“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”–Aldous Huxley
Budapest is one of those cities that grabs you by the heart and never releases you. It was always on my bucket list to go visit, but I finally got there in 2016. Of all the dozens of places I’ve been Budapest is one of the few that I could visit over and over again without feeling bored or disappointed. You could spend a week in the city and not see everything. It truly is a city that keeps on giving.
Budapest is actually two cities combined, Buda and Pest. They are split by the Danube river and connected by many bridges. The country has a deep history and not all of it was pleasant, however, all of it is worth learning about. There are communism tours, popular sites to see tours, etc. Budapest has a little bit of everything and you won’t want to miss any of it.
My top Budapest Sites to See:
- Buda Castle
- Located in the main area of town on the Buda side.
- Was completed in 1265 and additions were made for several centuries
- Dracula (Vladimir the Impaler) was imprisoned here for a time in the labyrinths underneath the castle.
- Fisherman’s Bastion
- Located right next to Buda castle on Castle Hill
- Free to walk around
- This is actually a fortress and has nothing to do with fishing.
- The seven towers represent the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian region in the 9th century.
- It got its name because a fisherman’s guild protected that side of the castle wall
- Hungarian Parliament
- Located on the Pest side across the river from Buda Castle
- Best pictures are taken from across the river.
- The largest building in Hungary and the tallest in Budapest
- Szecheny Thermal Bath
- Located a good walk away from the center of town
- One of the more expensive things to do in Budapest
- It was neat to see, but I wouldn’t do it again
- Largest medicinal bath in Europe
- St Stephen’s Basilica
- Located in the center of town.
- Named after St Stephen who was the first King of Hungary
- His hand (supposedly) is located inside the reliquary
- Chain Bridge
- The main way to get across the river to Buda Castle/Castle Hill
- BEAUTIFUL at night when it is lit up
- Opened in 1849 and was considered an engineering marvel
- Hero’s Square
- Located near Szecheny Baths
- This is an absolute must-see. The site is massive and impressive on such a grand scale
- The statue complex features the seven Magyar Chieftains as well as a tomb of an unknown soldier
- Surrounded by a Museum of Fine Art and Palace of Art
- Many Kings are also portrayed in between the columns as well as Gabrial atop the column.
- Hungarian State Opera House
- Located in central Budapest
- Completed in 1884
- Home to Hungarian National Ballet
- Go see some Opera! Performances are held daily!
- Vajdahunyah Castle
- The “castle” was built in 1896 as part of the Millenial Exhibition (think World’s Fair) to celebrate the 1,000 years of Hungarian history
- Built to show off all of Hungary’s past and present architectural styles.
- Was once made of cardboard, but was so loved it was built in its current stone structure
- Dohany Street Synagogue
- No matter your religion this is a very moving place to visit.
- Located in central Budapest
- Tree in the garden is a Holocaust memorial. Each leaf is inscribed with a name of a victim.
- The largest synagogue in Europe and second largest in the world
- Shoes on the Danube
- If you are facing Buda Castle on the opposite side of the river, turn right and follow the river bank down about a mile.
- Memorializes those killed by the Fascist regime during WWII
- Liberty Square
- Located in central Budapest
- Small park, but is home to many statues and memorials, some controversial
- Say hi to Ronald Reagan in statue form
There are also a few places we, unfortunately, didn’t have time for in the 2 days we had there, but are on our list for next time. These are:
- House of Terror
- While the name doesn’t make it seem appealing it was one of the places we really regret not seeing. Get your tickets early!
- Outside you can see a piece of the Berlin Wall and plaques memorializing those killed inside
- Documents the effects of the Nazi and Soviet regimes in Hungary
- Gellert Hill and Baths
- Named after Saint Gerard who was thrown to his death off of the hill
- Gellert Thermal Baths are nearby
- Great Market Hall
- Great place to stop and see local vendors and grab a bite to eat
- Ruin Pubs
- Unique to Budapest
- Ruin bars/pubs started out in the Jewish district which had become the Jewish ghetto during WWII
- Housed in derelict buildings and unused outdoor spaces
- Memento Park
- Open air museum
- Located a short distance from the city (about 20minutes by bus)
- After the fall of Communism, the city was left with many statues they didn’t know what to do with
- Instead of destroying them, they moved them to a newly created park so they can be viewed in a neutral setting
- Learn the basics of the Hungarian language or at least bring a cheat sheet. Not many people speak English.
- Take a guided tour. There are several tours throughout the city on foot and bike. You will see and learn so much more that way. We used BudaBike Tours and LOVED it. http://www.budabike.com/en/
- Try the local food. It’s incredible, filling, and not expensive.
- If you buy tickets for the tram make sure you validate the ticket each time. Plainclothes enforcement officers will ticket you.
- Try goulash. You won’t regret it.
4 thoughts on “Hungary Will Have You Hungry To See More. Top Things To Do/See In Budapest”
I love Budapest! Stunning city!
I’m glad to have found your blog on Girls Love Travel, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts! 🙂
It’s one of my favorites! Thanks so much!
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Awesome tips! Budapest has been on my list for a while… definitely savings these for when we go!
Push it to the top! It’s incredible!! Glad my list could help!