There is never enough time to visit a city and get to properly know it, but how to make the best out of the time that you have? I stayed for a weekend in Budapest and here how I organized myself to see as much as possible.
As said I had limited time, whole Saturday & Sunday till 14:00 when I had to get towards the airport so I had to be very organized to be able to explore as much as possible of the city.
1. Make a Plan
What do you want to see? Make a list and ask google to help you by saving the addresses and the route. I suggest you to plan it on your phone, like this you can save the plan in Notes :).
I stayed in Pest so here how my route looked like
I stayed in Pest so here how my route looked like
2. Start with a break @Madal Cafee
In Romania we always start everything with a break, no idea why but seriously it is very effective. So my first stop of the day was: Madal Caffee
I got myself a flat white, and read some pages of my 900 pg long book in Spanish. The prices are decent, you can pay by card, the staff is friendly and speaks English, the coffee is good enough to start your day.
3. The Parliament Building
Built in 1873 on the banks of the Danube, you can spot it from loads of corners of the city as it is the tallest and biggest building in the city to date.
In the photo above you can see the view of the Parliament from the Kossuth Lajos square. Right across from it you can see also the Museum of Ethnography in the picture below.
Following your route going towards the river you can get some details of the architecture of the building
4. Shoes on the Danube Bank
This stop is quite sad as it refers to the the landmark built by sculptor Gyula Pauer "honor the people (mainly Budapest Jews) who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank."
Just to keep you located, on the other side you can see the Fisherman's Bastion & Matthias Church.
5. Snack break @Retro Langos
Just to highlight again how big fans, we Romanians are of breaks, we have another saying: Long and often breaks are the key to the biggest successes, and so I followed this saying throughout my visit in Budapest. Also I must say that I tried to focus as much as possible on street & local food, in order to explore the local cuisine as much as possible, so my stop was now at Retro Langos Buffet right at the Arany Janos utca Metro stop
Langos is a Hungarian food speciality, a deep fried flatbread. It is also traditionally made in Vojvodina, Serbia, where it was introduced by the local Hungarians. You can also find the closed version that would look like a calzone.
As the place is a street food location, there were not too many places to sit in front of it but a bit further you had this statue that had a bench at the bottom around it so great for your break.
to get you an idea of the menu and some of the prices, you can see below a part of the list of options.
6. St. Stephen's Church
This is the most important church in Hungary and it was named after the first King of the country, Saint Stephen I of Hungary (c. 975-1038). "It was completed in 1905 after 54 years of construction, according to the plans of Miklos Ybl, and was completed by Jozsef Kauser. Much of this delay can be attributed to the collapse of the dome in 1868 which required complete demolition of the completed works and rebuilding from the ground up." (Source)
7. Opera House
"it was designed by Miklos Ybl, a major figure of 19th century Hungarian architecture. Construction began in 1875, funded by the city of Budapest and by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary, and the new house opened to the public on the 27 September 1884." (Source)
I like the building a lot, very nice architecture and the status at the top are also a very nice details .
"The Budapest Opera House is considered to be amongst the best opera houses in the world in terms of its acoustics, and has an auditorium that seats 1200 people." (Source)
8. Take Metro Line 1
You can find it right across the Opera
The Metro 1 is the oldest line of the Budapest Metro system. Known in Budapest simply as "the underground" ("a foldalatti"), while the M2, M3 and M4 are called "metro". It is the third oldest underground railway in the world after "Tunel" in Istanbul,Turkey (the first being the London Underground), and the first on the European mainland. It was built from 1894 to 1896. In 2002, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Source)
All the station have a combination of wooden walls and tiles and each name of the station is written on tiles.
9. Heroes Square
take Metro Line 1 till Hosok tere
Hosk tere is one of the major squares in Budapest, Hungary, noted for its iconic statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important national leaders, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The square lies at the outbound end of Andrassy Avenue next to City Park (Varosliget). It hosts the Museum of Fine Arts and the Mucsarnok. The square has played an important part in contemporary Hungarian history and has been a host to many political events, such as the reburial of Imre Nagy in 1989.
A bit further in the park you can find the memorial landmark of the '56 revolution. "The wedge-shaped memorial is placed on a semi-circular paved area with a radius of 40 m, at the southern edge of the City Park, appearing to be moving forward breaking through the cubic paving of a rectangular square that was built as an extension to the park 'the Square of Silence'. The scene is reminiscent of the people coming together uniting their strength and marching arm in arm as a powerful community to the sculpture of Jozef Bem at the Polytechnic University, on October 23 1956." (Source)
11. Jewish Quarter
Going back to the opera, take a walk around the streets of the Jewish neighborhood....Ah, but first, a break :)
I stumbled over this street by mistake (Gozsdu udvar) and I entered as it looked quite cool which it was as it had a lot of crafts and bars and some street art all in one place
once on the other side of the street, you can spot a lot of street-art, just walk a bit around
Walking a bit further you will get to the Synagogue. I do apologize for the picture, the sun did not give me any chance
12. Try Kurtos Kolaks
To be fair, for me, this is one of the best sweets in the world (after cozonac). It originates in the Hungarian part of Romania so I must admit it is sort of Hungarian sort of not. I am aware that some Hungarian people who will read this might say that this is 100% Hungarian, but as it was invented on Romanian soil....I let you judge ;)
You can find them around the city, I spotted some close to the train station, but I tried the one from Budapest, Vaci u. 31, 1052 Hungary, which was great, as you can both stay inside or take it with you. They come in several flavors, but my absolute favorite is the one with walnuts.
You should definitely try it is super super tasty ... I am absolutely in love with them
13. Chain Bridge
There are several bridges connecting the 2 parts of the city, and The Chain Bridge seems to be the most famous one.
14. Buda Castle
You can walk the hill up or take the funicular
I walked as I obviously wanted to take pictures :)
I must say I liked a lot how this dragon/eagle looks at you when coming from down the hill
14. Matthias Church
The current building was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century. You can find it next to the Fisherman's Bastion.
15. Walk a bit around the streets
waiting for the colors of the sunset, just walk a bit around the streets of Buda
don't forget to get some souveniers
and some of the statues
16. Fisherman's Bastion
It's amazing how many pictures you can take here, endless options. Above, some views from during the day from different angles and below an evening picture
And view over Pest from above...nice, no? :)
17. Dinner @Arany Hordo etterem
It is not Hungary without Goulash so, make sure you give it a try, weather it is as a soup or as a stew, generally you'll find great Goulash in a lot of places
18. Head back
I know, It's been a long day, but you can always split it. You've probably done about 18-20 km by foot, you should be very proud of yourself
Hope you enjoyed the trip and that you'll visit Budapest soon.