Nestled in the heart of Europe, Hungary is a country of rich history, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant cultural scene. Its capital, Budapest, often referred to as the “Paris of the East,” is a city of grand architecture, thermal baths, and a captivating blend of tradition and modernity. While exploring Budapest’s treasures is a must, embarking on a Budapest road trip allows you to delve deeper into Hungary’s soul, discovering hidden gems and experiencing the country’s diverse landscapes. In this Budapest travel guide, we present a road trip itinerary that will take you on a memorable journey through Hungary’s heart.
Day 1: Arrival in Budapest
Morning: Touchdown in Budapest
Your Budapest road trip begins as you land at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. After picking up your rental car, make your way to your hotel in the city centre.
Afternoon: Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion
Start your Budapest adventure with a visit to Buda Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the historic castle complex, and don’t miss the stunning views from Fisherman’s Bastion, offering panoramic vistas of the city.
Evening: Dinner on the Danube
Enjoy a delicious dinner at a restaurant along the Danube River, with breathtaking views of the illuminated Budapest Parliament Building.
Day 2: Exploring Budapest
Morning: Hungarian Parliament and Shoes on the Danube Bank
Begin your day with a guided tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building, an architectural masterpiece. Then, visit the poignant Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial, a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
Afternoon: Gellért Hill and Thermal Baths
Hike up Gellért Hill for spectacular city views and explore the beautiful Gellért Thermal Baths for a relaxing soak in the famous Hungarian waters.
Evening: Budapest by Night
Take a leisurely evening stroll along the Danube promenade to admire Budapest’s illuminated bridges and buildings, creating a magical atmosphere.
Day 3: Road Trip to Eger
Morning: Departure for Eger
Leave Budapest behind as you embark on the road trip to Eger, a charming town in northern Hungary, famous for its wine production. The journey takes approximately two hours.
Afternoon: Eger Castle and Wine Tasting
Explore Eger Castle, which played a significant role in Hungary’s history. Afterward, indulge in a wine tasting session at one of Eger’s renowned wineries.
Evening: Dinner in Eger
Enjoy dinner in the heart of Eger, sampling local dishes and sipping the town’s famous red wine, Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood).
Day 4: Exploring Eger
Morning: Eger’s Baroque Beauty
Discover Eger’s baroque architecture as you stroll through the town centre. Visit the magnificent Eger Basilica and explore the charming Dobó Square.
Afternoon: Szépasszony Valley
Venture to Szépasszony Valley (Valley of the Beautiful Women), a wine lover’s paradise, where you can taste a variety of local wines in the cosy wine cellars.
Evening: Return to Budapest
Head back to Budapest in the evening and have dinner at one of the city’s renowned restaurants.
Day 5: Road Trip to Lake Balaton
Morning: Journey to Lake Balaton
Hit the road for Lake Balaton, Central Europe’s largest freshwater lake, located just a two-hour drive from Budapest.
Afternoon: Balatonfüred and Tihany
Explore Balatonfüred, known for its beautiful promenade, and visit the charming peninsula of Tihany, home to the stunning Tihany Abbey and breathtaking views of the lake.
Evening: Lakeside Dining
Enjoy a lakeside dinner, savouring fresh fish from Lake Balaton.
Day 6: Lake Balaton Adventures
Morning: Watersports and Relaxation
Spend your morning at Lake Balaton engaging in watersports like sailing or swimming, or simply relax on the lakeside beaches.
Afternoon: Wine Tasting in Badacsony
Drive to the picturesque wine region of Badacsony, renowned for its white wines. Visit local wineries and savour the flavour of the region.
Evening: Return to Budapest
Return to Budapest in the evening, where you can explore the city’s vibrant nightlife.
Day 7: Budapest’s Hidden Treasures
Morning: Memento Park and Statue Park
Discover Budapest’s Communist past at Memento Park, home to a collection of statues and memorabilia from the Soviet era. Gain insight into Hungary’s history during this unique visit.
Afternoon: City Park and Széchenyi Thermal Bath
Stroll through City Park and visit the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Europe’s largest medicinal bath complex, for a relaxing soak.
Evening: Farewell Dinner
Savour a farewell dinner at one of Budapest’s trendy restaurants, celebrating the end of your road trip journey.
Day 8: Departure from Budapest
Morning: Last-Minute Shopping
Before departing Budapest, explore the city’s shopping districts and pick up some souvenirs.
As your Budapest road trip adventure comes to a close, head to the airport or your chosen departure point, taking with you memories of Hungary’s heart, its rich culture, and captivating landscapes.
Conclusion: Budapest Road Trip Experience
A road trip through Hungary, with Budapest at its heart, offers a diverse and enriching experience. From exploring the historic and cultural gems of the capital to savouring the wine regions and natural beauty of Eger and Lake Balaton, this road trip, guided by our Budapest travel guide, allows you to delve deep into Hungary’s soul. So, plan your Budapest road trip, and embark on a journey that will leave you with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation for this captivating country in the heart of Europe.