Perfect 3 Days in Budapest Itinerary for First Timers

The Perfect 3 Days in Budapest Itinerary for First Timers

Planning to spend 3 days in Budapest? Considering all the beautiful sights and fun experiences, it can be overwhelming to plan your Budapest itinerary, but this is where I step in.

Budapest is the capital of Hungary and this city is famous for its lively atmosphere, fun nightlife, and one of the most beautiful Parliaments in the world. Budapest is filled with nice attractions, cool districts, and cute yellow trams. Let’s not forget about goulash soup which is part of the deal when visiting Budapest.

In this article, you will find a complete Budapest Itinerary for 3 days with other useful things that you should know before visiting Budapest.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Useful information for 3 Days in Budapest

Is Budapest worth visiting?

Is Budapest worth visiting?

The legendary Hungarian capital lies on the banks of the Blue Danube and is one of the hottest destinations in Europe. A trip to Budapest will make you discover a city with fascinating architecture, dramatic history, and panoramic views that will make your jaw drop.

The city boasts a mix of architectural styles, from Gothic and Renaissance to Art Nouveau and Neoclassical. The Buda Castle, Hungarian Parliament Building, Fisherman’s Bastion, and St. Stephen’s Basilica are just a few of the many architectural gems you can explore.

Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, which have been enjoyed for centuries. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Gellért Thermal Bath, and Rudas Thermal Bath are among the most popular and offer a unique relaxation experience.

The Danube River flows through the heart of Budapest, providing picturesque views and opportunities for boat cruises, romantic walks along the riverbanks, and stunning photo opportunities.

Budapest has a vibrant cultural scene with numerous museums, galleries, theaters, and music venues.  The city is known for its “ruin bars,” which are unique and eclectic bars and pubs set up in abandoned buildings or courtyards.

And finally, it is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe, which is perfect for a quick getaway. Budapest is a tourist-friendly city, but considering limited time, you still need a comprehensive itinerary for 3 days in Budapest. That is where I step in, so you don have to stress about planning.

How many days in Budapest?

How many days in Budapest?

3 days in Budapest is the perfect amount of time to enjoy all the essentials of Budapest, taste delicious goulash soup, and try unforgettable experiences. 

When you see the size of the city you might wonder: are 3 days in Budapest enough? The answer is yes! Especially if you have a comprehensive Budapest itinerary like this one. But you might want to add an extra day for a day trip to one of the most beautiful places in Hungary.

In this itinerary, we will cover how to spend 3 days in Budapest and how to maximize your time in this charming city. I will add some optional stops, so this itinerary suits different travelers and interests.

After spending one month in the Hungarian capital I had the chance to discover some of the best restaurants in Budapest and added to this itinerary. I also made sure to include the most interesting museums and hidden gems around the city that will make your 3 days in Budapest unforgettable.

When is the best time to visit Budapest?

When is the best time to visit Budapest?

Spring is a popular time to visit Budapest, as the weather becomes milder and the city is adorned with colorful blossoms. The crowds are still relatively moderate, making it a great time to explore the city’s attractions without the peak tourist rush.

Summer brings warm temperatures and a lively atmosphere to Budapest. This is the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds at popular sites and longer lines. However, the city’s vibrant outdoor events, festivals, and open-air cafes thrive during this time.

Fall is a delightful time to experience Budapest’s charm. The weather remains pleasant, and the city is painted with the golden hues of changing leaves. Crowds tend to thin out compared to summer, making it a more peaceful time for sightseeing.

Budapest transforms into a winter wonderland during the colder months. The city’s Christmas markets, thermal baths, and cozy indoor attractions make winter a unique and enchanting time to visit. While the weather can be chilly, the festive ambiance and fewer tourists offer a more intimate experience.

I visited Budapest in spring and the blossoms were absolutely spectacular. But during one month of my stay, it was pretty cold and I even experienced snow at the beginning of April.

How to arrive in Budapest?

How to arrive in Budapest?

First of all, Budapest has a huge airport with many great destinations. If you are based in Europe, you have a big chance to have a direct flight to Budapest with a low-cost airline. Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD) is the main airport in Hungary and is located 16 km to the southeast of Budapest.

If you are traveling around Europe, keep in mind that there are trains that connect Budapest to Vienna and Bratislava. These trains arrive on a daily basis, even multiple times per day.

And then there is a bus. I always suggest Flixbus as it has affordable prices and it is very reliable. The name of the bus station is Nepliget.

Many people choose to visit Budapest together with Vienna and Bratislava since it is relatively close and well-connected. I suggest you do the same if you have enough time.

