A Traveller’s Guide to Budapest in 48 Hours
Are you visiting Budapest for a short stay and not sure what to do?
We took a short trip to Budapest while travelling around Europe in 2014, and we loved our time there.
Read below to discover four great things to do in Budapest. Budapest is a beautiful city with fascinating architecture set between the banks of the Danube River. You may be surprised to hear that Budapest city is actually made up of two districts from either side of the Danube (Buda and Pest) that unified in 1873.
1. Relax in a Thermal Bath
As a first time traveller to Budapest, you may not realise that the city is known for its natural thermal baths. There are twelve baths in the city that locals and tourists visit all year round.
For just €15, it is well worth visiting one of these thermal baths to treat yourself. They contain outdoor swimming pools, hot and cold indoor pools, saunas, steam rooms and medicinal pools. There are also extra massage and treatment packages available.
We visited the Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool located in Budapest City Park. This is the largest medicinal bath in Europe, and is popular as it has dozens of pools. We enjoyed relaxing there for about three hours.
As an aside, you may also be interested to hear about our trip to the Roman Baths in Bath, England.
2. Take a Bike Tour
Rather than just walking around yourself, why not have an experienced guide share their knowledge of the city with you? We find bike tours are a great way to familiarise yourself with the main attractions in the city centre, and our Budapest bike tour did just that. Plus, riding a bike is much more fun than walking!
We booked a three-hour tour online with Budapest Bike Breeze, which included both aspects of the history of Hungary and the ‘must see’ attractions.
This bike tour costs €18 each, and includes a refreshing drink at a local café.
3. Visit The Hungarian Parliament Building
The Hungarian Parliament Building is a Neo-Gothic building set prominently by the Danube River.
Budapest Parliament House is a popular tourist destination and truly a magnificent sight to see, both inside and out. At 200m long, 123m wide and 96m high, it is the tallest building in the ‘Pest’ district along with St. Stephen’s Basilica.
The Parliament Building is only a short walk from the city centre, and you’ll notice almost immediately that the building is completely symmetrical. It is the third largest parliament building in the world, built in 1904.
Public tours of the inside run most days of the year, in several languages and at different time slots. Be sure to book in advance, as English tours sell out quickly. The 45 minute tour goes very quickly.
We were slightly disappointed to find the tour did not offer much information on the running or history of the Parliament itself, but was more a showcase of the interior room. The rooms, however, are beautiful and still worth seeing.
4. Discover Matthias Church
One of the most beautiful sights to see in Budapest is definitely Matthias Church. Situated at the top of the Castle Hill District near Buda Castle, the colourful patterned tiles of the roof are immediately noticeable.
Entrance to the inside of the church is 1200 Ft for adults and 700 Ft for students/pensioners.
If you think the outside is good, just wait until you step inside. The walls and ceiling are all intricately painted with colourful more patterns. This experience was nothing like any other church we have seen.
Keep in mind that your shoulders need to be covered inside, and that photos are permitted. Allow 20 – 30 minutes inside Matthias Church.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these activities to do in Budapest. Be sure to leave a comment, we appreciate hearing if you liked what you read. Thanks!
— Edwin & Mim