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dave.livelsberger

24 Hours in Budapest - Where to Stay?

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My wife Kathy and I are on the Viking Grand European Tour Budapest to Amsterdam in May 2020. We want to arrive in Budapest one day before we embark on our Viking ship. I would appreciate any hotel recommendations for Budapest. Our hope is to be centrally located where we can walk by the major attractions, eat a good Hungarian dinner, and be relatively close to the Viking River Cruise Port. Viking recommends the Budapest Hilton. The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace is close the Viking River Cruise Port, but I don't know how close it is to the major attractions. Thank you in advance for your help. We look forward to reading your recommendations.

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We've stayed at the Four Seasons and also at the Aria on two recent trips and absolutely loved both, both in terms of the location and everything else about them. We also stayed our last night on one trip at the Hotel Palazzo Zichy and really enjoyed it as well. There are many great hotels to choose from depending on your budget and it's easy to get around no matter where you stay.

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There are a lot of things to see in Budapest, and obviously, it is impossible for a hotel to be close to all of them, but compared to most US cities, Budapest is rather compact, so nothing is "too far."  First thing you want to do is to identify those attractions you want to be close to, then pick a hotel that is located conveniently to them.

We stayed at the Marriott, on the Pest waterfront, close to the Spring/Easter Market, some of the shops, and a short tram ride to the Parliament/Chain Bridge.  We enjoyed the stay there.  I'm not sure which Hilton is recommended by Viking, but there are two in Budapest.  The one on the Buda side is practically adjacent to Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion, in the old part of town.  The "City" Hilton on the Pest side is by the train station, somewhat removed from the river and perhaps not as conveniently located for walking to some of the sights.  Four seasons is close to Chain Bridge/Parliament.

I would look at the map and decide on your own.

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The Four Seasons is great. You can take the #16 bus from the square right in front, across the river and up Castle Hill to St. Mathias Church and Fisherman's Bastion. Then walk back over to the Castle, tour there, and take the funicular down the hill if you don't want to walk. You'll be back at the Chain Bridge, so you can walk across, and back to the Four Seasons.

 

On the same side of the river, you're a short walk from St. Stephen's (restaurants galore along the way) and one tram stop or a leisurely riverside stroll from Parliament. That will be more than enough to occupy 24 hours. I think that location is perfect. We spent 2 nights there and saw more than what I describe above but unless you travel at supersonic speed you won't need more suggestions.

 

The first part of this trip report details what we did in Budapest, if you want more ideas. Is there any way you can squeeze in one extra day? There is so much to do here.

 

 

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One other note: We found it was easy enough to find our way around for the most part, but on our second trip we wanted to see things that we missed. We spent an entire day, including lunch at the market, with Adam from Behind Budapest and I can't recommend him highly enough. He was one of the best guides we have had anywhere in the world, and he took us everywhere using public transportation. It was an incredible and unforgettable day - despite cold weather and snow flurries! http://behindbudapest.hu/en/

 

Something you might want to consider since your time is so limited...

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We also stayed at the Aria - wonderful location & great hotel! It is very easy to get around Budapest - we utilized the metro & trams as well as our feet. Amazing city with much to see.

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I second the recommendation for the Pallazo Zichy.  Wonderful staff, beautiful room and while not as convenient   to the river as the 4 Seasons the reduction in price more than made up for the distance. 

 

I suspect your cruise includes a tour of the city. If that’s the case and you can find out what is included then you can make sure to visit other sights.  I highly recommend a visit to the incredible market - we actually did an independent tour and cooking class that was great!  We had two days post cruise in Budapest and on our other day, we visited Parliament and the Spy Museum followed by an afternoon at the Baths.  If I had it to do over would have spend more time at the Baths! 

 

Have a great visit to one of my favorite cities and a wonderful cruise! 

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We stayed at the top of the hill near the castle at the Hilton....

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For ease of getting around the city, I would recommend staying on the Pest side of the river.

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We stayed at the New York Palace and loved it.  (Previously the Boscolo Budapest.)  Very elegant and felt like it was in another era.

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I can highly recommend the Danubius Astoria.  We stayed there during our last visit to Budapest.  The grand style  made us feel like it was 1920 and it was very clean, with excellent breakfast included and a Gipsy band in the dining room in the evening.  Astoria is a hub for all public transportation.  The Metro, (outside the hotel front door and down the stairs, Tram (in the middle of the street in front of the hotel),  City Bus and Hop On/Hop Off Bus(across the street from the hotel), and Trolley (one block from hotel).  Liked it so much I'm staying there again when in Budapest this July (Rate $154/night).

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I third the Hotel Palazzo Zichy! It's on the Pest side and not far from the subway.  We are not spending an extra night post-cruise but our 10 traveling companions have booked it at a great savings over Avalon's hotel additional night pricing!

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We stayed at the Kempinski and have nothing but great things to say.  Room was large and comfortable.  Location was good (about three blocks from the river) and the service was excellent.

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Posted (edited)

I stayed at the Hotel Erzsebet while on a Rick Steves tour.  Well located and reasonably priced.  Not necessarily for someone who has to have an "Americanized" hotel.

 

Peter Polczman would be an excellent guide in Budapest. 

 

www.Budapestyourself.com

 

Be bold and visit the Szechenyi Baths.  You won't regret it.  Be like the locals.

 

 

 

 

Edited by quack2

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Last year, we stayed at Hotel Moments for 3 days before our river cruise.  It was lovely- great location and the restaurant in the hotel was good, too. We were able to get everywhere with public transportation except we took a taxi to the ship.

