1 day in Budapest: Perfect itinerary to enjoy the best of Budapest (+ map)

Budapešť za 1 den

Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. From the fabulous Fisherman’s Bastion to a cruise on the Danube, Budapest has something to offer everyone. Today we will show you the itinerary of the route if you are planning to spend one day in Budapest, Hungary.

Is it possible to visit Budapest in one day?

It is very difficult to see everything Budapest has to offer in one day. Especially if you are planning to visit a thermal spa. Just visiting the surroundings of the Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle will take you a whole day.

And then there’s Pest, on the other side of the Danube, with its imposing parliament, Jewish Quarter full of history and the magnificent St Stephen’s Basilica.

If you only have one day in Budapest, it’s a good idea to plan your itinerary in advance to get as much done as possible. In this article, we’ll discuss how to make the most of your time.

Advantageous holiday packages in Budapest.

Budapest in one day – route map

On the map you will find the marked route for visiting Budapest in one day. The itinerary starts at the Fisherman’s Bastion, which is one of the main reasons why Budapest has become so popular recently.

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map with the route of what to see in Budapest in one day. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places that in the itinerary for a day in Budapest, Hungary. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.



7:30 Enjoy the sunrise at the Fisherman’s Bastion

Depending on when you visit Budapest, the sunrise at Fisherman’s Bastion is one of the most beautiful in the area. The warm morning rays hit the white-glowing facade of the monument and you and a few others enjoy the view of the whole city.

Just a little later, the Fisherman’s Bastion (Halászbástya) and its surroundings will be filled with tourists and the best atmosphere will be gone. And the amount of tourists lasts until the evening. The monument doesn’t clear out until late in the evening.

Fisherman's Bastion Budapest
Fisherman's Bastion Budapest

How to visit the Fisherman’s Bastion

The fishing bastion is located on a hill above the town. You can get here in about 20-30 minutes on foot (depending on where you stay) or take a bus.

I recommend the bus, because you can do a lot of walking on this day. From the centre, buses 16 and 216 run from the main transport hub Deák Ferenc tér and take you directly under the stairs to the Fisherman’s Bastion (stop Donáti utca).

Or you can go even higher (lines 16 and 116) to the Szentháromság tér stop, which is right on the square by Matthias Cathedral.

Fisherman's Bastion Budapest

How much is the entrance fee and opening hours for the Fisherman’s Bastion?

The Fisherman’s Bastion is partly accessible for free. If you also want to enjoy the view from the elevated part with the turrets, you need to pay an entrance fee. Admission is charged after 9:00 in the morning, so if you arrive early, you get in for free. There are open turnstiles that you can pass through.

Budapest in 1 day / Fisherman's Bastion

In the season from June to the end of September, this part is charged until 21:00 and in the low season until 19:00. From Christmas Eve until mid-March, the Fisherman’s Bastion is open all day for free.

Admission is 1200 HUF, children under 14 and students 600 HUF and children under 6 free. You can buy your ticket on the spot by scanning the QR code – there is an attendant on hand to help you. After purchase, you will receive a confirmation in your email, which you just need to show to the staff.

Advantageous holiday packages in Budapest.

8:30 St. Matthias Cathedral

Next to the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Mátyás Templom (Matthias Temple) stands majestically. With a shining facade and a roof that plays with all colours. The two monuments form a perfectly photogenic combo.

The temple is open daily from 9:00-17:00. You can even climb up the tower and enjoy the view of the whole city. The price of admission is then based on this. More information can be found at this link.

The ticket booths are located in the booths on the right side of the temple. But if you only have 1 day in Budapest, you probably won’t be able to visit the interior of the temple.

St. Matthias Cathedral Budapest

Useful information

There are plenty of restaurants and refreshments in the vicinity of the Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Temple. Toilets are located on the right side of the Fisherman’s Bastion. You can pay in forints or euros directly at the staff (they do not take cards).