Also, from my experience border crossing was faster and easier with a bus. The train stopped at the border and there were few workers that had to check the entire train. It took 2 extra hours, but I’m unsure if every train is checked.

How to move around Budapest?

How to move around Budapest?

When visiting Budapest for 3 days, choosing the right method to move around is essential to save time and money. I will add more tips within the itinerary so you know what is walkable and where you will need transport, but here are the best ways to move around Budapest together with pros and cons.

The best way to move around Budapest is to walk. A lot of main attractions are located close to each other and you can find some hidden corners as you walk.

If you need to cross the city, public transport is frequent, reliable and very affordable. Budapest has a great metro line, so this way you can avoid the traffic. A single ticket is 350 HUF and multiple travel cards are available, so make sure you check it to find the best deal.

Taxi is another great alternative. You will see yellow taxis all around Budapest or you can download Bolt and book a taxi via application. If you ask me, this is the best option so that you can avoid possible scams.

The basic fee is 1000 HUF, the per kilometer rate is 400 HUF, and the waiting time charge is 100 HUF per minute. Overall, it is very affordable.

Where to stay in Budapest for 3 days?

Where to stay in Budapest for 3 days?
Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest, part of Hyatt

It is important to find the right accommodation for your trip, so I have prepared a list of the best hotels in Budapest for every budget. Depending on your travel style, I am sure you will find something suitable, so take a look and decide where to stay in Budapest.

Luxury: Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Photo credit: Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel via

Matild Palace is the place to be if you are seeking luxury and modern style for 3 days in Budapest.

This fantastically renovated hotel has become one of the most exclusive and extraordinary hotels in Budapest and for all the right reasons. 

Unique: Áurea Ana Palace by Eurostars Hotel Company

Photo credit: Áurea Ana Palace by Eurostars Hotel Company via

If you are looking for something more than a simple luxurious experience, Áurea Ana Palace by Eurostars Hotel Company is the address to go to.

The combination of showcasing Austro-Hungarian can transport guests to a different era while still providing modern comforts and amenities.

Mid-Range: Danubius Hotel Astoria City Center

Photo credit: Danubius Hotel Astoria City Center via

A classic design with a timeless charm is the best place to describe Danubius Hotel Astoria.

If you are looking for some authentic artistic vibes without squandering your finances during your 3 days in Budapest, this is the right place.

Affordable: Boutique Hotel Budapest

Photo credit: Boutique Hotel Budapest via

This might not be the cheapest hotel in Budapest, but this is one of the top hotels with a ratio quality price.

If you are looking for an affordable hotel in Budapest without giving up quality this is the way to go. And it is still affordable compared to other European capitals.

What to do in Budapest for 3 days?

  • Explore the iconic attractions like Buda Castle, Hungarian Parliament Building, Fisherman’s Bastion, and St. Stephen’s Basilica;
  • Try some of the highlights of Hungarian cuisine;
  • Spend an afternoon at the Gellért Thermal Bath;
  • Get lost in the Jewish district and visit Dohány Street Synagogue;
  • Enjoy the dinner cruise on the Danube;
  • Have fun at the Ruin Bars;
  • Order breakfast at the iconic New York Café;
  • Discover hidden gems like Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library;
  • Eat your way through Central Market Hall;
  • Join a guided tour to see Opera;
  • Head to Vajdahunyad Castle and Heroes Square.

3 days in Budapest itinerary

Overview of day 1 of your 3 days in Budapest

  • Morning: Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, Ruszwurm Confectionery;
  • Lunch: Marischka Restaurant;
  • Afternoon: Buda Castle & Castle Hill, Buda Castle Funicular, Várkert Bazár;
  • Dinner: Lánchíd Söröző.

Fisherman’s Bastion

Sunrise at Fisherman's Bastion - 3 days in Budapest
Sunrise at Fisherman's Bastion - 3 days in Budapest

Catching a sunrise in the Fisherman’s Bastion will be one of the highlights of your 3 days in Budapest. This Neo-Romanesque monument is one of the most famous in the city. And on top of that, you also have one of the best views of the Budapest Parliament.

From a historical perspective, the bastion has played a crucial role as a defensive wall, owing to its strategic position just a few steps away from the Buda Castle and its commanding perch atop a prominent hill.

As you venture within the bastion’s complex, you’ll find yourself lost in the intricate details of its architecture. The terraces and walls exhibit a remarkable blend of artistry and functionality, showcasing the craftsmanship of a bygone era.

