Europe, Travel

36 hours in Budapest

Budapest was the 7th stop on mine and Mark’s interrail journey, meaning we’d already reached our half-way point! I couldn’t believe how fast our time away was going but I was super excited for our next 36 hours in Budapest.

If you want to catch up with my previous stops on my interrail journey you can find them all here

This was my second time in Budapest I was so excited to show Mark everything I loved about the city during my first visit. As well as experiencing some new things along the way.

Budapest is definitely becoming more and more popular and once you’ve been it’s very easy to see why.

So here’s how to see all the best bits of Budapest in 36 hours.

Day 1: 

After a short train ride from Vienna we arrived in Budapest around mid-afternoon so had plenty of time ahead of us.

Our time in Vienna was jam-packed and pretty expensive so we decided to start our time in Budapest in the opposite way. More relaxed and a lot cheaper!

Arriving at Budapest Keleti station we then hopped on the metro for a short, 5-minute journey to our hostel. A single journey on the metro cost 350 HUF which is roughly £1.

We checked into the hostel and spent some time just chilling in our room and planning what we wanted to do for the next few days.

Since we were trying to spend a little less money, we decided to cook dinner at the hostel. We popped to a local supermarket about 5 minutes from the hostel and cooked up a classic tomato pasta.

First up on our actual Budapest sightseeing list that night was, of course, Szimpla Kurt. Szimpla is probably the most famous of all the ruin pubs in Budapest and you just can not visit the city without going.

If you’ve never been to a ruin pub then it’s pretty hard to explain what they’re like. A mishmash of random furniture and decor in what feels like very down buildings they’re the best place to meet fellow travellers and have a cheap pint in Budapest.

It’s very easy to spend an entire night here.

But after a few drinks, we managed to tear ourselves away and head back to the hostel for some sleep.

Day 2:

To start our day we headed to Mozaik Teahouse and Cafe for breakfast. It was right next to our hostel so was chosen for the convenience. The food was okay and served its purpose of filling us up for the day, but it was nothing to shout about.

Our first stop was the one thing I regretted not doing the first time I was in Budapest: St Stephens Basilica.

If you’ve been here before you’ll know how much I love cathedrals and the like. It’s very rare I visit a city without seeing one. So let me tell you I was very excited for this one!

We decided that the first order of business was to climb the tower to the cupola for what was promised to be an incredible view of the city.

Entrance to the tower costs 600 HUF which is roughly £1.70.

That promised view did not disappoint. You get the most amazing 360° views of the city. It’s one of the best places to see the city since it’s one of the only the views to include all the major landmarks. I mean just look at these dreamy photos. 100% worth the climb just to make your friends jealous with that insta pic!

Since we were already there we decided we may as well head inside the Cathedral. It’s technically free to enter although they do ask you for a 200 HUF donation. Since that’s only about 60p we were more than happy to pay.

Once inside you are greeted with the most stunning gold roof as well as one of the more unique things I’ve ever seen in a Cathedral. St Stephens Basilica is home to St Stephens mummified right hand. A bit gruesome but very interesting it’s probably worth a trip inside for that alone.

We hadn’t planned on staying around the Basilica once we’d been inside but part of travel is of course adapting and changing plans.

When we arrived at Stephens Square I was surprised to find it incredibly busy. But it was the best kind of a surprise because we’d actually managed to visit Budapest while there was a chocolate festival going on. Is there anything better than entire square filled with stalls all selling chocolate?

So we took some time to wander around the stalls and explore the festival. Before sitting down with a glass of homemade lemonade to people watch in the sun. How perfect does that sound?

From St Stephens Square we headed to the Danube and walked along the river towards the Parliment building.

The Parliment building is a must see for anyone visiting Budapest. While it’s definitely worth going to see it up close, my favourite view of it is from on the river!

The main reason we headed to towards the Parliment was to see the Shoes on the Danube. I would highly suggest you take time to see the memorial if you’re ever in the city.

The memorial was built to remember those that were lined up along the bank, ordered to strip naked and then shot dead into the river between 1944 to 1945.

It was a horrific part of the Holocaust and the memorial is suitably moving. 60 iron shoes of different sizes represent the men, women, and children who were killed for simply being born into a certain religion or family.

After spending some time at the memorial we then headed back the way we can, along the river, to Chain Bridge.

One of the most iconic bridges in Budapest it offers incredible views of the city as you head from Buda to Pest or vice versa.

Once we reached the other side of the bridge we were right in front of the Buda Castle.

No trip to Budapest is complete with a visit to the castle and nearby Fisherman’s Bastion.

There are several ways to get up to the castle. There’s a funicular that runs from bottom to top as well as different companies that offer hop-on-hop-off trips. We opted for the cheapest route, walking. The walk to the top wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be and was definitely worth the money we saved.

We spent some time wandering around the outside at castle, up towards fisherman’s bastion and in the area surrounding both. And of course, I made the most of the incredible views over the city with plenty of photos!

Having shown Mark most of the main sites, the afternoon was then spent watching football in a pub.  And then heading back to relax at the hostel.

That evening we decided to head to Karavan Street Food next to Szimpla for some of the best food I had all trip.

Located down what looks like a side street Karavan has several different stalls offering a variety of street food. They have everything from Italian and Mexican to the more traditional Hungarian langos and even a vegan only stall. As well as a bar to grab a drink.

I opted for a chicken langos burger which was actual heaven! You absolutely have to try langos at some point while in Budapest so why not combine it with a burger? Langos is a form of fried bread usually topped with sour cream and cheese. Add in a fresh, perfectly cooked burger and there is nothing better. The burger cost me 1550 HUF which is about £4.40.

Mark decided that the Hungarian option wasn’t for him and went for a Mexican Chimichanga. And I’m told this was also very very good and cost just 1400 HUF, roughly £4.

We washed our meals down with a beer for 750 HUF each (£2.20), and just enjoyed the atmosphere in Karavan. The place is decorated in lights and was already pretty buzzing when we went at about 7. Karavan is 100% worth a visit for very good, cheap food, particularly when you can combine it with a night in Szimpla.

Although we didn’t spend long in Budapest if reminded me just how much I love the city. If you’re planning a trip I would definitely recommend staying for three or four days. But if you are short on time we managed to pack a lot of the big sights into just one day.

Make sure to subscribe if you want to know what else we got up to on our interrail journey. I’m also planning another Budapest best so make sure to keep an eye out for that.

All my love,



Learn how to spend 36 hours in Budapest. Including what to do, what to eat and drink, and what are the must see sights. Perfect for any budget.
Learn how to spend 36 hours in Budapest. Including what to do, what to eat and drink, and what are the must see sights. Perfect for any budget.

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