Budapest is the capital, the largest and the most visited city in Hungary. Divided in two parts, Buda and Pest, the city is often overlooked, especially by non-European travellers over cities in Western Europe. However, this splendid city has so much to offer, from a tumultuous history to incredible sights, breathtaking art, an amazing nightlife and more. A day or even a weekend is simply not enough to fully experience the city and hence, here is our guide for anyone planning a trip to Budapest (or for anyone who is contemplating going there but needs someone to help them make up their minds!)
The Fishermen’s Bastion is a good choice for everyone to start the day with. Located on the Castle District in Buda, it offers an incredibly beautiful view of the city and the Danube river.
Matthias Church is located right in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion and it is a Roman Catholic church that – according to legend – was built in 1015, although there is no evidence that supports this statement. Amazing treasures await you inside the church as well as important tombs where Hungarian royals are buried in.
Right in front of Matthias Church is Trinity Square, where the famous Trinity Column stands, built to celebrate the end of the plague and to symbolically protect the citizens of Budapest from another epidemic.
Next up is the famous Buda Castle, a lavish castle built for royals which houses important museums such as the Budapest History Museum, the National Szechenyi Library and the Hungarian National Gallery, which is devoted to Hungarian art and contains collections of works from the middle ages to present day.
Hungarian National Gallery
Castle Hill Funicular
To get to Buda Castle in Castle Hill, one must take the Castle Hill Funicular from Clark Adam Square, which is attached to Chain Bridge.
Speaking of Chain Bridge, it is also a must-see for anyone who finds themselves in Budapest. The bridge is one of Hungary’s most important landmarks and it connects the side of Buda with the side of Pest over the Danube River.
Zero Kilometer Stone
Take a look at the stone that is used as a reference to mark kilometer zero to all major roads in Hungary.
Saint Stephen’s Basilica
Go along you will find yourself in the front of the St. Stephen’s Basilica, the largest church of Budapest. Its construction dates back to the 19th century and it was dedicated to the first Christian king of Hungary. Go inside and wonder over the breathtaking artful area.
An absolute must while in Budapest is a visit to the Hungarian Parliament, located only one kilometers away from Saint Stephen’s Basilica. It is located on the banks of the Danube River. With its gorgeous Gothic Revival architecture, the Parliament with the river in front creates a breathtaking sight that you will not want to miss. Tip: At night, the Parliament lights up, so make sure you come back at least once during the evening!
Budapest Opera House
Next, have a look at the Budapest Opera House and if you’re into opera, make sure to attend a concert. This opera house is considered one of the finest in the world.
For those who enjoy shopping, head over to Vaci Street (“Vaci utca”), which beings in Vörösmarty Square and finishes at the Great Market Hall. Filled with boutiques, stores and cafés, the street is always busy and is the perfect place to take a break from sightseeing.
Great Market Hall
Located at the end of Vaci Street is the Great Market Hall. The market is the go-to place for authentic Hungarian food and to shop for some souvenirs to take back home.
The Great Synagogue
Visit the largest Synagogue in Europe located on Dohány Street, which marked the border to the Jewish Ghetto back during the World War. Along Dóhany and further up, you’ll be able to find many other interesting sights and delicious Kosher food, so make sure to take your time!
Hungarian National Museum
Head to the Hungarian National Museum to learn about the history of Hungary though art and archeology.
Hike up to the Citadella for a gorgeous panoramic view of the city and the river from a fortress.
Gellért Hill Cave
While you’re hiking up to the Citadella, visit Gellért Hill Cave, an interesting and unusual church and monastery located inside a cave on Gellért Hill.
After Gellért Hill Cave, take some time to unwind and head to Gellért Baths, whose waters are said to contain healing properties and in fact, were used by a hermit way back in time to cure the ill.
To exprience Budapest’s nightlife, head to Kazinczy Street and enter one of the many ruin pubs available. If partying is not your cup of tea, then Kazinczy Street also has some interesting landmarks for you to discover such as the Orthodox Synagogue and the Museum of Electrotechnics.
Located on Ferenciek Tere square, Parisi Udvar is a gorgeous early 20th century building that holds a shopping mall. Built in different styles of architectures, it is a must-visit even if shopping isn’t in your itinerary.
Take a look into Memento Park, an open-air museum dedicated to communist figures and learn about Hungary and Europe’s tragic past.
Hungarian National Theatre
Visit the Hungarian National Theatre to see a performance or, alternatively, to enjoy watching the memorial statues in the park that surrounds it.
Updated: May 26, 2015