You are going to visit Budapest in 4 days and want to see the essentials while optimizing your visiting time?
Discover the best of the Hungarian capital with our 4-day itinerary suggestions, accompanied by tips that will allow you to see the essence of this rich city.
Lovers of culture, architecture, history or shopping: the Hungarian capital will please everyone!
Discover the main tourist attractions of Budapest in 4 days: Buda Castle, St Matthias Church, Fishermen’s Bastion, Chain Bridge, St.Stephen’s Basilica, Parliament, Great Market Hall, Széchenyi and Gellért Baths, and much more.
To know more about the monuments mentioned in our itinerary for a visit to Budapest in 4 days, do not hesitate to consult our article, ‘Budapest Must-see sights’.
Unfortunately, you will only regret one thing after this trip, to come back as soon as possible! Here is our best program to visit Budapest in 4 days:
Visit Budapest in 4 days – Day 1
Path: 3.5 Km – Buda Castle, St Matthias Church, Fishermen’s Bastion – Lunch – Chain Bridge, Palace Gresham.
A CASTLE FUNICULAR
Start on the Buda side opposite the Chain Bridge by taking the funicular at Clark Ádám Square to reach the castle district. Climbing by stairs is also possible or you can also take bus n°16 (less expensive) on Clark Adám Square and get off at the 2nd stop, ‘Dísz tér’, for the castle.
B CASTLE VISIT
After admiring the beautiful view of Pest in front of the castle, take the opportunity to visit the Hungarian National Gallery and the works of the greatest Hungarian masters in the main building.
The Hungarian National Gallery (in Hungarian, ‘Magyar Nemzeti Galéria’, MNG) is located within the Buda Castle and houses the largest public collection of Hungarian fine arts. Its permanent exhibition traces the history of Hungarian art from its founding to today with, in particular, many works by the most famous Hungarian painter, Mihály Munkácsy.
The National Gallery hosts more than 50 works from the Museum of Fine Arts. You can discover the works of Correggio, El Greco, Memling, Bruegel, Cranach, Van Dyck, Frans Hals, Bellotto, Gauguin and Rodin, among others. Temporary exhibitions are also scheduled (programming is on this link to the dedicated website).
Reach the old town of Buda on the other side of the hill and after a 10-minute walk you will be facing the beautiful Church of St Matthias (C). But before visiting it, you can have lunch nearby at Jamie’s italian restaurant:
D LUNCH AT JAMIE’S ITALIAN
This Italian restaurant opened by the famous English chef, Jamie Oliver, offers a warm and cozy Italian cuisine for a good price.
We loved there the Super Food salad (≈9 €) and the Julietta pizza (≈9 €).
Address: Szentháromság u. 9-11, 1st district, Buda – map – website – Menu.
Open hours: from 11:30 to 23:00 every day.
C THE MATTHIAS CHURCH
Address: Szentháromság tér 2., 1st district, Buda – map – website.
Open hours: 09:00 to 17:00, may vary according to special events (check the website calendar). Adult admission: 1500Ft (≈5 €).
In this unique setting, the Matthias Church organizes classical music concerts several times a month with the Budapest Duna String Orchestra.
After visiting the Matthias Church, it is time to discover the grand view of Buda from the Fishermen ‘s Bastion, located 50 meters away.
C bis) FISHERMEN’S BASTION
Entrance fees for the upper gallery of Fishermen’s bastion are available on this link (free from October 15th to March 10th, free between 8:00 pm and 9:00 am year round, otherwise adult ticket (≈2,6 €). Explore the alleys of the old city before going back down to Pest either by funicular or on foot to reach Clark Ádám Square facing the Chain Bridge.
E THE CHAIN BRIDGE
Across is the oldest and most beautiful bridge of Budapest, the Chain Bridge. You will arrive at Széchenyi István Square, facing the unique Gresham Palace (Four Seasons Hotel):
F GRESHAM PALACE – FOUR SEASONS HOTEL
The Gresham Palace is a luxury hotel, ranked among the most sumptuous in the world: the building, bought and renovated in 2004, is a fantastic example of art deco architecture. Do not hesitate to enter to admire the beautiful interior, or even have a coffee.
Check out the Gresham Palace video:
Your first day of our program, ‘visiting Budapest in 4 days’, ends. For your dinner, do not hesitate to consult: our selection of restaurants in Budapest on this link, our tips for a show/concert on this link and where to go out at night on this link.
Visit Budapest in 4 days – Day 2
Path: 4 km trip – Széchenyi Baths, Vajdahunyad Castle, Heroes Square, Andrássy Avenue, the National Opera, Goszdu Court and Erzsébet Square.
Morning: Széchenyi Baths and the Városliget district
A SZECHÉNYI BATHS
The Széchenyi baths are the biggest thermal baths in Budapest and are a must-see on our ‘Visit Budapest in 4 days program’.
They are easily accessible on public transport by Metro Line M1 – station Széchenyi fürdő – and by trolley bus 72 – station Széchenyi fürdő -.
