I had my very first Couch Surfing experience with a Polish girl, Daga. She was looking for a host nearby Balatonakarattya, where she expected to meet her Korean friend, who expected to participate a camp for a week. However, the camp was postponed, and I was fighting with my parents so much to host Daga, that she felt after so much fighting she must come to see me. She came came to my hometown and we hang out mostly in the nearby places. This meant we didn’t really have time for Budapest, only a day. Unfortunately we couldn’t make this with Daga, as her train left in the afternoon, but we tried to make spend as much time in Budapest, as possible. For travelers who are planning to see Budapest in 24 hours with a very intensive tour, I can suggest this itinerary.
BEFORE YOU START READING THE ITINERARY:
- This itinerary is for travelers on a budget
- You need to have very good legs! From Heroes’ Square to Matthias Church it’s 6.6 kms! But you can take many pictures on the ground, and not from public transport.
- This covers a very long day – you cannot wake up at 10 o’clock and start your sightseeing tour at midday. With Daga, we started before 8.
- If you’re still in the planning stage, you must know that you cannot see everything from Budapes in 1 day. You must plan your visit for at least 3-4 days.
Are you ready? Then start your 24 hours journey, in…:
1. Heroes’ Square
I suggest Heroes’ Square as a starting point. There is the Museum of Fine Arts as well, if you’re interested, you can plan a visit. Heroes’ Square, or “Hősök tere” is one of the major squares in Budapest. It’s an iconic statue complex showing the seven chieftains of the magyars and some other national leaders.
2. City Park with Vajdahunyad Castle
In case you’re interested in a morning walk, you can head to the city park right behind the Heroes’ Square (or you can even start with that for a morning run). There is a very beautiful castle in the park called Vajdahunyad Castle. Sometimes they organize some special markets, where you can buy some souvenirs. The theme always change, when I was there, once there was some Hungarian market, on the other day there were international foods’ market.
3. Opera House
Start walking on Andrássy út, which starts at Heroes’ Square. On the street you will see many beautiful buildings, even embassies. This is one of the most expensive areas of Pest, so you won’t be disappointed. After 15-20 minutes walking you will see the Opera House, which was build in neo-renaissance style.
4. St. Stephen’s Basilica
After 5 minutes walking you reach the Roman Catholic St. Stephen’s Basilica, which is the 3rd largest church in Hungary. You can enter for free, and you can also go up to the highest point of the building, though it’s not free anymore.
You need to walk 15 minutes to reach the Parliament, the most beautiful building in Hungary in my opinion. It’s the highest building in Budapest, and also the largest as well. In front of the Parliament you can find the Museum of Ethnography. As far as I know you can visit the Parliament only in groups, but individuals cannot go inside. You can have a nice walk around the Parliament and make a lot of pictures.
6. Chain Bridge
Walking through the Chain Bridge from the Parliament is a good idea. First of all, pretty close to the Parliament you can see a small memorial with lots of shoes, which honors to people (mainly Jews) who were killed by Arrow Cross during the World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of water, so their bodies fell into the river, and their shoes stayed at the bank.
Chain Bridge is the brother bridge of Tower Bridge in London, as both bridges were designed by the same person. The major supporter of the construction, István Széchenyi was really impressed by England, therefore he tried to follow England’s example in almost everything.
7. Buda Castle
I’m sure you’re already very tired, but you must climb up on a hill to reach the Buda Castle! Or, if you’re not on a low budget, you can also go up with the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular. The Budapest Castle has several medieval, baroque and 19th century houses, churches and public buildings. The area is the part of the World Heritage.
8. Fisherman’s Bastion
Not far from the Castle you can find the neo-gothic and neo-romanesque “terrace”, where you can have a panoramic view to the Danube, the Parliament and Pest area. You can go to the terrace for free.
9. Matthias Church
At the Fisherman’s Bastion there is a very beautiful church, the Roman Catholic Matthias Church. The church was the scene of many coronations, including the last Habsburg king, Charles IV. There is an entrance fee to the church, which holds the Ecclesiastical Art Museum.
10. Liberty Statue
You’re at the last spot! Take a tram to Szent Gellér tér, where you can start climbing up onto the Gellért hill, where there is the Statue of Liberty on the top. It’s the best if you do this hike in dark, as the view is more beautiful at evening time in my opinion. The view includes many bridges and the Pest side. When you walk down, go on the opposite route where you came from. You’ll end in front of the Erzsébet Bridge, so you can make a picture about it as well.
And now, don’t be a masochist anymore – take a bus to your accommodation and rest!
Special thanks to Faragó László Photography for his pictures. Don’t hesitate to check his page for more beautiful photos about Budapest.