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This post will share how to spend 24 hours in Budapest, Hungary

For my 19th country, I decided to head down to Budapest in Hungary, which has been on my travel list forever.

This year, I decided to explore more of Central Europe and started with a trip to Vienna.

While I love my annual trips to Belgium and Italy, I figured it was time to venture out of Western Europe.

As a Black woman travelling solo, I feel a lot safer in Southern and Western Europe for obvious reasons.

So, steering towards the opposite direction poses a challenge, but I’ve decided to face it head-on.

The worst that will happen is the stares, and no one ever died from being stared at.

I figured as long as I’m not physically attacked for my skin colour, I should mostly be fine.

While Vienna proved slightly hostile and unwelcoming, Budapest was quite the opposite.

Granted, I was a bit tense from the get-go, but for some reason, that tension began to ease away after a few hours.

Maybe it was because everyone I spoke to happily replied in English; I’m not quite sure.

Despite the chilling weather, the friendliness of the locals could pass for a Western European country.

This immediately made me feel even more comfortable, meaning I made a mental note to return.

While I had little time to explore the city, I tried to make the best of my little time.

Here’s How To Spend 24 Hours In Budapest On A Budget

Hungary is a Central European country, with its capital, Budapest, one of the capital cities that sit along the banks of the River Danube.

I’ve been curious about this second-longest river in Europe that runs through ten countries since my trip to Vienna earlier in the year.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the best part of the river, the Danube Bend is actually in Budapest.

So, for the first time in my solo travel journey, I regretted not allocating enough time to this trip.

Aside from all the city has to offer, I also needed extra time to explore the towns around the Danube Bend.

To top it all off, I needed more time to explore Sturovo, a bordering Slovakian town opposite the Hungarian city of Esztergom.

With all this, the ideal time needed is between three to four full days in the Spring or Summer.

Unfortunately, I only had 24 hours, and while I was incredibly tempted to do everything, including a quick short trip to Sturovo, I tried not to overexert myself.

How To Maximise Limited Time To See Attractions

While I love exploring new countries on foot, sometimes there’s not enough time to do so without burning out.

Also, I realised all the time and energy spent walking about could be used to see more attractions.

So, if it is not a small city with all the attractions centrally located, your best bet is to take public transport.

This way, you could hit more stops with less energy.

Now, if you have even more limited time between 12 to 24 hours, jumping on a Hop On Hop Off Bus is the best and most practical option.

Yes, I know you’ll probably save money exploring the attractions with public transport, but in this case, time is money.

You don’t have the luxury of time, so you have to spend the money.

These tour buses also come in super handy in the colder months.

In the case of Budapest, there are a ton of companies offering Daytime & nighttime River Danube cruises.

So the best bang for your buck is to book a bundle package with a Hop On Hop Off Bus, as they also offer free River cruises.

Before going forward with the must-see attractions in Budapest, here are a few other details that went into planning the trip.


Return: £128.69 ~ €147.56

I took an 8:20 am Ryanair flight. As it was one of the day’s earlier flights, there were few to no delays.

The flight time from Manchester was almost three hours.

After landing, Passport Control went super fast despite the small crowd, which was a far cry from my experience in Faro Airport last month.

Airport Transfer

One way: 2200HUF ~ €5.83

After landing, it was time to go to the city centre.

Just outside the Arrivals terminal are two Airport shuttle buses: 100E and 200E.

Google Maps directed me to take the 100E bus, as it was a five-minute walk to my hotel.

Before that, I had downloaded the official public transport app, Budapest Go, so I bought a single shuttle bus ticket for 2200 HUF.

So that you know, there are ticket inspectors, ensure you buy a ticket jet before boarding the bus.

If you don’t want to download the app, there’s a vending machine at the bus stop.


Two nights: €117.17

While trying to book a place to stay for two nights, I realized how incredibly affordable Budapest hotels were.

I saw a cheap hostel for £9 per night, which wasn’t half bad.

