Often described as the "Little Paris of Middle Europe," Hungary's capital Budapest is famous for its beautiful architecture and monuments that echo the city's 1,000-year-old culture, the relics and remains of Romans, Turks, and other cultures that settled here, and its panoramic vistas. Bisected by the River Danube, the city is divided into two sides, Buda and Pest, which stretch along the banks of the river and represent the two different characters of the city.
1.Andrassy ut (Andrassy Avenue)
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Built in 1872 to connect the city center with the Városliget (City Park), Andrássy út (Andrássy Avenue) is one of the architectural and cultural gems of Budapest. Named after Prime Minister Gyula Andrássy, who advocated the project, this grand avenue is lined with neo-Renaissance palaces and buildings built by the most distinguished architects of the time and is recognized as a World Heritage Site for its beauty.
Today, the chic avenue is home to some of the world's most beautiful buildings, which house a variety of businesses, cultural institutions, and award-winning restaurants as well as several world-renowned fashion designers, including Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
Andrássy út, Budapest, Pest, City Center, District 6
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Buda Castle is a magnificent royal palace complex and castle on the southern tip of Castle Hill in the heart of Budapest. First completed in 1262, the castle, which has also been called the Royal Palace and the Royal Castle, has a rich history and has housed many kings and seen many wars.
Bordered on the north by what is known as the Castle District (Várnegyed) – famous for its diverse range of architectural jewels – Buda Castle is linked to the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and Clark ádám Square by the Castle Hill Funicular. The castle was declared a heritage site in 1987 and is one of the city's most popular attractions.
Budapest, Szent György tér 2, 1014 Hungary, Phone: +36-1-458-3000
3.The Chain Bridge
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One of the most widely known and iconic structures in Budapest, the Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Chain Bridge) is a 380-meter-long stone bridge that connects Pest and Buda; it is one of only two such bridges that span the river Danube.
Designed and constructed by Count István Széchenyi, the bridge was completed in 1849 and crosses from Clark ádám Square on the Buda side to Gresham Palace on the Pest end. Today the Chain Bridge holds two lanes of traffic and two pavement rims on either side of the bridge, with spectacular views of the parliament buildings from the structure.
4.Culinary Hungary Home Cooking Class and Market Tour
© Culinary Hungary Home Cooking Class and Market Tour
Learn more about the Hungarian people, their rich culture, and their delicious food with home-cooking classes and market tours with Culinary Hungary.
This foodie-focused company offers hands-on home cooking classes in Budapest that not only provide an opportunity to learn more about Hungarian culinary traditions and the ways of cooking their unique cuisine, but also give a deeper insight into Hungarian life as well as the people's cultures and beliefs. Enjoy interactive cooking classes and fun-filled tours of the local food markets around the city.
Budapest, Forint u. 3, 1024 Hungary, Phone: +36-20-779-3375
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Set along the banks of the Danube, the Danube Promenade (Dunakorzó) runs between the Elizabeth Bridge and the Chain Bridge in Pest and is the perfect place to promenade. Lined with beautifully appointed luxury hotels and chic cafés overlooking the mercurial waters of the river, the promenade features several attractions not be missed, including the majestic 19th-century Elizabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd).
The elegant Vigadó Concert Hall is located on Vigadó tér and the art nouveau-style Gresham Palace is set on Széchenyi István Square (Széchenyi István tér). Don't forget to visit the statue of the Little Princess sitting on the railings by the embankment.
Dunakorzó, Budapest, Pest, City Center, District 5
6.Dohany Street Synagogue
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The Dohány Street Synagogue, also known as the Great Synagogue, is a beautifully preserved historical building located in the 7th district of Erzsébatváros and is the largest synagogue in Europe.
Built in the 1850s in the Moorish style, the complex is a center for Neolog Judaism and features the Great Synagogue, the Heroes' Temple, the Memorial, and the Jewish Museum as well as a graveyard. The complex is situated on Dohány Street, which has strong ties to the Holocaust as it constituted the border of the Budapest Ghetto during the Second World War.
Budapest, Dohány u. 2, 1074 Hungary, Phone: +36-1-343-0420
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One of the top attractions in Budapest, Fisherman's Bastion is a magnificent structure consisting of decorative fortifications and lookout towers that cast breathtaking panoramic views over the city.
