Budapest itinerary – day 1

Budapest 5-day itinerary script itinerary Margaret Island

Like I told in this post, I went to Budapest in the beginning of March 2020 for 5 days (one of them I went to Bratislava by train 🚆). Now, I will describe in detail, the itinerary I did on the first day in this city, capital of Hungary 🇭🇺.

On this day, we woke up very early because the flight was at 7.15h and we wanted to arrive at the airport an hour and a half in advance. We were afraid that there would be confusion and strict rules because of COVID-19. When I got ready, I decided to go well wrapped up because I knew it was going to be very cold 🥶 in Budapest (pantyhose and thermal sweater under my clothes).

Parking at the airport

We went to the airport by car 🚘 and parked in a nearby park called Parking4You. For 5 days (the duration of the trip) we pay 30€ for a covered park (6€ per day). In my opinion, for a few days of travel, it pays off to leave the car parked near the airport instead of using Uber or taxi. Making the reservation is very easy: you have to go to their website, set the day and time of entry and exit, place the model and the car license plate, as well as other personal information such as the citizen card number. The payment is only made at the end, when the car is picked up.

On the airport

As it was a Ryanair flight, check-in was already done. Although we were afraid (because of COVID-19), passing through the security was very calm and there were no queue. Before boarding, we had breakfast at a coffee shop at the airport (a cappuccino ☕ and a croissant with ham and cheese 🥐) and I bought a bottle of water (for me it’s essential to buy water to drink during the flight!).

The flight

The flight ✈️ wasn’t delayed and went without any unforeseen. One thing I was very surprised about was that, unlike the usual for Ryanair, the flight wasn’t with the maximum capacity. The flight duration was 3 hours and 25 minutes and taking into account the legroom, it’s boring to be on the flight for so long. I tried to get some rest, play on the mobile phone and read a book 📖. In the middle of the flight we ate some dry fruits and cookies that we had brought from home.

The arrival in Budapest

We arrived in Budapest at the scheduled time (11.40h) and it was raining a little 🌧️. After landing, we had to walk a little in the rain until we entered the Budapest Fernc Liszt International Airport. Although Hungary belongs to the European Union 🇪🇺, it doesn’t use the euro as the official currency but it’s preparing to do so (at least, that’s what it says on the European Union website). Because of this, our main goal was to withdraw money in Hungarian currency: the Hungarian forint. It was quite easy because there were several ATM machines at the airport. We chose to use Revolut to pay and withdraw money during this trip to avoid having bank fees (First time using Revolut? Click here to have a free card!).

Transfer from the airport to the center

Before going to Budapest, I had already researched the best (and cheapest) way to get to the center from the airport. We went outside the airport, followed the signs to the bus stop area and there, we found the machines to buy the transfer tickets (Bus 100E). Each ticket was 900 HUF (almost 3€) and the machine allowed payments in cash or by card. The trip to Kalvin Tér M, the nearest stop to the hotel, took 40 minutes and it was hard to take… the bus was full and it was very hot 🥵 inside!

The Hotel

When we arrived at the bus stop, we used Google Maps 🗺️  to find our way to the hotel (just about 7 minute walk). We stayed at the Three Corner Hotel Anna *** Superior, a hotel very well located and with a great quality / cost. The checkin process was very fast, we just had to show the citizen cards, fill out some documents and make the payment. Only one of the rooms was ready so we left all our bags in that room and, at the end of the day, we went to get the key to the other.

Lunch at an Italian restaurant

After we left the hotel, we wanted to have lunch before starting the itinerary we had planned for the afternoon. We looked on TripAdvisor for a nearby restaurant and ended up going to Il Terzo Cerchio, an Italian restaurant. Each one of us ate a pizza 🍕 and they were very good and tasty. When we entered the restaurant it was raining a little but when we left it no longer was! Yeahhhhh!

Margaret Island

After lunch, we took the bus to the northernmost tip of the Margaret Island (near the Árpád Bridge). It was from there that we visited this island for most of the afternoon. Margaret Island is an island in the middle of the Danube, 2.5km long and 500 meters wide. The island is mostly covered by green parks 🌳 but it also has a lot of history with all the medieval ruins that are still possible to visit. There is even a mini zoo with several animals! We visited the Musical Fountain, the Japan garden, the rose garden, the water tower, the Dominican convent and a lot of other things. If you want to know more about the Margaret Island and all the attractions that we visited, read here.

Margaret Bridge and Budapest Olympic Park Monument

After passing through the island from one side to another by foot, we arrived at Margaret Bridge, a bridge constructed between 1872 and 1876 and designed by a French engineer called Ernest Gouin. This bridge was the second permanent in Budapest, connecting Buda and Pest across the Danube, after Chain Bridge. It was already getting dark and the views from the Margaret Bridge to the Budapest Parliament gave incredible photos 📸! Afterwards, we stopped at McDonald’s to go to the bathroom and have a hot cappuccino to warm up a little (it was cold!). Then, we continued our journey in the Budapest Olympic Park Monument that is essentially a work of art with the Olympic rings painted in the colors of the Hungarian flag of red, white and green.

Budapest 5-day itinerary script itinerary Margaret Island Panoramic

Shoes on the Danube bank and Budapest Parliament

Close to the Budapest Olympic Park Monument, there are the Shoes on the Danube bank, created in 2005 to honour the Jews who were killed during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away (so sad 😥). After that we walked to the Budapest Parliament, the biggest icon of the city and one of the largest parliaments in the world.

Dinner at Mazel Tov

After finishing the planned itinerary for the day, we went to the hotel to take a shower and then we went out to dinner at Mazel Tov. This restaurant is a wildly popular ruin bar/restaurant in the Jewish Quarter and it’s awesome! The atmosphere and the food are excellent. Then we went back to the hotel because we were tired because we had woken up early.

This was our first day in Budapest, hope you had liked it! I will now leave you the map with all the points that I have listed in this post. If you want to keep up with the new blog posts, follow me on instagram because I always announce there. Soon, the itineraries of the other days I spent in Budapest will be published.

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