Budapest is a city that I have been meaning to travel to for a while. A few years ago I actually had purchased a plane ticket to go there. The night before I was supposed to go, I fell terribly ill. I’m thinking the universe wanted me to go with someone truly special.  The Dutchman and I decided spend 48 hours in Budapest on our way to Vienna. Too short of a time to discover everything of this classically gorgeous city but enough time to leave a great impression.

48 Hours in Budapest View from Hilton Budapest
View from our room at Hilton Budapest

Stay: We stayed at the Hilton Budapest on the Buda side of the city (the city is divided in two areas: Buda and Pest, hence the name).  Our room had the most majestic view as it is located in the historic castle district. The room has a gorgeous view of the Danube, cradled a stone Dominican courtyard and the Parliament building. The view was everything! Tip: make sure to ask for a river view room!  The decor of the hotel was very classic although the hotel is getting ready to undergo a renovation of the rooms. The staff was superb from the front desk to the housekeeping to the hotel bar. One of the things I have learned to appreciate from a hotel is a good breakfast and this hotel had an extensive buffet to get you prepared for a day of sightseeing. Tip: Get a local bus pass at the train station as there is a bus stop next to the hotel that takes you to all the attractions. 

48 Hours in Budapest Chain Bridge
Chain Bridge, Budapest

See:  There is so much to see in Budapest but we had so little time and it was freezing outside!  We braved the cold, bundled up and walked around the Buda Castle which transports you to another era with its golden architecture details, its monuments, and intricate trim.  Although it was cold, we decided to walk across the famous Chain Bridge. The majestic walk across the bridge is culminated by a view of the Gresham Palace, the home of The Four Seasons Hotel. Even if you can’t afford to stay at the hotel, take the time to walk around the lobby of the hotel and have tea.  As we warmed up with tea, we imagined what it would have been like to live in the time of the height of the Austro-Hungarian empire. 

Hungarian Parliament, Budapest

The beautiful view of the Parliament from our room sparked our interest to go for a tour. One of the things I did not plan on was booking a tour ahead of time. We were able to take in the beauty of the building from the outside but we were not able to truly experience it on the inside. I did some research after the fact for you. You can book a tour via Jegymester.  Another experience that we missed but was highly recommended by other friends who have been there is the Gellert Spa. Although we missed two key sights in the city, we loved getting lost in the Buda Castle area, walking by the narrow streets of the city, and being transported to an old world. 

48 Hours in Budapest Christmas Markets
Food at the Budapest Christmas Market

Eat: From hearty goulash to sausages, it’s all about heavy comfort food in Budapest. We were there during the holidays and the Christmas markets were in full swing. See my video tour of the market on my YouTube Channel.  We took advantage of the markets to have lunch there. We had plenty of sausages with potatoes and washed it down with palinka (a traditional Hungarian brandy). Boy was it strong! Although it was very cold that day, I was able to warm up with that shot! We continued our warm up at the lobby of the Four Seasons at the former Gresham Palace. 

48 Hours in Budapest Market
Grand Market Budapest

One thing I love to discover while traveling are markets. It gives you a snapshot on how locals live and eat. The Grand Market of Budapest is a cross between tourists and locals. The bottom floor is lined with vegetable stands, butchers, and baked goods. On the second floor, you enter a maze of stands with everything from hand embroidered Hungarian shirts to souvenirs. As you depart the maze of mugs, tapestries, and fur hats, you encounter small food stands where you can see locals having their after work beer with tourists curious about the local cuisine. 

48 Hours in Budapest Christmas Market
With Palinka in Budapest

Budapest is a city of old world glamour. You can see it in the architecture, in the older women in fur coats, and in the change of the guard in front of the Hungarian Parliament. Although we did not stay long, the hospitality of the Hungarian people stayed in our minds and one day we hope to return for a longer stay and hopefully in warmer weather! Have you spent 48 Hours in Budapest? What was your experience?

48 Hours in Budapest

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