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On 5/12/2019 at 2:35 PM, Psoque said:

There are a lot of things to see in Budapest, and obviously, it is impossible for a hotel to be close to all of them, but compared to most US cities, Budapest is rather compact, so nothing is "too far."  First thing you want to do is to identify those attractions you want to be close to, then pick a hotel that is located conveniently to them.

We stayed at the Marriott, on the Pest waterfront, close to the Spring/Easter Market, some of the shops, and a short tram ride to the Parliament/Chain Bridge.  We enjoyed the stay there.  I'm not sure which Hilton is recommended by Viking, but there are two in Budapest.  The one on the Buda side is practically adjacent to Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion, in the old part of town.  The "City" Hilton on the Pest side is by the train station, somewhat removed from the river and perhaps not as conveniently located for walking to some of the sights.  Four seasons is close to Chain Bridge/Parliament.

I would look at the map and decide on your own.

We also stayed at the Marriott- good location for us

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I second a recommendation for Hotel Kempinski. The staff was wonderful. The rooms were plenty big and clean. The restaurants were also plentiful in the hotel. It was an easy walk to the river. The hotel is in front of the ferris wheel.  We just finished our cruise on the Amamagna.

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On 5/14/2019 at 2:15 PM, caripoo said:

We stayed at the top of the hill near the castle at the Hilton....

Although we did not stay at this Hilton as we walked past it I thought it would be a great place to stay for its location.  It is really nice up by the castle area.    We did walk down from there to the river ,  it is a very nice and easy walk.  

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I lived in Budapest for 4 years in the late 1990's and have visited a number of times since. My favorite hotels are either the Budapest Hilton (the one on the hill on the Buda side) or the Marriott on the side of the river. Budapest has many things to see and do but it is a relatively easy city to get around with public transport and taxis. 

The advantage of the Hilton is it is up on a hill in Buda with views of the river and the parliament building (depends on your room) but you simply need to walk outside the hotel to Fishermen's Bastion (about 50 yards) to have the best view of the city that you can get. In the same place is Matthias Church which has a lot of history linked to the Austro-Hungarian empire.

You can also visit the Buda Castle which is a short level walk from the hotel. The castle is where the Hungarian kings lived and is now the home to two separate museums the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.

 

If you stay in the Marriott, then the view from the dining rooms or possibly from your own room will be of the river and the above mentioned places (Hilton, Fishermen's Bastion, Matthias Church and of course the magnificent Buda Castle).

You could easily visit the spectacular Parliament Building, ride the historic tram route number 2 along the river for some great sights, or simply wander the streets but remember to look up at the buildings to see the different architecture on the upper floors. Depending on your preferences, the Great Market Hall in Budapest is also worth a visit, it is on the Pest side which is a 20 minute walk along the river from the Marriott or use the historic tram route 2.

 

The above mentioned hotels are not for the budget conscious but they are great places to stay in the city, and 24 hours is not enough to enjoy this great city.

 

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On 6/1/2019 at 2:18 PM, rzmz89 said:

I second a recommendation for Hotel Kempinski. The staff was wonderful. The rooms were plenty big and clean. The restaurants were also plentiful in the hotel. It was an easy walk to the river. The hotel is in front of the ferris wheel.  We just finished our cruise on the Amamagna.

 Rzmz89, I see you just got off the AMA Magna. I'll be doing the same river cruise next month. Since it's a brand new boat, there isn't  a lot of info on it yet.  Anything good or bad that stood out to you? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Sue

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On 6/9/2019 at 7:40 AM, Sadie Lady said:

 Rzmz89, I see you just got off the AMA Magna. I'll be doing the same river cruise next month. Since it's a brand new boat, there isn't  a lot of info on it yet.  Anything good or bad that stood out to you? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Sue

The ship is beautiful and much bigger than other river boats. The staff are superb and very friendly. The main dining is also bigger and there are more smaller tables for four and two people. The chef's table is in the lower level so it is darker and no views like the other rooms. The food is superb. Jimmy's is also in the lower level. Family style so it is different. The good thing at the restaurant is that you get to taste everything on the menu because they bring it out family style. The entertainment is also more, there are local singers and there is a DJ in the evening. 

The shore excursions are all good. We did more the active excursions, like the castle hike,etc. We loved the ship and the cruise. Let me know if there is something specific you want to know. Have a great time.

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We stayed a week up at the Hilton on the hill close to Fisherman's Bastion; it's built into an ancient building.  Loved it.  The open-top tourist bus came right by, so we were able to go see all the sights and hop off whenever we wanted.  I do a lot of research on trips.  We ended up at Hiltons in Prague and Budapest because the language was not sticking in my mind at all, I couldn't remember details of hotels more than 2 minutes.  I had avoided Hiltons for years because they are all so stark and ugly.  But after experiencing the Hilton staff, we became hooked.  Hilton has gotta have the best training program in the world.  

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We stayed at an Airbnb apartment that was walking distance from where the cruise ships dock. AirBNBs are incredibly inexpensive in Budapest, and it can be nice to have a kitchen. 

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22 hours ago, Burry said:

We stayed at an Airbnb apartment that was walking distance from where the cruise ships dock. AirBNBs are incredibly inexpensive in Budapest, and it can be nice to have a kitchen. 

 

Can you tell us which Airbnb you stayed at?

We are looking at some for our trip.

Wife said - as long as it is clean.

 

Stan

 

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