Built in the 19th century to serve as a lookout tower for Budapest, Fisherman's Bastion was so named because it was protected by the guild of fishermen during the Middle Ages. It features seven turrets to represent the seven Hungarian tribes who founded the country and a small working chapel. An outdoor café on the terrace boasts some of the best vistas in the region.
Budapest, Szentháromság tér, 1014 Hungary, Phone: +36-1-458-3030
8.Free Budapest Walking Tours
© Free Budapest Walking Tours
Experience all that Budapest has to offer on a free walking tour around the city. Free Budapest Walking Tours offers complimentary guided tours led by local Hungarians who share their passion for and knowledge of the city as well as its rich culture, history, and attractions.
Tours range from general sightseeing and orientation walks to historical walks that delve into the history of Budapest and Jewish Quarter Walking Tours, which introduce the traditions, cultural art, and the mutuality of the Jewish religion and its place in Hungarian history. Walks last approximately 2.5 hours and cover about 2.5 miles.
Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7, 1051 Hungary, Phone: +36-20-960-5295
9.Great Market Hall
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Built in 1890, the Great Market Hall (Nagycsarnok), also known as the Central Market Hall, is the largest indoor market in Budapest. This magnificently restored neo-Gothic hall houses a wealth of trading stalls, ranging from fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses on the ground floor to vendors selling handicrafts, clothing, souvenirs, and food on the second floor.
The basement is home to a fish market and an Asian grocery store and weekends see International Gastro Days, where the hall features the food and cuisine of various foreign countries.
Budapest, Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Hungary, Phone: +36-1-366-3300
10.The House of Terror Museum
© The House of Terror Museum
The House of Terror Museum is a museum located at Andrássy út (Andrássy Avenue) 60 that is dedicated to honoring the memory of those detained, interrogated, tortured, or killed in this building during the fascist and communist regimes in 20th-century Hungary.
The museum features an array of exhibits and displays detailing the history and dogma of the systems, presenting the horrors in a tangible way with the aim of helping visitors to understand that the struggle for freedom was not in vain. The museum's permanent exhibition features material on Hungary's relationships with the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, as well as other Hungarian organizations such as the fascist Arrow Cross Party and the Communist áVH.
1062 Budapest, Andrássy út 60, Phone: +36-1-374-2600
11.Hungarian National Gallery
© Hungarian National Gallery
Established in 1957 and housed in Buda Castle, the Hungarian National Gallery (Magyar Nemzeti Galéria) is the country's national art museum. Located in several wings of Buda Castle, the National Gallery features impressive collections of Hungarian art, including the works of Hungarian masters and many 19th and 20th-century Hungarian artists who worked in Western Europe.
There is also a collection of international masterpieces. The gallery also houses a gift shop and café and boasts breathtaking views over the city and the river Danube from the terrace of the building, which could be construed as a work of art in itself.
1014 Budapest, Szent György tér 2, Hungary, Phone: +36-20-439-7325
12.Hungarian National Museum
© Hungarian National Museum
The Hungarian National Museum (Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum) is the national museum focusing on the history, art, and archaeology of Hungary and is the oldest public museum in the country. Built between 1837 and 1847 in a neoclassical style, the building still stands as an excellent example of this architectural genre with a vast colonnaded façade and intricately carved porticos and is a symbol of Hungary's national identity.
The museum is dedicated to the history of Hungary and features a permanent exhibition of weapons, textiles, furniture, ceramics, and metalwork as well as the Coronation Mantle. The museum is surrounded by beautifully manicured and maintained gardens.
Budapest, Múzeum krt. 14-16, 1088 Hungary, Phone: +36-1-338-2122
13.Hungarian Parliament Building
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The Hungarian Parliament Building (Országház), also known as the Parliament of Budapest, is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary and one of the oldest legislative buildings in Europe. Located in Lajos Kossuth Square on the banks of the Danube, the building's symmetrical façade was constructed in the Gothic Revival style and displays statues of Hungarian rulers and famous military leaders, while its impressive central dome is reminiscent of the Renaissance Revival.
The building is 879 feet long and features 691 rooms, 29 staircases, 10 courtyards, and 242 sculptures lining the walls. The building is renowned for its hexa-decagonal (16-sided) central hall, to which two large chambers adjoin - the Upper and Lower Houses.
