Budapest three-day itinerary – Recommendations for things to do in the city

I got to visit Budapest a year and eight months ago, but unfortunately it was during a severe winter and the weather was -13 degrees Celsius, so exploring the city and enjoying what it has to offer was difficult. I still enjoyed it but was glad for the opportunity to return there at a warmer time. This time I went with my mom rather than Roman. We traveled in the middle of October and enjoyed perfect weather, except for one day that was a bit rainy but still allowed for a lot of walking around. We visited Budapest for a long weekend from Thursday night until Monday morning.

How to reach Budapest?

I booked us a cheap flight through the Skyscanner website, with the Wizz Air company. The flight cost around 400 Shekels a person, or 480 with the addition of priority.

Where did we stay in Budapest?

We decided to pamper ourselves with a 4-star, boutique hotel, Bo33 hotel. The hotel is in a good location, it isn’t on Vaci street (25 minutes away by foot) but I like this area more, as it isn’t as touristic and there are many restaurants and bars in its vicinity…
The hotel is high quality, with a bar and comfortable sofas in the lobby. The room was spacious, with two single beds (According to my request) and a small balcony overlooking the hotel yard.

On the hotel’s top floor is a spa with a free jacuzzi and reclining chairs on a balcony with a view of the city.
When we arrived we were given a coupon for a free drink at the hotel bar (Which we used on the last day of the trip). Breakfast was an excellent buffet with gourmet cheeses, hams, smoked salmon, vegetables, fruits, granola, pastries, breads and more. Service was amazing. The staff were super nice and helped with every request. Additionally, what I liked about the hotel is how much attention was given to detail. For example, the room had a coffee machine, a USB charger, robes and bath slippers, a black towel to wipe makeup off and more. In summary, there’s a reason for this hotel’s great reviews. Additional reviews about the hotel and link to hotel price comparison.

Budapest itinerary

Arrival at night by plan with Wizz Air and check in to 33Bo hotel.

Day 1 – Shopping, cable car, Cuban restaurant 

Breakfast at the hotel

Buffet meal

Shopping

Budapest is a great destination for shopping at reasonable prices and with a lot of variety. We personally went to Vaci street (A 25-minute walk from the hotel). It’s Budapest’s famous street, with many brand stores like Zara, Mango, Bershka and more. Shoe stores, H&M, C&A and more.
We spent hours there and bought a bunch of stuff. Map.

Anna café

A famous café on Vaci street. It has two locations on the street, one by the great market and the other in the clothes shops area. We decided to grab something small to eat at the one by the stores. It’s famous for its cakes, but honestly, we just had chicken salad and a toast with goat cheese and cranberry jam. We also ordered regular lemonade and lemonade with strawberry and basil. It was a nice, light meal after a long period of exhausting shopping 🙂 Map

Return to the hotel

After all the shopping we took a cab back to the hotel to put everything we’ve bought there and get some rest. The cab price was about 8 euros.

Cable car

One of the things I like doing on trips is finding good vantage points to take pictures of the city from above. When I saw Budapest had a cable car, I decided it was a good idea getting there. We took a cab to the cable car area. There was a rather long line, but then we saw there were salespeople who sold tickets outside the line (Blue shirted salespeople).

The advantage to that is avoiding the long line for buying a ticket for the same price (Like we did) and going in through the entrance on the right without waiting. We bought the two-way ticket but that was a mistake. The climb down is simple and only takes a few minutes. I recommend buying a one-way ticket and walking back down (Unless that would be difficult for you). The climb is really short and honestly this is one of the shortest cable cars I’ve been on, but it’s still quite nice. At the top is a café you can sit down for a drink at, and you can walk around the area and enjoy a gorgeous view of the city. Map.

Cuban restaurant

For dinner, we decided to go to a restaurant by our hotel (A 10-minute walk). We looked for something with a jovial atmosphere where you can also sit down for a meal and enjoy a beverage. I saw recommendations for La Bodeguita del Medio and we decided to try it.
While it’s a touristic restaurant, it’s still a good option. We arrived at the restaurant at 20:00 (The bad reviews about the restaurant talk about their service, but since we were relatively early, and it wasn’t crowded yet, service was actually quite good).

