If you only have one day in Budapest, you need to plan your itinerary carefully, so you can see as much as you can. Being the heart of Europe, this beautiful city offers so much to do. It will be hard to decide what you may have to save for the next trip.
We are going to help you plan the ultimate trip. Discover the castles, visit the best museums, and see the sights. If you choose one from each category, you should get them all. But first, leave your backpacks and shopping parcels at one of the local luggage storage companies so you don’t have to drag them everywhere you go.
Castles and Other Amazing Buildings
The City of Budapest has dozens of castles and fortresses that are worth visiting while you are there. Choose one of our favorites.
- Buda Castle
One of the oldest castles in Budapest, the Buda Castle was built in 1265. Not only is the building remarkable, but the views of the Danube River are also stunning. The castle is home to the national gallery, history museum, and library, so you can learn something, too.
- Vajdahunyad Castle
This gothic building is thought to be one of the most romantic places in Hungary, so if you are with your sweetie, visit Vajdahunyad Castle. The fantasy-style architecture will stun you and being in the middle of a huge city park with a lake, the photo ops are endless.
- Visegrád Citadel
The castle where King Charles I of Hungary first settled, Visegrád Citadel was built in 1259 when it was the spot where the crown jewels were kept until 1440. Located on a 1,148-foot-tall hill surrounded by solid rock moats, you will get the best view of the Danube and Borzsony Hills from there.
Although there are many places to enjoy in Budapest, some of the attractions are not to be missed. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Széchenyi Chain Bridge
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge was the first connection over the Danube between Buda and Pest to make it Budapest back in 1849. At the time, it was one of the world’s engineering wonders and is a significant landmark in Budapest. Designed by William Clark, the bridge is the perfect spot for selfies.
- Enjoy a Thermal Bath
One way to relax after a morning of sightseeing is to enjoy a thermal bath at one of the 50 bathhouses. The largest and most popular is also the best according to locals. The Széchenyi Thermal Baths are inside a palace at the city park and there are 18 pools in total.
- Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden
Budapest Zoo is the perfect place to spend some time with over a thousand different species. Opened in 1866, it is the oldest zoo in the country. It has seven different exhibits including Magical Hill, India Zone, Savannah Zone, and several more. Get souvenirs from the gift shop or eat at one of the 10 restaurants.
Visit the Museums
The City of Budapest has over 50 museums to choose from, so it can be hard to choose just one. We have five of the top museums that you should definitely not miss.
- The Szamos Chocolate Museum
If you like chocolate, visit the Szamos Chocolate Museum to take a trip back to a 1920s candy shop. See the workshops, learn how to make marzipan, and don’t miss getting a selfie with the miniature crown jewels and Parliament buildings made from candy.
- The Museum of Ethnography
The Museum of Ethnography is a great place to learn the history of the people of Hungary. Over a thousand years of human history is on display in dozens of exhibits that change several times a year. From gypsies to the waterfowl people, there is a plethora of information and artefacts to see.
- The House of Houdini
If you know who Houdini is, you will want to see this museum at the place of his birth. Magicians and magic lovers all over the world flock to the House of Houdini on Disz Square in the Castle District. Not only can you see some of Houdini’s personal magic props, but you can also see live magic shows.
- The Fairy Tale Museum
If you have the kids with you or are just a kid at heart, the Fairy Tale Museum will amaze and astound you. Learn about the art of storytelling and watch fairy tales come alive in the Fairy Tale Workshop. They have shadow plays, puppet shows, and creative shops to enjoy as well.
- The Hospital in the Rock
For a more serious learning experience, visit the Hospital in the Rock in the Castle District. The 60-minute guided tour tells the story of the underground bunker made in a natural cave. The bunker was an emergency hospital years ago, then used for shelter from bombings. It is a very sobering experience.
You need to eat while you are in Budapest, right? Here are some of the most popular eateries we found in and around the town.
- Hungarian Cuisine
- American Food
Head to the I-55 American Bar and Restaurant for fantastic barbecue ribs, pulled pork, and amazing macaroni and cheese. The Buffalo Steak House will amaze you with their juicy steaks and thick-cut fries. They also have TGIFridays and Hard Rock Café.
- For Something Sweet
Gelarto Rosa is famous for their rose-shaped gelato cones and you can see them all over social media, so you have to try one. For Hungarian cakes and chocolates, head to Nandori Cukrászda. And if you want some macaroons, Chez Dodo has hundreds of flavours to choose from.
Whether you manage to visit all or some of these spots while you are in town, you will still have to come back. There are at least a hundred more museums, shops, and castles for you to enjoy. So, you can start planning your next trip now!
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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