Don’t miss the opportunity to capture a lasting memory on camera while standing upon the iconic stairs – a spot that has become a symbol of this remarkable place.

Among the myriad of features, the St. Stephen Statue pays homage to St. Stephen, the revered founding king of Hungary, and serves as a reminder of the nation’s origins and the significant figures that have shaped its destiny.

There is no entrance fee and it is open any time of the day. However, if you want to visit the upper terraces during summer, you will need to pay 1000 HUF. It is free until 9 am and I count on you to make that sunrise mission!

Matthias Church

Matthias Church - Budapest in 3 days

And just on the back of Fisherman’s Bastion, you will find Matthias Church. It is another important attraction in Budapest and a part of a World Heritage Site.

The church was constructed in the 13th century but it has changed a lot since then. As part of the 1873 – 1896 restoration by Frigyes Schulek, the Matthias Church received a colorful tiled roof and that’s what makes it so special if you ask me.

This is the second largest church of medieval Buda and it served the citizens of Buda Castle 1015. Hungarian kings used the church as a coronation church for centuries and a mosque for over 150 years in the Ottoman.

Nowadays, the church is also a perfect venue for classical concerts, which can be a fun experience to add to your 3 day Budapest itinerary.

You can appreciate the exterior of the church from the Bastion – you get a beautiful view from the upper terraces. But if you want to see it from inside, the entrance fee is 1800 HUF while the Matthias Church is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, on Sundays from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, Jewish Chapel and Budavári Evangélikus Templom és Gyülekezet

is 3 days in Budapest enough

From the Bastion explore Budapest through the picturesque Táncsics Mihály Street. Here you will find some of the most beautiful places in Budapest. This picturesque street offers a blend of cultural, artistic, and historical treasures to enjoy your Budapest vacation in the best way.

The presence of cafes and art galleries along the street creates a vibrant atmosphere, providing opportunities to indulge in both the local flavors and artistic expressions of the city.

The Medieval Jewish Chapel, housed within a restored 14th-century synagogue, adds a layer of historical depth to the journey. It’s fascinating how this small museum preserves and displays traces of local Jewish history, offering insights into the multicultural fabric of Budapest.

Then the Budavári Evangélikus Templom és Gyülekezet is a testament to the rich religious heritage of the city. The fact that it was built in 1895 makes it a relatively modern structure compared to some of the other historic churches in the area.

Just a few steps away you will find the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene. With its hourly chiming bells and restored late-Gothic tower, adds a touch of charm to the journey. The views over the city from the tower give visitors an opportunity to appreciate Budapest’s skyline from a different perspective.

Ruszwurm Confectionery

3 day Budapest itinerary

Ruszwurm Confectionery is an absolute delight for anyone with a sweet tooth visiting Budapest. Established in 1827, it holds the distinction of being the oldest confectionery in the city, which alone speaks volumes about its legacy and quality.

The fact that it’s family-run and boasts a 200-year-old cherry wood is just the cherry on the cake. The combination of homemade cakes, strudels, and coffee must create an inviting atmosphere, perfect for taking a moment to relax and indulge after an early start to the day.

Ruszwurm Confectionery offers a wide range of cakes and sweets that are iconic to Hungarian tradition. The Ruszwurm Cake, being their signature creation, is a must-try for anyone visiting. And it is worth mentioning of I have tried the best Dobos torte of my life.

Including Ruszwurm Confectionery in a 72-hour Budapest itinerary is a great way to add a touch of sweetness and tradition to the journey. It’s not just about savoring delicious treats; it’s about immersing yourself in the history and culinary culture of Budapest.

Ruszwurm Confectionery is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

Tóth Árpád sétány and Hospital in the Rock

Budapest itinerary for first timers
Budapest itinerary for first timers

Next, take a walk in the picturesque Tóth Árpád sétány. This pedestrian street is one of the cutest in the city and an absolute must if you book a trip to Budapest in spring. This long avenue blossoms with thousands of flowers and it’s one of the most pleasant places to walk in the city.

On your way to the restaurant, you can take a stop to see the Hospital in the Rock. This museum is an underground WWII hospital & Cold War nuclear shelter. If you want to visit you have to reserve your visit in advance here.

The guided tour, lasting about 60 minutes, provides a fascinating insight into the facility’s more than 2,000-square-meter space and its exhibits. Learning about the historical context and the role the hospital played during wartime and beyond can be both educational and thought-provoking.

