Budapest Day Trips from Vienna

Ready to get to know Budapest on a guided tour? A popular sword in the Austrian capital about which I tell you all the details below.

Katherine Betances

Katherine Betances

8 min read

Budapest Day Trips from Vienna

Budapest | ©Dominika Gregušová

Budapest is a beautiful city to explore, considered one of the most beautiful capitals in Central Europe; it is no wonder that a trip to this magical destination is one of the most popular excursions from Vienna for tourists and locals alike.

If you have time to explore beyond the Austrian capital, don't hesitate for a second! The proximity between the two cities makes a day trip entirely possible; not to mention that the experience itself is one of the best thingsto do on a trip to Vienna, itinerary permitting.

Other popular destinations in and out of Austria include excursions to Prague, excursions to the Salzburg region (the home of Mozart) and excursions to the Hallstatt region.

1. How to book an excursion to Budapest from Vienna

Getting to know Budapest| ©Dimitris Kamaras
Getting to know Budapest| ©Dimitris Kamaras

The best way to book this type of excursion is to make your reservation online; this will allow you to have your trip completely organized without setting foot outside your residence. On the day scheduled for the adventure you just need to enjoy and relax.

Finding and booking your excursion to Budapest from Vienna can be really simple if you use the services of an excursion provider search engine such as Hellotickets, as the website gathers in a single space some of the best service providers on the web. If you find several alternatives for the same excursion it is necessary to explore carefully the details related to price, duration and facilities...

Once you find the excursion you want to book, the Hello Tickets server guides you through the steps: you must enter the number of participants, your contact information, your accommodation in the city (in case you have booked it) and finally the payment confirmation information to secure the reservation.

Book your tour to Budapest

2. Budapest Excursion Prices

Money in Euros| ©Pixabay
Money in Euros| ©Pixabay

For organized tours departing from Vienna, the tour operators available in the city offer travelers different options with different facilities and of course different price categories.

Group tours to Budapest

In Vienna the most popular option is the group tours to Budapest available in a price range from approximately 130 to 160 Euros per traveler. Round-trip transportation from Vienna to Budapest and an expert historian guide are included, however both resources are shared for the group of travelers participating in the excursion.

Although it could vary a lot depending on the company you choose, this kind of excursions are usually managed in groups of 8 to 10 people approximately. They are usually available in several languages including English, German, Spanish and Italian.

Private tours to Budapest

On the other hand, private excursions have a varied price range that starts at 280€ per participant up to very affordable prices for groups of several people, such as an excursion for 8 travelers whose price is around 1000€.

3. Schedules of the tours

Streets of Budapest| ©Metro Centric
Streets of Budapest| ©Metro Centric

Regularly day tours to Budapest depart from the center of Vienna early in the morning; the intention is to arrive in the city in the morning and be able to enjoy as many attractions as possible.

Keep in mind that this is an aspect that depends mainly on the company you hire for the tour and their travel plan. Group tours usually leave Vienna between 07h and 08h. If your tour does not include hotel pick-up, you will need to calculate the time it will take you to get to the meeting point.

Private tours allow you to coordinate the departure time directly with the tour provider. Regardless of the method you choose, remember that an early departure will allow you to make the most of the day.

4. Duration of the excursions

Budapest by Night| ©Lucas Davies
Budapest by Night| ©Lucas Davies

For a tour to Budapest departing from Vienna you will need to reserve at least one full day of your travel itinerary. Considering the travel time and the city tour the adventure will take about 12 hours of travel time on average; you will leave Vienna early in the morning to return after sunset.

This is due to the distance between the two destinations. The capital of Hungary is located 243 km southeast of Vienna on a road trip that will take at least 2.5 hours. Due to the length of the tour it is recommended mainly for all those travelers who will be in Vienna for three days or a little longer.

5. What am I going to see in this type of excursions?

Buda Castle| ©Dennis Jarvis
Buda Castle| ©Dennis Jarvis

Budapest is a destination rich in architecture and history; you will find that there is a lot to do and see in a quick visit to the city; that is why the companies that organize these tours try to prioritize what is most important so that, in a day trip, you can absorb as much as possible.

Departing from your location in Vienna to the city of Budapest, during the private vehicle tour you will have the opportunity to admire the Hungarian plain and countryside. Once in the city you will visit the most important sights of the capital, with breathtaking views and beautiful scenery from the top of Gellert Hill.

While the itinerary may be modified depending on the company you choose for the experience, most will include visiting the following Budapest highlights: Buda Quarter and Castle, Matias Church, Fisherman's Bastion (with amazing panoramic views of the entire city).

