Attractions in Budapest
City breaks are experiences and attractions. And after all, not many cities
in Europe have more and more sights and attractions than Budapest in Hungary.
- See DigoPaul for dictionary definitions of Budapest,
Hungary. Includes geographical map and city sightseeing photos.
The Margit sziget, with its vast green spaces and warm health baths, has been
a popular excursion area among the city's inhabitants for 140 years. The island
is in the middle of the Danube and is connected to the city by one of the
bridges that cross the Danube, so it is quite possible to walk there on foot
from both sides. Most of the island is reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. In
the past, the island had such different functions as monastery and harem, under
the Ottoman rule.
Houses of parliament
Built on the river banks of the Pest site between 1885 and 1904, this
neo-Gothic parliament building [see picture first in article] was one
of the largest buildings in the world, with a height of 96 meters and a length
of 268 meters. Parliament's grand façade totally dominates the cityscape seen
from the Buda side.
You can also enter the House and take a closer look at the three main halls
and some of the over 700 rooms. The Hungarian crown jewels are also on display
here. Guided tours with English-language guides are available during the summer
months. Open daily from 2 pm 1000 to 1700. Entrance fee must be paid.
The Fishing Bastion (Halászbástya) is a neo-Gothic terrace in the castle
district on the Buda side of the Danube. This was built as a vantage point as
late as 1905, although it looks much older. The seven conical towers here
represent the seven original Magyar tribes that founded the nation of Hungary.
From here you have great views of Pest, the Danube and the Parliament Building.
Entrance approx. 10 kroner, children half price.
In the middle of the castle district you will find one of Budapest's most
visited tourist attractions, the over 700 year old Matthias church. The church
has a significant role in Hungarian history and has been the site of several
coronations and royal weddings.
During the Turkish occupation of the 16th century, the church was converted
into a mosque, and many of the priceless frescoes were painted over or
destroyed. Open daily from 2 pm 0900 to 1800, expect a small amount in entrance
St. Stephen's Basilica
This neo-classical church of St Stephen's Basilica was completed in 1905 and
is Budapest's tallest building next to Parliament. Guests can take the elevator
or walk up the 364 stairs at the top of the dome.
Another and more macabre point of interest in the church is the
thousand-year-old mummified hand of Hungary's first king, Stefan, whom the
basilica is named after. Free entrance, but if you want to go up in the tower,
it costs a few bucks.
To the south of Buda Castle lies Gellérthegy, a height of 235 meters named
after the martyr Gellért, who was thrown from a cliff nearby. From Gellérthegy
you have the city's best views of both the districts and the Danube. There is
also a magnificent citadel and one of Hungary's last remaining socialist
monuments, the Liberation Monument.
During the 1956 revolution, Russian tanks stood on the Gellérhegy hill and
fired at Budapest's center. Today, this is a better residential area, where you
will also find many embassies.
In the district of Óbuda, where the original Roman settlement of Aquincum was
located, today you will find the Aquincum museum among 2,000-year-old Roman
ruins and an amphitheater. In the museum there are exhibits of Roman coins,
weapons, jars and other finds from the site's archeological excavations.
Open daily from 2 pm 0900 to 1800 except Mondays, entry fee is a few tikrons,
children half price.
In the Varosliget city park is a large circus that has performed with its
line dancers, clowns, trapeze artists, balance artists and exotic animals for
Performances every night from Wednesday to Sunday except September and
October, ticket prices from around NOK 30.
Franz Liszt Memorial Museum
In Erzsebetvaros lies the house where Hungary's foremost composer and piano
virtuoso Franz Liszt (1811-1886) lived for the last five years of his life. This
is now a museum open to the public, and here you can see Liszt's pianos,
pictures and other personal effects.
Open daily from 2 pm 1000 to 1800 on weekdays, and from 6 p.m. 0900 to 1700
on Saturdays. Entrance around 5 kroner.
The statue park, or Szobor Park, is a little outside the city center and is a
strange sight. It houses the communist monuments that decorated the center of
Budapest until the 1990s. Huge statues and busts of Marx and Lenin, plaques for
Béla Kun, large bronze figures of heroic workers and soldiers.
The souvenir shop sells other objects from the Soviet era, such as hats,
buttons and coins. Open daily from 2 pm 1000 to 1800, entry about 10-20 kroner.
Tourist in Budapest
Budapest's city center is relatively small and compact, and it is quite
possible for a normally skinny person to stroll around and get the most out of
Budapest within a few days.
If you do not live in the city center, it may be worthwhile to buy a day pass
which is valid on all buses, subways and trams. The price is approx. 15 kroner,
or 25 kroner for a three-day card.
There are also several operators offering guided tours in Budapest in several
languages of varying duration. You can pre-book everything from a few hours
bus ride to full day Donau cruise or helicopter tours.
Day 1 in Budapest Attractions and Tourist
This will be a long day that includes a lot of walking, so have a hearty
breakfast at the hotel before setting the course for today's starting point on
the Pest side, Deák Tér. All metro lines and tram lines 47 and 49 pass through
Deák Tér, so it should be easy to find. There is also a tourist
information, where you can pick up a map and brochures before you leave. From
the subway, you may want to pass the Underground Museum. Here you can see trains
and photographs from Central Europe's oldest metro.
