Budapest or Budapesh as it is pronounced, a city of literally two halves. The hills of Buda on the eastern banks of the Danube and the cosmopolitan Pest to the west. During 48 hours in Budapest you get the chance to visit trendy nightclubs, exquisite eateries and historical architecture.
Day 1 in Budapest
Start the day with a fun ride on the funicular railway. Leaving from the foot of Castle Hill on Adam Clark Square, it’s a short ride to the top. The funicular stops between the Royal Palace and the Alexander Presidential Palace.
If you can time the stop with the end of an hour then you will get to see the changing of the guard. Maybe less spectacular than some countries but still worth seeing the precision marching of the guards.
Along with the amazing views of Budapest from the top of Castle Hill there are also the Hungarian National Gallery and Castle Museum housed in the Royal Palace. Spend some time exploring 2000 years of the cities history in the Castle Museum. Or explore the 19th and 20th century artwork of Hungary in the National Gallery.
Stroll over the cobblestones of the Castle Hill area towards the neo-gothic design of Matthias Church. Featuring influences of the Turkish invaders and named after the much beloved medieval King Matthias Corvinus. A beautiful place of worship and a must see on a visit to Budapest.
Further down the cobbles you come to Fisherman’s Bastion. A very popular tourist destination so expect crowds. Giving views up and down the Danube of the Pest side of Budapest. This is certainly the location to get the photo of the iconic Parliament Building. In the centre of Fisherman’s Bastion you find a statue representing St Stephen, the first Hungarian King.
Spend the rest of the morning exploring the castle district. Return to Adam Clark Square via the funicular or the winding path down Castle Hill.
Szencheyni Chain Bridge
Take a walk across the Szenchenyi Chain Bridge, the first bridge to unite Buda and Pest. The lion statues date back to the 1800’s and are original features of the bridge.
Turn left and walk along the banks of the Danube. The bronze shoes lining part of the bank are a composition “Shoes on the Danube Bank“. A memorial to the 3,500 people, 800 Jews, who were shot into the Danube during the second world war. Take a moment on the 40 metre long bench that runs alongside the memorial.
Hungarian Parliament Building
Continuing along the bank you arrive for a closer look at the parliament building and a chance to take a tour. This spectacular building, built in the late 1800’s and is one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest. The other 96m building in Budapest is Saint Stephen’s Basilica.
Time to grab a coffee and chill out before enjoying an evening river cruise down the Danube. Or visit some of the famous Budapest ruin bars, such as Szimpla Kert.
Day 2 in Budapest
Start the 2nd morning of your 48 hours in Budapest at one of Budapest’s many thermal baths. The Gelert Hotel houses six thermal pools between 35C and 40C. Which are said to be good for joint pains, arthritis and asthma. Everyone must wear a bathing cap so bring one with you or be prepared to pay 1000Ft.
Saint Stephens Basilica
Jump on the tram, 47 to Deák Ferenc tér M, to Saint Stephens Basilica. The most sacred Catholic church in Hungary. Home to the mummified right hand of Saint Stephen. A trip up the domes 302 steps will provide some of the best views of Pest anywhere in the city.
Moving on to Andrassy Avenue, the Champs Elyse of Budapest, is a wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Site. A tree lined parade of amazing architectre.
Hungarian State Opera House
One of the first places you reach on the stroll along Andrassy Avenue is the Hungarian State Opera House. One of the most elegant buildings in Budpaest. Tours are normally available daily but the building is currently under renovation so check ahead.
Continuing along the road you come across the House of Terror. A museum housed in the former AVH secret police office. Features the crimes and atrocities of the Stalinist regime and 1956 Uprising.
Coming to the end of Andrassy Ut you arrive at the Heroes Square and Millenary Statue. Built to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest of the Carpathian Basin.
Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city park. Depending on the time of year there are many different activities including ice skating and the Budapest Zoo.
Finish the day with a metro ride on the oldest continental underground. The yellow 1 line runs the length of the Andrassy Avenue back to Vorrosmarty Square.
There is so much more to see in Budapest so if you have any recommendations let us know in the comments. When we return for another 48 hours in Budapest we will be sure to check them out.
Chris is a Number cruncher by work day, seeker of new experiences by weekend – always looking to spend 48 hours somewhere! Seen 4 continents, 26 countries and 100’s of city’s hoping to add a few more each year.