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Budapest travel guide

A Long Weekend in Budapest Travel Guide, Hungary [2023]

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Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is ripe for exploration. Whether you’re planning a long weekend in Budapest with your family, seeking a relaxing getaway with your spouse, or are young, wild, and eager to experience life to the fullest, Budapest has something for everyone. You can spend several days in this magnificent city and never tire of its wonders. It is truly one of the greatest cities in the world.

From this Budapest weekend trip guide, you’ll discover what to see and do, how to get around, where to party, tips for traveling on a budget, information about traditional food, and recommendations on where to stay.

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what to see and do
where to stay
how to move around

What to see and do in Budapest

If you’ve already visited Vienna, Prague, or both, you’ll have an idea of what awaits you in Budapest. You won’t find fancy skyscrapers or ultra-modern buildings, as they would disrupt the city’s historical aesthetic. Indeed, Budapest is replete with medieval structures and is truly magnificent. If you’re a fan of medieval architecture, your long weekend in Budapest will fly by.

So, what are the must-see places in Budapest over a weekend? Well a lot, but it’s better to navigate around the city when you split Budapest with one of the longest rivers in Europe, the Danube River.

1. Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion

This marvelous Neo-Romanesque architectural building is a well-known landmark in the Castle District, recognized for its spires and turrets. It runs parallel to the Danube River, offering panoramic views of the Pest side. Right next to the Fisherman’s Bastion stands the beautiful Matthias Church. It’s undoubtedly an “Instagrammer’s” dream spot for capturing stunning shots.

2. Buda Castle

Buda Castle and many other buildings are located on Castle Hill. This historical building has accommodated many famous figures in Hungary’s history. Buda Castle currently houses The Budapest History Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery. From the outside, it boasts numerous heroic sculptures reminiscent of Budapest’s rich history and offers views overlooking the Danube River. The Castle District area has beautiful buildings, gardens, and palaces perfect for leisurely exploration.

The Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle are near each other, right next to the Danube River. They are within walking distance of one another, and the journey between them offers numerous sights. Whether exploring the Castle District or enjoying views of the Chain Bridge, there’s always something captivating to see.

3. Hike up to Citadel

Danube River
A view from Citadel

The Liberty Statue in Hungary’s capital is one of Budapest’s most popular tourist attractions. It stands atop a hill and requires only a bit of easy hiking to reach. It’s a must-visit spot when spending a weekend in Budapest, and skipping it would be a miss. While there are various starting points for hikes to the statue, the main trail begins at the Elisabeth Bridge. From the top, you’re treated to the city’s best view. If possible, and if your legs are up for it, consider climbing twice: once in daylight and once after dark.

4. Parliament Building

The Hungarian Parliament building is probably the main place to visit on the Budapest long weekend. Neo-gothic-styled Parliament building is parallel to the Danube River and the best way to see that huge building at its fullest is from the other side of the Danube (Buda side) or on the river (boat tours). I recommend visiting the Parliament building at night when you can witness that beauty with all the lights on the building.

5. St. Stephen’s Basilica

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Saint Stephen’s Basilica is situated in the city center. Given its massive stature in Budapest, it warrants special mention. St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of the tallest buildings in the city center, and it’s visible from the Liberty Statue at the Citadel.

Budapest is also a great place to spend Christmas in Europe. The square in front of the Basilica hosts a magical Christmas market.

6. Heroes Square

While it’s a bit away from the center, it’s easily accessible thanks to the city’s efficient transportation. As the name suggests, the square features heroic statues. It’s advisable to have a tour guide who can explain the significance of each sculpture. However, it’s also worth visiting to stroll around and admire these masterpieces.

7. City Park With The Vajdahunyad Castle

Right behind Heroes’ Square lies a city park, a wonderful place to stroll amidst its lush flora. Additionally, the park is home to the lovely Vajdahunyad Castle, which adds to its uniqueness. It’s a must-visit spot for a weekend in Budapest.

8. House of Terror

The eye-catching House of Terror building is next to the famous Andrássy Avenue. During World War II that building was the headquarters of the Hungarian Nazi Party. During that period these walls saw so many horrific crimes against Hungarians. Nowadays it’s a museum with exhibits about the regimes of communism and fascism in Hungary.

9. Szentendre – Day Trip From Budapest


Your extended weekend in Budapest doesn’t have to be confined to the city alone. Nearby is a quaint town called Szentendre. It exudes an Italian village ambiance with its vibrant buildings and is situated along the Danube bank. It’s a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the capital. If you get the opportunity, I recommend trying the local street food, Langos. The town is easily accessible by train.