Detailed information is found in our article on ‘the best baths in Budapest’.
Address: Állatkerti krt. 9-11, XIVth district, Pest – plan
Open hours: from 06:00 to 22:00 every day (indoor thermal baths from 06:00 to 19:00).
Good tips: avoid long lines at the entrance (weekends, school holidays, end-of-year parties) with the tickets skip-the-line:
Check out the video of the Szechenyi baths:
B CASTLE OF VAJDAHUNYAD
After relaxing in the baths, cross the City wood and courtyard of Vajdahunyad Castle (a 10-minutewalk) and its park. Located at the edge of Lake Városliget (an ice rink in winter), the castle was built on the occasion of the 1896 National Millennium Exhibition and is home to the Museum of Agriculture.
C HEROES SQUARE
Heroes’ Square (‘Hősök tere’) is the largest square in Budapest at the end of Andrássy Avenue. This imposing square, built for the Millennium of 1896 and celebrating the arrival of Hungarians in the region a thousand years earlier, is flanked by the Museum of Fine Arts and the ‘Mücsarnok’ Hall of Art.
Then take the metro line M1 (the first metro line in continental Europe) at the station ‘Hösők Tér’, direction Vörösmarty Tér and get off at Oktogon station.
D LISZT FERENC SQUARE – LUNCH IN MENZA
Walk down Andrassy Avenue for 300m and reach Liszt Férenc Square and its many patios for lunch. We recommend the restaurant Menza, an institution in Budapest that is always busy: locals and tourists alike appreciate the vintage 1970s decor.
This is one of the best addresses for discovering Hungarian cuisine with good value for your money.
E CAFÉ PÁRISI
After lunch, take Andrássy Avenue and enter number 39 on the 1st floor, then enjoy an espresso in the sumptuous Café PÁRISI ( previously named Café Lotz).
Open every day from 09.00 to 21h00. Video of Café PÁRISI:
You can also go right next door to number 39 Andrassy Avenue, and discover the roof of the 360 Bar that offers a panoramic view of Pest!
More information on the Bar 360 is found in our article, ‘The Rooftops of Budapest’, on this link.
F THE NATIONAL OPERA
Continue on Andrássy Avenue to the Opera at number 22 which, despite being closed for renovation, still provides day tours (around 30 minutes with a mini concert with visits at 15:00 and 16:00). Find detailed information on this link and in our article ‘Opera of Budapest’ on this link.
G GOZSDU COURT
Discover the GOZDU court, one of Budapest’s night spots with restaurants, bars and terraces. If you want to eat or just have a drink, we recommend the Spiler Bistro.
H ERZSÉBET SQUARE
Discover downtown Erzsébet Sqaure and its park, its big wheel and especially the terraces in the spring. For an aperitif or an outdoor dinner, we recommend the Fröccs Terrace.
Finally, for dinner in Budapest, check out our selection of favorite restaurants!
You can also discover Budapest in a new light with a cruise on the Danube! (45mn-1h): Find information on this link for ‘Cruises to Budapest on the Danube’.
You also have the opportunity to dine during your cruise while admiring Budapest by night!
In the evening departing at 19:45, you can enjoy a two and a half hour cruise on the Danube accompanied by a dinner consisting of four courses and a musical performance of local Hungarian artists (November to February departure at 19:00).
Visit Budapest in 4 days – Day 3
Path: 5 Km – Parliament, St Stephen’s Basilica, Vörösmárty Square, Vigado Square, Váci Street, Citadel.
A THE PARLIAMENT
Full information and tips (schedules and guided tours) for a visit to the Hungarian Parliament is found in our article, ‘How to visit the Parliament of Budapest’, on this link.
Address: Kossuth Lajos ter 1-3, 5th district, Pest – map – website.
Open hours: every day from 8 am to 6 pm (at 4 pm from November to March).
Do not miss: on the left side of the Parliament (facing the Danube), go down to the edge of the river to the poignant memorial, ‘Shoes on the banks of the Danube’, dedicated to the victims of the Shoah in Budapest . About forty meters of metal shoes represent the thousands of Jews who were shot before removing their shoes.
B STATUE OF NAGY IMRE on ‘Vertanúk’ Square
This statue erected in 1996 commemorates Imre Nagy whose call for the withdrawal of Soviet troops and the country’s independence in 1956 forged his status as a national hero.
The statue has been removed on december 28th, 2018 for renovation and relocation.
C Lunch at the Restaurant BÖRZE
Before heading to St. Stephen’s Basilica, you can have lunch on the way at the Börze Bistro, which offers quality Hungarian and international cuisine in a warm and spacious setting. Lunch menus with good value for the money!
Address: Nádor u. 23, 5th district, Pest – plan – website – Menu.
Open hours: from 07:30 to 00:00 every day.
D ST. STEPHEN BASILICA
A visit to the St Stephen Basilica is a must, and if you have the courage, do not hesitate to climb the 370 steps (or take the elevator) to admire a panoramic view of Pest.
Visiting hours: Monday-Friday: 09:00 at 17:00, Saturday: 09:00 to 13:00, Sunday: 13:00 to 17:00.
