Recently, I took a trip to Vienna (see details here), and one day I felt adventurous and took a day trip to Budapest. All in one day you can hop on a bus from Vienna, drive through the countryside of Hungary and reach Budapest in just under 3 hours, tour the city for 4-5 hours and be back in Vienna by dinnertime. It was such a wonderful experience (albeit one long day!), one that no traveler should miss out on! Here are 5 things not to miss when taking a day trip to Budapest.
How to Get to Budapest from Vienna
The best way to travel from Vienna to Budapest for a day trip is to book your trip through a tour company. The tour company will provide bus transportation between Vienna and Budapest and also provide a tour guide and transportation while in Budapest. I booked my trip through Vienna Sightseeing and had a great experience with them. I suggest booking in advance and don't forget your passport on the day of the trip, as they will refuse people to get on the bus without one (this actually did happen to a few travelers on my trip)!
5 Things Not to Miss in Budapest
Through the tour operator, travelers are brought to many of the top sights on the Buda and Pest districts of the city and travelers are also brought to a traditional Hungarian restaurant for lunch. During the afternoon, travelers do get the opportunity to explore on their own for a few hours. Here are 5 of the top things not to miss out on.
Walk Across the Chain Bridge
Opened in 1849, the Chain Bridge spans the Danube River (375 meters) and connects the districts of Buda and Pest. The bridge reminded me a lot of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, but on a much smaller scale. I loved all of the intricate detailing on the bridge, especially the bronze lions on either end of the bridge. It is a great place to see both ends of the city and a great spot to take pictures!
After walking along the Chain Bridge, head up to the Castle District on the Buda side for some great photo opportunities. I wanted to take some more time in this area during my free time from the tour as we didn't get a lot of time to take in all there is to see in this area during the tour. This is by far the best place to see the city's panoramic views. Also, don't miss out on visiting St. Mathias Church in the center of the Castle District.
While in the Castle District, make sure to save an hour to shop for souvenirs for your family and friends! There are a few shops in the Castle District, which are more reasonably priced than those in the downtown area. Make sure not to miss the Hungarian Paprika and the beautiful embroidery!
Walk back across the Chain Bridge, and head toward the Parliament building which is located on the Danube. It is a very large building and can't be missed! It is a beautiful structure and is very photogenic!
Walk Along the Danube
Head back towards the Chain Bridge along the Danube. There is a nice walking trail right along the river which is very picturesque. This photo above is one of my favorite things I saw along my walk.
For more information about Budapest and what places to see and things to do, check out the Budapest City Guide.