Marischka Restaurant 

3 days Budapest itinerary

Your first lunch for your Budapest itinerary for 3 days has to be special, so take your time to savor the specialties of Marischka Restaurant. With its blend of modernity and tradition, it’s clear that the restaurant aims to provide a unique and memorable dining experience.

The fact that they put a twist on Hungarian specialties adds a nice touch to the meal. This approach allows you to try traditional flavors while also enjoying a fresh and creative take on them. 

The extensive selection of cocktails, spirits, wines, and beers from both Hungary and abroad is proof of the restaurant’s dedication. This diversity ensures that guests can find the perfect beverage to complement their meal and enhance their overall enjoyment.

Combining a stylish ambiance, innovative culinary approaches, and a wide range of drink options, Marischka Restaurant encompasses the essence of modern Hungarian cuisine. Including it in your Budapest 3-day itinerary is an absolute must.

Buda Castle & Castle Hill

Spend a couple of hours at the Buda Castle - Budapest itinerary for 3 days
Spend a couple of hours at the Buda Castle - Budapest itinerary for 3 days

Another important attraction of the city you must add to your 3-day Budapest itinerary is Buda Castle. Previously known as the home of many Hungarian royalties, nowadays it hosts two museums: the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest Historical Museum.

The beauty of the Castle Hill gardens is unparalleled, providing a peaceful escape from the bustling city below. The wonderfully maintained gardens offer a lovely environment where you can take leisurely strolls and admire the lush landscape.

As the castle is situated atop the hill, you’ll also be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of Budapest that are bound to leave you amazed.

Another advantage of Buda Castle and Castle Hill is that there’s no entrance fee required. This makes it an accessible and budget-friendly attraction in Budapest.

Once you are done, you can take a funicular to get down. Buda Castle Funicular departs every 5 to 10 minutes, carrying passengers from 7.30 am to 10 pm. One way ticket cost 1000 HUF and a round ticket is 1700 HUF.

Várkert Bazár

perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary for first-timers

The Várkert Bazár is a hidden gem in Budapest. As you step into this space, you’re immediately enveloped by the blend of history, culture, and nature.

Originally designed by architect Miklós Ybl in the late 19th century, Várkert Bazár was envisioned as a grand gateway to Buda Castle. Over the years, it served various purposes, from hosting markets to accommodating cultural events. 

The Várkert Bazár complex boasts a stunning array of architectural styles, seamlessly blending Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Gothic, and Moorish influences. Its intricately carved façades, graceful arches, and ornate details steal the show and transport you to a bygone era of opulence.

The surrounding gardens and terraces of Várkert Bazár further enhance its allure. Lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and serene pathways create an inviting oasis where visitors can take leisurely strolls, and enjoy panoramic views of the Danube and the Pest side.

Lánchíd Söröző 

perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary for first-timers

Lánchíd Söröző is undoubtedly one of the most traditional Hungarian restaurants you can experience in Budapest. If someone were to inquire about the most authentic Hungarian dining establishment I’ve visited in the city, Lánchíd Söröző would be my answer.

This restaurant shows the essence of Hungarian culinary tradition and culture. Nestled in a formal yet inviting environment, Lánchíd Söröző offers a diverse range of dishes that are deeply rooted in local traditions.

During my visit, I had the pleasure of trying some truly delightful Hungarian specialties. The goulash was my personal highlight. Additionally, the pork stew and delectable risotto were the other two specialties I enjoyed during my visits.

To complement the dishes, I had the opportunity to explore some of the great local wines and beers available at Lánchíd Söröző.

Overview of day 2 of your 3 days in Budapest

  • Morning: St. Stephen’s Basilica, Dohány Street Synagogue, Kazinczy Street Synagogue;
  • Lunch: Párisi Passage Restaurant or Hungarikum Bisztró;
  • Afternoon: Gellért Thermal Bath, Geller Hill, Molnár’s Kürtőskalács;
  • Evening: Dinner & Cruise on the Danube with Folklore Dance Show & Live Music and Ruin Bars.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

72-hour Budapest itinerary

On the second day of your 3-day Budapest sightseeing itinerary, you’ll want to start your day by visiting the iconic St. Stephen’s Basilica. This Roman Catholic basilica is named in honor of the first Hungarian King, King Stephen I.

St. Stephen’s Basilica was originally designed in a neo-classical style, but due to a collapse in 1858, it had to be completely demolished and rebuilt from the ground up. During the reconstruction, the architectural plan shifted towards a neo-Renaissance style

The most notable feature of the basilica’s facade is its two impressive bell towers and the southern tower houses the largest bell in Hungary.

