Day 1 in Budapest
Arrive at the train station in Budapest and proceed to your hotel. Should you desire, we offer private transfers where a representative will meet you at the train station and transfer you to your hotel. (Click on Hotel Transportation in the Booking Process.) Check into your hotel and enjoy a relaxing bite to eat at the famous Gerbeaud coffeehouse, opened in 1858.
This afternoon we recommend that you purchase one of our optional tours to acquaint yourself with the city. The 'Full Day City Circle Hop On Hop Off Tour' stops at five different landmarks around the city, allowing you to explore Budapest at your leisure. Also popular is the 'Hop on Hop off - Sightseeing Cruise on the Danube' where you can relax and admire the panorama of the city, including the imposing Parliament building (the second largest in Europe after Westminster), from the beautiful Blue Danube.
This evening, mingle with the locals. Enjoy a traditional meal of Hungarian goulash and chicken paprikash before heading out to a local bar or club. Budapest has many lively nightlife possibilities to suit every taste; just remember the bar and club scene starts late and lasts until morning. On the other hand, Budapest is a cosmopolitan city with a remarkable variety of cultural events. It is home to one of Europe's finest opera houses and you won't regret seeing its splendors up close whether it be an opera, ballet or theater performance. We also recommend the program of Hungarian dancing accompanied by a Gypsy orchestra at the Municipal Cultural House.
Day 2 in Budapest
This morning we recommend that you purchase our optional tour 'Budapest Absolute: All in One Walking Tour'. The tour begins at the Opera House with a short ride by Millennium metro (the first underground metro line in continental Europe) to reach Heroes' Square and City Park. Afterwards there is a visit of the Vajdahynyad Castle complex followed by a stop at the Szechenyi bath house where the guide will explain about Hungarian bath culture. Continuing on, you will see the areas of Deak Square, Elizabeth Square and St Stephen's Basilica before taking a break in a cafe for a taste of Hungary's pastry called 'retes,' which is a strudel. Following a short stroll along the Vaci pedestrian street and Vorsomarthy Square, you will head down to Danube Promenade for spectacular views of Gellert hill and Citadel, Buda Hill and the Buda Castle district. After a brief stop at the former municipal hall you will cross the famous Chain Bridge. Then you will climb up the stairs into the Buda Castle district to see the Royal Palace, Matthias church and Fisherman's Bastion.
From Fisherman's Bastion, sip a glass of wine as you watch the sun set over Pest. Wander through the old cobbled stone streets while you wait for darkness to fall - the views of Parliament and the Chain Bridge illuminated at night are absolutely breathtaking!
Day 3 in Budapest
Budapest is home to many museums, including the Ethnographical Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hungarian National Gallery. An afternoon in the Jewish district (District VII) will not disappoint. The Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest in Europe and the more humble Rumbach Synagogue is right around the corner. A trip to the Central Market Hall is not only a good place to pick up souvenirs, but also a fun place for people watching. The balcony overlooking the whole market is an experience you should not miss.
These days most people have forgotten that the city was once filled with statues to Lenin, Marx and other representations of the Communist era. In the aftermath of 1989, a plan was conceived for an outdoor museum, Memento Park, for these unwelcome reminders of those difficult times. Besides the 42 statues, you will find a lot of symbolism and metaphors for the ugly realities of Communism.
This evening, we suggest a trip to the Szechenyi bath house (or Gellért Baths) for some well deserved rest and relaxation. What better way to end your stay than soaking in the history and culture of this amazing city?
Additional Days in Budapest
Should you be able to spend additional days in Budapest, then try a day trip outside of the city to experience even more of the rich history and culture of Hungary. We suggest our optional tour 'Szentendre Tour Half Day', which will take you to the picturesque artists' village of Szentendre where you will visit the magnificent Caprice Hungarian Jewellery Center. The 'Danube Bend Tour' is an excursion into Hungary's history. You will be taken to Visegrad, the former Royal Residence and to Esztergom, center of the Catholic Church. On the 'Herend and Lake Balaton Tour' you will have a guided tour through the world's largest porcelain factory (founded in 1826), followed by coffee at the Porcelanium and the possibility of some shopping before driving to the country's oldest spa, Balatonfured.
Your Last Day in Budapest
Depart your hotel for the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer, if so a representative will meet you at the hotel, in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.