Hotels Budapest 😴

Aquincum hotel

4* hotel with unlimited wellness

T62 hotel

Modern and stylish accommodation in the centre

9:00 Visit Buda Castle

The Buda Castle (Budavári Palota) is the landmark of Budapest. It rises majestically on a hill above the Danube and, especially at night, literally shines from a great distance. A beautiful place that definitely can’t miss on the itinerary for 1 day in Budapest.

Buda Castle is a place full of history. Today there are several interesting museums here, but we would need more time to see them. The importance of the castle is also evidenced by the fact that it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the adjacent Buda Castle Quarter.

Buda Castle Budapest

The whole Buda district is one of the reasons why Budapest reminds me so much of Prague. Like no other city in Europe. The Buda complex with the Fisherman’s Bastion towers over the Danube like Prague Castle over the Vltava, Gellért Hill with the Statue of Liberty and a view like Petrin Hill, and the Chain Bridge, which is as important to the locals as Charles Bridge is to the Czechs.

Even if you don’t visit Buda Castle from the inside, there is still plenty to discover. Impressive architecture, beautiful fountains, the Habsburg Gate or the statue of the turul, the mythical bird and symbol of Hungary.

But the best part is the view you get from the castle. To the east you can see the Danube and the whole Pest. To the west, you can enjoy the view of the less touristy part of Budapest. Look also to the south, where Gellért’s Hill is located with the Statue of Liberty on its top.

You can also take a walk along the walls, which are freely accessible. Like the entire Buda Castle area, you only pay for admission to the museums.

Buda Castle Budapest view

How to visit Buda Castle

Buda Castle is just a 10-minute walk from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Or take bus lines 16, 16A and 116, which stop right in front of St. Matthias Cathedral and take you directly to the castle.

10:00 Walk through the gardens of the Várkert Bazár

From Buda Castle, we continue towards Pesti, which lies beyond the river. You can take the historic cable car down or go down to Clark Ádám tér. In both cases, you’re down in minutes.

Another option is to descend through the beautiful, landscaped Várkert Bazár garden. There are benches and a pleasant seating area where you can also find a quiet corner to rest after visiting Buda Castle. The gardens are small and can be walked through in a few minutes. There is no charge for entry.

Várkert Bazár Budapest

From Várkert Bazár, turn left along the Danube shore, overlooking the Chain Bridge.

More info: Here is our itinerary including a map if you are planning to spend 2 days in Budapest.

11:00 Enjoy the view from the Chain Bridge

There are several interesting bridges over the Danube. The Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Lánchíd) is the most popular. With impressive lion statues welcoming you at the very beginning. From the bridge there are beautiful views on all sides.

Budapest Chain Bridge

From the Chain Bridge, continue left. In the distance you can see the beautiful Parliament building, one of the most beautiful monuments in Budapest. And probably one of the most beautiful parliaments in the world.

Along the way, you can’t miss “Shoes on the Danube”, a memorial dedicated to the 20,000 Jews who were killed during World War II. Before their execution, they were ordered to take off their shoes.

Shoes on the Danube Budapest

12:00 Admire the Parliament

It would be a sin to visit Budapest and not visit the Parliament. The monumental building has 691 rooms, 10 courtyards and 29 staircases. On the other side there is a small park, an artificial water area and a seating area.

The Parliament (Országház) is built in Neo-Gothic style with a Neo-Renaissance dome that is 96 metres high. The height of the dome was chosen deliberately – it is a symbol of the arrival of the Hungarians to their homeland in 896.

Budapest’s regulation also prohibits the construction of buildings higher than 96 metres. Only the Parliament and St Stephen’s Basilica, which will be discussed shortly, reach this height.

Advantageous holiday packages in Budapest.

