Budapest is a city that begs for more than a day, but if 24 hours (or less) is all you have, don’t worry – you can still soak up its vibes. Whether you’re short on vacation days or came for a quick layover, we’ve got you covered to make every moment count.

Early breakfast on Bartók Béla Boulevard

Start your day in Újbuda, a bustling neighbourhood with its main street lined with cafés and terraces – a perfect welcome to Budapest. Even more perfect if a delicious breakfast is involved, and Carribean-inspired Nicaragua Cafe Brunch and the library café Kelet offer just that. They open early (7:30 am), sorting your morning caffeine fix.

Tip: If you come to Hungary by train and arrive at Keleti Railway Station, you can hop on metro line 4 towards Szent Gellért tér and admire the architectural gem that it is.

Catch breathtaking panorama from Gellért Hill

Now that you're all carbed up, set off to the city's best natural lookout point, which happens to be right next door. The climb will be a small price to pay for the insanely beautiful views from the top of Gellért Hill.

Tip: Although the Citadel is temporarily closed, you can enjoy a stunning panorama from the cross or the Philosophers' Garden.

Culture up at the Hungarian National Museum

If you feel like an art-infused history lesson is due, descend from the hill, cross the pretty Liberty Bridge, and stroll along Small Boulevard towards the Hungarian National Museum. On the way, you'll pass the Corvinus University of Budapest and the Great Market Hall (look out for colourful roof tiles) and can even grab a cuppa at Kaffeine. You'll know you've reached your destination when you spot a manicured garden with a Neo-Classical building at its centre. Founded in the early 1800s, the museum houses archaeological, historical, and ethnic relics from the Carpathian Basin.

Tip: It's worth checking out the temporary exhibitions, too; currently the Hungarian Bride.

Savour Hungarian classics at TATI

Hungarian delicacies should not be left out of your Budapest adventure, no matter how short it is. And TATI, a stylish farm-to-table restaurant at the gate of Budapest's 7th district, is a great place to immerse yourself in local treats. The culinary team will spoil you with seasonal dishes made strictly from local ingredients.

Tip: If you find it hard to choose from the menu, opt for a tasting menu (either meat-filled or vegan), which offers smaller portions of several dishes from goulash soup to cottage cheese dumplings.

More details here. (x)

Cruising the Danube

Since the most dramatic and romantic (not to mention time-efficient) way to explore Budapest's iconic sights is by boat, make your way to the riverbank (Jane Haining rakpart, Dock 7), where the pretty cruise ships of Legenda await. You'll be treated to a superb sightseeing tour: both banks of the Danube are lined with emblematic landmarks, so during a 70-minute float, you'll catch sight of the Citadel, Várkert Bazaar, Buda Castle, Parliament, and Margaret Island, too.

Tip: Once on board, toast with champagne free of charge, as the price includes a drink of your choice.

More details here.

Get lost in the Jewish Quarter

Budapest's Jewish Quarter also coincides with the party district, making it the epicentre of Budapest's famous ruin bars. But before snapping photos of the quirky décor of Szimpla Kert and downing a cheap beer or going all in for the local spirit, pálinka, take some time to wander around the neighbourhood's narrow streets. Hunt down all the painted murals, and peek inside synagogues. Then, tuck into some street food at the alfresco food court KARAVÁN.

Tip: If possible, visit Rumbach Sebestyén utca Synagogue – its dome is magical from the inside. (Upon entering, men will be asked to wear a kippah, and women are expected to cover their shoulders and knees.)

Treat yourself to a fancy cocktail at KAA

If you're craving a hideout after all the buzz while making sure you sip on quality drinks, to KAA it is! The cocktail bar is nestled within Twentysix restaurant in the 7th district, making it all the more intriguing. It emits nocturnal jungle vibes, allowing you to settle down under an enchanted ceiling. Whether you go for an 'Espresso Martini' or a 'Not All Heroes Wear Capes', your tastebuds will be thankful.

Tip:  While mocktails are delicious here too, we wouldn't miss out on the signature 'Jungle Zombie'.

More details here. (x)

Party time

You didn't think we'd leave you without a party in one of the most nightlife-friendly cities in the world, did you? Who needs sleep anyway? Options are almost endless, but if you don't mind an early start, free entry, 7 dance floors, and drink offers, Morrison's 2 is a great choice. It's easily accessible by tram 4/6 from anywhere and is open from 6 pm Monday to Saturday. Plus, you can enter free of charge until 9 pm (or all night if you're over 30), and order a cocktail (or two) for the price of a coffee (EUR 2,6) until the same time.

Tip: To avoid queues and make your visit as smooth as possible, book a table and sign up for a bottomless drink package in advance.

More details here. (x)

A power nap at the Anantara Hotel

If you do plan to get some sleep, why not have a lie-down in a palace? Anantara Hotel, located within the fascinating New York Palace on Grand Boulevard, is the perfect place to pamper yourself with a five-star naps and a splendid spa experience.

Tip: While there, don't miss a chance to savour a morning coffee at the iconic New York Café, where Jennifer Lawrence walked the stairs in Red Sparrow. Just please book a table!

More details here.

(Cover photo: Csudai Sándor - We Love Budapest)