Budapest is one of my favourite cities in all of Europe! Home to stunning architecture, thermal baths, and delicious food. Budapest has quickly become a popular destination for tourists all over the world. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, spending 4 days in Budapest is the perfect amount of time to explore all that this beautiful city has to offer.
In this 4 day Budapest itinerary, I will guide you through some of the city’s most enchanting sites and exciting hidden gems, as well as share some budget-friendly dining options that you need to try! The Hungarian Capital is also a great spot for those looking to take part in some nighttime shenanigans. So, without further ado let’s dive into the itinerary.
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Getting Around Budapest
Walking: Budapest is an extremely walkable city, making getting around that extra bit easy. Most tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other. Which is super convenient, especially when visiting Budapest for the first time.
Public Transport: Transport in Budapest is rather cheap and there are many options to choose from. The city’s public transport consists of lime scooters, an underground, trams, busses and city bikes.
Budapest offers a transport card system that allows tourists to purchase their transportation tickets ahead of time for a designated number of days. This is perfect for those depending on the city’s bus, tram, and metro services for the duration of their stay.
Uber/Bolt: If you find yourself in a rush, taxis can be rather affordable in Budapest compared to other major European cities. I recommend using apps such as Uber or Bolt to get the best prices. Disclaimer: I once hailed a taxi off the street while visiting Budapest and was completely overcharged. Therefore, it is best to use a regulated app.
Getting to and from Budapest Airport
Budapest Airport is a convenient 45-minute drive from the city centre. The easiest and most budget-friendly way to get to and from Budapest Airport is by bus. The 100E bus takes passengers into the city and back to the airport every 30 minutes. At the time of writing the 100E cost, 900 HUF (2.70 euro) and the journey takes about 45 minutes to complete.
Buda or Pest?
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.
Budapest wasn’t always one big city and there is still evidence of that seen today. The Buda side of the city consists of mostly residential areas and is known for being the wealthier side of the city. Buda is home to most of Budapest’s historic sites such as Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Pest on the other hand gives the city a more modern feel. Pest is home to exciting nightlife venues, fun dining destinations, and an interesting street art scene.
The city of Budapest is very much divided by the old and the new. Making it a very interesting destination to explore.
4 Days in Budapest – Day 1: Exploring the Castle District
The first day of our Budapest itinerary brings us to the Buda side of the city.
Here, we will explore the Budapest Castle District. Discovering some of the city’s major attractions such as Gellért Hill, Buda Castle, Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, and Castle Hill.
We will dive deep into the history of the capital and take a look at some of the city’s most beautiful sites.
This side of Budapest seems like something straight out of a fairytale. You will be blown away by its beauty!
Stop 1: Fisherman’s Bastion
The first stop on our trip to Budapest is none other than the incredible Fisherman’s Bastion. This is one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Budapest. It can get incredibly busy throughout the day due to its popularity. So, I recommend waking up bright and early to see it without the crowds.
The Bastion is a beautiful terrace that looks out over the Pest side of the city offering panoramic views. It is also an amazing spot to take pictures of the famous parliament building across the water.
The unique architectural style of the Bastion is sure to leave you in awe. It is also steeped in history and legend, making it a fascinating place to visit and learn more about.
Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a picturesque spot to take some photos, Fisherman’s Bastion is definitely worth a visit.
Stop 2: Matthias Church
Placed behind the Fisherman’s Bastion is the stunning Matthias Church. I recommend climbing to the top of the tower for further panoramic views of the city. You will be presented with sweeping views of the Danube River, the parliament building, and the pest side of the city.
It is the ideal location to take amazing photographs and soak in the beauty which Budapest has to offer. This experience will set you back 1000 HUF (€2.50) but it is completely worth the small fee in my opinion.
The church’s interior is equally impressive, with stunning frescoes and intricate carvings throughout. There is also an option to take a guided tour of the church for an additional cost. The knowledgeable guides will give you an in-depth look at the church’s history and architecture, making your visit even more meaningful.
