There’s more than one way to discover Budapest. Whether you are a first time visitor or just looking for new things to see and do in Budapest, we have a top 10 list for you. Take a dip in one of the city’s famous baths, savor the local cuisine, check out some of the cool, funky shops featuring homegrown designs, walk across the Chain Bridge or just sit, relax and people-watch at one of the great downtown cafés.
Buda Castle and the Matthias Church
With a vast array of sites, museums, as well as streets, squares, restaurants, cafés and stores with a unique atmosphere, Buda Castle and the whole of the Castle District are among the most well-known and frequently visited tourist attractions of Budapest. The Royal Palace, where many battles and wars took place from the 13th century, is a symbol for Hungary. In addition to three churches, including the Matthias Church (or Buda Castle Main Coronation Church), located on Szentháromság (Holy Trinity) Square—a monument with long history, one of the most beautiful and well-known catholic churches of the city, the Castle District also includes five museums, several buildings of historical interest as well as memorial sites and theatres. The Fisherman’s Bastion and the square in front of the National Gallery offer a breathtaking view of one of the most beautiful sections of the Danube.
With the Buda Castle in the background, the Hungarian capital’s first bridge, now a monument, is a fascinating spectacle that has attracted many tourists to Budapest. The bridge was built upon the request of Count István Széchenyi by designer William Tierney Clark and engineer Adam Clark between 1839 and 1849. Like many other Danube bridges, the Chain Bridge did not survive the ravages of the World War, so it had to be rebuilt in 1949, marking the centenary of its first opening. Visitors also have the opportunity to walk onto the top of the tunnel located on the Buda side, offering a marvellous view of the Danube, its bridges as well as the nicest parts of Pest.
The Parliament, built in Neo-Gothic style and located on the bank of the Danube, serves as the permanent seat of the National Assembly. The building complex, the biggest of its kind in Hungary, was erected between 1884 and 1904 on the plans of Imre Steindl. The building has 691 rooms, and it is 268 metres long and the dome 96 metres high. Since 2000, the Hungarian coronation symbols —St. Stephen’s crown, the sceptre, the orb and the Renaissance sword— have been on display in the Parliament.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica, or Lipót City Parish Church, is one of the most significant ecclesiastical buildings of Hungary as well as a major tourist attraction of the capital. It serves as the main site of worship for St. Stephen. The Basilica is named after St. Stephen, the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary, whose incorruptible right hand, known as the Holy Right, is kept here as a relic. It is the largest church in Budapest, the dome of which can be seen from all parts of the city. The Classicist Basilica was built between 1851 and 1905. Famous masterpieces in the church include statues by Alajos Stróbl as well as a painting of St. Stephen offering his country to the Virgin Mary by Gyula Benczúr. The dome of the building offers a wonderful 360° view of the Budapest.
Andrássy Avenue is a 2,310-metre boulevard lined with buildings in uniform architecture and linking the City Centre with the City Park. Andrássy Avenue, including the Millennium Underground Railway, running beneath the surface, as well as Heroes’ Square, located at is end, was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 2002. It accommodates the crème de la crème of Eclectic-style buildings in Budapest, among them a wealth of residential houses with wonderful and intimate inner courts, statues and foundations as well as the Opera House, built on the plans of Miklós Ybl.
Located at the end of Andrássy Avenue, Heroes’ Square is the entrance to the City Park as well as one of the most spectacular venues in Budapest. The three main sites of the square include the Hall of Art, built in 1896, the Museum of Fine Arts, inaugurated in December 1906, as well as the Millennium Monument, linking both buildings visually. The latter includes a 36-metre central column, topped by a statue of the archangel Gabriel who holds the Holy Crown as well as a two-barred apostolic cross, the same way as the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary, St. Stephen did in his sleep according to a legend. The crescent-shaped monument was built in Eclectic style. The semi-circular arcades of the monument on the left and right-hand side each hold bronze statues of seven outstanding personalities of Hungarian history
Dohány Street Synagogue
Top10It is the second-largest synagogue in the world, and tied with the Amsterdam Synagogue, the largest in Europe. It was built between 1854 and 1859 in Romantic style, on the plans of Ludwig Förster in cooperation with Frigyes Feszl. The building consists of three spacious aisles and seats more than 3,000 people. Due to its strong Oriental style, the use of colourful mud bricks, as well as the wrought-iron structure in its interior, the Dohány Street Synagogue is notable as an architectural landmark. During World War 2, it served as the boundary of the Budapest Ghetto—a fact remembered by The Memorial of the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs, a work of sculptor Imre Varga. The Jewish Museum, holding historical, religious and cultural relics of Hungarian Jewry, is located next to the synagogue.
Top10 ‘Green ship’ of the River Danube, the home of springs, baths and green meadows. With a length of 2.8 kilometres, Margaret Island spans the area between Margaret Bridge and Árpád Bridge and is covered by the most beautiful park of the city with a modern skywalk. In addition, it also houses ruins of medieval sacred sites, promenades flanked by statues, a water tower classified as a heritage site by UNESCO, the famous “Music Well”, as well as a beach, a swimming pool, a running track, two hotels, restaurants, fast-food restaurants and bars.
The Spas of Budapest
Top10The city officially won the title of a spa city in 1934, but people could already enjoy the treasures of natural hot springs in the Roman times. Every day 70 million litres of medicinal water with a temperature of 21-78 ˚C comes to the surface from the 118 natural springs discovered so far. Ten out of fifteen baths are open all year long in Budapest. You can even taste the medicinal water from several drinking wells in Budapest.
Gellért Hill and the Citadel
The Gellért Hill is the capital’s popular excursion place. The Citadel can also be found here. It used to be a fortress, which was erected in 1854 by the Habsburg emperors after overcoming the Hungarian army in the revolution of 1848-49. A unique Budapest panorama, which is part of the world heritage, can be also enjoyed here. Other sights on the hill: the sculpture of the bishop St. Gellért (Gerard), the St. Gellért Cliff Church and the Liberty Statue.
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