St. Stephen Basilica also hosts in its unique setting weekly concerts!
E VÖRÖSMARTY SQUARE
F VIGADÓ SQUARE
Turn right onto Vörösmarty Square towards the river on Vigadó Street or Deák Ferenc Street (on the corner of the Hard Rock Café) to reach the Danube bank on Vigadó Square to admire the magnificent panorama of Buda, its Castle and Matthias Church.
G PEDESTRIAN STREET VÁCI
Return to Váci pedestrian street where you can go shopping (international stores, cafés and souvenir shops).
H THE CITADEL
The Citadel (‘citadella’) is the name of the stronghold that dominates Budapest at the top of Mount Gellért. Built by the Austrians in 1854 on one of the peaks of Budapest (235m), the Hungarian Statue of Liberty stands since 1947.As the city symbol, it pays homage to the liberation of Budapest at the end of the second World War by the Soviet Red Army. You can discover the most beautiful panoramic view of Buda and Pest there.
Address: Mount Gellért, 11th district, Buda – map –
To get to the Citadel from Váci street, go to the Ferenciek tere bus stop on Kossuth Lajos Boulevard, which cuts Váci Street 200m on your left.
You have two options by bus (or go by taxi in 10 minutes).
Option 1: Bus 8E (2 stops) then a climb on foot (13mn).
Option 2: Bus 8E and bus 27 with a walk (6mn).
Visit Budapest in 4 days – Day 4
Path: 3 Km – Gellért Baths, The Great Market Hall, Hungarian National Museum, The Great Synagogue, Ruin Bar ‘Szimpla Kert’, Café New York.
A GELLÉRT BATHS
Opened in 1818, the Gellért Baths in Buda are backed by the Grand Hôtel Gellért. It is a real institution in Budapest with its Art Deco architecture and many thermal pools, outdoor wave pool and massage services and treatments. Complete information is found in our article,‘The Best Baths of Budapest’ on this link.
The Gellért thermal baths can be reached by public transport via the underground line M4, Szent Gellért Tér station, bus 27 and tram 47 and 49.
Address: Kelenhegyi út 4, 11th district, Buda – map.
Opening hours: from 06:00 to 20:00 every day.
Discover the video of the Gellért baths:
B THE GREAT MARKET HALL
Cross the Freedom Bridge (‘Szabadság híd’) to return to Pest and a visit to the Great Market Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which offers the culinary specialties of Hungary as well as its buffets, crafts andmany souvenir stands on the first floor.
This is one of the favorites of our program, ‘Visit Budapest in 4 days’!
Here is a video of the Budapest Great Market Hall:
Address: Vámház krt. 1-3, IXth arrondissement, Pest – map – website.
Open hours: Mondays from 06:00 to 17:00, Tuesday to Friday: 06:00 to 18:00, Saturday: from 06:00 to 15:00, be careful as Sunday the market is closed.
You can have lunch on the first floor of the Great Market Hall at your choice of many buffets,or around the market, we recommend the Hungarian restaurant, ‘Borbíróság’ (behind the market, adress: Csarnok tér 5, map – website) or the terrace of the ‘Esetleg Bistro’ at the foot of the Bridge of Liberty and the Danube (address: Fővám tér 11-12 – map – website) on the Pest side.
C THE NATIONAL MUSEUM
Continue 500 m on ‘Múzeum krt’ Boulevard to visit the Hungarian National Museum which will allow you to discover the history of Hungary over the centuries. Temporary exhibitions are scheduled (programming found on this link to the museum website).
Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm except Monday.
D THE GREAT SYNAGOGUE
After 10 minutes of walking, visit the largest synagogue in Europe which offers guided tours all day long. Further information is on this link.
Open hours: from the beginning of March to the beginning of November from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Thursday, from 10am to 4pm on Fridays. From the beginning of November to the end of February from 10h to 16h from Monday to Thursday and from 10h to 14h on Fridays. Closed on Saturdays.
E The Ruin Bar SZIMPLA KERT
Since you are now in the Jewish Quarter, why not discover a ruin bar located 5 minute from the synagogue? Indeed, the most famous, called Szimpla Kert, can be also visited during the day. Inside you will find an abandoned unique building on several floors and a large courtyard of this iconic place of Budapest nightlife!
Find information on the ‘best ruin bars of Budapest’ on this link.
Address: Kazinczy u. 14, VIIth arrondissement, Pest – map – website.
Open hours: from 12:00 to 04:00 from Monday to Thursday, Friday from 10:00 to 04:00, Saturday from 12:00 to 04:00, Sunday from 09:00 to 05:00. Free admission.
F CAFÉ NEW YORK
End the day with a stop at Budapest’s most beautiful historic café, the New York Café, backed by the Hotel Boscolo on Blaha Lujza Square in Pest. You will dive into the glories of abeautiful era in this neo-Baroque style café, among the most beautiful cafés in the world!
Full information is found in our article on ‘the historic cafés of Budapest’ on this link.