16 Best Day Trips and Tours from Budapest

If you have enough time, I recommend you to visit the surroundings of Budapest. I tell you which are the best getaways

Alex Grande

Alex Grande

16 min read

16 Best Day Trips and Tours from Budapest

The Hungarian Parliament | ©Keith Yahl

Budapest has history, corners and monuments to discover, and hiring a guided tour to visit every corner of the city is undoubtedly one of the essential things to do on your trip to Budapest. With round trip tours in the same day, you can get to know its surroundings, which have even more to offer to the visitor.

1. Three-hour guided tour of Budapest

State Opera House| ©Alistair Young
State Opera House| ©Alistair Young

Since I am a fan of city tours, this guided walking tour of Budapest is one of my favorites because, being longer than average (three hours as opposed to the usual two), it not only covers more areas of the city, but also covers a greater number of stories about the city and its customs.

This tour is ideal if you are looking for a complete overview of the main points of the city without focusing on any particular aspect.

What is included

  • Guided bus tour of approximately 3 hours around Budapest.
  • Air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Live professional guide.
  • Walking tour through the Buda Castle Quarter and Heroes' Square.

Book a guided tour of Budapest

2. Budapest bus tour

Margaret Bridge| ©Osbornb
Margaret Bridge| ©Osbornb

A local guide will pick you up at your hotel to start this bus tour of Budapest with panoramic views. Throughout the tour the guide will show you the different points of interest of the city explaining the significance of each of them and will take advantage of the key locations to tell you about Hungarian customs.

This tour of Budapest by bus has a duration of two hours. There will be several stops along the way where you can get off the bus for a closer look at the site and take pictures. At the end of the tour the bus will drop you off at a central point and from there you will return to the hotel by your own means. This option is ideal to get a first overview of the city, including the places that are further away from the center, before visiting it at your own pace.

What's included

  • 1, 2 or 3 day ticket to tour Budapest by sightseeing bus with free stops.
  • Stops near the main attractions of the city.
  • Pre-recorded commentary.
  • Free Wifi on board.

Book a Budapest bus tour

3. Guided tour to Sissi's Gödöllo Palace

Gödöllo Palace| ©David Spender
Gödöllo Palace| ©David Spender

Gödöllo Palace is located in the hinterland of Budapest about half an hour away from the center. When you book this guided tour of the Gödöllo Palace and choose the day you want to take it, you will receive an email with information about the meeting point from where your air-conditioned vehicle will depart in the center of Budapest. There you will meet the driver, the rest of the group and an expert guide who will accompany you throughout the tour.

The Gödöllo Palace tour lasts about three hours, is available in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian and, in addition to the transfer and the services of the guide, the entrance fees are included.

What is included

  • Approximately 3-hour excursion to the Gödöllő Palace from Budapest.
  • Entrance to the Royal Palace.
  • Guided tour through the former summer residence of Sissi for about 75 minutes approx.
  • Professional guide.

What will you see in the Gödöllo Palace?

Impressive manicured gardens and luxurious rooms decorated in the style of the Hungarian aristocracy of the 18th century, but more important than what you will see is what you will learn. This palace is known for being the favorite of the Queen of Hungary and Empress of Austria, Sissi. History has made this character reach our days surrounded by many anecdotes among which stand out her love for Hungary, her beauty or her desire for freedom, but there are many more.

During the tour of the Gödöllo Palace you will know that part of the history of Sissi that does not appear in period films: the tragedy that befell her with the death of her daughter, the fights with the mother of the emperor, the lovers of the marriage or her problems with food. If you do not yet know the story of this non-conformist empress, you will end this tour absolutely fascinated by her figure.

The best part of this tour is the stories you will learn about the Empress Sissi, considered one of the most important historical myths of Europe.

Book a guided tour of Gödöllo Palace

4. Tour of the Jewish Quarter of Budapest

Tramway through Budapest
Tramway through Budapest

The Jewish tradition in this city is very strong and throughout the city there are different tributes to all the Jews who were killed during the Second World War. This walking tour through the Jewish quarter of Budapest, about two hours and a quarter, focuses on the history of this people.

In the Jewish quarter of Budapest you will see monuments such as the Great Synagogue (one of the largest in Europe) or the memorial The Tree of Life in whose silver leaves are written the names of the victims of the Holocaust. However, one of the most moving tributes to this people is not in this neighborhood but on the banks of the Danube; it is a long row of shoes carved in iron representing the murder of thousands of victims.