Continue south towards Szervita Tér and you will see a 1700s church
in the Baroque style. Take the street to the left of this into Városház Utca,
and you will pass the city's largest Baroque building, the City Hall (originally
built as a hospital), and the 19th-century Pest Megyei Önkormányzat, which
corresponds to the municipal hall. Walk the pedestrian tunnel under the street
and you will come up at the Franciscan Church, which has its roots from the 13th
National Museum of Hungary
Continue south on Ferenciek Tér. You will certainly notice the
University Library with its colorful verdict, which can be traced back to 1561.
Continue on to the University Square ( Egyetem Tér ) and the Baroque
University Church, the Literary Museum and the Law School. Head east towards
Kálvin Tér, and a few minutes north on the Múzeum map, the Hungarian
National Museum is housed in a large neo-classical building from the 19th
century. The museum has artifacts from all over Hungary's history, and the dress
is the crown of the country's first king, St Stefan. The museum is closed on
From here you can go down to Kálvin tér again, where you pass the Calvinist
Church en route to Budapest's largest market hall, where all fresh produce such
as meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and flowers are sold on the ground floor.
Upstairs there are craft shops and eateries, if you start to get hungry. Next to
it is the Toll Building, still with a large statue of Karl Marx in the entrance
Shopping street Váci Utca
The street that goes northwest from the market hall is Váci Utca,
Budapest's foremost shopping street. Most of Váci Utca is a pedestrian
street, where you will find everything from modern designer shops, department
stores, perfumery and electro shops to small, traditional craft shops. Here you
can buy the typical souvenirs from Hungary, such as wood art, ceramics and
porcelain. At Vörösmarty tér lies one of the country's most traditional
cafes with decor and décor as at the beginning in 1858, Café Gerbauds. If you
have not yet eaten lunch, this is a great time.
Afterwards, continue the street northwest until you reach Roosevelt tér
on the banks of the Danube. On the other side of the river is Buda Castle, and
Budapest's oldest bridge, the Chain Bridge, is in front of you, guarded by large
lion statues. Here is also a memorial statue of the national hero Ferenc Deák,
and one of the city's most idyllic and photogenic walks extends along the river
up to the next bridge, the Margaret Bridge.
Along this river promenade entertain musicians and artists, cartoonists and
street vendors, while having a beautiful view of Buda on your left, and the
city's best and most expensive hotels and Parliament on your right.
Városliget Park and dinner
Afterwards, it might be time for a trip back to the hotel to relax a little
and put away the shopping bags. In the afternoon you can take a metro to
Hösök tére or a taxi to Városliget, the city's large park, which
houses both an amusement park, botanical garden and a zoo. Here is also Europe's
only permanent circus building, with traditional performances with seating for
If you have made a reservation in advance, after the circus show you can walk
a few hundred meters to one of Budapest's oldest and most famous and exclusive
restaurants, Gundel, which was opened by and named after Hungary's legendary
gourmet chef Károly Gundel in 1894. Not very cheap, but you get main courses
from around 100 kroner, and dishes of this quality cost more than double in the
Day 2 in Budapest Attractions and Tourist
The next day, we focus on the other side of the river, starting at the Moscow
intersection, just northwest of the castle district. Follow Várfok Utca for
a few hundred meters and you will reach the northern gate of the old city walls.
The entire area here is on UNESCO's World Heritage list. Inside the gate you
will find four picturesque parallel streets between old houses, museums,
churches and palaces.
The poor workers originally lived in this part of the city, but today the
homes are sold for astronomical bucks and have become Budapest's most
fashionable residential area. You can easily spend most of the day here. Stop by
the Military History Museum, the Apothecary Museum and the Commercial Museum,
and take the opportunity to admire the view from the Fishery Bastion.
Next to the Fisherman's Bastion is the ugly Budapest Hilton Hotel, which with
its flashy facade seems somewhat out of place in an otherwise almost intact
medieval town, but its location and view certainly do not complain to the
Matthias Church and the Castle District
On the main square in the middle of the castle district lies another and far
more beautiful landmark, the 700-year-old Matthias Church, which holds an
important position in Budapest's history. Along the southeast, in the direction
of the Royal Palace, you pass sights such as the Ministry of Defense, the Palace
Theater and the Sándorp Palace.
At the entrance to the castle itself, notice the huge totem-like statue
worshiped by the ancient Magyars as their ancestors. Inside the castle grounds
you will find a modern art museum, Budapest Historical Museum, the National
Gallery and the National Library.
At the southernmost end of the castle district you will find a gate under a
round tower. The road leads to a long staircase down to Szarvas tér in
the Tabán district. If you have not yet eaten lunch, the traditional Hungarian
restaurant Aranyszarvas is close by, in an 18th-century building with a
beautiful outdoor terrace.
Víziváros - The water village
If you are still keen to walk more, you can now continue north again, on the
streets between the castle district and the Danube. This district is called
Víziváros or Vannbyen, and used to be the center of trade and fishing. The main
street of Fó Utca has Roman origins, and you can see many old and
interesting buildings on both sides.
Today, Víziváros is the nightlife center of Buda, and you will find many
pubs, bars and cafes in the area around the Margaret Bridge.