3 days in Budapest -Travel Guide
Week-end in Budapest around Christmas Time
Last year, Gianni and I decided to stop in Budapest for a week-end before heading over Italy for the Christmas break. As much as we love going to the beach even in December (deffo one of the perks of living in Tenerife) we were missing the magic of the holiday atmosphere and Budapest was just the perfect solution. We had 3 full days and 4 nights in Budapest with my ideal timings for flights (arrival in the evening and departure in the late morning).
In Budapest we rented an Airbnb opposite the Városháza Park (I would link it for you but it is no longer listed) – very central with an amazing view of the Christmas markets that were hosted in the small park. This was our first stop every morning, when I tried a different flavour of chimney cake each time. My preference by far is the cinnamon one. For the itinerary of day 1 follow the burgundy line on the maps below: We spent day 1 and day 3 on the right side of the river, this is the part of the city known as Pest (more modern/ full of coffee shops, restaurants and with most of the attractions) and went to the left side of the river on day 2 to visit Buda, the historic side of the town. These are the main attractions that we visited on day 1:
1 Vorosmarty Square
This is the main square to visit the Christmas markets. We passed by this place every day but if your time is limited, I would recommend seeing this in the afternoon, to stroll around the markets after the sun is set and to stay around to see the Christmas lights turned on (which happens around 5pm).
2 Little prince Statue
From Erzsébet Square you can walk towards the Danube to walk across the river side. Here you’ll find the statue of the Little Prince with the Budapest Castle and the Fisherman castle in the background on the other side of the river.
3 St Stephen Basilica
We then headed back to Pest to visit the basilica of St. Stephen. Here you have a nice chance to go up the tower to admire the panoramic view of the west side of Budapest.
4 Hungarian State Opera and Andrassy Street
From the basilica we moved to Andrassey street. This is one of the most beautiful streets in town. You will find high-end shops and the Hungarian State Opera. As this trip was planned with a short-notice, we didn’t manage to include a night out at the opera (one for next time!). The Nutcracker usually plays around Christmas time, so if you are interested move quickly as you need to book quite far in advance.
5 Heroes’ Square, Vajdahunyad Castle, City Park Ice Rink
We walked for half an hour on Andrassy Street up to Heroes’ square. Here you can also visit the Vajdahunyad Castle and in winter time go skating on the huge city park ice rink.
6 Széchenyi Thermal Bath
We ended the day with a visit to the most popular and biggest thermal bath of Budapest, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath. The pools here are incredibly big. It’s indeed a very crowdy and touristic spot but at the same time the organisation if perfect (no long queues or lack of personal space) and the structure is beautiful, so worth a visit.
On day 2 we headed over the west side of the town, Pest. Follow the yellow itinerary on the maps published above to see the location of the main attractions we visited.
1 Széchenyi Chain Bridge
We walked to the other side of town through the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, this is one of the most iconic buildings of the Hungarian capital as it was the first bridge built to unify the two sides of Budapest.
2 Buda Castle
Residence of Hungarian kings, this is one of the must-see attractions in Budapest. The cable car is a very romantic way to reach the castle, that is set up on a hill. Once you get to the high ground, you can walk across the courts and medieval streets as well as visiting the historic museum in the inside
3 Fisherman Bastion
This fairy-tale complex is composed of white towers and multicolored tiles. It has an incredible terrace with a panoramic view of the Danube and the eastern side of the city.
4 Gallert Bath
Another day - another spa. This time it was the Gallert Thermal bath's turn. Both the internal and the external pools in this spa are much smaller compared to the Széchenyi ones. The strength of this place is definitely the decor of the interior.
On day 3, we spent some time doing some last-minute shopping for Christmas and been to some vinyl stores that a friend of Gianni suggested us to visit. We also went back to the Vajdahunyad Castle as I wanted to see it also during daylight. These are the new places visited during day 3:
1 Liberty Square
We passed by this square where we read about the memorial created to remember of the victims of the german occupation.
2. Kossuth Lajos Square
This square located in the city center is sitting next to the Hungarian Parliament Building.
3 Margaret Island
We then kept walking north up to Margaret Island. We headed here to visit a specific vinyl store and also sopped in újlipótváros in a cosy coffee-shop.
4 Szimpla Kert
Our day ended with a visit to one of the famous ruin bars of Budapest. The Szimpla Kert is like an architectural acid trip. It’s a very big building combining several rooms, each one having its own crazy furniture and decorations. We spent some of the night drinking on a pommel horse and then watched a black and white movie in a bumper car. See you next time Budapest! Deneb