48 Hours in Budapest
A city of romance, opulence, and complex history, Budapest is a European gem that often gets overlooked. Lovers of architecture will be amazed by the city’s many neoclassical, baroque, and gothic-style buildings. Art enthusiasts will find a vibrant and diverse scene in the city’s many galleries. History buffs will be mesmerized by relics of the city’s turbulent not-so-distant past. With only 48 hours to explore, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. We’ve got you covered.
It’s probably not the first place you think of when you hear “culinary destination,” but Budapest is quickly earning itself a reputation as a foodie capital – and for good reason. Be sure to try as many local dishes as you can during your stay. Chimney Cakes, or Kürtőskalács, are the answer to every sweet tooth’s dreams. Traditional Chimney Cakes are simply dough twisted around a stick and coated with sugar, but today you can find them stuffed with all your favorite desserts (think ice cream sundaes and Nutella) or coated with a variety of sprinkled treats. If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, look no further than the closest lángos stand. Deep-fried dough topped with garlic butter, grated cheese and, of course, sour cream, it makes for a delicious snack that will leave you feeling satisfied while you take on the city.
Now that your stomach’s full, it’s time to head underground to Budapest’s vast network of nearly 200 caves. The caves feature paved walkways and artificial lighting for those wanting just a taste of the underground labyrinth. You’ll get to see all kinds of underground formations while staying relatively dirt-free. If you’re looking for a little more adventure, strap on a helmet and get ready to climb and crawl your way through the underground caverns and hot springs. If caving isn’t your style but you still want a taste of the cave scene, head to Gellert Hill Cave – it’s home to the stunning Cave Church.
After a long day of exploring, it’s time to hit one of the city’s many thermal baths. Budapest is home to over 120 thermal springs which gives you the luxury of choosing the perfect bath to suit your style. The outdoor pool at Szechenyi Baths is by far one of the most well-known baths (and gigantic – with 15 thermal baths and three swimming pools), while the Gellert Baths is arguably one of the most beautiful. This indoor thermal pool will have you feeling like you’ve accidentally stumbled into a palace. No matter which you choose, you’re guaranteed to feel rested and ready to take on another day of exploring.
No trip to Budapest would be complete without stopping by a few of the extravagant buildings throughout the city. 170m above the Danube River lies Castle Hill, medieval district dating back to the 13th century. Be sure to stop by Matthias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion (our favorite spot for its views of the city). Next up, it’s time to make your way from west to east on the world renowned Chain Bridge. The bridge was completed in 1849 and is a symbol of progress and development for the city. Finally, you’ve made it to the Hungarian Parliament Building. This magnificent display of Neo-Gothic architecture sits on the edge of the Danube River and is a sight to behold. Head to the river for a cruise to admire the century-old building, or enjoy a tour of the inside (when the National Assembly isn’t in session) where you can see the Golden Staircase and Hungarian Crown Jewels.
Budapest’s unique blend of architecture is great, but what do you do with an abundance of abandoned pre-war buildings? Fill them with eclectic decorations and makeshift furniture and open a bar, of course! Budapest’s ruin pubs are a unique and popular way to spend an evening, and everyone knows no trip is complete without enjoying a night on the town. With open-air patios, eccentric art installations, and plenty of delicious food to snack on, you’re sure to have a night to remember!
As your rendezvous comes to a close, you’ll be able to look back on an action-packed 48 hours with memories to last a lifetime. And, inevitably, you’ll find yourself instantly wishing you were back in the grandiose capital.