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How to Spend 3 Days Exploring Budapest, Hungary

Enjoying a European summer is all the travel rage this season. However, when it comes to popular destinations, like Paris and London, many have been there, done that and want to experience a new side of Europe. 

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a vibrant and historic destination known for its stunning classical architecture, rich culture and many thermal baths and spas. In fact, the city is home to the world’s largest thermal cave system, containing more than 80 geothermal springs. 

Budapest is often referred to as the Pearl of the Danube, due to its picturesque location on the banks of the Danube River. It has also been dubbed the Paris of the East thanks to its many beautiful buildings and bridges. 

Where to Stay in Budapest

With its blend of old-world charm and modern offerings, Budapest provides visitors with a unique and unforgettable European travel experience. One of the best areas to witness this marriage of the old and the new is the Castle District. Central to many of the most popular attractions, this neighborhood is also a great choice for first time visitors to the city. Some great Castle Hills hotels to consider include Mercure Budapest, Hotel Castle Garden and Buda Castle Fashion Hotel.

Use this expert-created itinerary to experience an exciting and enlightening three days in Budapest, Hungary.

Day 1

Buda Castle

Buda Castle is a palace complex that was built as a residence for Hungarian royalty. Take in the opulent Baroque architecture as you explore the historic castle and enjoy a stunning view of the city from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Today, the Castle houses the Hungarian National Gallery, the National Szechenyi Library and the Budapest History Museum.

Margaret Island

Margaret Island is a public park in the Danube River. Visitors can climb the water tower, explore the many gardens or take a relaxing dip in the island’s very own thermal baths, Palatinus Strand. Named one of the best outdoor swimming pools in the world, here you’ll find water slides, adventure pools and a wave pool. 

Great Market Hall

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Great Market Hall, the largest and most beautiful market hall in the city. You can taste fresh, local foods and shop for traditional products and souvenirs.

Day 2

Castle Hill

Take a stroll through the quaint streets of Castle Hill, one of Budapest’s most historic and picturesque neighborhoods. As you walk along, you’ll see spectacular views that include many of Budapest’s most important sites: the Hungarian Parliament, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Fisherman’s Bastion, the President’s Palace, Matthias Church and more.

Gellert Hill

Then, hike to the top of Gellért Hill for sweeping panoramic views of Budapest. At the top of the hill, you can grab a snack from one of the vendors or explore the Citadella.

Jewish Quarter

Experience the vibrant food scene in Budapest’s Jewish Quarter and learn about the area’s rich history and culture. Jewish people first began settling the neighborhood in the late 18th century. Today, the area has an exciting nightlife scene full of eclectic cafes, shops and restaurants.

Day 3

Danube River Cruise

Take a scenic river cruise on the Danube, passing Budapest’s most iconic landmarks and bridges. There are many different cruises to choose from offered by a plethora of different operators. If you prefer a night time cruise, there are options offering a candlelit dinner and live music.

Szechenyi Thermal Bath

Then, relax at the largest and most famous thermal bath in Budapest, home to indoor and outdoor pools and saunas. Containing minerals like calcium, magnesium and sulfate, thermal baths are beneficial for a variety of ailments, from aches and rheumatism to skin issues and respiratory problems.

Vaci Street

Explore the lively pedestrian street of Vaci with its shops, restaurants and street performers. It is the most central street in the city and a good place to shop for souvenirs. After sunset, Vaci becomes more delightful, as the area is illuminated with lights.

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