I took a two hour train from Vienna to Budapest and back in one day. I left very early, at 6 am, so that I would have the entire day to spend in Budapest to explore. Is one day enough to see Budapest? I think so. Personally, I got to see everything that I wanted to see here and more in just a few hours. I even had some time to kill to keep walking around and trying new restaurants! Budapest had a very unique and interesting culture. I really enjoyed my visit!
Budapest is actually two parts separated by the river: Buda & Pest. The cities united in 1873, marking Budapest two cities in one.
I am going to separate things to see by Buda & Pest to help you plan your day! I went to Buda on the other side of the river first, then finished my day exploring the Pest side. You can use the map at the bottom of this article for reference! All locations are marked on the map.
The name Buda takes its name from the name of Bleda the Hun ruler, whose name is also Buda in Hungarian. Buda comprises about one-third of Budapest's complete territory. I went to the Buda side first during my day since it was the furthest away from the train station.
1. Fisherman's Bastion
Fisherman's Bastion is probably the most famous spot in Budapest. They say that this castle was protected by the guild of fisherman in Medieval times. It is located right next to Buda Castle and has an amazing view of the river and Parliament building.
2. See the Parliament Building from Across the River
The Hungarian Parliament Building is actually on the Pest side, but in my opinion the view from across the river is the most gorgeous!!
3. Buda Castle
Buda castle is amazing, located right next to Fisherman's Bastion, a historical castle hosting Hungarian Kings since 1265.
4. Matthias Church
Matthias Church, also in the same area as Fisherman's Bastion and Buda Castle, is something that you won't miss. It is just a few short steps away from Fisherman's Bastion, built in 1015.
5. Panoramic View
On the way up (or down) castle hill you can stop here for a gorgeous panoramic view of Budapest!! You can see the Buda side (and Buda Castle) on the left and Pest on the right. There is also a hiking trail here.
Pest, on the east side of the city, occupies the other 2/3 of the city. This is the busier side, with more walking streets, restaurants, bars, and things to do. I hit the Pest side last so that I was closer to the train station, for my train ride back to Vienna in the evening.
1. Szchenyi Thermal Bath
When I think of Budapest, I always thinking about their thermal baths that I have seen all over Instagram. Budapest is actually the spa capital of the world and is sometimes referred to as "The City of Baths." Budapest has over 1300 thermal springs rich in minerals. The Szecheyni Thermal Bath is the largest thermal bath in Europe, and has been used for over 100 years for is healing properties. Some of the healing properties of the thermal bath:
2. Heroes' Square
Heroe's Square, near the Thermal Baths & Vajdahunyad Castle, is one of the main squares in Budapest, representing the Magyar Conquest of Hungary.
3. Vajdahunyad Castle
Also located in the City Park is the Vajdahunyad Castle. You can find the Hungarian Agricultural Museum here as well as tours inside the castle. I stopped here after the Szecheyni Thermal Bath and sat in the restaurant to try Goulash- the national dish of Hungary. It was tasty! There are also small boats along the lake here where you can take in the views by boat.
4. The Hungarian National Parliament
The Hungarian National Parliament, or Orszaghaz, is also on the Pest side, although visible across the river on the Buda side.The building has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987 as part of the Banks of the Danube. You can do an hour long tour here, but I just stopped by to snap a pic!
5. New York Cafe
New York Cafe is by far one of my FAVORITE places I have ever been. We all know that afternoon tea is one of my favorite things, and I hit the jack pot here. New York Cafe holds the title of being the worlds most beautiful cafe- and it is true. Not only was it beautiful, but the musicians inside played the most beautiful music (see my vlog).
6. Vaci Street
Vaci Street is the central tourist street of Budapest, lined with shops, restaurants, and in the vicinity of the bar and club scene. It is a great place to walk around and grab a bite to eat!
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