The beauty of Budapest is not the work of nature alone. Mankind has played its part throughout the years, helping to turn it into a city that captivates. The architecture of the city is astounding and it is filled with mystery. The Gothic, baroque style buildings are pleasing to the eye yet they remind you that Budapest does have a lot of history. The capital of Hungary has undergone some changes in recent years but this is a city that will whet the appetite of all travellers. See below our list of the best things to do in Budapest.
1. Budapest Baths
When you arrive at Budapest, you will more than likely already be aware of how well it is known for its baths. There are many situated throughout the city and they are certainly unique. They give you the chance to unwind with a soak or to have a massage to remove the stresses of life. You could choose to have a healing bath which is believed to ease the joints but also help to rejuvenate. There are many baths available such as the Szechenvi Baths or the Rudas Baths.
2. River Cruise on the Danube
The River Danube is vast and sprawling as it snakes its ways through the city. However, the best way to see the city is by taking a boat tour. Cruising along the river gives you the freedom to experience the city from a different viewpoint. They say at night is the best time to take a cruise or after/during sunset. If you want to mix things up a little and get something more from the cruise there are options available. You can book dinner cruises, party cruises or even a Christmas Cruise. Take the opportunity to sit back and unwind as you float along this beautiful river.
3. Fishermans Bastion
Sometimes, it is better to see something from afar than to find yourself immersed in it. This can be said to some extent for Fishermans Bastion. While you are in the centre of the city and surrounded by the wonderful architecture, you might not appreciate it. Take a trip to Fishermans Bastion and experience superb, sweeping views of the city. To get up there you have two options. There is the funicular that will take you up to Buda Castle. However, if you are feeling fit, you can climb the stairs that take up the steep hill. All of this effort is certainly worth the reward because the views are something else. From here you will able to see the Chain Bridge, the city of Pest and the Houses of Parliament.
4. Buda Castle
Buda Castle is certainly an impressive sight. To get there you can climb the hill for around ten minutes or take the Funicular railway. The castle itself is will amaze but the view again will certainly leave its mark on you. You can take a stroll around the grounds, take in the architecture and then stop for a well-deserved coffee and cake in the 19th-century Café Ruszwurm.
5. Heroes Square
You will find the Hungarian Millennium Monument or the historical equestrian complex at Heroes Square. The square is situated next to two museums that are highly-regarded. Here you will find the classical museum of Fine Arts where you can view mummies and old arts and large fine art collections. The other museum is known as the contemporary Hall of Arts. If an exhibition is your thing and you are fond of international art from recent decades, this is the one for you.
You will find the Hungarian State Opera House located on the Andrassy Avenue. The building is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world. In fact, it is so revered that it has hosted two world-class operatic performances as well as concerts, ballets and more. If you prefer not to commit to a show then you can book a guided tour. This will enable you to take a look around this awe-inspiring building.
7. Hungarian Parliament Building
This was constructed in 1902 and it is now known as the third biggest parliament building in the world. Its location alone is rather impressive being located on the banks of the River Danube. Its Gothic style will impress all of those who appreciate great architecture while the political side of it will fulfil the desires of those who appreciate the history of politics. You can choose to book a tour of the inside of the building should you wish to. Outside is located a square that has been renovated to pay respect to the victims of the 1956 revolution in Hungary.
8. St Stephen’s Basilica
St Stephens Basilica shares the title of the tallest building in Budapest with the Hungarian Parliament Building. It stretches up to 96 metres tall and was completed in 1905 with the Roman Catholic Basilica being designed in a neoclassical style. It is free to enter the interior where you are met with a central dome. This offers you a superb panoramic lookout point that does come at a small cost but it is worth paying for.
This is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in the city. When it was constructed, the plan was for it to become part of the Millennial Exhibition which took place in the city in 1896. It was built from a mixture of cardboard and wood and was designed by Ignac Alpar. The castle contained features that replicated a number of buildings situated throughout the Kingdom of Hungary. However, despite being constructed by cardboard and wood, this is no longer the case as it has been converted to stone. This is now the location of many different festivals and events.
Map of Budapest
History and Culture of Budapest
Budapest and the areas that surround it have been lived in since the Roman ages. The Danube provides thermal water springs for soldiers and when the Roman Empire fell, the population of the area decreased. After the passing of 400 years, the Hungarians arrive and since, the city of Buda is seen as the administrative centre while Pest is the commercial centre.
The city did have a golden era in the 19th century when Buda and Pest were at the heart of an uprising against Habsburgs while also becoming the central point of the Revolutionary War. As 1873 arrived, Buda, Pest, and Aquincum became one, creating the city we now know as Budapest. From this point forward, the city grew and evolved into a place that was commercial and cultural. It quickly transformed into a smart city at the heart of Europe. Many of the buildings seen today in Budapest were built during that period. This is when many of the top landmarks in the city were constructed such as the Royal Palace, The Opera House, St Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes Square and the many bridges seen today.
Moving on to the Budapest of today, it seems as though the city is constantly reminded of its past. At every turn, you will find bullet holes and shrapnel marks from fights during the Second World War and the 1956 uprising. These are stark reminders of difficult times but they also help to shape a city filled with hope. There are various memorials to the days including the cast iron shoes on the banks of the Danube.
Events in Budapest
Budapest Dance Festival
This ten-day festival is all about the beauty and magic of dance. It can be seen in five different venues located across the city. You will be able to view a wide range of styles such as folk, contemporary and ballet.
For the beer lover, this is an event that will certainly impress. Held in City Park, it brings a huge selection of microbreweries. They show off their unique brews while you get to sample as many as you can handle.
This is probably the biggest sporting event in Hungary and it will not disappoint. You will need to book tickets well in advance but if you get the opportunity then it is a worthwhile trip. You can soak up the atmosphere of race day and experience the adrenaline and rush of watching this high-octane sport.
If you are in Budapest during the summer solstice, Museums night is certainly the best way to see in the summer months. Throughout Budapest, Museums open their doors at 6 pm and remain open until the early hours of the morning.
This is considered to be one of the largest and most popular music festivals in Europe. It is located in Budapest’s Hajogyar Island. Here you will bands from around the world and half a million music lovers.
Hotels In Budapest
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