Budapest – suggested day 2 itinerary


Day 2 – suggested day itinerary in Budapest

This day itinerary for Budapest includes a visit to Parliament, a few museum suggestions, shopping, and the Opera House.

To see more photographs of Budapest, Hungary including the Parliament building and more, click here for Monica Goslin Photography


1 – Parliament in Budapest

The Parliament building in Budapest is remarkable in size and stunning in architecture. The Parliament building dominates the river skyline. Construction of the Parliament building in Budapest started in 1885 and was completed in 1904; the architect Imre Steindl who sadly went blind before the completion of building designed it. The Budapest Parliament is designed in the Gothic Revival style and has a symmetrical façade which extends into the interior, so there are two identical parliament halls, one is now used for guided tours and the other for government offices and meetings. There are over 600 rooms in the Parliament buildings, including over 200 offices, 29 staircases, 10 courtyards, and 13 elevators; plus there are over 240 sculptures outside and inside the building.

The guided tours of Parliament in Budapest take you up the main staircase, to see the Holy Crown of Hungary and the dome, and through some hallways to an assembly hall. When visiting Budapest, I would say having a guided tour of Parliament is a must because the building is absolutely stunning and not something you will forget. There are so many details, so many paintings, patterns, and artistry in the Parliament building to appreciate!

*Tours only for Parliament –Get there early to stand in line to right of parking lot. Bring your passport to show the guard. One person from each group goes in to arrange the tour time – each tour is based on a different language group (English, German, Spanish are common languages). If you won’t make the specific language tour, just join any group so you can see the building! Tours last about one hour.

-Fun Fact- The story of the Holy Crown of Hungary – The crown of Saint Stephens was the coronation crown, and used to coronate more than fifty kings. It is unclear when the crown was created, but it is suspected to date back to the 11th century! A notable feature of the crown is the slanted cross which is likely to have been added to the crown in the 16th century and is thought to have bent when placed in a box with a lid that was not tall enough. The tour guide will tell you that no one wanted to fix the crown, fearful of damaging it further. The Holy Crown of Hungary has been on display in the Hungarian Parliament building in the central Domed Hall since 2000 and is under constant watch by two guards.


2 – Ethnographic Museum

The Ethnographic Museum is across from Parliament and houses exhibitions of Hungarian traditional costumes, pottery, jewelry, textiles and more. It is an excellent museum that I highly recommend if you are interested in cultural artifacts and folk culture. Plus the Ethnographic Museum in Budapest has a wonderful museum store!

Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10-6 (closed Mondays) and tickets cost 1400 HUF (price as of summer 2012).


3 – Suggestion of coffee at House of Hungarian Art Nouveau museum café – located on Honved Street near Szabadsaf ter plaza. This is a funny little “museum” that feels more like a store, crowded with art nouveau furniture, artwork, jewelry, and even more amusing is that items are for sale! If you like Art Nouveau architecture and art, this is fun stop to make and the little café has good coffee and fresh snacks which you can eat at mismatched tables and chairs decorated with old postcards, giving the feel of an Alice and Wonderland set. If you visit the museum it is 1,500 HUF (prices as of summer 2012) for a ticket and the hours are Monday to Saturday 10-5, closed Sunday (hours are for the café as well).


4 – Walk through Szabadsag ter park – note the fountain at one end of the park. The fountain is flat and imbedded in the sidewalk and while it looks like a box outline of water, if you approach the wall of water a section in front of you drops down and you can enter the box!


5 – Walk down Sas St and turn when you see St. Stephen’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic basilica named in honor of Stephen I of Hungary, the first King of Hungary. St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of the tallest buildings in Budapest (96 meters or 315 feet) and took 54 years to construct (completed in 1905) and it is the largest church in Budapest as well, seating about 8500 people. In fact, to this day there is a building regulations law in Budapest, that a building cannot be taller then 96 meters. The basilica is beautifully decorated inside with marble floors and columns, painted ceilings and a large cupola.

*Note-You can go into St. Stephen’s Basilica during services, but stay at the back.


6 – Andrassy Avenue – locals refer to as the Champs Elysees of Budapest

The Andrassy Avenue is a long street in Budapest that links Erzsebet Square with Varosliget (park with Heroes’ Square) and was constructed in the 1870’s. The avenue is lined with mansions and grand buildings, including the Opera house, and beneath this grand avenue is the first underground railway line constructed on the Continent in 1896 making it the second oldest in the world after London’s metro which was built in 1863.

*Get to by walking behind St. Stephen’s, turn right and walk one block to Andrassy Way


7 – Hungarian State Opera house on Andrassy Avenue

The Opera House in Budapest is the largest Opera building in Hungary. The Opera House was completed in 1884, it was renovated in the 1980’s and reopened on September 27, 1984 which was 100 years after the original opening. The horseshoe shape of the theater was ingeniously engineered and said to have the third best acoustics in Europe after La Scala Opera House in Milan and Palais Garnier in Paris! Andrassy Avenue was named a World Heritage Site in   2002. The Opera season in Budapest runs from September to June, however if you miss the season you can go on a guided tour, which is offered in six languages! The Opera house also houses the Hungarian National Ballet.

–      Guided tours for the Opera House in Budapest are at 3 and 4pm; tickets can be purchased at the Opera shop on the right hand side of the building (it is suggested that you buy tickets for the next day).