This tour is ideal if you are interested in the history of the Jewish people and the Second World War, because, beyond the tour itself, the real value of this tour is in the explanations of the guide.

What is included

  • Walking tour of approximately two and a half hours through the Jewish Quarter of Budapest.
  • Entrance to the Great Synagogue of Budapest and guided tour.
  • Historian guide.

Book a tour of the Synagogue

5. Guided tour of the Hungarian Parliament

Hungarian Parliament| ©Anecia Coppack
Hungarian Parliament| ©Anecia Coppack

The Hungarian Parliament is a landmark in the city of Budapest. Located on the Pest bank of the Danube River, is the largest building in Hungary and also one of the most emblematic both for its impressive architecture and the meaning it has. This tour of Budapest with visit to the Parliament is focused on the visit to the Parliament (tickets included) and its surroundings.

The guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the entrance of the Parliament, where you can enjoy a guided tour of an hour and a half. In addition to information about the building itself, you will also learn details about Hungarian politics and be regaled with historical narratives that will make this city seem even more exciting. It is a must to see the illuminated Parliament at some point during your trip.

The great thing about this tour is that it allows you to get close to a very important part of the city's history that would be difficult to get to know on your own.

  • Private day tour to Vienna from Budapest.
  • Expert local guide.
  • Transfer to and from the selected point.
  • Lunch.

Book a tour of Budapest with visit to the Parliament

6. Day trip to Szentendre, a village of artists

Art in the streets
Art in the streets

Many times we visit a big city and we wonder what the surroundings of the country are like, what the Hungarian landscape is really like and the way of life of the inhabitants who do not live in the capital. With an excursion to Szentendre you will discover all this and I assure you that the result will not leave you indifferent.

Why this village and not another one? Szentendre is one of the most visited villages of Budapest and is known for the craftsmen who make and sell their products there. Certainly the center of the village is set up for visitors, but if you go a little further away you can discover a beautiful lake, mountain scenery and traditional Hungarian houses.

If you go in winter you will be surprised how few people there are in the streets, something that is due to the low temperatures. Do not miss the opportunity to talk to the artisans and merchants; most of them understand English and are extremely friendly. The best thing about this excursion is the intimate contact you will be able to establish with the local artisans, especially if you go in winter when there are fewer tourists on the streets.

What is included

this tour includes

  • A professional guide who will accompany you throughout the tour.
  • Tasting of the famous Lángos, or Hungarian fried bread
  • River cruise if you take this tour between the months of May and September
  • Visits to the ruins of an ancient Roman city

Book an excursion to Szentendre

7. Day trip to Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton| ©Zoltán Bagi
Lake Balaton| ©Zoltán Bagi

Lake Balaton is one of the most beautiful landscapes of Hungary. Located approximately two hours by car from Budapest, the tour is worthwhile. Both the lake and its surroundings are a real fairytale landscape and, therefore, this excursion to Lake Balaton is one of the best options to appreciate the beauty of the country apart from its cities and buildings.

Lunch is on your own and is not included in the 65 euros that the excursion costs; you can take it in any restaurant in Balaton or take a picnic to eat it while you contemplate the lake. The languages in which this excursion is available are Spanish, French, English, German and Italian. The best of this excursion is the contrast that supposes a landscape as hallucinating as the one of the Lake Balaton in relation to the stately streets of the city of Budapest.

What is included

this excursion

  • The pick up at your hotel in Budapest (the return will be from a central point in the center of Budapest).
  • The transfer in a comfortable and air-conditioned vehicle.
  • A visit to the Herend Porcelain Factory where you will learn how traditional Hungarian porcelain is made and, if you wish, make purchases
  • A coffee on a terrace in Herend
  • A professional guide who will accompany you throughout the tour to tell you about the main points of interest you will see during the tour, as well as the local customs of the country and its inhabitants.

Book an excursion to Lake Balaton

8. Tour of the Hungarian Great Plains + horse show

Albert Lugosi| ©Albert Lugosi
Albert Lugosi| ©Albert Lugosi

Surely during your trip to Budapest you have seen monuments that have left you speechless and you have discovered legends that have led you to want to know more about this city and its culture. In that case, this excursion to the Puszta with equestrian show in the area of the Great Hungarian Plains is the perfect option to learn that extra lesson about Hungarian life and customs. How? Knowing closely one of its main traditions: the equestrian exhibitions.

