except Sunday and of course, the busiest day is Saturday.

You can also pick up some Hungarian souvenirs; from a paprika spice, Tokaj wine, Palenlka (Hungarian brandy), or Hungarian salami! 

You can also do some tasting, and there is a food section where you can try one of the most popular Hungarian snacks: langos! Essentially, langos is a flat, round, deep-fried doughnut covered in garlic. You can choose your own topping.

Trust me on this—tartar sauce (or sour cream) and grated cheese are the best combos. Locals also like it with ketchup and cheese. 

When I visited last time, I was shocked at how expensive the langos here is now. So my other tip is to try langos at Lagos Papi near the Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. 

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Central Market Hall (2)
Central Market Hall vendor – Budapest 2 Day Itinerary

Dohany Street Great Synagogue

After you have refuelled at the market you can stroll along the street. It will lead you towards the Jewish area of Budapest, where you will find the main Great Synagogue. 

Located in the former Jewish Ghetto, the Great Synagogue is unique. It was built at the end of the 19th century, and the style of the architecture is known as the Moorish style.

Almost 3000 people could be seated inside, and the Great Synagogue is the second largest synagogue in the world, after the synagogue in Jerusalem. 

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Great Synagoge
The Great Synagogue in Budapest in 2 days

During WW2, the Nazis created a Jewish Ghetto around the Great Synagogue. This was later transformed into a concentration camp, from where many Hungarian Jews were sent to the extermination camps.

On the synagogue’s north side, the Holocaust Tree of Life Memorial presides over the mass graves of those killed by the Nazis.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Jewish monument
The Tree of Life Memorial

You can book your entry ticket here, or for a better and more comprehensive understanding, I highly recommend doing a tour of the Jewish Ghetto.

Another excellent option is to do a guided tour of the Jewish Area with food that focuses on the area’s history and culture, with a special emphasis on exploring and tasting Jewish-Hungarian cuisine in several styles!

This makes for a truly unique tour on your Budapest 2 Day Itinerary.

Do come hungry, as the tour will include tastings of several Hungarian-Jewish specialties which could be (depending on the day): sausages, matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, Jewish eggs, cholent, roasted goose, and flódni. It starts at 11 am, so you would want to book it for your day 2 and swap a few things around.

If you are short on time, you can grab a great coffee at My Little Melbourne Coffee and just next to it is Langos Papi, best for authentic langos – a must-eat during your 2 days in Budapest itinerary. 

Langos Papi Budapest 2 days itinerary
Langos Papi

Continue along the street to finish at your final sight of today – the famous St Stephens Basilica.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary downtown St. Stephen's Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest is one of the key attractions

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Dedicated to the first king of Hungary, St Stephen this basilica is the main attraction in Budapest and one not to miss on your 2 days in Budapest itinerary. 

The gorgeous cathedral houses the most revered relic: the mummified right hand of King Saint Stephen.

When you enter, walk to the main altar, and on your left-hand side, you will see the Holy Right Chapel, where the mummified hand is located. If you have the energy, you can also climb the dome.

If you wish to do something unique and cultural, then book a classical music concert inside St Stephen’s Basilica

Choose from three concerts, each with four seating classes, to tailor your experience to your taste and budget.

This is your final attraction on Day 1. It’s time to head to your hotel for a quick freshen-up and change of clothes before heading out for the evening Danube River cruise with dinner. 

2 days in Budapest Itinerary view from St. Stephen's Basilica
The view from the Dome of St Stephen’s Basilica

Danube River Cruise with dinner

There is no better way to finish your first night in Budapest than a dinner cruise on the Danube.

Dinner combined with a cruising experience, you can’t beat that. Simply board, sit back and relax.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Evening River Cruise

Here are three Danube River Cruises to choose from depending on your budget :

SHORT ON TIME – Sightseeing Night Cruise (Cruise Only, no food or music)

Day 2 of the 2 Days Itinerary in Budapest:

Hungarian Parliament Building 

We are starting the second day of your two-day itinerary in Budapest with the main attraction: the Hungarian Parliament building.

But don’t forget to pack your swimming suit (flip flops and a towel) for later on as today we visit the famous Thermal Baths in Budapest.

The Parliament Building was completed in 1902 and has almost 700 rooms! It is the third-largest parliament building in the world and one of Hungary’s most recognised landmarks. 

The only way to see the building is as part of a 45-minute tour, which you can book here at the official site.

