I first visited Budapest back in 2015 while backpacking through Europe by train. At the age of 20, I didn’t really understand the impact travel would have on my life. I was just excited to be on my first big holiday without my parents and wanted to explore my new found ‘independence’. The moment I stepped foot in Budapest I fell in love and vowed to return to the magical capital city. Fast forward to 2019, where I was lucky enough to explore the Hungarian capital once again. I spent 4 amazing days seeing what Budapest had to offer. I fell in love all over again and can not wait to share with you guys how you too can spend a perfect 4 days in Budapest.
Day 1 in Budapest: Exploring the Castle District
Before we dive deep into our 4 day Budapest itinerary, it is important to note that Budapest was once divided into 2 sections by the Danube river, Buda and Pest. It wasn’t always one big city and there is still evidence of that seen today. The Buda side of the city is more of a residential area with a rich past. It is home to most of Budapest’s historic sites such as Buda castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion. Whereas, Pest gives the city a more of a modern spin with startling nightlife and interesting street art. The city of Budapest is very much divided by the old and the new.
The first day of our Budapest 4 day itinerary will take a look at the Budapest Castle district on the Buda side of the city. We will dive deep into the capitals history and take a look at some of the cities most beautiful sites.
Stop 1: Enjoy a 360 view of Budapest City while hiking to the Citadella on Gellért Hill
Ok, so let’s begin our 4 days in Budapest with an exciting hike up Gellért Hill. The short hike is the perfect way to kick start a 4 day Budapest itinerary as it offers many panoramic views of the charming city. Really giving tourists a feel for the cities size, beauty and character.
It takes approximately 20 minutes to hike up to the hills summit and the trail is home to so historic stops and outstanding views.
For those of you looking to take in the views without the extra work don’t worry as it is possible to catch the 27 bus to the top of Gallért Hill.
I would however recommend the hike in order to capture some unique photo opportunities. The top of the hill is home to the historic Citadella, a fortress built in 1851 by the Austrian Empire.
Stop 2: Castle Garden Bazaar
The next stop is only a short 10 minute walk from the start of the Gallért Hill trail. In fact, this is a site I came across by accident. As I strolled by the Castle Garden Bazaar I noticed the surrounding buildings unique architecture which prompt me to explore the grounds further. Originally, I was intending on walking straight along the banks of the Danube (the Buda side) until I reached Buda Castle funicular.
The Castle Garden Bazaar offers visitors a stunning view of the Danube river and is a beautiful way to walk towards the famous Buda Castle. As I explored the grounds of the Garden Bazaar, I came across a hidden short cut so to speak. A free escalator is located on the garden grounds that transports people up towards Buda Castle.
I was really happy with this find as the line for the funicular railway was extra long and the escalator presented me with more time to explore the castle grounds.
Stop 3: Buda Castle
Buda Castle is possibly one of the most popularly attractions in all of Budapest. I’d 100% recommend spending a fair bit of time exploring the castle grounds. They are STUNNING!
If I am being honest, I felt as if I had stepped straight out of reality and into a fairytale. There is so much more than meets the eye on the castle grounds and it is easy to miss out on the Castles less central area’s. In fact, the first time I visited the castle I only saw half of what’s is to offer.
Onsite, it is free to catch another panoramic view of the city, explore the surrounding forests, enjoy the fairytale like architecture and watch the changing of the guards (which was super cool to see).
If you are hoping to dive even deeper and learn about Budapest’s interesting past there are more paid historic attractions on the castle grounds. For example, The Budapest History Museum (2000 HUF) and the National Galleries (1800 HUF). It is important to note that more time is needed if you choose to avail of these attractions.
Stop 4: Matthias Church
Further down the castle district lies the famous Matthias Church. The stunning church is located in Holy Trinity Square in the heart of the castle district. It is possible to explore inside the church for a small fee of 1000 HUF.
Stop 5: Fisherman’s Bastion
The next stop on our 4 day Budapest itinerary is the absolutely stunning Fisherman’s Bastion. Words can not describe how beautiful this place it. I think I spent well over an hour photographing it’s beautiful exterior and repeatedly singing ‘today was a fairytale’ by Taylor Swift 😉
The views from this historic building are not to be missed. The outstanding building is located directly behind Matthias Church in the heart of the castle district. It is an extremely popular site so be prepared to battle some crowds, particularly on a sunny day.
Stop 6: Enjoy the Walk Back Down
There are many ways to get back down off Castle Hill, I personally decided to walk, unaided by google maps. Budapest is a beautiful place and the Buda side of the river is home to charming residential streets and houses.
I made my way down the steps of Fishermans Bastion and then just walked towards the river. I came across some beautiful side streets, unique short cuts and cute Hungarian houses. Sometimes it is nice to just walk and take in your surroundings without any set plane (of course while making sure it is safe to do so). Below is a sample of some of my favourite finds from the walk.