During all these activities a professional guide will accompany you on your one day excursion to the Great Hungarian Plains or Puszta Plains from the meeting point in the center of Budapest (you will be informed by email once you make your reservation). The total price of this experience is 65 euros. The best thing about this tour is that it is an optimal way to have a closer contact with the traditions of Hungary and with the people who still maintain them today.

What is included

this excursion

  • Equestrian acrobatics show.
  • A visit to the city of Kecskemet including its tourist points of interest such as its synagogue or its art nouveau town hall.
  • A visit to a traditional Hungarian farm where you will taste the typical welcome drink known as "apricot brandy".
  • A carriage ride.
  • A three-course lunch including goulash soup with live music.

Book an excursion to the Puszta with horse show

9. Private day trip to Brastislava

View of Bratislava Castle
View of Bratislava Castle

Three hours away from Budapest is the city of Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. This is a city of orange roofs, cobblestone streets and huge castles that, for its size, is reachable during a day trip to Bratislava and back from Budapest, you will not regret to know it with this private excursion to Bratislava, which also includes a private local guide who will show you the secrets of the city.

On the other hand, you will have free time to explore the city at your leisure before returning to Budapest and visiting the historic center while listening to street musicians or having a drink at one of its outdoor terraces. The best of this excursion is the personalized treatment of the guide (I advise you to ask him everything you want and "make the most" of it) and the possibility of getting to know a different city and a different country in a comfortable private transfer.

What is included

the excursion to Bratislava

  • A private local guide who will be available for you and your travel companions on an exclusive basis.
  • The private transfer to and from Bratistlava with pick-up and drop-off from your hotel in Budapest
  • The guided city tour of Bratislava
  • Lunch

Book a Budapest sightseeing tour

10. Night tour with folklore show

Budapest at nightfall
Budapest at nightfall

Hungary is a country of great traditions and folklore is one of them. Few performances you will have seen similar to the one offered by this night tour with show. In addition, you will also have the possibility to taste typical Hungarian cuisine during the folklore show.

The guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you in a vehicle with panoramic views to visit the main illuminated monuments of the city of Budapest. After that it's time for the restaurant with a traditional three-course dinner with drink; during the dinner you can enjoy a typical Hungarian folklore show.

The ideal thing about this tour is that it is a way to get closer to the culture of this city both culturally and gastronomically and it also includes a tour to enjoy the illumination of the night of Budapest, something you can not miss during your trip.

Book a dinner cruise tour with live music

11. Tour of the city through the Buda part of the city

Fisherman's Bastion| ©Dennis Jarvis
Fisherman's Bastion| ©Dennis Jarvis

Budapest is divided into two parts corresponding to the two banks separated by the Danube River: Buda and Pest. This two-hour walking tour focuses on the Buda side, the bank opposite the Parliament.

This tour is ideal to see the city in more detail because in the time when other tours go all over Budapest, this one focuses only on one part. Then you can always complement it by a tour focused on the points of interest of the opposite bank.

Book a guided tour of Budapest

12. Budapest walking and boat tour

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

The main attraction of this tour is that it combines a walking tour with a boat trip on the Danube River. This way you will be able to take in a greater number of sights and have a different perspective of the Hungarian capital. Both the walking tour and the boat tour have commentary about Budapest's landmarks in several languages.

The meeting and ending point will be set at one of the city's most central locations near the Danube. This tour is ideal for travelers with little time who are looking for an overview of the city.

Book a Danube cruise

13. Budapest Night Tour

The Hungarian Parliament illuminated at night.| ©Héctor Martínez
The Hungarian Parliament illuminated at night.| ©Héctor Martínez

At least for me, the city of Budapest is beautiful during the day, but when night comes the illumination of its streets and monuments make it an equally beautiful city worth touring again. That's what this two-hour night walking tour in Spanish is for, where a professional guide will take you around the city's landmarks at dusk to see them illuminated.

What are the main buildings in Budapest that are worth seeing illuminated? The Parliament, the State Opera House and the Chain Bridge are at the top of the list, but Budapest at night is not only about its illumination. In the city there are many alternative pubs with a broken decoration that will also be part of this tour.

This tour is ideal because, although Budapest is one of the safest cities in Europe, its low temperatures (especially in winter) added to the fact that it gets dark early, make that during the night you hardly see people on the street, so you can get disoriented easily. For this reason a guided tour is the best way to see the city at night.