Alternatively, these guided tours include the Parliament Building as part of the overall tour of Budapest.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary Parliament
A guided tour of Budapest Parliament is a must-do 

The House of Terror

After you visit the Parliament Building, take the metro M2 from Kossuth Lajos tér (Square) to Blaha Lujza tér (Square) – it’s only 4 stops, and it will save you 40 minutes of walking. Then, walk to The House of Terror.

You can skip the museum and continue onto the Thermal Baths, in that case, Bus 70 or Metro again is your best option.

The House of Terror is my one recommended must-see museum on this 2 days in Budapest itinerary. The main reason is that you won’t find a museum like this elsewhere.

The House of Terror is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the fascist and communist dictatorships in Hungary. This building was the headquarters of the dreaded ÁVH secret police.

The exhibits focus on the 1950s and the brutality that followed the 1956 uprising. It is a chilling experience, but learning more about the past is important.  

If you wish to have a guided tour here with a professional private guide for an even better understanding, check out this tour.

Heroes Square (Hősök tere)

Next up is Heroes Square to be followed by our thermal baths visit. Once you arrive at Heroes Square you will be surprised just how big it is. 

In the middle of it is the Millennium Memorial, a 36m-high pillar topped by a golden Archangel Gabriel holding a cross and the Hungarian crown.

According to the legend, Stephen, the first king of Hungary, was prompted by the Archangel in a dream to convert to Christianity and crown himself. 

At the bottom of the column are 7 statues representing the different leaders of the Magyar clans (or chieftains) that settled here in the 9th century.

Today’s Hungarians are descendants of these tribes.

This monument was created in 1896 to mark the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest.

Széchenyi Thermal Baths

Budapest has 118 natural and artificial springs, from which 70 million litres of hot thermal spring water flow (between 20°C and 80°C which is 68°F and 176°F ) every day. 

There are a few thermal baths you might visit (Gellert Thermal Bath, Rudas Thermal Bath), but the Széchenyi thermal baths are the most famous ones.

It’s believed that the idea of thermal baths goes to the Roman Times (Budapest was as far as the Romans got in Central Europe). With the arrival of the Ottomans (today’s Turkey) in the 16th century, more baths were built there.

Enjoy the afternoon here. It is a nice way to relax, and since these baths are mixed-gender, you can enjoy it with your travel companion. These baths are very popular so you must buy a ticket beforehand, I suggest the official website here.

If you can spend an extra day on top of your 2 days in Budapest itinerary, this Széchenyi Spa with Optional Pálinka Tour is recommended.

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2 days in Budapest Itinerary Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Gellert Hill and Citadella Sunset views

To finish your second day in Budapest, I recommend going up to the Geller Hills/ Citadella on top of the hill of Buda.

Amazing views and a really wonderful place to watch the sunset over Budapest. 

The entry is free, and you can walk around the Citadella until you reach the Freedom Monument or Liberty Monument.

The 14m tall bronze statue of a woman holds a palm leaf.

Gorgeous Sunset in Budapest from Citadel
Gorgeous Sunset in Budapest from the Citadella

Where to Stay in Budapest

For first-time visitors to spend 2 days in Budapest, I’d recommend staying in the heart of the city.

This is the most central part of Budapest, with beautiful buildings, shops, and many cafes and restaurants. You will be near metro stations and public transport to get around the city and reach the most popular points of interest.

Alternatively, you could book the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour which allows you to visit many major sights and attractions in Budapest. 

See the list of accommodation options below for every budget:

Luxury: Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Situated in the heart of Budapest, this luxury hotel is stunning! It offers beautiful rooms and excellent facilities, and the staff and customer service are exceptional.

They even have a coffee machine in every room. Spending two days in Budapest will be an experience you won’t soon forget.

Matild Palace 2 days in budapest
Credit: booking.com

Check Price & Availability on Booking.com

Mid Range: Ramada by Wyndham City Centre

Located in the inner city, just a stone’s throw from the popular shopping street Váci Utca, Ramada by Wyndham is a popular choice for visitors on a two-day itinerary in Budapest.

It offers lovely, spacious rooms with all the facilities you need. You are spoilt for choice, with some fantastic restaurants and cafes nearby.

2 days in budapest ramada wyndham
Credit: booking.com

Check Price & Availability on Booking.com

Budget: Nador Boutique 

This hotel offers good value for money and is in an excellent location.

Just a 10-minute walk from Budapest History Museum and less than 1km from Buda Castle. A popular choice for couples who want clean, comfortable accommodation in the heart of it all.

