A Long Weekend in Budapest - Three-Day Itinerary

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You can see all of the top Budapest attractions in only three days

Spending a long weekend in Budapest is the perfect idea for a relaxing break! This European destination is a cultural mosaic that was once home to Romans, Turks, Russians, and Austro-Hungarians.

Interestingly, the city also used to be divided into two medieval towns - Buda and Pest, which were at one point quite similar to each other but had cultural influences from different countries. The two became one in 1873; however, the locals still like to divide the city into Buda and Pest.

While Buda and Pest might be physically divided by the Danube River, both sides offer beautiful views, top landmarks, and excellent eateries and bars.

As there are many things to do in the city, you might be confused as to how to divide your time while here, or even what area to stay in Budapest. Luckily, this three-day itinerary is here to help, offering an in-depth guide on everything to see and do during your Budapest weekend trip.

Heading to Budapest and planning last-minute?

Before traveling to Budapest, book your accommodations and experiences ahead of time. Here are some top choices to make your trip enjoyable.

🏨 Top accommodations in Budapest

☂️ Top tours and experiences in Budapest

3 Day Budapest Itinerary

Budapest 3-Day Itinerary Video

Check out our highlights video of the stops covered in this Budapest itinerary.

Budapest 3-Day Itinerary Map

A map of Budapest. Use the map to explore all the days and stops.

Budapest 3-Day Itinerary Map

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Exploring Buda in Budapest

Your first day in Budapest will be spent exploring the Buda side of the city

The Buda side of Budapest is very hilly and seen as the traditional part of the city. Sometimes it is referred to as the 'higher-class' part of town as it has several famous museums, galleries, and upscale restaurants. Nevertheless, Budapest is still one of the most affordable places in Europe to visit.

The first day of this itinerary involves visiting the most iconic places on the Buda side and is also useful for those who might only have one day in Budapest to explore.

The Chain Bridge opened in 1849 and links the Buda and Pest sides of Budapest

Chain Bridge

The Chain Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in Europe. It connects Buda and Pest and is the main bridge used for crossing from one side of Budapest to the other. The bridge is widely known for its massive chains and lion statues. It was opened to the public in 1849 and took nine years to build. Be prepared to be engulfed by many tourists.. but of course, for a good reason.

🏨 Stay in close proximity to the Chain Bridge

☂️ Join a tour to see the Chain Bridge

Fisherman's Bastion offers stunning views of the river

Fisherman's Bastion - Halaszbastya

Fisherman's Bastion, also known as Halaszbastya, is one of the most popular attractions in Budapest. It offers a magnificent view of the city and river from the Buda side. The bastion is famous for its spires and turrets. There is a small charge if you want to visit the upper towers of Fisherman's Bastion.

🏨 Places to stay near the Fishermans Bastion

A big warehouse with many stalls selling food and people walking in between
Shop for Hungarian delicacies, fresh goods, and souvenirs at Great Market Hall

The Great Market Hall

The Market Hall in Budapest is located in a 19th-century Neo-Gothic building that spans over three floors. It is an excellent activity to enjoy whether it is raining or sunny outside as it is fully covered.

Here, you will be able to try some traditional Hungarian food, such as Langos (deep-fried dough), and buy some souvenirs. Head over to the Market Hall for some lunch and shopping if you fancy it before you carry on with the rest of the sites for the day.

🏨 Accommodations nearby the Market Hall

☂️ Experience the Market Hall with a tour

A low-ceiling stone hallway with arched doorways and a map of a labyrinth on the wall
Stop by Buda Castle to visit the National Gallery and Budapest History Museum

Buda Castle

The Buda Castle is a castle and palace complex that was made for Hungarian kings. It was originally built in 1265, but the building you see today was built between 1749 and 1769. The castle is built on Castle Hill, which is part of the Castle District. The National Gallery and Budapest History Museum are also now part of the Buda Castle.