H-1055 Budapest, Kossuth tér 1-3, Phone: +36-1-441-4000
14.Hungarian State Opera House
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Originally known as the Hungarian Royal Opera House, the Hungarian State Opera House (Magyar állami Operaház) is set on Andrássy út (Andrássy Avenue) and is the second-largest opera house in Hungary. The beautiful neo-Renaissance building was designed by renowned 19th-century architect Miklós Ybl and built in 1875 and is filled with paintings and sculptures by leading Hungarian artists such as Lotz, Than, and Székely.
The horseshoe-shaped auditorium holds over 1,200 people and boasts some of the best acoustics in Europe. The Hungarian State Opera House is also home to the Hungarian National Ballet and the Budapest Opera Ball, and guided tours of the building can be enjoyed in six languages.
Budapest, Andrássy út 22, 1061 Hungary, Phone: +36-1-814-7100
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Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd), also known as Freedom Bridge, is a short bridge at the southern end of the city that connects Buda and Pest across the river Danube. Built for the Millennium World Exhibition in 1896 and initially called the Fõvám Square Bridge after the Fõvám Palace, Liberty Bridge was designed by János Feketeházy and has two squares at either end, Gellért tér and Fõvám tér.
Liberty Bridge is 1092 feet long and 65 feet wide with four masts topped with giant bronze statues of the Turul, a falcon-like bird that is prominent in ancient Hungarian mythology.
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Margaret Island (Margitsziget) is a beautiful green island park in the heart of downtown Budapest offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The park is home to large green lawns, tall, ancient trees, gardens full of flowers, and winding walkways.
Other attractions in the park include a water park with swimming pools, children's playgrounds, two musical fountains, ancient medieval ruins and a historic tower, and a small zoo. An open-air theater and cinema provide afternoon and evening entertainment and a manicured rose garden offers a tranquil place in which to relax.
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17.Photo Tours in Hungary by Miklos Mayer
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Miklós Mayer is a professional landscaper photographer who offers specialized photographic tours of the city by day and night. The Budapest Daylight Tour explores the best spots in town when the sun is shining and finds hidden gems in the city that are usually overlooked.
Budapest at Night shows the city shining by night, illuminated by lamps, the stars, and the moon on clear nights, highlighting the city in beautiful ways. Tours last between 3 and 4 hours and features include exploring the city's best spots, shooting in the golden hour just before sunset, and professional tips and tricks on how to get the most from your camera.
18.Rockhoppers Private Tours
© Rockhoppers Private Tours
Rockhopper Private Tours is a tour company run by local Hungarians who have a passion for their city that they want to share with others. A variety of tours is offered across different topics and subjects ranging from architectural, cultural, and historical tours to art and craft tours, food and wine jaunts, and more.
Tours include 'The Jewish Budapest,' 'Art Nouveau and Eclecticism,' 'Roman Empire in Budapest,' and 'The Communist Budapest.' Tours are given in 11 languages and usually last a few hours. Phone: +36-30-297-5026
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19.Shoes on the Danube Bank
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Shoes on the Danube is a moving memorial to honor the 3,500 people, 800 of them Jews, who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during the Second World War. The victims were ordered to take off their shoes on the edge of the river bank before being shot from behind and falling into the river to be carried away.
Conceived by film director Can Togay and created by sculptor Gyula Pauer, the memorial features 60 pairs of period-appropriate shoes cast out of iron, which are attached to the stone embankment and backed by a 132-foot-long stone bench.
Budapest, Id. Antall József rkp., 1054 Hungary
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20.St. Stephen's Basilica
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St. Stephen's Basilica (Szent István-bazilika), also known as Budapest Cathedral, is the largest church in Budapest and an iconic symbol of the city. This Roman Catholic basilica, named in honor of the first king of Hungary, Stephen (c 975–1038), whose right hand is said to be housed in the reliquary, can accommodate up to 8,500 people.
Built in 1851 in the neoclassical style, the basilica took over 50 years to complete, during which time the dome collapsed, causing construction to start from scratch again. Today, the dome stands over 300 feet high and boasts breathtaking views from the inside.
Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary
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21.Szechenyi Thermal Baths
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The Széchenyi Medicinal Baths (Széchenyi-gyógyfürdõ) is a public bathhouse in Budapest that is supplied by two thermal springs with temperatures of 165 °F and 171 °F, respectively. Located in City Park, the baths were designed by Gy?z? Czigler in 1909, built in a neo-Baroque style, and named after István Széchenyi.