Additionally, you will have free time to explore Budapest's historic center on your own; you can take advantage of this time to visit markets and do some shopping on your own.

6. Is it worth a tour or is it better to visit Budapest on my own?

Group Excursion| ©Jeremy Thompson
Group Excursion| ©Jeremy Thompson

From my experience a guided excursion to Budapest is totally worth it, especially if it is your first time visiting this beautiful destination. However, in a more complete answer you should analyze the ideal circumstances in which it is or is not worth paying for an excursion, especially for the fact that goingto Budapest from Vienna is really easy and transfer options abound.

  • I recommend a guided tour if... your travel itinerary to Vienna is limited to two days or three days and you don't want to spend time organizing the details of a tour with the hassle and time involved in planning.
  • I recommend going on your own to Budapest if... you are looking for a fully customized tour at your own pace, ideal for those travelers who wish to visit other destinations for example.

7. When is the best time to take this tour?

Vienna in Spring| ©Jorge Franganillo
Vienna in Spring| ©Jorge Franganillo

While you can choose to visit Central Europe at any time of the year, you should keep in mind that there are better times, however these will mainly be linked to your particular tastes and what you want to get out of your trip.

  • Vienna in Spring: I personally consider spring as the best time to visit Vienna and its surroundings mainly because of the pleasant temperatures and the lush vegetation.

  • Vienna in Summer: The main advantage of summer is the long days that allow us to enjoy the city for more hours; however, summer is usually the busiest time of the year for tourists.

  • Vienna in Autumn: Autumn is a very good season to visit Vienna, although it starts to get cold the temperatures are pleasant enough to walk the streets without any problem; the same will happen in your day trip to Budapest.

  • Vienna in winter: When it comes to outdoor activities, winter is usually the least convenient time in Central European cities. However, a visit to Budapest for Christmas can be truly unique as a result of the festive atmosphere that permeates the city.

8. The private option of an excursion to Budapest

Pavilion at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna| ©Dimitry Anikin
Pavilion at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna| ©Dimitry Anikin

The main advantage of the private tour is that you can coordinate directly with the tour operator if you want to include a destination or attraction that is not in the original tour plan. If you are visiting Vienna with a group of friends or family the price per individual may well outweigh the price of a private tour due to the accommodating prices offered by most tour operators.

When you have a tight travel itinerary and not much time to fully explore a destination, the accompaniment of an expert guide is the best option to really get to know the city you are going to explore and to make the most of your experience.

You can combine the Budapest tour experience with the best things to do in Vienna and have a truly unique vacation. Excursions to Budapest from Vienna are available in several languages, the most popular options being German, English and Spanish.

9. Tips for an excursion to Budapest

Budapest Metro| ©Zicarlo van Aalderen
Budapest Metro| ©Zicarlo van Aalderen

Getting to know the city of Budapest will be an extraordinary experience for sure, but if you want to get even more out of your trip to this fantastic city take into consideration the following tips.

  • Take cash, many restaurants and small stores do not accept cards. Before your trip take the time to understand the local currency; 1 Euro is equivalent to approximately 370 Hungarian forints.
  • Whether traveling on your own or on a guided tour try to make the most of your trip to see both the Buda and Pest areas of Budapest. It may be helpful to read the itinerary to see Budapest in one day.
  • Budapest is a city a bit dispersed but the Budapest metro works perfectly; I recommend it especially if you make a one-day trip and want to move quickly between destinations. The 4 lines of the Budapest Metro will take you to virtually any destination you want to see.
  • Hungarian food is really delicious and Budapest is the best place to try it because of the variety of options available.
  • Many restaurants and stores are closed on Sundays, so try to avoid sightseeing on that day of the week. Fine dining restaurants are usually closed on Mondays.
  • Budapest's Parliament building, located on the banks of the Danube is arguably the most beautiful building in the city. Even if you don't take theguided tour of the Parliament, you can still take beautiful pictures from the famous Chain Bridge.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is Budapest known for?

    Budapest has historical sights such as the Chain Bridge and Houses of Parliament, Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion, a Gothic-style promontory offering beautiful views of the city, the Hungarian National Opera and the iconic Heroes' Square.

  • Can I visit Budapest in one day?

    One day should be enough to see the most emblematic monuments and buildings. However, Budapest is also known for its nightlife so if you are interested in this aspect of the city you may want to stay more than a single day.

  • Is Budapest divided into two separate cities?

    The Danube separates the city into Buda and Pest, which were actually two different cities until 1873. Today, Buda is the old and photogenic part of the city, while Pest has the modern buildings and nightlife.