If you're still deciding where to stay, The Castle District (or Budavár) is one of the best places to stay in Budapest. You can easily access Buda Castle and may even be able to view it from your room!

🏨 Accommodations nearby the Buda Castle

The Liberty Statue at the top of the Citadel is a famous local landmark

Citadel (Citadella)

Citadel, or Citadella, is best known for its magnificent nighttime views, as you can see Budapest's city lights from above. It is a U-shaped fortification that can be found on top of Gellert Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Go before the sunset to get a good spot for the view.

🏨 Accommodations near the Citadella

☂️ Visit the Citadella on a tour

The Fascinating Past of Pest

On your second day in Budapest, you'll visit places in the Pest side of the city

The Pest side of Budapest is less traditional and not as luxurious as the Buda side. It is more modern and commercialized, so you will find lots of high-street shops, boutiques, fast food restaurants, and small grocery stores here.

The second day of this itinerary consists of exploring the Pest side and its famous attractions, such as the House of Terror, the Great Market Hall, Budapest's Parliament Building, a thermal baths house, and the most beautiful Basilica in Hungary, St. Stephen's Basilica.

There are many thermal bath complexes in Budapest, with some of the more well-known ones being Széchenyi Spa Baths, Gellért Baths, and Rudas Baths. This itinerary suggests visiting Széchenyi Spa Baths due to its popularity and impressive pools.

Visiting the Parliament Building has to be on your Long Weekend in Budapest itinerary

Parliament Building

Parliament Building sits on the bank of the Danube River and is a popular tourist destination. It is built in a Neo-Gothic architectural style and is well-known worldwide. The Parliament Building is the largest building in Hungary and the tallest in Budapest. You can purchase entrance tickets online or at the ticket office.

🏨 Stay nearby the Hungarian Parliament Building

☂️ Visit the Hungarian Parliament Building with an excursion

St. Stephen's Basilica is designed in a Neo-Classical architectural style

St. Stephen's Basilica

St. Stephen's Basilica is the main and largest Catholic church in Budapest. It was built between 1851 and 1905 and can accommodate up to 8,500 people, which makes it the 3rd largest church in Hungary.

The Basilica was built in a Neo-Classical architectural style and has a big square where you can sit down and relax or take photos with the beautiful church in the background. Do also head up to the top of the Basilica for one of the best 360-degree views of the city.

🏨 Nearest accommodations to St Stephens Basilica

☂️ Visit St Stephens Basilica on a tour

A grey army tank and a wall of photos of victims of military regimes
The House of Terror honors victims of the Communist and Nazi regimes in Hungary

House of Terror

The House of Terror is a museum dedicated to the victims of the Communist and Nazi regimes in Hungary. During the Nazi regime, the building was used as the headquarters for the Nazi party, which included a prison in its basement.

When the Communists came, the building was converted into State Security (the Hungarian version of the KGB), where hundreds of people were tortured. Nowadays, the building is a museum that takes visitors through Hungary's rough past.

🏨 Accommodations in close proximity to the House of Terror

☂️ Join a tour to see the House of Terror

A square with an obelisk at the center surrounded by statues and two columned walls
Pay tribute to the most important leaders of Hungary at Heroes' Square

Heroes' Square - Hősök tere

Hősök tere, or Heroes' Square, is one of the main squares in Budapest. It pays tribute to Hungary's most important leaders and contains one of the city's landmarks, the Millenium Memorial.

This site is on the way to the last stop for the day, the Thermal Baths, so it is an easy and convenient place to check out beforehand. It is also located on the edge of a park, so take your time walking through it on your way to the Baths.

🏨 Stay nearby Heroes Square

A large pool with some statues on the side and a large yellow building on a nice day
Soak in the waters of the largest thermal bath in Budapest, Széchenyi Thermal Baths

Széchenyi Thermal Baths

I included the Széchenyi Thermal Baths in this itinerary because it is the one I visited when I was in Budapest a couple of years ago. Széchenyi Thermal Baths is one of the most popular thermal baths complexes in the city and one of the largest in Europe.