The thermal baths feature private baths with separate sections for men and women, three unisex outdoor pools, and 15 indoor swimming pools. They are the largest medicinal baths in Europe. The outdoor pools include a swimming pool, adventure pool, and thermal sitting pool and range from 81 to 100 °F, while the indoor pool temperatures range from 64 to 100 °F and there are also saunas and steam baths to enjoy.
Budapest, állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Hungary, Phone: +36-1-363-3210
© Taste Hungary
Taste Hungary offers a range of food and wine experiences for foodies, aficionados, and people who want to learn more about the cuisine and wine of Hungary. Food and wine-centered tours focus on top quality local products, finding out more about local food and wine, meeting people passionate about food, and making memorable experiences.
Taste Hungary creates delicious, memorable, and authentic food and wine experiences that teach visitors about the region's cuisine and wine through its unique and delicious flavors as well as its rich culture and history.
Budapest, Bródy Sándor u. 9, 1088 Hungary, Phone: +36-30-551-9932
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Vajdahunyad Castle (Vajdahunyad vára) is a romantic castle located in City Park set beside a tranquil boating lake and skating rink. Built in 1896 as part of the Millennial Exhibition, which celebrated the 1,000 years of Hungary since the Conquest of the Carpathian Basin in 895, the castle is a fantasy pastiche of architectural styles used throughout Hungary's history, ranging from Romanesque and Renaissance to Baroque.
Vajdahunyad Castle features copies of several landmark buildings from different parts of Hungary and hosts a number of festivals and concerts as well as exhibitions held by the Hungarian Agricultural Museum throughout the year.
Budapest, Vajdahunyad vár, 1146 Hungary, Phone: +36-1-422 -0765
24.Budapest Bike Breeze
© Budapest Bike Breeze
Explore the beautiful city of Budapest on two wheels on a guided bicycle tour with Budapest Bike Breeze. Tours are led at a comfortable pace to all of the city's most famous and popular attractions as well as some hidden treasures, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, architectural masterpieces, and beautiful parks.
Interactive sightseeing tours are led in English by local professional guides who share their knowledge and passion for the city and make use of carefully planned routes that include cycle lanes, car-free streets, and park trails. Children are welcome and tours include comfortable bikes, local meals, and refreshments.
Budapest, Rumbach Sebestyén u. 10, 1075 Hungary, Phone: +36-20-488-5954
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25 Best Things to Do in Budapest
- Andrassy ut (Andrassy Avenue), Photo: Courtesy of mikefuchslocher - Fotolia.com
- Buda Castle, Photo: Courtesy of Noppasinw - Fotolia.com
- The Chain Bridge, Photo: Courtesy of ikmerc - Fotolia.com
- Culinary Hungary Home Cooking Class and Market Tour, Photo: Culinary Hungary Home Cooking Class and Market Tour
- Danube Promenade, Photo: Courtesy of Gone With The Wind - Fotolia.com
- Dohany Street Synagogue, Photo: Courtesy of chris dorney - Fotolia.com
- Fisherman's Bastion, Photo: Courtesy of Noppasinw - Fotolia.com
- Free Budapest Walking Tours, Photo: Free Budapest Walking Tours
- Great Market Hall, Photo: Courtesy of dmitr 86 - Fotolia.com
- The House of Terror Museum, Photo: The House of Terror Museum
- Hungarian National Gallery, Photo: Hungarian National Gallery
- Hungarian National Museum, Photo: Hungarian National Museum
- Hungarian Parliament Building, Photo: Courtesy of michael jacobs - Fotolia.com
- Hungarian State Opera House, Photo: Courtesy of BRIAN KINNEY - Fotolia.com
- Liberty Bridge, Photo: Courtesy of art jazz - Fotolia.com
- Margaret Island, Photo: Courtesy of Giuseppe Cammino - Fotolia.com
- Photo Tours in Hungary by Miklos Mayer, Photo: Courtesy of Cherries - Fotolia.com
- Rockhoppers Private Tours, Photo: Rockhoppers Private Tours
- Shoes on the Danube Bank, Photo: Courtesy of Anastasiia Usoltceva - Fotolia.com
- St. Stephen's Basilica, Photo: Courtesy of andres garciam - Fotolia.com
- Szechenyi Thermal Baths, Photo: Courtesy of alexvav - Fotolia.com
- Taste Hungary, Photo: Taste Hungary
- Vajdahunyad Castle, Photo: Courtesy of Sergii Figurnyi - Fotolia.com
- Budapest Bike Breeze, Photo: Budapest Bike Breeze
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of pyty - Fotolia.com