Budapest Itinerary: See the best of Budapest in a day

Budapest is the city which is best known for its striking Parliament building and thermal baths. Though there is so much more to the capital of Hungary that these two icons. Budapest is the start of the area we know as Eastern Europe and with a profound history. The city is an amalgamation of three cities, Buda, Pest and Obuda which became one in 1873. When I visited Vienna for a few days, I spotted an opportunity to visit Budapest, even if it was for a day. So, today I present the ideal things you can do in Budapest in a day. 

Did you know – Hungary got truly independent after it’s first free elections in 1990!

Don’t miss my Vienna travel guide!

Things to know before planning your Budapest itinerary to see all the top places to visit in Budapest in a day!

Definitely need to be prepared if you’re gonna visit Budapest in a day

Currency – HUF (Hungarian Forint (HUF). Euro’s are accepted but with a much higher exchange rate. 

Language – Hungarian, but English is also widely understood and spoken.

Public Transport – The city has an excellent public transport system which includes trams, metro, buses, and trolleybuses. 

Expense – Budapest is a quite cheap city especially for Indians with 1₹ = 4.21 HUF. 

Travel Pass – There are various travel passes, a 24 hour, 72 hours and a 7-day pass. This covers transportation which is not very cheap in Budapest. If you like to visit museums, try Budapest Card which gives you discounted access to museums and spas and free public transport.

Water – Tap water is safe for drinking. 

Safety – The city is fairly safe on various parameters which is why it is swarming with tourists. 

Budapest in a day | One day in Budapest | Budapest Itinerary | Hungary #budapest #hungary

Budapest Itinerary: How to See the best of Budapest in a day

Budapest is a walkable city, but if you want to see it all, I’d recommend taking a ride in the metro or trams. If you’re coming to the city by Vienna any other European city by train, you’ll reach Budapest Keleti Station (the main train station). You can take a metro from there and start your tour of Budapest. If you want to see all of Budapest in a day, then also I’d recommend taking trams or metro.

These are some of the places you can easily see in Budapest in a day –

Hungarian Parliament

The Hungarian Parliament is one of the most famous government buildings in the world and surely the highlight of Budapest. It is the one thing you mustn’t miss if you have one day in Budapest or more.

Hungarian Parliament

Built in Gothic style, the facade is uniquely built with a dome and ceilings in maroon color. The gigantic parliament faces The Danube and has as much as 10 courtyards, numerous rooms and beautiful staircases. There are tours available for touring the parliament from inside. But it’s tough to cover everything in Budapest in a day so you can skip it if you’d like.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

St. Stephen’s Basilica is the 19th century church which is also one of the vital churches in the country. Almost a kilometer away from the Parliament building, you can visit the Basilica on foot. After all, Budapest is a beautiful city to walk in.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

The church has Neo-classical architecture and is named after Saint Stephan king of Hungary in 997. The church even stores his right hand, which you can also see closely in the church.

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Budapest has various highlights and the chain bridge is in the top few. The 375 meter long suspension bridge over the Danube connects Buda and Pest roots back to the late 18th century.

Széchenyi Chain Bridge

After visiting the Parliament and the St. Stephan’s Basilica, you can walk your way through the bridge. The bridge allows traffic and also have pedestrian lane. The bridge was destroyed during WWII and was rebuilt in the 1949.

Buda Castle

The 12th century castle is one of the must-see places to visit in Budapest in a day. The palace was built for the Hunagarian kings and the Baroque styled architecture is eye catching.

Buda Castle

When going from the Chain bridge, there are options about how to visit the castle district, one via bus, a uphill walk or using a cable car (Funicular). If you planned an impromtu trip to do Budapest in a day, then you’d have to probably have to buy ticket at the cashier. Though, the tickets cost around 1200-1800 HUF (one way/return) and the queue for the Funicular is too long. As it was a spontaenous trip for me, and the queue scared me, so I opted for a hike. Not a tough hike, just half hour easy hike.

Matthias Church

When in the Buda Castle District, don’t miss out visiting the Matthias Church. It is one of the famous attractions of the castle.

matthias church

The church is built in Roman style architecture with unique orange-ish ceiling, making it easily noticeable from far off.

Fisherman’s Bastion

The Fisherman’s Bastion is also located in the Buda Castle district facing the Matthias Church and is indeed another top attraction in Budapest.

Fisherman's Bastion

The Fisherman’s Bastion looks like straight out of a fairytale with gorgeous views of the Hungarian Parliament.

Shoes on the Danube

This is not a place to visit for fun, this is a memorial on the banks of Danube river for honoring the jews killed during WWII.

Shoes on the Danube

The memorial is built in the memory of jews who were made to take their shoes off and were shot on the river bank. Do spend some time here and pay your respects.

Margaret Island

Margaret Island is Budapest’s answer to NYC’s central park. Walking back from the Buda Castle I spotted Margaret Island by chance. I had some spare time, so I enjoyed the musical fountains here.

Margaret Island

Take a walk around the park, ride in a funky vehicle, enjoy the musical fountains,  or have a thermal bath here. You can even ride a bike to roam around the park here.

Check out what to do in Prague in 2 days?

Heroe’s Square (Hősök tere)

The Heroe’s Square is one the main squares of Budapest built in the first century. If you are left with some time after your tour of Budapest in a day, you should come here. It is a memorial to commemorate Hunagary’s settlement in 895.

Heroe's Square

By any chance, if you’d like to extend your stay in the city, you may check out some hotels here –


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