10. Budapest River Cruise

Parliament Building

The river runs right through the heart of the city. As previously mentioned, you can see several landmarks along the Danube’s banks: the Hungarian Parliament building, Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle, Citadel, and the city center. With so many attractions on both sides (Buda and Pest), be careful not to strain your neck as you turn from one side to the other!

Regular river cruises are available both day and night, with prices starting at around 9 euros. There are even dinner cruises featuring restaurants and live music. For those in the party spirit, there are also dedicated party cruises.

11. Stroll around Margaret Island

With no sea, you might wonder how there can be an island. Yet, nestled in the middle of the Danube River, there it is. The island boasts a vast park, sports fields, a 5.3 km running track, outdoor swimming facilities, a mini zoo, and a thermal bath. All these amenities can be found within the island district. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of city traffic.

12. Soak in Thermal Baths

Thermal Baths
Szechenyi Spa Baths

“It’s said that thermal spas have healing effects and some jokers even say that it’s the best cure for hangovers. “

Hungarians are renowned for their thermal bath culture. It’s believed that thermal baths have healing effects; some jesters even claim they’re the best cure for hangovers. There are dozens of thermal baths to choose from, including the Széchenyi Baths, Gellért Baths, Rudas Baths, Lukács Baths, Király Baths, and more.

Prices typically range from 10 to 20 € and cover access to all pools; some baths also feature saunas. I recommend arriving early, as it’s a popular relaxation spot for locals and tourists. It’s an experience you shouldn’t miss on a weekend trip to Budapest.

13. Walk along the Danube Riverside

I would say that you can’t skip that during your weekend in Budapest. Somehow, you find yourself next to the bank of the Danube, sitting or just walking there and enjoying the views. As said previously, the river flows right through the centrum area. I recommend walking there during the night. Stunning views over the lightened capital.

Read more: Hungary travel guide.

Budapest Nightlife

Nightlife in Budapest. Weekend in Budapest

If you’ve spent the day wandering around the city and still have energy to spare, your day isn’t over yet. A friend from Hungary once told me that this city never sleeps. There are parties every night, even on Sundays. You’ll find an array of pubs, bars, clubs, and more. What would a weekend in Budapest be without a bit of partying?

One must-do activity in Budapest is visiting the ruin bars. Each bar has its unique vibe and atmosphere. The great thing is that most of these bars offer free entrance. While many clubs have diverse styles, I’m highlighting the ruin bars here because they’re quintessentially Budapest, and you won’t find them just anywhere.


It’s one of Budapest’s most renowned ruin bar complexes and is likely the largest. You’ve stepped into a unique party venue adorned with eccentric decorations and buzzing with electric energy. There are various floors and rooms, each playing music to suit every taste. This vast labyrinth is open every night. Indeed, this place never sleeps.

Read more: Best cities in Europe for solo travel.

Szimpla Kert

Szimpla Kert

The first and most famous ruin bar is Szimpla Kert. The atmosphere is truly extraordinary, unlike any regular bar. It feels as if you’ve stepped into a magical realm. Each room is uniquely decorated with gardens and various sculptures. It’s hard to believe you’re actually in a bar. Each room specializes in certain drinks, so rooms are dedicated to beer, wine, cocktails, and shots.

Red Ruin Bar

You need to have a sense of humor, as it’s a communist-themed ruin bar. It pokes fun at its political past, featuring numerous art installations of prominent figures from the communist era. The venue is bathed in red lights, and the bar primarily plays rock music.

What’s more

There are many other ruin pubs, including Lámpás, Kisüzem, Úri Muri, Dzzs Bár, Nemdebár, and more. You can join pub crawl events, where locals will guide you to the right spots.

Even if you’re not in the mood for a party, I still recommend visiting these pubs. Ruin bars boast unique designs, and you’ll be captivated by the atmosphere. Your long weekend in Budapest is bound to be memorable.

Where To Stay In Budapest?

There is no shortage of great deals on accommodation when staying on the weekend in Budapest. From cheap party hostels to more luxurious hotels and apartments.

Hostels In Budapest

It’s a budget traveler dreamland. Hostels start from 5 euros per night and to be honest… There are few places around Europe to get this kind of ridiculous deal. It’s not only one option; you have dozens of alternatives to spend a night below 10€. These are mostly party hostels, so it’s like a paradise if you are there for parties. If not, then it might get a bit noisy. These hostels are also in the city center. You can find reasonable deals from HostelWorld.