One of the unique aspects of St. Stephen’s Basilica is its active involvement in the Budapest music scene. Since its consecration in 1905, the basilica has been a center for musical performances. If you want to see the performance, click here.

The church has consistently attracted high-level musicians, and its head organists have been known for their exceptional talent. Over the last century, the basilica has hosted a variety of musical genres, including choral music, classical performances, and contemporary music shows.

If you’re planning to visit the basilica, take note of its opening hours. From Monday to Friday, it’s open from 9 am to 5 pm. On Saturdays, it remains open from 9 am to 1 pm, and on Sundays, it welcomes visitors from 1 pm to 5 pm.

For 2000 HUF you can visit the church, for 3200 HUF you can go up to the terrace and see Budapest from the top, or for 4500 HUF you can get access to both.

Dohány Street Synagogue

Visit the Second biggest synagogue in the world and discover the Jewish district - what to do in Budapest for 3 days

After visiting a Roman Catholic basilica, head to Dohány Street Synagogue. This is a historical building in Erzsébetváros, it is the largest synagogue in Europe, and the second biggest in the world. But it’s not only the size that makes it so special.

The synagogue is certainly the most impressive part, but the complex consists of the Heroes’ Temple, the cemetery, the Memorial, and the Jewish Museum.

At the entrance, you pick up a guided tour in many different languages. It’s very interesting to learn about the Jewish community in Hungary and discover the beauty of the synagogue itself. The tour takes around 40 minutes and the whole visit will be 1 hour or more.

I suggest you buy your ticket here but you can also buy the ticket at the entrance. Keep in mind that the ticket office closes one hour before closing time and don’t miss it during your 72 hours in Budapest.

Jewish district and Kazinczy Street Synagogue

Visit the Second biggest synagogue in the world and discover the Jewish district - what to do in Budapest for 3 days

Exploring the rest of the Jewish district in Budapest is a highly recommended experience that offers a blend of history, culture, and vibrant contemporary life. The area has gained popularity for its lively nightlife scene, but it’s also rich in historical significance.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into the district’s history and culture, consider booking a guided tour. This can provide you with valuable insights and a deeper understanding of the area’s significance.

—> Jewish Heritage in Hungary with a Historian
—> Jewish Heritage of Budapest – Private Tour

While wandering around the Jewish district, you’ll discover some of the city’s best cafes, restaurants, and art galleries. The district has transformed into a hub for creativity and innovation, making it a pleasant place to take a leisurely stroll and soak in the atmosphere.

Among the important landmarks in this district, the Kazinczy Street Synagogue stands out. While it might not be as grand as the Dohány Street Synagogue, the Kazinczy Street Synagogue is a fantastic example of Art Nouveau architecture.

Párisi Passage Restaurant or Hungarikum Bisztró

Come to take a photo at Brudern House and enjoy cakes in a 5-star hotel in Budapest - what to see in Budapest for 3 days
what to see in Budapest for 3 days

For your lunch, I am going to give you two restaurants to choose from, both amazing but with different characters.

If you are in the mood for fine dining and royal treatment in a spectacular environment you can’t miss Párisi Passage Restaurant. 

Situated in one of the most spectacular locations in the city, this restaurant offers a diverse menu that covers everything from breakfast to dinner, with a highlight on their fabulous afternoon tea. Párisi Passage Restaurant also offers a selection of international specialties.

Even if you’re not planning to sit down for a full meal or coffee, I still recommend a visit to the Párisi Passage. The location itself is a sight to behold, and simply exploring the space can be an experience in its own right.

If you’re looking for a more informal dining experience without compromising on quality, I recommend heading to Hungarikum Bisztró. This charming restaurant is a perfect homely atmosphere with checkered tablecloths, a cozy ambiance, and traditional Hungarian dishes.

Hungarikum Bisztró is known for serving up iconic dishes like goulash and various pork specialties. What’s even more special is that they occasionally feature live traditional music, enhancing the cultural experience of your meal.

As someone who enjoyed this restaurant during my time in the city, I highly recommend trying the Hungarikum menu. This menu is designed to experience the signature dishes of Hungarian cuisine, and it typically includes items like Goulash and Crispy Duck Leg.

Gellért Thermal Bath

Budapest itinerary for 3 days

Cross the iconic Liberty Bridge on foot or board the orange tram to enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the infamous Gellért Thermal Bath.

Some people say you haven’t been to Budapest if you haven’t experienced one of the thermal waters. Gellert spa baths is one of the most popular in all of Europe, and one of the leading natural hot spring spa baths in Budapest.