It has a fantastic selection of 21 medicinal water pools that has calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, or other essential elements mixed in them. Heading here earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds is recommended.

🏨 Accommodations near the Széchenyi Thermal Bath

Wander Around the Old Jewish Quarter

Murals on old, colorful buildings along a street with cars parked on the side
Learn about the Hungarian Jewish culture through museums in the Old Jewish Quarter

On your last day in Budapest, you will visit places that tourists usually overlook. You will learn more about Hungarian Jewish culture and history by visiting the Old Jewish Quarter. The Quarter had and still has the biggest Jewish concentration in Budapest. It is known for its synagogues, murals, various museums, ruin bars, and the old Jewish Ghetto.

Everything around the Quarter is worth seeing; one day isn't enough to see it all. Therefore, this itinerary only includes the most well-known European landmarks in the area, such as two famous synagogues (Rumbach and Dohany Street), a museum about Jewish history, and the oldest ruin bar in the city (Szimpla Kert).

The interior of a room with a colorful dome ceiling and chairs on the stone floor
You can see the work of architect Otto Wagner at the Rumbach Street Synagogue

Rumbach Street Synagogue

This small synagogue is located between Belvaros (the inner city) and the Old Jewish Quarter districts on the Pest side of Budapest. It was built in 1872 and designed by architect Otto Wagner from Vienna. The Synagogue is out of date and needs restoration, but it is still a very beautiful and relaxing place to visit. There is also a plan to convert the Synagogue into a Jewish museum.

🏨 Accommodations near the Rumbach Street Synagogue

☂️ Join a tour to see the Rumbach Street Synagogue

A white stone building with a dome, arched entryways, and trees in front
Learn about Jewish life in Hungary at the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives

Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives

The Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives is just a few minutes from the Rumbach Street Synagogue. This Museum has very detailed exhibitions about Jewish history and life in Hungary. It is a very modern Museum where you can learn interesting facts about the Jewish community. It is worth spending a couple of hours exploring it.

🏨 Accommodations in close proximity to the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives

☂️ Join a tour to see the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives

A courtyard with a central path, trees and plants, and a domed building in the back
Enjoy the unique architecture and design of the Dohány Street Synagogue

Dohány Street Synagogue

Dohany Street Synagogue is in the same building as the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives. This Synagogue is usually called the Central or Great Synagogue.

It was built between 1854 and 1859 and is the largest synagogue in Europe, as it can hold up to 3 000 people. The Synagogue is famous for its architecture and interior styles, so it's a must-see while in Budapest.

🏨 Stay near the Dohány Street Synagogue

☂️ Visit the Dohány Street Synagogue on a tour

A space with colorful mismatched tables and stools, surrounded by plants
The eclectic decor of Szimpla Kert makes it a visually appealing place to get a drink

Szimpla Kert - Local Ruin Bar

Szimpla Kert is the perfect place to end your day and trip. This local pub is a ruin bar – a bar opened in an abandoned building. Szimpla Kert is extremely popular among the locals as it has a good atmosphere, friendly staff, and delicious food.

As for the tourists, they all go to see its unique design, beautiful garden, and misplaced items that have become pub decorations. Go in, snap some photos, order a homemade local Hungarian drink, and enjoy it.

🏨 Accommodations near Szimpla Kert

In Conclusion

Budapest is a highly unique city with an array of fascinating attractions. While you could spend a whole week or more exploring, you can easily see all the top attractions in only a few days. Hopefully, this itinerary will help you make the most of your long weekend in Budapest!

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Written by Agne Civilyte

031226hug FORMER WRITER Agne is a Lithuanian living in the UK and enjoys travelling all around the world. She loves visiting places that are still not well-known to tourists. Her favourite part of the world is Southeast Asia as it has beautiful mountains and temples. Agne's absolute favourite country is South Korea, as she feels at home there.


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