Budapest Parliament

How to visit the Parliament in Budapest

With such a busy itinerary, it is difficult to fit a visit to the interiors of the Parliament into the schedule. But if you would still like to take a closer look, here is some practical information:

  • Admission for EEA citizens: full admission 6000 HUF, children and students 6-24 years 3000 HUF and children under 6 years of age are free.
  • Admission for non-EEA citizens: full admission 12,000 HUF, children and students aged 6-24 6,000 HUF, and children under 6 are free.

Tickets is good to book in advance. It can sell out weeks in advance. The tour takes less than an hour. You can choose between a guided tour or an audio guide, which is available in many languages.

Useful information: The Visitors’ Centre can be found on the north side of the Parliament from the side. There are free toilets and wifi.

From the Parliament, we continue through the streets of Pest to St. Stephen’s Basilica, one of the most beautiful places in Budapest. On the way you will pass Svoboda Square with the Holocaust Memorial.

13:00 Lunch

Great restaurants and cafes are reason enough to visit the city. In Budapest, they just know how to do it. The food is excellent, the atmosphere relaxed and the ambience often very homely.

Heading from the Parliament towards St Stephen’s Basilica, you can visit Hungarikum Bisztró, an authentic restaurant with delicious Hungarian cuisine and live music. Make reservations in advance as it is always full.

Or would you prefer to taste traditional lángos? At Retró Lángos, they will prepare it just the way you want it.

Whether it’s summer or winter, have an ice cream at Gelarto Rosa as a sweet spot after lunch.

You can also find all the places mentioned in the map at the beginning of the article.

where to eat in Budapest / Gelarto Rosa
Rose-shaped ice cream from our first visit to Gelarto Rosa

14:30 Basilica of St. Stephen

St Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István Basilica) is not just any church. It is the largest church in the whole of Hungary. The interior is beautifully decorated and worth seeing if you have time. You can even go up to the roof and enjoy a different perspective of the city.

In front of the basilica is a small square where various events are often held, including Christmas markets.

St. Stephen's Basilica Budapest

Useful information for visiting the Basilica of St. Stephen

Admission to St Stephen’s Basilica varies depending on what you plan to visit:

  • Full admission to the church only is 2300 HUF and an additional 4300 HUF for the view from the terrace and the jewels, or 6000 HUF for a combined ticket
  • For children over 6 years of age, students and seniors over 65 years of age a reduced admission fee of 1700 HUF and 3400 HUF for the terrace and jewels, or 4800 HUF for a combined ticket
  • Free admission for children under 6 years of age and persons with disabilities including 1 accompanying person. For more information on admission fees , click here.

The church is open the following times: Monday 9:00-16:30, Tuesday to Saturday 9:00-17:45, Sunday 13:00-17:45. The panoramic terrace is open daily from 09:00-19:00.

Hotels Budapest 😴

Hotel Medos

Popular hotel with excellent accessibility

ubytování budapešť

Self-catering apartments to code

15:30 Heroes’ Square

A short walk from St Stephen’s Basilica, take the historic M1 tram to Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere). Its landmark is the Millennium Monument (Millenniumi emlékmű).

It consists of a 36-metre high column with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel on top and a colonnade with 14 statues, some of which depict important Hungarian kings and leaders of the anti-Habsburg uprisings.

Heroes' Square Budapest

16:30 Central Market Hall

Would you like to take home a souvenir from Budapest in the form of spices, peppers or sausages? Stop at the Central Market (Nagy Vásárcsarnok). It’s housed in a beautiful building, where on two floors there are various stalls with food, fruit, vegetables, sausages, souvenirs, crocheted tablecloths… everything you can think of in connection with Hungary.

The market is open daily except Sunday at the following times: Tuesday to Friday 6:00-18:00, Saturday 6:00-15:00 and Monday 6:00-17:00.

Central Market Hall Budapest

17:30 Jewish Quarter

Head to the Jewish Quarter, just a few tram stops from the Central Market. Wander the streets, which are full of history, great businesses and a relaxed atmosphere.