Stop 3: Buda Castle
Buda Castle is possibly one of the most popular 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 areas. 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: Castle Garden Bazaar
On the grounds of Buda Castle is the Castle Garden Bazzaar. 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 transport people up and down to 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 5: Enjoy a 360 view of Budapest City at Gellért Hill
Gellért Hill is a lovely spot to go for a stroll and move away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The beautiful park offers 360 views of Budapest. Really giving tourists a feel for the city’s size, beauty and character.
There are many ways to walk up Gellért Hill, with the shortest taking just 20 minutes to reach the summit. 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.
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 7: Enjoy the Walk Back Down
There are many ways to get back down Gellért Hill, I personally decided to walk, unaided by google maps.
Budapest is a beautiful place to get lost, you will be surprised by what you may find. Particularly on the Buda side of the river which is home to charming residential streets and houses.
I came across some beautiful side streets, unique shortcuts and cute Hungarian houses.
Sometimes it is nice to just walk and take in your surroundings without any set plan (of course while making sure it is safe to do so). I was in awe at the city’s beauty.
Stop 8: View the Parliament from the waterfront
Depending on where you end up after hiking down from Gellért Hill. I recommend checking out the view of the Budapest Parliament from the waterfront.
It is a stunning building and sometimes, on a calm day, it can reflect into the river which is pretty cool to grab a snap of.
If time allows, I recommend walking along the river to enjoy the city landscapes before returning to your hotel to get ready for some nighttime ventures.
What to do at Night in Budapest: Ruin Bars
No trip to Budapest is complete without a visit to the famous ruin bars. If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, then this is a must!
As someone who has experienced the magic of these bars firsthand, I can’t recommend them enough. They are built in abandoned buildings and courtyards, creating a unique and quirky atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else.
Each bar has its own unique style, from funky decor to graffiti-covered walls. The drinks are also affordable and delicious, making it a perfect place to enjoy a night out with friends
Now, I know you will be super tired after a full day of exploring. So, if that is the case there will be plenty of time to visit the bars later on in the itinerary.
4 Day Budapest Itinerary Suggested Timetable: Day 1
|Stop 1:||Fisherman’s Bastion||1 and 1/2 Hours|
|Stop 2:||Matthias Church||1 Hour|
|Stop 3:||Buda Castle||1 and 1/2 Hours|
|Stop 4:||Castle Garden Hill||30 minutes|
|Stop 5:||Hike to the Citadella on Gellért Hill||1 and 1/2 Hours|
|Stop 6:||Walk Back Down||40 minutes|
|Stop 7:||Buda River View||30 minutes|
|Stop 8:||Ruin Bars||Night Time|
4 Days in Budapest Itinerary – Day 2: Let’s explore the Pest side of the city
Day 2 of our Budapest itinerary is all about exploring the Pest side of the city. Pest is the ‘modern’ side of Budapest, full of breathtaking viewpoints, lively nightlife opportunities and stunning buildings.
Budapest in 4 days: Day 2 Map and Stop Break Down
|Stop 1:||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:||Banks of the Danube||30 minutes|
|Stop 7:||360 Bar||Night Time|
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 Itinerary 4 Days – Day 3: Adventure Awaits
The 3rd day in Budapest is all about adventure and getting off the beaten path. Did you know that beneath Hungary’s capital city lies an explorable cave system? Keep on reading to find out more.
4 Days in Budapest – Day 3: Map and Stop Break Down
|Stop 1:||A La Maison Grand for Brunch||1 hour|
|Stop 2:||Caving Beneath Budapest||3 hours|
|Stop 3:||Booze Cruise on the Danube||Night Time|
Stop 1: Brunch
There is no harm in having a little rest when travelling. After all, the first 2 days in Budapest were extremely busy. So, allow yourself some time 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 activity is going to take 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.
4 Days 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.
4 Days in Budapest Itinerary – Day 4: Map and Stop Break Down
|Stop 1:||Hero’s Square||1 hour|
|Stop 2:||Vajdahunyad Castle, Jaki Chapel & the City Park||1 hour|
|Stop 3:||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 😉
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 were 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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