Book a tour in Budapest

14. Guided tour to Gödöllo Palace and horse show

Gödöllo horse show| ©julie corsi
Gödöllo horse show| ©julie corsi

With this option in addition to the guided visit to the summer palace of Sissi, you will also enjoy a horse show known as the Magic of Hungary. The equestrian tradition is deeply rooted in this country and in fact it was one of the things that the Empress of Austria shared with her second homeland, the love for horses.

This excursion to the Gödöllo Palace with horse show lasts approximately five hours and departs from a meeting point in the center of Budapest (they will tell you how to get there and what time you should be there in your email once you make your online reservation). The price is 58 euros and includes the transfer, tickets to the palace and the show, regional snacks and the services of a specialized guide.

The horse show is in a farm located outside Budapest, so the tour also includes a visit to this farm, the typical Hungarian refreshments that will be served there and a carriage ride. If you like horses you can't miss this experience; you will be amazed at how excellently cared for they are and the precision of the technique with which they perform the parade.

The best thing about this visit is the overall impression you will get of two symbols of the country: the Empress Sissi and the horses.

Book a tour of the Sissi Palace

15. Excursion to the towns along the Danube Bend

Esztergom Basilica| ©zolakoma
Esztergom Basilica| ©zolakoma

The Danube Bend is one of the main sightseeing areas near Budapest. It consists of three small towns: Esztergom, Visegrád and Szentendre. In this tour you will visit all three of them with a professional guide. If you do this tour between the months of May and September you will also enjoy a boat trip in Szentendre.

If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Budapest and get to know the Hungarian landscapes and customs of its inhabitants, this full day tour (available in English, Spanish, French, Italian and German) is for you. The best thing about this tour is the variety of places you will visit during the tour, which will give you a broader perspective of the Hungarian landscape and the surroundings of Budapest.

Book a Budapest tour

16. Private city tour of the Danube Bend cities

Sunset over the Danube
Sunset over the Danube

This is the VIP tour to visit the Danube Bend. During the tour you will have a guide exclusively for you and your group who will pick you up at your hotel and drop you off at your hotel after the full day tour of the three cities that form the Danube Bend: Esztergom, Visegrád and Szentendre.

In addition to the private transfer and the guide, the package also includes lunch and a boat trip if you take the tour between May and September. During this day you will visit places of interest such as the citadel of Visegrád or the cathedral of Esztergom, the largest in the country, and you can also visit the craft stalls of Szentendre.

However, the real added value of this tour is the comfort of going at your own pace and having a local guide who will not only explain the different points of the tour, but will also tell you about the customs of the country and its traditions. At the end of this excursion you will have a much more formed vision of Hungary that would be difficult to obtain in other ways.

The best of this excursion is the personalized attention and the possibility of visiting in an organized way several places that would be very difficult to visit individually.

Book a Budapest tour

Organize your Budapest tour

Aerial view of Budapest
Aerial view of Budapest

What to bring

Although you visit Budapest in summer, the temperatures are usually low and most of the tours of the city are on foot. In addition to wearing comfortable shoes, I recommend you to bring a good coat so you will not be tempted to abandon the tour in the middle to take refuge in a cafe for a hot chocolate.

Always hire official guides

In central locations of Budapest, it is common to find city tours offered by locals. A local person can give you interesting tips about your visit, but keep in mind that many of them are not specialized guides who can put you in the historical context of the city. In addition, some are not fluent in other languages and there comes a point in the tour when this can become frustrating. It is best to make sure you book your tour in advance.

Enjoy the gastronomy

Finally, I advise you to ask your guide for recommendations especially in gastronomic matters. In Budapest it is very cheap to eat well, but the names of the dishes are not exactly intuitive; the guide will be happy to recommend you according to your tastes, something you will be very grateful for when you sit down to eat in a restaurant. Also in the city, dealing with street names can be an arduous task even with Google Maps. And, of course, get to know all the customs before your trip.

Book a guided tour of Buda

If you are interested in an excursion in the surroundings of Budapest, you will also be interested in

Budapest Spa| ©Alana Harris
Budapest Spa| ©Alana Harris

To know the surroundings of the city of Budapest is an optimal plan for when you have squeezed to the maximum the Hungarian capital, but have you done it? Don't forget to plan excursions during your visit, but don't forget that Budapest has much more than meets the eye. Know all the essential things to do in your trip to Budapest.

If you also want to complete your trip with the most iconic experience of Budapest, which is also super relaxing, I recommend you to visit the Spas of Budapest.

Tickets for the Széchenyi Spa