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10 Best Things to See & to Do in Budapest, Hungary

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About Budapest

Budapest is a city with a rich history and vibrant culture that is waiting to be explored. From the stunning architecture of Buda Castle to the relaxing thermal baths, there are endless things to do in this beautiful destination. Make the most of your trip by visiting top attractions like St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Great Market Hall, trying traditional Hungarian cuisine, and taking a boat tour along the Danube. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or relaxation, Budapest has something for every type of traveler.

Lion statue on Chain Bridge. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

1. Budapest Parliament

The Hungarian Parliament Building is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary, one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings, a notable landmark of Hungary and a popular tourist destination in Budapest. It lies in Kossuth Square, on the bank of the Danube, in Budapest. It is currently the largest building in Hungary and still the tallest building in Budapest.

The building was designed in Neo-Gothic style and it was constructed between 1885 and 1904. It has a symmetrical façade and a central dome. The interior is decorated with frescoes and sculptures. It also contains the Hungarian Crown Jewels and the coronation regalia, including the Holy Crown of Hungary, which is displayed in the central hall. The building is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, and guided tours are available. The grandiose Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the most iconic and popular sights in Budapest.

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Budapest Parlament Building from Fishermen’s Bastion. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

2. Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in Budapest, Hungary, situated on the Buda bank of the Danube, on the Castle Hill. It was designed and built between 1895 and 1902 in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style. The Bastion was designed by Frigyes Schulek and is part of the Buda Castle District. There are loads of symbolism and history incorporated into this monument. Fisherman’s Bastion is composed of seven towers, symbolizing the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin in 896. The terrace is named after the fishermen’s guild of Buda, which was responsible for defending the city walls in the past.  Fisherman’s Bastion is also decorated with ornamental turrets and statues of the Turul, a mythological bird of prey, and a National symbol of Hungarians.

The terrace offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Danube, Margaret Island, and the Pest side of the city including the icon Hungarian Parlament Building. It is a popular tourist destination and also serves as a cultural center for events such as concerts, art exhibitions, and open-air theatrical performances. The terrace is open to the public, and there is no admission fee. Have in mind that the towers are connected by a series of staircases and walkways, which offers a fun time exploring the monument.

Towers of Fishermen’s Bastion. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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3. Danube River Cruise

A Budapest Danube River Cruise can be a great way to see the city and its attractions from a different perspective. The cruise allows you to relax and take in the sights as you sail along the river, passing by some of Budapest’s most iconic landmarks and landmarks. Some of the attractions you may see on a Budapest Danube River Cruise include the Buda Castle, the Parliament Building, and the Chain Bridge.

In addition to the sights, a Budapest Danube River Cruise can also be a great way to learn more about the city and its history. Many cruises offer guided tours or audio commentary, providing information about the landmarks and attractions you pass along the way.

Cruise ships from Gellert Hill in Budapest. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Finally, a Budapest Danube River Cruise can be a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the city. The river itself is quite picturesque, and the views from the boat are often stunning, especially at sunset or at night when the city is lit up.

Overall, a Budapest Danube River Cruise can be a great way to experience the city in a unique and enjoyable way. To guarantee your spot on one of these cruises, it is best to pre-book your ticket online.

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The statue in front of Gellert Baths. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

4. Budapest Thermal Baths

Budapest is home to many thermal baths that are open to the public. The most popular thermal baths in the city are Szechenyi Baths, Gellert Baths, Rudas Baths, and Lukacs Baths. Gellert Baths is a historic bath that is known for its stunning architecture, while Rudas Baths is a Turkish-style bath with a unique octagonal pool. Some might prefer Lukacs Baths, which is a smaller thermal bath complex offering a more intimate experience.

Lastly, the most famous of them all is Szechenyi Baths. It is a complex of thermal baths located a bit further from the city center but Szechenyi is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. The complex consists of 18 pools, including three outdoor pools and 15 indoor pools. The baths are fed by two thermal springs, and the water temperature in the pools ranges from 77 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The complex also includes saunas, steam chambers, massage rooms, and a rooftop terrace. The Szechenyi Baths are open year-round and offer a variety of services and treatments.

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5. Castle Hill

Buda Castle Hill is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is rich in history. It has been the site of many important historical events and has been home to many influential figures throughout the centuries.

Also, due to its strategic location on a hill, overlooking the city, Buda Castle Hill provides breathtaking views of Budapest and Danube.

Turul, the mythical bird of prey on Buda Castle Hill. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

Buda castle hill is home to a variety of architectural styles including Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance. It is a great place to appreciate the beauty of these styles. There are several museums, galleries, and cultural institutions located on the castle hill, such as the Hungarian National Gallery and the National Library, providing visitors with a chance to learn about Hungarian culture and history. There is also a possibility to explore old caves beneath Buda Castle if you dare. Who knows what lurks there? If you still get bored, Buda castle hill is home to several restaurants, cafes, and bars, providing a great atmosphere for a night out or a leisurely afternoon.