Established in 1918 as an integral component of the Danubius Hotel Gellért, the Gellért Bath stands as a historical oasis. It offers medicinal water treatments using the same deep underground springs the Knights of St John used in the 12th century to feel the invigorating powers of the mineral-rich waters.

Some of the treatments available are massage for couples, sauna, and medical treatment. The SPA also boasts a fantastic swimming pool and a wave pool.

The stunning Liberty decoration and luxurious ambiance are real eye candy for aesthetics and complete an overall experience that will touch all your senses.

!!! Buy your daily pass for Gellért Thermal Bath here !!!

 Gellert Hill

complete Budapest itinerary for 3 days

After enjoying a rejuvenating experience at the baths, your next destination should be Gellért Hill. It is one of the best vantage points to admire the panoramic beauty of Budapest including the majestic Danube River, the iconic bridges, and all the other notable attractions.

At the summit of Gellért Hill, you’ll find the Citadella fortress, which crowns the hill. Additionally, the statue of Lady Liberty stands tall and can be seen from various points across the city. The statue is not only a symbol of freedom but also serves as a prominent landmark on the hilltop.

The sweeping panorama from Gellért Hill captures the essence of the city’s charm, accentuated by the Danube River winding its way through the urban landscape and the iconic bridges connecting the two sides of the city.

Molnár’s Kürtőskalács

Try Kürtőskalács and enjoy it in front of St. Stephen's Basilica - complete Budapest itinerary for 3 days

If you are wondering what to do in Budapest for 3 days, kürtőskalács should be at the top of the list. Kürtőskalács, one of Hungary’s oldest and most renowned pastries, is deeply ingrained in local culture.

My personal favorite “chimney cake” comes from Molnár’s kürtőskalács – a famous spot to savor this specialty. The enticing aroma wafting from the shop is a delightful prelude to the treat that awaits you! 

This classic delight comes in eight flavors, including chocolate, cinnamon, poppy seed, vanilla, walnut, almond, coconut, and cocoa. While prices may be slightly higher compared to other places, the quality is truly exceptional.

Alternatively, we also enjoyed Kató Néni Finomságai, another delicious option. Conveniently located near St. Stephen’s Basilica, they have two more outlets across Budapest.

Dinner & Cruise on the Danube with Folklore Dance Show & Live Music

best things to do in Budapest in 3 days - Dinner & Cruise on the Danube with Folklore Dance Show & Live Music

Next on your 3-day Budapest itinerary is Dinner & Cruise on the Danube with a Folklore Dance Show & Live Music, which is still one of the highlights of my time in Budapest. In fact, only a few things rival the charm and beauty of an evening cruise along the Danube River in Budapest.

Your adventure commences right in the center of Budapest, where the city’s vibrant energy surrounds you. A knowledgeable guide will be your compass, leading you to the riverbank where your evening cruise awaits. 

Raise your glass in a toast as you set sail, savoring a glass of exquisite wine or effervescent sparkling wine. The windows of the ship frame the spectacular panorama of Budapest, a view that has earned the city recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Many of Budapest’s notable sights are showcased along the river, and you have a front-row seat to admire the glowing Buda Castle, the Freedom Monument, Gellért Baths, as well as the Chain Bridge, and the famous Parliament.

You can enjoy a delicious buffet-style dinner with a drink and let the live music from the Hungaria Folk Orchestra transport you into the heart of Budapest’s history and culture.

Ruin Bars 

Enjoy the famous nightlife of Budapest and visit Ruin Bars - Budapest 3-day itinerary

During your Budapest itinerary for 3 days, you need to experience the lively nightlife as well. The best bars in Budapest are known as Ruin Bars, and most of them are located in the Jewish district. But what exactly are the Ruin Bars?

Derelict buildings and unused outdoor spaces have been transformed into friendly, pleasingly chaotic bars where you can still get drinks for affordable prices.

It’s far from fancy, but it is something that you will find only in Budapest. Nowadays, Ruin Bars are filled with tourists and expats, so it’s a great place to make friends.

Szimpla Kert is the most famous bar, but you can go bar hopping and try other places like Ellátó Kert, Doboz, and Garden Kobuci. Just make sure you walk around and check different rooms.

Visiting Ruin Bars is one of the best things to do in Budapest at night. I’m not a person who goes out every Friday, but I didn’t want to miss this experience during my time in Budapest.

