Once you choose Budapest, Hungary as your destination or part of your round tour, the question is ‘How long should I stay in Budapest?’ ‘How many days is it worth staying in Budapest, Hungary?’
It is not easy to answer the question how many days you need to get the most out of Budapest without knowing your priorities, so let’s see how long you need to stay to get some good time in the city. First of all, don’t spend only 1 or 2 days in Budapest: if you do, you will feel you really need to come back for more as you have seen much too little, not even half of what you really would have been interested in. A weekend Budapest holiday is probably enough to rush through some of the Top Attractions of Budapest.
Approx. 3 full days would be needed to cover the Top Ten Things to Do in Budapest activity list, which is just the most popular top ten list, without touching the mid tier sights and places, let alone the secret hidden gems of Budapest.
Many tourists who scheduled only 1 or 2 days for their Budapest visit as part of their European or Eastern European round tour felt that they should have allotted more time to get to know Budapest better – at an affordable price.
“I once spent 10 days there, though in that time we took a weekend trip to Vienna. Hence, we really spent only 8 days. That is plenty. Three days will give you a good taste but will not exhaust all there is to see and do. ” (tourist review on Fodor’s travel guide)
“I just got back and I’d say no more than 3 nights. The city isn’t big. I was actually surprised how small it was compared to what I read and heard. I found Prague a much more beautiful city with more upbeat people. Many of the locals are actually quite depressing. 3 days should be enough to see and do everything you want to do.” (tourist from Buenos Aires on TripAdvisor travel guide)
“Minimum 3 days in the city plus time for whatever day trips your want. (Great walking city – both sides as long as you’re up for somewhat of a climb (streets or hiking) on the castle side. Great cafes, shopping, strolling and restaurants – some truly incredibly kitsch.” (tourist review on Fodor’s travel guide)
“The first time I visited Budapest in September 2004 I was there for 2 days and immediately wished I could have stayed for longer. It is a beautiful city and is easy to travel on foot, bus, boat and tram. I packed a lot in my 2 days there, strictly within the city core as thats all I had time for. The next visit was in May 2005 for 5 days. This time I was familiar with the city from the previous visit and so I was more relaxed, took my time to stop and savour everything as I had the time to do so (the parks, the food, the galleries, the museums, the coffee houses, the Opera, etc.) and ventured further afield from the central core of the city. Really wonderful. The third visit was last year – November 2006 for another 5 days.” (tourist review on Fodor’s travel guide)
Locals like us would probably suggest staying for at least 5 days, especially if you want to enjoy some nice trips to the countryside to taste Hungarian wines and authentic cuisine or to take a dip in Lake Balaton while enjoying the Balaton Sound Festival, etc. Budapest is also a good base to stay at if you want to take a look around Prague or Vienna or Krakow or Zagreb in a shorter visit.
Budapest, with all its amazing attractions and sights, fantastic 19th century architecture, superb pampering thermal baths, good markets and shops, wine tours and walking tours, several parks (Margaret Island, the City Park, the hills on the Buda side), bustling night life (pubs, concerts, theatres), etc. are truly worth minimum 3 days. More if you have the time and budget. Even then, you probably won’t feel full though.
Sometimes visitors schedule a 2-day Budapest – Prague, or a speedy Budapest – Vienna tour. You won’t be able to enjoy either Budapest or Prague in just one day, but even a short visit might be a good appetizer to come back and want more. :) Lots and lots of things to see, feel, hear, smell, eat, meet, and in general, enjoy to its full brim. TopBudapest.org recommends min 3 days in Budapest, and we venture to predict that you will still want to come back.