Stop 6: Walk along the Buda side of the Danube River for the perfect view of the Budapest Parliament
There is one last stop on the Buda side of the city that I recommend you check out. Once you make it down to ground level the Danube River will be in full view. Walk along the sidewalk parallel to the river until you can see the famous Hungarian Parliament directly across the water. Here, you should have the opportunity to cross the road and capture a snap of the Parliament from across the river. Don’t worry we will get up close and personal with the Parliament on day 2 of the itinerary.
Night 1 in Budapest
After a long and busy day of exploring the Castle District I am sure your feet will be ready to fall off. So, head back to your accommodation for some well deserved rest.
If you are looking to do something at night why not check out some of Budapest’s iconic ruin bars. The bars a jotted all over the Buda side of the city and are extremely popular among Budapest nightlife lover’s. Generally speaking, the bars are located in an old abandoned building and stores. They are quite quirky and are full of unique decor and designs.
I would recommend taking it easy on the booze as the second day of our 4 days in Budapest is another busy one.
Budapest in 4 days: Day 1 Map and Stop Break Down
Stop 1: Hike to the Citadella on Gellért Hill (Spend 1 and 1/2 Hours)
Stop 2: Castle Garden Hill (Spend 30 minutes)
Stop 3: Buda Castle (Spend 1 hour to 1 hour and a 1/2)
Stop 4: Matthias Church (20 minutes)
Stop 5: Fisherman’s Bastion (1 hour to 1 hour and a half)
Stop 6: Walk down Castle Hill (30/40 minutes)
Stop 7: The Buda River View of the Parliament
Stop 8 (Night Time): Check Out Some Ruin Bars
Day 2 in Budapest: Getting to Know the Pest side of the city
For the second day of our 4 days in Budapest get ready to explore the modern side of the city. This side is a little more lively and has a lot more going on. So, get ready for breathtaking views, beautiful sunsets and more stunning buildings.
Stop 1: Explore Budapest’s Street Art
As I already mentioned, Budapest is full of character and fun, a great addition to the city is its exciting street are and statues. If time allows I would 100% recommend checking out one of Budapest’s FREE street art tours as there is 100’s of morals jotted all over the city.
Stop 2: Elizabeth Square
Take a quick stop by Elizabeth Square to catch a glimpse of the Budapest Eye and the Danubius Fountain. The Square is the largest green area on the main city grounds.
Stop 3: St. Stephens Basilica
The next stop on the list is the historic St. Stephens Basilica. The Building is stunning on the inside and out. It is FREE to enter the church but it does however cost the small price of 500 HUF to climb up to the observation deck. Which in my opinion is 100% worth it.
There are two ways to reach the observation desk, the first, involves climbing over 300 spiral steps. I’m not gonna lie, it was some workout and I was slightly dizzy and out of breath among completion.
Alternatively, visitors can take a lift up and opt out of 260 steps leaving them with only 42 to climb. Both options lead to an outstanding view of Budapest.
Stop 4: Hungarian Parliament Building
The next stop on our 4 days in Budapest is the famous parliament building. Once you arrive you will quickly understand why the building is so famous. The architecture is amazing, I suggest spending at least 1 hour exploring the parliament grounds and building. It is possible to book a guided tour of the parliament if you would like to learn more about its history and how it was built.
Stop 5: The Shoes on the Danube Bank
The next stop is quite a sad but vital stop in Budapest. The shoes on the Danube are a memorial created to reflect and pay tribute to those who lost their lives in World War II to Fascist Arrow Cross Militiamen.
This is honestly a lovely tribute, I spent a lot longer than expected sitting down and reflecting at this stop.
Stop 6: Walk the Danube Promenade
After stopping by the Shoes on the Danube, continue to walk along the banks of the Danube River. If you look across the water you will see a lovely view of Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, Gellért Hill and the famous Chain Bridge. It is lovely to see the Buda side of the city from across the water.
Night 2 in Budapest
After another busy and successful day exploring Budapest why not treat yourself with a drink while admiring one of the best views in the city. The 360 bar is one of my favourite spots in Budapest. I liked it so much that I returned 3 times over my 4 night trip to Budapest. This bar is the ideal place to watch the sunset over the city <3
Budapest in 4 days: Day 2 Map and Stop Break Down
Stop 1: Check Out Budapest’s Street Art (1 Hour)
Stop 2: Elizabeth Square (15 Minutes)
Stop 3: St. Stephens Basilica (1 hour)
Stop 4: The Parliament (1 hour)
Stop 5: Shoes on the Danube (30 Minutes)
Stop 6: Stroll the Banks of the Danube (30 minutes)
Stop 7 (Night Time): 360 Bar
Day 3 in Budapest: Adventure Awaits
The 3rd day in Budapest is all about adventure and getting off the beaten path. So, get ready to have an exciting time.
