24 hours in Budapest

24 hours in Budapest

by Shereece Spain
Stripes Europe

Usually not ranking too high on bucket lists, one would be remiss in skipping over this city during their European travels. It’s rich in history, traditional and remarkable landmarks one has to see to truly appreciate. Your duty-station's Outdoor Recreation offers economical ways to get you there.

First a brief history lesson … Budapest, as it’s known today, was a merger of the cities Buda, Pest and Óbuda in 1873. The Danube winds through this majestic metropolis splitting the city, so it is its own East meets West. The Erzsébet hίd is the only original bridge connecting the two sides of the city. Since you only have a day to see this merged metropolis, take half a day to see the East and the other half to see the West.

East of the river:

Hungarian Parliament

(2/Red Line, Kossuth Lajos Square station)

During the day or night, this impressive structure is a sight to behold. One side is for actually conducting political business and the other for hosting tours. The opulence of the Main Hall and House of Magnates is to be rivaled. The Holy Crown of Hungary is located in the Central Hall. If you want to tour, it only lasts 45 minutes and this is the most recommended site to book your tickets. 

Meander South along the Danube to visit “Shoes on the Danube.” It’s a humbling representation of the people killed by Arrow Cross militia during World War II.

Turn East from the river on Zoltán út. After a few blocks, you will find yourself in the picturesque Liberty Square. With fantastic monuments, statues, fountains and architecture, it will make your walk to St. Stephen’s Basilica even more enjoyable.

Not even 10 minutes south of the square, you will be basking in the grandeur of this Basilica. It’s actually a relatively young structure - completed in 1905. It may be newer than other places in Budapest, but it’s still a must-see stop during your visit.

City Park

(1/Yellow Line)

Hop on the Metro from Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út Station and head to the Hősök tere or Széchenyi fϋrdő Station. This will put you at the western edge or in the middle of the park. Time won’t permit tours, but be sure to check out Hero’s Square with the Millennium Monument, Vajdahunyad Castle, City Park Ice Rink and Boating and the Museum of Fine Arts.

West of the river:

Sitting majestically above the Danube is Buda Castle. This ancient wonder is divided into the Royal Palace and Buda Castle districts. The Castle district is open all day, every day at no charge unless there is a festival taking place. The Palace district has specific hours, so it’s smart to start here before checking out the Castle district. Don’t miss the Fisherman’s Bastion, the lookout towers offer breathtaking views of the River and East Budapest.

If you’re on a mission to exceed your daily step goal, there are two walking options to get to the top - the gentle or steep hill walk. You can also take a bus; however, it’s not every day you can take funicular rides! It is 1,800 forints round-trip for adults and 1,100 forints for children 3-14.


Originally a military fortress, it now serves as a tourist attraction with the best 360-degree views of Buda and Pest. Save yourself some time and put that Budapest Card to use by taking the tram and bus to or from the castle. The Hungarian Freedom Statue is a must!

Perfect ending

No matter which side of the city you wrap up your day before you leave, you should take in a traditional bath experience. Gellért Thermal Bath is located near the Citadel and Széchenyi Thermal Bath is in City Park. Treat yourself to a relaxing soak in a thermal bath, one of the various messages or the sauna.

Must eat foods

There are a great number of fabulous places to get amazing food during your day. Try some of these while you're there:

  • Somlói Galuska “Hungary’s favorite cake”

  • Töltött Káposzta -Stuffed cabbage

  • Kürtös Kalács - “Chimney cake”

  • Fisherman’s Soup - For seafood lovers

  • Lángos - Fried flatbread with savory toppings

Once you’ve gotten a small taste of breathtaking Budapest, you will wonder why you didn’t go sooner and be itching to go back for more! 

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