The dominant feature of the Jewish Quarter is The Great Synagogue which is the largest synagogue in Europe. It was built at the end of the 19th century in the Moorish-Spanish style.

Budapest Great Synagogue

As you wander the local streets, head to the Street Food Karaván. Karaván is a place with street stalls and outdoor seating where you can have burgers, langos, or even just something good to drink. They are open daily until midnight.

Karaván Budapest

Next door is Szimpla Kert, the pioneer of ruin bars in Budapest. A place with an unmistakable atmosphere, where you can go for good food and drink, live music and there are also farmers’ markets. If you don’t like a lot of people, stop by in the early evening around 18:00. Later on, it’s really crowded.

Convenient stay packages with wellness or half board.

There are several ruin bars in the Jewish Quarter. It’s one of the most local things you can try in Budapest. Formerly abandoned buildings that have been transformed into popular social venues with distinctive decorations.

Find the best accommodation in Budapest

20:00 Night cruise on the Danube

The view of Budapest in the evening is worth it. Danube cruises are popular throughout the day, but it’s in the evening that they have the most magic.

Everything is beautifully lit – Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, Parliament, Chain Bridge and many other places. This makes it one of the most popular things to do in Budapest.

Budapest Danube cruise

Most popular cruises last 1-1.5 hours and usually include a drink (champagne, beer, wine or soft drinks). Evening dates may sell out – it is a good idea to book in advance. Part of the ship is covered and part is open.

If you want to have the best view and secure a seat in the open section, arrive about half an hour early and join the ghat straight away (it’s all marked on the electronic board). That way you’ll be among the first in line and can choose the best seat.

Favorites are also 2-hour boat cruises with traditional Hungarian dinner and live music where you can enjoy the beautifully lit city at dinner.

Budapest Danube cruise

Our day in Budapest ends with a cruise on the Danube. The itinerary was packed, but on the other hand you managed to catch a lot of the places and activities that have made Budapest so popular in recent years.

And if you decide to extend your stay, add a visit to the thermal baths and the view from Gellért’s Hill to your itinerary, which is also worth it.

Book your Danube cruise here.

Where to stay when visiting Budapest for a day?

Hotels Budapest 😴

ubytování budapešť
Impulso Fashion Hotel

Amazing hotel with great value for money

ubytování budapešť
Three Corners Lifestyle Hotel

Modern hotel near the centre, excellent breakfast

How to enjoy Budapest in one day

  • Wear comfortable shoes. There are cobblestone sidewalks, stairs and lots of walking.
  • Try traditional food in Pest. The great thing about Budapest is that there is good cooking almost everywhere. Even downtown. And at affordable prices.
  • Stop at the main tourist spots such as the Fisherman’s Bastion.
  • Take a stroll through Budapest in the evening, when it is beautifully lit up. Or go on a boat cruise, which is our favourite experience in Budapest.
  • See if you can’t save Budapest Tourist Card.

Best booking resources for visiting Budapest

Via Booking.com we search for all accommodation. It is the largest accommodation portal in the world and you will find everything from modern hotels, cosy guesthouses to seaside villas.

Slevomat is a great platform for those looking for half-board stays or wellness.

Get Your Guide is a huge booking system for buying tickets, guided tours and all sorts of activities. In one place you can read other travellers’ experiences and book tickets to the Vatican Museums, a cruise on the Danube or a desert safari in Dubai.

This was our perfect itinerary for 1 day in Budapest and how to enjoy the best of Budapest including a map. Do you have a question? We’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More information about Budapest

BUDAPEST: Get inspired by the best things to do in Budapest. If you have more time, here is an itinerary for 2 days in Budapest. Looking for accommodation in Budapest? Here are tips on the best hotels to stay in Budapest.

HUNGARY: Get inspired by the best things to do in Hungary. Hungary is famous for its thermal baths – this is a list of the best thermal baths in Hungary.

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