With that in mind, I decided to splurge a little by getting a single room.

After searching Booking.com and reading reviews on Google, I finally chose the Leo Boutique Rooms.

I found the hotel on Booking but booked directly on their website as I could save some coins and get extra perks like free late checkout.

While I was taking my sweet time to book, the single room sold out, and I had to settle for a double room.

I was so sad as it was about £79 for both nights.

Hotel Review

  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do

Leo Boutique Rooms is probably the most unique hotel I’ve ever stayed in date.

It’s a selection of hotel rooms on the second floor of a four-storey residential building.

At first impression, the building and the whole setup throw you off.

But thankfully, the booking process was seamless as you are sent access codes to the entrance via email.

Everything screams historic, dated and traditional, from the exterior to the lift.

But then you step inside the hotel itself, and it transforms magically.

The decor, from the reception down to the rooms, is tasteful and exquisite, giving you a taste of the traditional Hungarian interior.

The rooms are clean and well maintained with every essential you’ll need, from a mini fridge to a coffee machine and electric kettle.

Despite being small, it is well-equipped with everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay without compromising the decor.

This is one of the best hotels I’ve stayed in, and just like my favourite hostel in Brussels, I’ll be returning.


24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do

It’s super easy to move around Budapest via public transport.

Most of the attractions are scattered around the city centre.

While you can get by on foot, I recommend getting the Budapest Go app for those longer journeys or when you’re tired of walking.

If you don’t want to commit to a 24-hour bus pass, buy single or time-based tickets for 450 HUF each, around £1.19.

To save money, instead of buying the 1 Day Hop On Hop Off ticket for €25+, buy the 24H Budapest travel card for 2500 HUF, which is around €6.

Then, go to the website and follow their route using public transport.

That’s the fastest way to hack a day trip.

Must-See Attractions If You’re Spending 24 Hours In Budapest

You’ll be happy to know that Budapest isn’t one of those cities you can skim through in 24 hours.

Like Rome, it is one of those historic cities with layers.

You need a few days to explore, if not a week, properly.

That being said, you can see the main sights in 24 hours.

  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do
  • 24 Hours In Budapest, Hungary: What To See & Do

These include:

  • St. Stephen’s Basilica: The largest religious building in Hungary, named after the founding King, houses the mummified ‘Holy Right Hand,’ one of the country’s most important relics from the 19th century.
  • The Szechenyi Chain Bridge: Budapest’s first permanent bridge over the Danube River connecting Buda to Pest.
  • Dohany Street Synagogue: The second-largest synagogue in the world and Europe’s largest, which commemorates the 10,000 Hungarian Jewish soldiers who died while serving their homeland during the First World War.
  • Heroes’s Square: A UNESCO World Heritage Site with iconic statues, the largest Square in Budapest.
  • Margaret Bridge: Budapest’s second permanent bridge over the Danube River, whose construction started twenty years after the Chain Bridge. You can also access Magaret Island, which sits in the middle of the Danube through the bridge.
  • The Hungarian Parliament: The iconic 19th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site, which sits on the banks of the Danube and is a vision to watch at night.
  • Citadella: Another 19th-century UNESCO World Heritage Site with an unmissable Statue of Liberty on the Budapest Skyline.
  • Buda Castle: A medieval royal residence which houses the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the National Széchényi Library.


To maximize your 24 hours in Budapest, I recommend you get a bundle package with a Hop On Hop Off Bus in the daytime and take the nighttime cruise along the Danube.

If you’re on a budget and have to pick one activity in Budapest, I recommend the Nighttime Sightseeing Cruise.

In conclusion, I can only say Budapest is the city it thinks it is.

It’s stunning and packed with tons of activities to keep you busy.

While 24 hours in the city is doable, I recommend you plan to return as you wouldn’t want to leave.

It’s been a while since a city has impressed me, and I’m so glad I finally made this trip.