Nador Boutique 2 days in budapest
Credit: booking.com

Check Price & Availability on Booking.com 

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FOR OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN BUDAPEST, SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM

How to get around Budapest?

Hot tip for sightseeing in Budapest: If you plan to use public transit during your stay in Budapest, you should purchase the Budapest Card, which offers FREE transit rides plus free access to 17 museums and discounts on many sightseeing attractions. Get your Budapest Card here.

And use the Rome2Rio app to get directions on public transport.

What to eat in Budapest Hungary?

You might want to try a few typical Hungarian dishes while in Budapest.

  • Langos – This deep-fried dough is traditionally topped with sour cream and cheese.
  • Kürtőskalács (Chimney Cake) – In the photo below. Delicious when hot and dusted in sugar.
  • Gulyás (Goulash) – That ONE dish you must try; it doesn’t get more Hungarian.
  • Dobos Torta (Drummer Cake) – A sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel.
  • Chicken Paprikash – Another stew/soup dish. The mild flavour of the paprika, combined with sour cream and chicken.
  • Kolbász – Hungarian Sausage – Easy to try at the Central Market.
  • Halászlé (fisherman’s soup) – Hungarian fish soup. 

If you want a real Hungarian food experience, this Central Market Tour & Cooking Class is fantastic!

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Budapest Nightlife – Where to go for a drink (Budapest Ruin Bars)

Budapest is famous for its nightlife.

There are everything from dive bars, ruin bars, rooftop terraces, and one entry club with all you can drink. However, for most visitors that spent 2 days in Budapest, you want to visit one of the ruin bars as they truly make Budapest cool.

What are ruin bars? They are makeshift bars that popped up in decayed and run-down pre-war buildings. They were then furnished with op-shop and second-hand bits and pieces to create a unique artsy atmosphere. 

Szimpla Kert – The one and only. You probably can’t go to any other bars before you come here. 

Instant-Fogas ComplexThis former dental office has been turned into a nightlife complex. So, it is more than just a bar. There are seven venues here to choose from. Garden bar Kert and Wine bar Liebling are both great choices.

Mazel Tov – A few people have mentioned this one. It’s more upmarket with a Middle Eastern twist… think meze and cocktails.

2 days in Budapest Itinerary ruin bar
Szimpla Kert – the first ruin bar in Budapest opened in 2001

Budapest Itinerary 3 days

How many days in Budapest do you need? Is 1 day in Budapest enough? Or should I stay for 3 days?

Well, personally I think 2 days in Budapest is perfect as you can see all the highlights.

And you can simply take a train a visit the nearby capital of Slovakia, Bratislava which also offers some fun things to do, if you have a few days to spare and then continue by train to Prague – here are 6 places to eat when you get there.

But if you are heading to Hungary’s capital and you have 3 days in Budapest, then I suggest you follow this itinerary and do a day trip outside of Budapest.

Of course, if you want to stay in the city instead, there are a few places I recommend. 

  • You can visit other thermal baths, this time on the Buda side. The Gellert Baths are equally famous.
  • A great option in the summer is to visit Margaret Island.
  • Have more time for the museum. with the extra day, you can enjoy the Museum of Terror in more detail or check out the National Gallery in Heroes Square.

What to do in Hungary outside of Budapest?

If you are looking for more things to do in Budapest or are trying to create a Budapest 3 day itinerary, here are a few day trips.

I love the Memento Park, and for those history buffs, seeing all the old communist monuments in one place is really something.

What’s happening in Budapest this weekend?

There is always something happening in Budapest at the weekend.

So if your 2 days in Budapest fall onto the weekend, check the Events page on the We Love Budapest site or Budapest.com to find out what’s happening in Budapest this weekend.

Don’t miss our EUROPE CITY GUIDES

And that’s it for our 2 days in Budapest Itinerary. I hope it helps to plan your trip here and you now know what to see in 2 days in Budapest. Any questions, just let me know in the comments below.

Travel Tips for Europe

We have many travel guides and tips for Europe— an incredible continent!

Are you travelling on a budget? These ten cheapest European countries will help you plan an itinerary that lets you see as much as possible while there.

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Delicious cuisine can be enjoyed across Europe, and our food map of Europe will inspire your culinary journey.

For food lovers, don’t miss our top 10 best countries for foodies, a couple of them are located in Europe.

Here are 8 things to know about travelling to Eastern Europe and it’s good to know these 7 misconceptions about Eastern Europe too.

These top 6 travel hacks to save money are great to read when planning your travels.

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Check out our best-ever travel tips compiled from more than twenty years of experience.

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