For starters we ordered the couples plate which included spiced chicken wings, corn, quesadillas with cheese, guacamole and yoghurt. We liked this dish a lot and in retrospect, we should have ordered another one or a different starter rather than a main course. The mains were alright, but felt too heavy for me, I ordered a dish of meat with rice and my mom ordered a vegetarian hamburger.
For drinks we had beer and wine.
There was a really good band playing which made for a very fun atmosphere and the place itself is also very nice, with a lot of outside sitting space. Map

Day 2 – Food tour, Margaret island, Tapas restaurant

Coffee at the hotel

Food tour or market and stroll around town

We chose to do a food tour of nearly 5 hours. The tour was through the Taste Hungary company and included an extensive tour of the great market with three stops for tastings, then a tour of town with stops for tasting special chocolates and a Hungarian lunch, lucrative café with coffee and cakes and to top it all off a visit to a wine cellar with wine and cheese tastings. It was a delicious and most interesting tour. Link to extended post about our experience on the food tour.
This company offers several different tours.
If you don’t want to do this tour, I recommend visiting the great market (Map) anyway and trying some food there. Don’t miss the basement floor with the pickles.

Additionally, you can do a free tour of town (Tip based), the last time we had a free tour of the Jewish quarter which was great, so you can do that or a tour among the main landmarks of Budapest. The company we went on the free tour through is called Original Budapest tours.

Margaret island

Margaret island is a small island in the center of the Danube. It’s a lovely place to visit on foot or rent a bike or pedal car there and explore the area. There’s a tiny zoo, a rose garden, walking and running tracks and a musical fountain with lights.
You can reach the island by light rail number 4 or 6 and bus number 26. You can also take a cab to the bridge and walk 200 meters on foot to the island pass. Map

Return to the hotel

Tapas restaurant

Since we were full from the food tour, we decided to have a light dinner. That same night I had received a recommendation from my friend, Hadas, who recommended Pata Negra, a Spanish tapas restaurant – Just in time for us.

We tried to book a table, but the restaurant was already filled, so we decided to try our luck and go anyway. As it happens, when we arrived there were two spots on the bar available.  As is proper for a Spanish restaurant we started the night with a Sangria. We ordered four vegan tapas for a start: Baguette slices with tomato sauce, grilled mushrooms with garlic, baked vegetables and spinach with chickpeas. The vegetables were a hit and to be honest, we finished our dishes quite quickly.

We then ordered a cod fish dish and I ordered a calamari dish as well, while my mom had chicken skewers. Overall, a tapas meal is one of the best meals possible. You can try many things and not have it be too heavy. We ended the meal with tea and a cheesecake.
This restaurant is very popular, and people came and signed on to the waiting list all the time. I recommend booking at least a day in advance. Map

Day 3 – Farmer’s market, Jewish quarter, Heroes square, Thai massage

Breakfast at the hotel

Farmer’s market

Every Sunday there’s a cute farmer’s market at Szimpla kert. Besides, it’s a bar worth visiting at night as it has a great atmosphere. Anyway, at the market you’ll find many delicious things like cheeses, hams, jams, spreads and more. I bought a cheese I took home with me and some dried apples and jam. On a pleasant day you can buy some tasty stuff and go have a picnic in the Heroes square park.
We also had a coffee and pastry break there. Map

Visiting the Jewish quarter

Szimpla kert is in the Jewish quarter, so after the market you can walk around the quarter and go visit the large Synagogue. You may also go on a free (Tip based) tour. We did it the last time we were here, and it was great. The company through which we took the tour is called Original Budapest tours.

Hungarian lunch

Pater Bonifac Kisvendegio is a nice Hungarian restaurant for those looking for good Hungarian food in a local atmosphere. Map

Heroes square

The whole area of the square is packed with things to do: There’s a beautiful park, a zoo, an arts museum and a stunning castle. In the winter there’s ice skating there. Map.

Thai massage

After the walking and shopping, a Thai massage can surely be great. I really like the traditional Thai massages without the oil, but there are other types you can have. The place I went to is called De Lanna Thai Massage. A traditional Thai massage costs 7900 forint an hour.  Map

Dinner at a Thai restaurant or food stalls by Szimpla kert

After the Thai massage I decided I’d like so Thai food, as well, and so we chose to go to a restaurant near the hotel. A simple restaurant with good Thai food, Kao Niaw Ping Kai Restaurant. Map.
If you’re not into Thai food, you can also go back to the Szimpla kert area. By the bar you’ll find an area full of food stalls where you can pick between many different kinds of food. Map.

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