Overall, Buda Castle Hill is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Budapest, offering a rich cultural and historical experience, stunning views, and a vibrant atmosphere.

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St Stephen Cathedral. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

6. St. Stephen’s Basilica

Visit the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica, one of the city’s most popular churches. The church was built in 1851 and is named after Saint Stephen, the first King of Hungary. The basilica is the largest church in Budapest and the second largest in Hungary. It can hold 8,500 people. It has neo-classical architecture and a magnificent dome, which reaches a height of 96 m / 315 ft. Inside, the basilica is decorated with frescoes and paintings, marble works, and stained glass windows. The main attraction inside the basilica is the mummified right hand of Saint Stephen, which is housed in a glass shrine located at the main altar. St. Stephen’s Basilica also houses many other relics, including pieces of the Hungarian crown and a fragment of the Holy Cross.

The place of worship is open to the public and is a popular destination for visitors to Budapest. St Stephen Basilica is also known for its acoustics and concerts. You can preorder a ticket online to skip the long queues and guarantee your visit to this magnificent church.

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The majestic interior of St. Stephen’s Basilica. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

7. Jewish Quarter

The Budapest Jewish Quarter is the area of Budapest, where you can find most of the rich Jewish heritage within the city. It is located in the seventh district of the city, within the walls of the ancient city. It is the city’s most populous Jewish neighborhood and the center of Budapest’s vibrant Jewish community. The area is home to the largest synagogue in Europe – the Dohany Street Synagogue, as well as other notable Jewish landmarks such as the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial Center. It is also home to several kosher restaurants, Jewish bookstores, and other businesses.

Jews have been living in the area since the 12th century, although the exact date of their settlement is uncertain. During the Holocaust, the Jewish Quarter was the site of a Jewish ghetto, where thousands of Jews were forced to live in cramped and overcrowded conditions. After World War II, the area was transformed into a thriving Jewish neighborhood.

Dohany Street Synagogue. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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8. Great Market Hall

Locally known as Nagyvásárcsarnok, the Great Market Hall is a large market hall in Budapest. It was built in 1897 based on the designs by Samu Pecz, who was a renowned Hungarian architect. The architecture of the building was inspired by the English iron-and-glass style, which was popular at the time. The market was originally meant to provide food and fresh produce to the citizens of Budapest, but it has since evolved to include a variety of goods and services. In addition to the food stalls, it now features a large selection of restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops. It also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, such as concerts and art exhibitions. The Great Market Hall is one of the oldest and largest indoor markets in Europe. Undoubtedly, it is a very popular tourist destination – visit the Great Market Hall and explore its many stalls offering local delicacies and souvenirs.

Shoes on the Danube is one of the most deeply touching memorials for Jews who died during the Holocaust of WWII. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

9. Shoes on the Danube Bank

The Budapest Jewish Shoes statue is a powerful and poignant memorial to the victims of the Holocaust in Hungary. The statue was created to honor the victims of the Holocaust in Hungary, who were often ordered to remove their shoes before being shot and killed by the Arrow Cross Party during World War II. The shoes symbolize the lives and stories of those who were lost and serve as a powerful reminder of the atrocities that were committed during that time.

Visiting the statue can be a deeply moving and educational experience, as it helps to provide a deeper understanding of the history of the Holocaust and its impact on the world. Additionally, the statue is located in a beautiful and historic part of Budapest, making it a great destination for tourists and locals alike.

Let it serve as a reminder of the potential of human cruelty, and atrocities that are happening across the world now, but most importantly, it is a memorial to remember Jews and others who pointlessly lost their lives during the WWII era in the beautiful city of Budapest and beyond.

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View from Gellert Hill. Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

10. Gellert Hill

Climb the iconic mountain by the Danube river banks and enjoy the breathtaking views central area of Budapest and the river. Gellert Hill is situated on the east side of the city. It is one of the seven hills of Budapest and is located between the two rivers Danube and Buda. The hill is one of the oldest parts of the city and has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It was the site of a Roman fort during their occupation of the city and was also the site of the first settlement of the Magyars, the Hungarian people.

The hill was named after the Hungarian word for “fortress”, and was used as a fortification during the city’s various wars and conflicts. During the 15th century, the hill was the site of the Corvin Castle, a fortress that was built by Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus. The castle was destroyed in the 18th century during the Ottoman Empire’s invasion of Hungary.

Today, Gellert Hill is a popular tourist destination in Budapest. It is home to the National History Museum, the Budapest History Museum, and the Buda Castle, which houses the Hungarian National Gallery. There are also several monuments and statues on the hill, including the Statue of Liberty, which stands at the top of the hill as a symbol of freedom and democracy in Hungary.

All content and photos by Alis Monte, unless stated differently. If you want to collaborate, contact me on info@ctdots.eu Photo by Alis Monte [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Connecting the Dots

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