Overview of day 3 of your 3 days in Budapest

  • Morning: New York Café, Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library, Budapesti Árpád-házi Szent Erzsébet Plébániatemplom;
  • Lunch: Central Market Hall;
  • Afternoon: Hungarian State Opera, Vajdahunyad Castle, Heroes’ Square;
  • Dinner: Kiadó Kocsma.

New York Café

Breakfast in the New York Cafe - 3-day Budapest tour itinerary

New York Cafe will be one of the highlights of your 3 days in Budapest. They claim to be the most beautiful cafe in the world and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

Rooms are filled with art, live music is there to guide you around and food is served to satisfy your every taste buds. You become part of royalty here and who wouldn’t like that kind of experience, right?

New York Cafe has lived through centuries and different eras. From welcoming intellectuals and artists to selling sporting goods to survive. Nowadays, it has become one of the best Budapest attractions and you will want to be part of that.

The cafe opens at 8 am and I strongly advise you to be there for the opening time for a more intimate experience. Start your day with breakfast in the best cafe in Budapest? Why not? This way I was able to see the place almost empty and didn’t have to wait in line.

Also, I have seen some negative reviews about their dining experience, but in case you must go for dinner, make sure you book a table in advance.

Considering the prices in Budapest, this is certainly on the high end, but if you ask me, it is totally worth it. Check their website to see the menu and make your reservation.

Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library

Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library - how to spend 3 days in Budapest
Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library - how to spend 3 days in Budapest

After a fancy breakfast find one of my favorite hidden gems in the city. Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library will contribute to making an epic 3-day Budapest itinerary.

 Metropolitan Ervin Szabó Library is a library for local students, but if you don’t have a student’s card, you can still purchase a ticket for a small fee and visit the library.

You might be wondering what is so special about this library. The library is inside 19th-century neo-baroque Wenckheim Palace and the rooms look like part of a museum or royal palace. Far from other libraries that I have seen before.

Let me warn you that this place gets extremely busy and you need to keep it silent since most of the people are there to study. But trust me, you need to visit this hidden gem in Budapest.

The entrance fee is 1500 HUF and it is open from 10 am until 8 pm on weekdays and until 4 pm on Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.

Budapesti Árpád-házi Szent Erzsébet Plébániatemplom

epic 3-day Budapest itinerary

The Budapesti Árpád-házi Szent Erzsébet Plébániatemplom, a name that rolls off the tongue with an air of mystery, stands as one of the city’s most charming churches. Surprisingly, this beauty remains shrouded from the eager eyes of tourists due to its absence from conventional sightseeing lists.

Prepare to be stunned by its allure. The church’s magnificent architecture, a harmonious blend of design and history, beckons to those fortunate enough to stumble upon it. The impressiveness of its massive facade tells tales of centuries gone by, a silent witness to the passage of time.

Yet, it is not just the exterior that holds enchantment. Walk into the peaceful gardens that cradle the church. Here, beneath the open sky, the church stands as a beacon of serenity, a perfect backdrop for capturing moments frozen in time through the lens of a camera.

Step inside, and you’ll find yourself transported to a realm of wonder. The interiors, adorned with intricate details and vibrant stained glass windows, paint stories of faith and artistry. The kaleidoscope of colors cast by the stained glass windows adds a touch of magic to the atmosphere.

If you seek to infuse your 3 days in Budapest with a touch of the extraordinary, look no further. A visit to the Budapesti Árpád-házi Szent Erzsébet Plébániatemplom is an unconventional yet utterly incredible experience.  

Central Market Hall

Go souvenir shopping at the Central Market Hall - 3 perfect days in Budapest

Central Market Hall is another important must-visit during your 3 days Budapest itinerary, even for those who are not planning to buy anything. It is the largest market in Budapest and it is a famous photo spot as well.

Here you will find many local products like Palinka, Salami, and Paprika together with typical souvenirs like magnets, postcards, and other handmade goodies. On the second floor, there is a food court and it offers a fantastic view over the market hall.

This is also a perfect place to enjoy a quick meal or grab some local food.

Keep in mind that the market is closed on Sundays and it gets very busy and filled with group tours starting from 10 am up until the late afternoon. I suggest you visit after 2 pm, so you don’t have to get lost in the crowds.

Hungarian State Opera 

Visit Hungarian State Opera (Magyar Állami Operaház) - the ultimate guide to seeing Budapest  in 3 days
Visit Hungarian State Opera (Magyar Állami Operaház) - the ultimate guide to seeing Budapest  in 3 days

Luckily, the Hungarian State Opera is open again after a renovation so, you can include it on your list of 3-day Budapest itinerary. 

