Budapest is a popular destination for a city trip. Rightly so, because this more than 2.000-year-old city in Hungary has so much to offer. The Danube river runs straight through the city, with Buda on the right bank and Pest on the left.
Several sites in the city are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Budapest is especially charming at night time. And because of its diverse range of attractions, there is something here for everyone, whether you’re into culture, shopping, or relaxing.
Best attractions in Budapest:
This castle was a large complex once upon a time and went by the name of Budavári Palota. The palace is the largest structure in Hungary and is a city icon. These days, the buildings are home to the National Gallery, the National Széchenyi Library, and the Budapest History Museum.
The famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge is the oldest bridge in Budapest and connects the left- and right banks. The bridge is 375 metres long and was built in 1849. There are carved stone guardian lions on each of the abutments. The bridge is especially atmospheric in the evening when it’s all lit up.
On the left bank (in Pest) is the Parliament. It’s an impressive building, not just its size, but also its architecture. It is built in Gothic style. It’s not easy to get close to it because it’s heavily guarded, but you can take a guided tour inside. This is really worth doing because it will give you a chance to admire its interior design by artists such as Károly Lotz and György Kiss.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
(Local name: Szent István-bazilika)
This is the largest church in Budapest. The first stone was laid in 1851, but it wasn’t finished until 1905. The basilica has been decorated with the Twelve Apostles around the main door and inside there are several mosaics and a painting by Gyula Benczúr.
Hungarian State Opera House
(Local name: Magyar Állami Operaház)
The opera house of Budapest is a very grandiose building. It’s not just beautiful on the outside, but the interior is also impressive with painted ceilings and a royal box.
The Fisherman’s Bastion is a famous place in Budapest. This imposing building was built between 1895 and 1901 in Romanesque Revival style. The building is a design by Frigyes Schulek. Many visitors to Budapest also come to this place because of the view. And you will not be disappointed. Although it can get busy here.
(Local name: Margit-sziget)
This uninhabited island is pretty much a giant park in the middle of the Danube river, connected to both banks by a bridge. It’s a beloved location for jogging and walking, but there is also an open-air theatre, a swimming pool, a small zoo, a beach, a church, and a water tower.
This palace was once upon a time a residence of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria (whose nickname was Sissi). Now it’s a museum with different exhibitions. The palace is surrounded by large gardens where you can take a stroll. The palace is in the town of Gödöllő outside of Budapest and can be easily reached via the M3 freeway.
Things to do and see in Budapest:
Take a cruise on the Danube
If you’d like to see the city from the river, you should take a cruise on the Danube. There are several options here, starting from a 1-hour cruise, but you can even take one with live music on board. If you’d like a little something extra, there are also coffee-, wine-, dinner- or party cruises available.
Relax in healing waters
The Hungarians have enjoyed the healing properties of the water from the Danube since Roman times. In 1934, Budapest was declared a ‘Spa City’. Of course, you should experience this for yourself, as there are many spas around.
The Gellért Spa is the most beautiful in Budapest. It’s part of the famous Art Nouveau hotel Gellért on the right bank of the river Danube.
It’s a great idea to get yourself the City Card, which will give you free public transport, entry into the main museums, and access to the St Lukács bathhouse.