Budapest – suggested day 1 itinerary


Day 1 in Budapest, Hungary

-Suggested day itinerary for Budapest. If you don’t have many days in Budapest and you want to see the main sites follow this one-day itinerary to see the Chain Bridge and the Castle Hill area.

To see photographs of Budapest, Hungary click here for photos by Monica Goslin that are available as prints.

>> Plus for a travel outfit suggestion, for what to wear in Budapest, click here for blog by Monica Goslin that combines fashion, travel, and design for travelchicbythemonica


1 – Chain Bridge

The Chain Bridge in Budapest has a lot of history; it was the first permanent bridge across the Danube River in Budapest when it opened in 1849. The Chain Bridge was designed by William Tierney Clark, an English engineer; in fact the bridge was designed in sections and shipped from the England to Hungary where it was assembled! William Tierney Clarke also designed the suspension bridge over the Thames River in Marlow, England and there is a plaque on the Pest side of the bridge, commemorating the Chain Bridge as one of two surviving bridge designed by Clark. The Chain Bridge was severely damaged during World War II; and it had to be repaired, reopening in 1949. You can walk across the Chain Bridge, there is a sidewalk on both sides allotted just for pedestrians and safe from traffic, where you will have some of the best views of Budapest!

To read more about the history of the Chain Bridge in Budapest click here.


2 –  Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest across the street from the Chain Bridge. The Gresham Palace is a wonderful example of Art Nouveau architecture with flower details and mosaics on the façade and an elaborate interior, with swirling patterns on the polished floors, stained glass windows, and wrought iron gates. The palace was built in the 1900’s and passed through many stages from being home, office, apartments, and finally bought by the Four Seasons hotel company in 2001.

Visit the official Four Seasons Budapest hotel website here.


3 -Funicular up to the Palace – The funicular up to Castle hill in Budapest was originally built in 1868, opened to the public in 1870, was completely destroyed in World War Two and rebuilt and opened again in 1986. There are two pedestrian bridges that cross above the railway tracks, which are a unique feature.  * Ticket Price for the funicular ride in Budapest: one-way ride is HUF 900  (price as of summer 2012).

Fun Fact – The funicular in Budapest was the second in all of Europe, the only other one at the time in the 1870’s was in Lyon, France!


4 – Matthias Church

Matthias Church was built in the late 14th century in late Gothic style. The church is officially named the Church of Our Lady but is more often referred to as the Matthias Church after the 15th century King Matthias. The church was the site of many coronations and where King Matthias’ two weddings took place. During the 158 years of Turkish occupation of Hungary, the Matthias Church became Budapest’s main mosque and frescos were covered and interior furnishings removed. After the fall of the Turkish occupation, the church was restored to the Baroque style but only regained its full grandeur at the end of the 19th century under architect Frigyes Schulek. The extensive restoration in the 19th century also added a few new elements, which have now become iconic to the church, such as the diamond pattern colored roof tiles. There are many details inside Matthias Church, with every inch of the walls and ceilings painted in colorful patterns and covered in beautiful murals, it is certainly a wonderful site to visit!

*Fun Insider’s Note: The Matthias Church bells can be heard at noon.

You do need to buy a ticket to enter the church, the museum, and the Fisherman’s Bastion. The Matthias Church is actually undergoing extensive renovations now as well, from improved lighting to cleaning murals, to repairing stained-glass windows.

Opening Hours for Tourists for Matthias Church:   Weekdays 9-5….Saturday 9-1…Sunday 1-5

Read more about the history of Matthias Church by clicking here for the official website (the website is available in English, German, and Hungarian.


5 – The Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace and walkway built between 1895 and 1902, around the Matthias Church on Castle Hill in Budapest. The name is due to the fishermen who defended the city walls in this area in the Middle Ages and the seven towers represent the seven tribes that founded Hungary in the 9th century. The neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style of the Fisherman’s Bastion gives it a sandcastle like look and a fairytale book addition to the Castle Hill area.

*Stephen I of Hungary – statue of man on a horse – was the first King of Hungary from 1000-1038 and regarded as the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary.


Where to eat on Castle Hill in Budapest:

Do stop for lunch in one of the various cafes on the side streets and have a typical Hungarian meal. I recommend the Pest-Buda restaurant or café which actually has two locations right down the street from Matthias Church on Fortuna U. street.  Or try the Pierrot Café and Restaurant located away from the mass of tourists at 14 Fortuna street.


6 – Buda Castle and Castle Hill

The Buda Castle and Castle Hill area is a large area with some main sites to see. Buda Castle or Royal Palace history dates back to the late 13th century with numerous reconstruction periods and many key elements redesigned and reconstructed during the 18th century. However in the 1950’s the palace was completely gutted inside and many exterior details were demolished and the remaining facades were simplified. Buda Castle became a home to three museums and the National Library in the 1980’s.


To get to the next destination – walk or take the funi down followed by a tram ride along the river to Gellert Baths and Hotel – tram 47 or 49 from the Deak Ferenc ter or tram 19 from Margaret Bridge

7 – The Gellert Hotel and baths is one of the most recognized baths in Budapest, built in the early 20th century in the Art Nouveau style. You can enter the main entrance and get a glimpse of the main hall and baths and pools on either side. The thermal baths receive water from the Gellert hill’s mineral hot springs.