You can come to see the performance at the opera, but unfortunately, you won’t be able to fit it into this itinerary without removing other experiences. If you are passionate about opera and you want to see a performance, click here to see upcoming events and buy your ticket.

But you should still find time to visit the Hungarian State Opera as it is one of the most beautiful places in Budapest, Hungary.

A 60-minute tour will cost you 7000 HUF and you can tickets to the opera house before your visit. Tours start every day at 1.30 pm, 3 pm, and 4.30 pm in English so plan accordingly. Make sure you arrive early to buy your ticket because the spots fill up quickly.

Inside you will find neo-Renaissance style, with elements of Baroque. The tour is very informative and you can access closed places like Bertalan Székely Hall or the marble king staircase. If you want to take photos, make sure you stay at the end of the crowd and wait until every else leaves.

Vajdahunyad Castle 

Vajdahunyad Castle  - long weekend in Budapest

A must-visit gem to make a perfect 3 days in Budapest itinerary for first-timers is the enchanting Vajdahunyad Castle. It was built in 1896 and it’s a masterpiece that takes you on a journey through Hungary’s architectural evolution across various centuries and styles. 

Vajdahunyad Castle’s design, crafted by the visionary Ignác Alpár, pays homage to landmark buildings from different corners of the Kingdom of Hungary. 

One particularly striking feature is its replication of the iconic Hunyad Castle in Transylvania, Romania. This homage serves as a reminder of Hungary’s historical ties to the broader region.

One of the castle’s most endearing aspects is its versatility as a cultural hub. The dynamic blend of art, music, and history breathes life into the castle’s walls, creating an atmosphere that’s both vibrant and educational.

Adding to its allure, Vajdahunyad Castle holds a special place in the hearts of budget-conscious travelers as one of the many free attractions in Budapest.

Heroes Square

See the iconic Heroes' Square and Vajdahunyad Castle - 3 perfect days in Budapest

A visit to Heroes’ Square is an essential part of any Budapest itinerary to understand its rich history and cultural heritage. Originally erected in 1929 as a heartfelt tribute to the fallen defenders of Hungary’s borders, Heroes’ Square stood as a symbol of the nation’s spirit. 

However, the square’s message clashed with the political agenda of the Communist regime, leading to its removal in 1951. Nevertheless, the unwavering spirit of the Hungarian people prevailed, and in 1956, a new Heroes’ Square emerged on the same hallowed ground.

At the heart of Heroes’ Square stands the magnificent Millenary Monument, a 36-meter-high pillar that commands attention and reverence. Crowned by a radiant Archangel Gabriel, this iconic figure holds the Hungarian crown and a cross, representing the nation’s historical and spiritual heritage. 

Today, Heroes’ Square is a symbol of unity and remembrance, attracting visitors from around the world. Its historical significance, combined with its picturesque setting, has made it a must-visit for both locals and tourists alike.

The square’s beauty and symbolism have transformed it into a famous photo spot, allowing visitors to capture the essence of Hungary’s cultural pride against a stunning backdrop.

Kiadó Kocsma and Budapest Metro

the ultimate guide to seeing Budapest  in 3 days

From heroes square take a short yet historical metro ride to Kiadó Kocsma. The Budapest metro system opened in 1896 and it was the first in Continental Europe and the second after the London one. On your ride take a moment to appreciate the art of the stations. 

You can get off at the opera station, which boasts intricate mosaics, ornate chandeliers, and detailed ceramic tilework. These elements reflect the aesthetics of the time and provide a glimpse into the cultural and artistic trends of the late 19th century.

From the metro station head to Kiadò Kocsma for some of the best Goulash in Budapest. This goulash, in fact, has been awarded as the best goulash in all of Hungary according to Taste Atlas.

While the goulash is the highlight, it’s great to know that the rest of the menu at Kiadò Kocsma is also noteworthy. This suggests that the establishment is committed to offering a diverse range of dishes that showcase the richness of Hungarian cuisine.

Further reading for 3 days in Budapest

Or read more about: Budapest | Hungary

Other useful tips for visiting Hungary

🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide and Viator have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Greece? Use Rentalcars
✈️ Looking for the best flight deals? Check WayAway
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo

In conclusion…

The Perfect 3 Days in Budapest Itinerary for First Timers

If you were wondering what to do in Budapest for 3 days, I am sure that now you are fully prepared for your trip and can’t wait to discover this unique Hungarian city.

I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.

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Perfect 3 Days in Budapest Itinerary for First Timers
Perfect 3 Days in Budapest Itinerary for First Timers

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