Where to stay on the weekend in Budapest on a budget:


Private Accommodation

If you are there with family, your girlfriend/boyfriend, or friends who want a private room or whole apartment then you will find something reasonable there. Even some hostels offer some private rooms, so if you are strict with your budget, you also have some other alternatives. The price range varies from 20€ – to how much you can spend.

It might sound like everything there is super affordable and you can save there a lot of money. But if you want to spend money on luxury and live like a king, you probably find something for your demands. Spend as much you want on your weekend in Budapest.

Some private accommodation options:

What To Eat In Budapest?

Traditional Hungarian food Langos

When it comes to eating, you can have dining experiences from cheap street food up to Michelin-star restaurants. Overall restaurant prices in Hungary’s capital are reasonable.

There is no shortage of kebab, hamburger, pizza, or other fast food and you can fill your belly with 2 euros. Most of them are delicious and worth a try, but it would be better if someone local would recommend some places.

Hungary Traditional Food

Traditional Hungarian dishes are goulash and super delicious fast food langos. Goulash is a soup with meat and vegetables. Prices for goulash are around 5€, and for example, you can try traditional food from restaurants Gettó Gulyás, Kiosk Pest, Stand25 Bistro, Fricska Gastropub.

Langos is a deep-fried flatbread typically topped with sour cream and cheese. Langos is more known in the Balaton area, but it’s also possible to try it out in Budapest. It’s eaten fresh and warm and it melts in your mouth. It’s one of the best street foods I have tasted, and it’s easy to get addicted. Langos prices are around 3€. But they are worth trying out and will fill your eating needs on the weekend in Budapest.

Where To Eat In Budapest

It doesn’t come as a surprise, but again restaurant prices are healthy for your wallet and savings. You have a good range of options to try local food or fill yourself with foodie stuff. Mazel Tov, Rosenstein, Café Kor, Szeráj, Menza are just some of the many restaurants I recommend visiting.

Vegan Options

Veganism is getting popular worldwide, which is the same thing with that place. Luckily you don’t have to change your dietary plans, and you keep your healthy lifestyle while you are on your weekend in Budapest. Some vegan-friendly restaurants: Madal Food, Hummus Bar, Napos Oldal, Govinda, Napfényes.

How to get around Budapest

Public transport

The city transport system is one of the greatest. You can go everywhere fast and smoothly on the long weekend in Budapest. Google Maps shows which buses, trams, or metro to get from the standing point to the destination. To acquire a public transportation pass, you must buy a traveler pass from 24-hours to 72-hours.

With that pass, you can use every public transport: busses, trams, and metros. Over town are several ticket stations where you can buy singular or this same traveler ticket. As said it’s smooth and you can travel around fast. Trams can be a bit loud (because these are old), but you will survive.

Tips & Tricks for Budapest

For the best long weekend in Budapest, it’s good to know about some perks that can help every traveler make the trip easier and more affordable.

Budapest Card

If you want to go wild and spend the weekend in Budapest maximum, then the city offers you a Budapest card. It has a time limitation; you can have that card for 24h up to 120h. It includes free public transportation, 20 museums with no entry fees, free entry to the Lukács Bath, free walking sightseeing tours, a cave tour. Also different discounts in restaurants, thermal baths and so.

It might be great if you want to see all the museums, visit thermal baths, and eat in restaurants. Investment can be a money-saving move afterward. You can find more detailed information here if interested in that card.

Hungary Forints

A friendly reminder: Hungarians have their currency. Don’t collect too many coins; changing it in your currency is harder afterward. Try to use all the coins on your long weekend in Budapest.

Free Walking Tours

Many cities have free walking tours and Budapest is no exception. With a travel guide, you understand more about city history with some funny stories and myths. A tour makes you more curious about that city.

Best Time To Visit Budapest

The High season is during the summer, but you can do many activities, visit places and walk along the Danube all year. For the Budapest itinerary, I would take at least 3 days.

Taking All Together

Overall Budapest has a really good ratio when it comes to cost and quality. You have reasonable prices in accommodation, restaurants and other food services, drinks at bars and so on. You have so many opportunities to spend time around that wondrous city and I am sure you don’t feel great when you depart.

If you feel that your Budapest long weekend wasn’t enough and want to see Hungary more. Then I can recommend visiting Lake Balaton as a day trip from Budapest. Another special spot in Hungary.

A time in Hungary’s capital is just incredible, and it remains my favorite city in the World.


Budapest travel guide

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