The intriguing mix of culture, art, history, and architecture, the Hungarian capital of Budapest, the Pearl of Danube, charms its visitors, endlessly. It’s one of the best places to visit in Hungary. We, as a family, loved Budapest and the fact that there’s so much to see and do in Budapest with kids. It, eventually, became one of our favorite cities in Central Europe.
Here’s our take on what to do when you’ve three days in Budapest!
Today we’ll explore the Buda side (Buda Castle District) of Budapest. You can reach Castle Hill (Várhegy) by funicular, bus, metro M2, and a scenic walk. You can even take a Castle Shuttle Budapest that tours you around the Buda Castle District for 6 Euros per adult. You can hop on-hop-off at various attractions.
Start off your day with an amazing breakfast at Coffee Trad3rs. It’s one of the best in the area (Castle Hill). The food, staff, and the service – everything is top class.
Settled on a Castle Hill right above the Danube River, Buda Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site is stunningly gorgeous. You can spot it from anywhere in Budapest as it graces the city’s skyline. The Royal Palace houses the National Széchényi Library, Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum, many beautiful statues. You can also enjoy the panoramic views over the city from its grounds.
An absolute Instagram-worthy spot in Budapest, Fisherman’s Bastion with its seven Disneyesque lookout towers (turrets) offers one of the best panoramic views over Budapest. You can climb all the towers to enjoy the views from different perspectives. It’s super-famous (for a reason, of course) and thus, crowded as hell. You can time your visit around dawn or dusk to get some good crowd-free pics.
Right next to the Fisherman’s Bastion, a striking, visually stunning, and historically significant medieval building with a colorful tiled roof is sure to catch your attention. That’s Matthias Church! As charming from inside as it’s from outside, Matthias Church is a must-see.
A short 4 to 5 minutes walk from Matthias Church takes you to Budapest’s oldest existing pastry shop, Ruszwurm Cukraszda. To be more precise, it’s located at Szentháromság street.
Functioning since 1827, the wife of Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph I, Empress Sisi remains one of Ruszwurm’s esteemed customers. You must try the Ruszwurm cake (krémes), a classic Hungarian pastry. Couple it with a cup of cappuccino or hot chocolate.
The winding cobbled streets (especially Táncsics Mihály Street) of Castle Hill’s Old Town dotted with charming townhouses urge you to wander around.
Just outside Castle Hill, Csalogany 26 Etterem is one of the best fine dining restaurants in Budapest. We recommend a 3-course business lunch that offers taste plus value.
The most beautiful views over Budapest come from here. A short and steep walk with quite a few viewpoints on the way takes you to the top of Gellért Hill. Don’t forget to visit Gellért Hill Cave Church which’s set inside Gellért Hill. Other notable Gellért Hill attractions are St Gellért Monument, Citadella, Budapest’s Statue of Liberty.
Head to Váci Street, home to Cafe Molnár’s Kütrőskalács, a one-stop-shop that serves authentic Chimney Cakes, a traditional Hungarian sweet treat. You’d love the cinnamon and walnut flavor.
A cruise on the Danube River is one of the most beautiful ways to take in all the high points of Budapest. We recommend booking the sunset cruise so you can witness the city from both perspectives – in daylight (as the cruise starts) as well as all lit up (as the cruise returns.)
Tired? Sightseeing isn’t all fun. It’s time to search for a cozy restaurant where you can dine and relax. We have a cool recommendation for you (because who wants to cruise the streets searching for a nice place to eat after all the sightseeing.) Located on Raday utca, Input Kitchen & Bar, with one of the coziest terraces in Budapest and award-winning hamburgers, is your best bet.
We’ll discover the Pest side of Budapest today. Admire the poster child of Budapest, Chain Bridge from Adam Clark’s Square, and then start walking towards the bridge. The Pest side is best explored using efficient public transportation (trams, metro, and buses) or hop-on-hop-off sightseeing tours. You can buy a travel card (24-hour, 72-hour, or a 7-day) to save money on public transportation. A hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus tour saves money and the hassle of figuring out public transportation in a new city.
