Budapest: 6 places you must visit

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A city view of Budapest.

Budapest is the capital of Hungary and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It is often referred to as the Pearl of the Danube, in honour of the mighty river that divides the city in two.  It’s a destination that you definitely need to visit at least once.

On one side of the river, you’ll find Buda, with its magic, elegance and history. On the other is Pest, which. historically, has been better known for commerce, economy and modernity.

The city is jampacked with incredible buildings. In fact, some of the most majestic landmarks in this splendid city are designated World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Read on to discover this magical city with us and be seduced by the beauty, charm and enchantment of the Hungarian capital. We’ve listed here what we think are the 6 best places to visit in Budapest!

1. The Danube

The Danube is a beautiful river and one of the most fantastic places to visit in Budapest.The Danube is a river whose name conjures up images in your mind. It’s defintely one of the world’s most legendary river. The second-longest river in Europe, it flows through ten European countries. In Budapest, it splits the city in two, dividing it into two districts: Buda and Pest.

No visit to the city is complete without taking in its broad, meandering charms. Make sure you visit the extraordinary Chain Bridge, the oldest suspension bridge in the city, that connects Buda and Pest. It is also known as the Széchenyiel Bridge, in honour of one of the key supporters of its construction. Curiously, it was designed by an Englishman and built by a Scotsman.

On the banks of the Danube, you will find the monument “Shoes on the Danube Bank” by Can Togay and Gyula Pauer. It is an artistic work that pays tribute to the victims of the Second World War. It depicts a row of shoes sculpted in iron, which many Jews abandoned before being shot.

If you like sailing and want to navigate the waters of this imposing river, check out this combination ticket which includes a hop-on hop-off bus and a boat trip on the Danube. There’s no better way to enjoy Budapest to the fullest. 

2. Citadella

The Citadella is a famous fortress in Budapest.You don’t get to be a big important city like Budapest without making a few enemies along the way. Enemies means you need fortifications. Which is why the Hungarians built the Citadella, a fortress that stands on top of Géllert Hill. Built in 1854 by Julius Jacob von Haynau, an Austrian general, the Citadella, it served as a surveillance building because it was the highest point in the city.

We know you’ll love the incredible views from the lookout point by the Citadella. While you’re there, make sure you explore all the nooks and crannies of the fortress.

You can also visit a World War II bunker with wax figures depicting scenes from the era and a gallery with photographic exhibits that will help you imagine what life was like there during the Second World War.

3. Hungarian Parliament

The Hungarian Parliament is an impressive Baroque building and one of the most important places to visit in Budapest.Next up, is an unmissable sight. Unmissable because it’s so big! The Parliament, Baroque and neo-Gothic in style, is the most important building in Budapest. Built between 1885 and 1902, it is the second-largest parliament building in Europe, behind Bucharest.

When the plans for the building were being drawn up, one of the conditions for the construction of this unique monument was the exclusive use of Hungarian materials. That’s something the locals are very proud of.

​​Inside the building, three important places stand out: the main staircase, the Dome Room and the Old Upper Chamber. These are decorated in marble and gold. Step inside and you’ll be wowed by its opulence.

Highlights include the Crown of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary, and statues and paintings of the monarchy. This provides a fascinating visual journey through the history of the country.

4. St. Stephen's Basilica

St. Stephen's Basilica is the biggest religious building and one of the essential places to visit in Budapest.Snother enormous building is St. Stephen’s Basilica. Built in 1905, in the neoclassical style, it’s the largest religious building in the city. With its enormous dimensions, it can accommodate an impressive 8,500 people. It was named after the first king of Hungary, Stephen I (circa 975 – 1038).

Inside the basilica, you will find 50 different types of marble and gigantic sculptures. The spectacular facade is characterised by two large bell towers that offer incredible panoramic views of the city.

Every year, St. Stephen’s Basilica hosts musical events with organists, choirs and classical and contemporary music concerts. If there’s something on when you’re in town, we definitely recommend you check it out.

5. Buda Castle

Buda Castle sits on top of the main hill in Budapest’s, Várhegy and is one of the most impressive places to visit in Budapest.This imposingly impressive castle and palace complex stands atop Castle Hill (Várhegy in Hungarian). The original palace was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt by the Hungarian communist government in a Baroque style.

Buda Castle is known as the Royal Palace because it was formerly the residence of the kings of Hungary. This is despite the fact that it’s now more than a century since Hungary last had a king!

Buda Castle houses three important sites: the Széchenyi Library, founded in the early 1800s; the National Gallery, with exhibitions of Hungarian artists from the Middle Ages to the present day and the History Museum, which covers prehistory to the modern day. And if you’re a fan of museums, then you’re in for a treat, as Budapest has an impressive offering of top-notch museums

6. Széchenyi Baths

Széchenyi Baths are the largest natural hot springs in Europe.For us this is one of the true highlights of Budapest. There really isn’t naything like this anywhere else. Opened in 1913 and designed in a neo-Baroque style, the Széchenyi Baths make up the largest natural hot springs you can find in Europe. The complex has over 15 pools, including three large outdoor pools and other smaller indoor ones. Thatr’s plenty of places for you to choose from if you want to have a swim!

The water temperature can reach 38 °C and is full of minerals and beneficial properties for your body and health. Enjoy the pleasure of immersing yourself in Széchenyi Baths, a unique and extraordinarily relaxing experience.

Heads or tails, Buda or Pest?

We’ve told you about our favourite spots, but of course, there are more than 6 places to visit  in Budapest. There is so much choice in this colossal city. You’ll find amazing architectural, artistic and cultural beauty that will captivate anyone. Budapest is a magnetic, seductive and unique city. Thanks for reading and happy travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

Though it’s a member of the EU, Budapest still has its own currency, the forint. Many shops and restaurants will accept euros but the exchange rate they’ll give you is often not the best. If you pay by card, your bank will do the conversion for you.

Budapest is stunning all year long. Having said that, we do love it in summer, when the outdoor swimming baths really come into their own!

You can see a lot in a day, but to really get to know the city, we recommend you spend at least 2 or 3 days there.

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