Stop 1: Brunch
There is no harm in having a little lie in when travelling. After all, the first 2 days in Budapest where extremely busy. So, allow yourself sometime to take it easy and enjoy the morning at a slow paste. I recommend getting some food to line your tummy as for the next stop you are going to need A LOOOOOT of energy.
My favourite brunch spot in Budapest would have to be A La Maison Grand. I tried both the hash brown Benedict and the french toast. Both were delish!
Stop 2: Caving Beneath Budapest
Ok, so the next stop is super exciting and is definitely something for an Adrenaline Junkies Bucket List. Did you know that Budapest has a cave system that runs underneath the capital city? And as if that wasn’t enough, it is possible to crawl through the caves and explore beneath Budapest. YES, THAT’S RIGHT CRAWL THROUGH THE CAVES!
I know this sounds like an extremely scary experience and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous while taking part. However, it is a once in a life time experience and if you are a little bit of a dare devil like me, it is the perfect activity for you.
The experience takes a little over 3 hours to complete and consists of tight spaces, complete darkness and well, a cave. It cost about 10,000 HUF to take part in the guided tour. Which in my opinion is 100% completely worth it. Book your tour here.
If this sounds like your worst nightmare don’t worry as there is also a walking tour of the caves that don’t require as much physical activity and are less enclosed. Book your tour here.
For more information on getting to the caves, the experience and a review check out my caving in Budapest post.
After 3 hours crawling on your hands and knee’s it is almost a guarantee that you will have to head back to your accommodation for a good old power nap.
Stop 3 (Night Time): Booze Cruise on the Danube River
I am not a massive party animal, I much prefer having a few drinks in a chilled environment. I do, however, from time to time like to splash out and go for a boogie. On my last visit to Budapest, I decided to go on a boat party on the Danube river. I have to say it was AWESOME!
I met so many amazing people from around the world all while having a good boogie. The best thing about the cruise would have to be the view of Budapest from the boat. The cities main monuments and buildings are lit up beautifully at night. And it was amazing to see them from the water. Book your cruise here.
If booze cruise isn’t your thing why not check out Budapest’s Dinner Cruises.
Budapest in 4 days: Day 3 Map and Stop Break Down
Stop 1: A La Maison Grand for Brunch
Stop 2: Caving Beneath Budapest
Stop 3: Booze Cruise on the Danube
Day 4 in Budapest: Széchenyi Baths & The City Park
After a good workout on day 3 and a night on the town I’d recommend taking it easy on Day 4. Why not check out the City park and go for a relaxing evening in the Széchenyi Baths.
Stop 1: Hero’s Square
There are many beautiful attractions and sites right on the foot of Budapest’s city park. Starting with Hero’s Square.
The iconic Hero’s Square represent’s the Seven chieftains of the Magyars and many of Hungary’s important leaders. It is one of Budapest most popular attractions next to the Parliament and Buda Castle.
Stop 2: Vajdahunyad Castle, Jaki Chapel & the City Park
A short walk from hero square lies the grounds of Vajdahunyad Castle and Jaki Chapel. Both buildings fit in perfectly with Budapest’s Fairytale theme. I spent about an hour exploring the castle grounds and the city park. It’s a lovely place to sit down, relax and take in the scenery.
Stop 3: Széchenyi Baths
The final stop of day 4 is none other than the famous Széchenyi Baths. The baths are located in the city park and cost 22 euros to enter. There are a total of 15 indoor baths and 3 outdoor pools. I’d recommend going 2 hours before nightfall, that way you get to experience the baths in both the daylight and at night. And who doesn’t love the best of both worlds 😉
Budapest in 4 days: Day 4 Map and Stop Break Down
Stop 1: Hero’s Square
Stop 2: Vajdahunyad Castle, Jaki Chapel & the City Park
Stop 3: Széchenyi Baths
How to Get Around Budapest
Transport in Budapest is rather cheap and there are many options to choose from, with lime scooters, the underground, trams, busses and city bikes.
Budapest does have transport cards valid for varies periods of time. If you plan on using public transport as your main form of getting around, these cards may be best suited to you. Over my 4 days in Budapest, I only used public transport 3/4 times and otherwise walked to each destination. As a result, I only paid for each individual journey rather than a transport card.
Getting to and from Budapest Airport
It is super easy to get to and from Budapest airport. The 100E bus takes passengers into the city and back to the airport every 30 minutes. It costs 900 HUF (2.70 euro) and takes about 45 minutes.
Where to Stay in Budapest
I stayed in the Wombats Hostel while visiting Budapest. I really enjoyed my stay here as the location was superb, only a short walking distance from some of the major city attractions. The hostel was clean and the staff where super friendly. I would 100% recommend this hostel to others.
Thanks For Reading <3
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my Budapest itinerary post. I hope it comes in super handy for planning your trip and I hope you have an amazing time.
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