Start your day with a walk across the iconic Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Lánchíd) that takes you to the Pest side. Make sure to click a lot of photographs of the most famous landmarks of Budapest.
Follow the east bank of the River Danube to reach Shoes on the Danube Promenade. Crafted by a film director, Can Togay, and the Hungarian sculptor, Gyula Pauer, Shoes on the Danube (a set of bronze shoes) is a moving tribute to about 3,500 Jews executed by the Arrow Cross Party during WWII.
About a 10-minutes walk from the Shoes on the Danube, located next to the Hungarian Parliament, Biarritz Restaurant and Cafe is known for great customer service, cozy ambiance, and great food. A French vibe blends effortlessly with contemporary Hungarian cuisine.
It’s time to head to one of the most beautiful parliament buildings in the world, the Hungarian Parliament. You can admire the beauty from outside or can also book a 45 minutes tour (in advance) to see the Parliament of Budapest from inside. It costs HUF 4000 for non-EU citizens and HUF 2000 for EU citizens. The ticket counter is at gate X.
It’s better to book a tour online as the tickets are limited.
Budapest’s largest and the most celebrated square, Heroes Square with its epochal statue complex called Millenary Monument is sure to impress you.
Take some time to visit Budapest’s largest and beloved public park, City Park (Városliget.) Located behind Heroes Square, the park houses some amazing attractions like Vajdahunyad Castle, Museum of Hungarian Agriculture, and Budapest Zoological and Botanical Gardens (Holnemvolt Park.)
Sample traditional Hungarian cuisine while enjoying the beautiful surroundings at Varosliget Cafe & Restaurant.
You can’t travel to Budapest and not experience its famous thermal baths. There are quite a few in the city but Széchenyi is the most celebrated one. It’s recommended to spend an entire evening here for an exhaustive experience.
A few minutes on foot from Széchenyi, located right on the Varosligeti Lake, Robinson Restaurant counts Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Copperfield, Sylvester Stallone, Larry Hagman, and Robert Redford among its notable customers. Kids will love their chocolate soufflé.
Let’s explore more of Pest side today.
Start your day with a soulful and tummyful breakfast at Szimply. Try their avocado toast. They have a great selection for veggies, vegans, and coffee connoisseurs.
It’s a delight to visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest’s largest church and the tallest buliding along with the Hungarian Parliament. The entrance to the church is free.
For gorgeous views over the city, climb the observation deck of the dome. It costs HUF 500.
It’s time to soak up the Jewish history and culture at Dohány Street Synagogue, Europe’s largest synagogue. It’s beautiful inside out.
If time permits, do visit the Jewish Cemetery located right next to the synagogue.
The biggest and oldest market hall in Budapest, the Great Market Hall is a perfect place to sample Hungarian delicacies. Whatever you eat for lunch, you must try lángos (classic Hungarian fried bread).
After lunch, you can shop for traditional souvenirs.
Liberty Bridge (Szabadság Híd Bridge), the shortest bridge in Budapest is just outside of the Great Market Hall. You can walk the bridge or just marvel at from a distance.
How can you visit Budapest and not visit the most beautiful cafe in the world? The oldest cafe in Budapest happens to be breathtakingly beautiful. Having a cup of coffee with a slice of cake at New York Cafe has a charm of its own.
Enjoy the evening views over the city from Budapest Eye. A ride costs 3000 HUF per adult, 1500 HUF per child (2-12 years), 2700 HUF per senior citizen (65+ years), and 7800 HUF for a family (2 adults + 2 kids.)
Duran Szendvics is one of the best places to eat near Deák Ferenc Tér. They have a wide selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches that are cheap and delicious.
We sincerely hope our 3 days in Budapest itinerary helps you plan a perfect family trip to Budapest.