Tourist Attractions in Budapest, Top 20 Beautiful Places to Visit in Hungary’s Capital
If you have a few days off and want to visit a beautiful European capital, you might want to consider Budapest. If you’re wondering what to see in Budapest, this article will guide you through the main tourist attractions and the most beautiful places to visit in Hungary’s capital.
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, was once referred to as the „Paris of Europe.” These two capitals have a lot in common – numerous cafes, theaters, museums, clubs, not to mention their grand boulevards, various squares, and narrow streets. But Budapest is also known as the „Pearl of the Danube” due to its numerous architectural and cultural treasures. It’s a cosmopolitan city rich in tourist attractions, ensuring you won’t get bored here, and your wallet won’t be emptied too quickly despite the vast array of attractions.
Budapest is a city that combines the beauty of Paris, the cosmopolitan energy of Berlin, the serene flow of Europe’s longest river, and the enchantment of several centuries of history. Here are the most beautiful tourist attractions in Budapest:
This is the city’s economic and political center, where you’ll experience the vibrant heart of the city and make the most of the nightlife.
Hungarian Parliament Building:
Dating back to the 19th century, it is located in the 5th district, the Hungarian Parliament stands proudly in front of the Danube River. With a width of 118 meters extending over 268 meters to Kossuth Lajos Square and a height of over 100 meters, this building is incredibly impressive and boasts breathtaking architectural beauty.
This structure itself is a representation of the national and individual spirit of the country. It’s a true masterpiece of architectural eclecticism, incorporating neo-Gothic, neo-Renaissance, and Baroque influences. Its main entrance is situated in Lajos Kossuth Square, adorned with statues of various Hungarian kings.
At night, when the Parliament is illuminated, and its lights are reflected in the Danube, the spectacle is truly magical!
Budapest St. Stephen’s Basilica:
Not far from the Parliament, you’ll find St. Stephen’s Basilica, a Catholic place of worship named after Hungary’s first king.
The church is truly immense, with its dome soaring up to 96 meters in height. On the exterior, it features a neo-Renaissance style, while its interior is lavishly decorated with marble, mosaics, paintings, sculptures, and a revered relic. Here, you can admire the mummified hand of Hungary’s first king.
A visit to this grand basilica is an absolute must! If you visit Budapest during the summer, for a few euros, you can climb to the terrace that encircles the dome and enjoy the most beautiful panorama of the city.
Shoes on the Danube Bank:
A moving memorial on the banks of the Danube near the Parliament and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. It commemorates those who were shot into the river during World War II.
It could very well be compared to the famous Champs Elysées. It’s the longest and most elegant boulevard in the city.
Connecting the city center to Heroes’ Square, it’s easily accessible on foot. This bustling boulevard boasts numerous luxury boutiques.
Here, you’ll find excellent restaurants where you can savor delicious traditional Hungarian dishes or simply sample some local products.
A visit to this grand avenue promises both shopping and culinary delights.
Széchenyi Chain Bridge:
It’s a bridge whose construction began in 1842 at the initiative of Count Széchenyi. It connects the two districts, Pest and Buda.
With a length of 380 meters, it has become a symbol of the city, destroyed during World War II but quickly reconstructed in 1949.
This architectural marvel is one of the nine bridges over the Danube, a true city symbol and a favorite promenade for locals and tourists alike.
Moreover, it provides a constant link between Buda and Pest, and it’s the world’s first suspension bridge.
As you walk across this beautiful stone bridge, you’ll notice a lion at each entrance. And if you look closely from the front, you’ll see that each lion has its tongue sticking out.
This detail holds a unique story: the legend claims that the sculptor committed suicide on the day of the bridge’s inauguration because his lions were criticized for lacking tongues, though they indeed had them.
House of Terror:
House of Terror is a former prison turned museum that presents the history of the two dark periods Hungary went through.
It’s a museum that narrates the history of the successive dictatorships the country endured, making it a worthy visit if you want to learn more about the Hungarian people’s history.
The building has double walls designed to muffle the screams of the victims, creating a moving attraction recommended for exploration with an audio guide.
It’s certainly one of the most unique and eerie museums in the area.
The second-largest river in Europe, the Danube, is the one that divides the city into two parts, defining its character – Buda and Pest.
You’ll have multiple opportunities to glimpse the river during your walks around the various attractions in the area, but getting up close is necessary to fully appreciate its grandeur.
So, take a stroll along its banks, choose a bridge to cross, and admire the magnificent buildings that line its shores.
You can also opt for a cruise aboard a ship to learn more about it
Hungarian State Opera House:
Built at the end of the 19th century by the architect Miklos Ybl, the State Opera is a highly significant building located on Andrassy Boulevard.
The ambition of the era? To celebrate the millennium of the arrival of the Hungarians by creating a cultural venue as influential and majestic as the Vienna Opera or the Paris Opera Garnier.
Its exterior is adorned with statues featuring the likenesses of Mozart, Beethoven, Franz Liszt, and Ferenc Erkel, the composer of Hungary’s national anthem.
The interior, in Baroque style, holds the most delightful surprises. Its auditorium is decorated with 7 kilograms of gold, and the ceiling of the main hall boasts the most majestic fresco depicting Olympus.
Central Market Hall:
Named either the Central Market Halls or the Great Market Hall, this is the largest covered market in Budapest and the oldest one.
Here, you will find all kinds of products, such as vegetables, fish, meat, sweets, spirits, spices, and souvenirs.
The best place to savor old cheese or savory meat-based snacks from all over the country.
The original metal roof still stands in place as a testimony to the skills of the builders from 1897.
The Zsolany porcelain pieces that decorate the market are equally exquisite. Interestingly, when it was opened, ships could reach this market directly with the help of special docks.
A unique attraction that allows you to step back into Hungary’s communist past. Statues glorifying communism were moved here after the regime’s fall.
Heroes’ Square is the largest square in Budapest, located at the end of Andrássy Avenue. Celebrating 1000 years since the Hungarians settled in the Carpathian Basin, this semi-circular square is truly impressive.
At the central column, you will find Archangel Gabriel, the messenger of God. At his feet, the central statue represents Prince Árpád and his conquerors, the leaders of the seven tribes who arrived in this Carpathian Basin.
Heroes’ Square is framed by the Museum of Fine Arts, Műcsarnok Art Hall, and a magnificent ice rink during the winter season.
Vörösmarty Square and Váci Street:
At the heart of the pedestrian district in the city center, Vörösmarty Square, home to the statue of the Hungarian poet of the same name, houses the famous Gerbeaud Café.
This square is the starting point of Váci Street, the main pedestrian street here, where you will find numerous cafes, restaurants, international brands, and souvenir shops.
The Great Synagogue in Budapest is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world. It was built between 1854 and 1859 by the Viennese architect Ludwig Forster in a typical Moorish style, inspired by Muslim architectural designs from around the world.
The Great Synagogue in Budapest is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second-largest in the world. It was constructed between 1854 and 1859 and was designed by the Viennese architect Ludwig Forster. The synagogue’s architecture is characterized by a distinct Moorish style, drawing inspiration from various Muslim architectural influences from around the world. The Great Synagogue is a significant landmark in Budapest and is known for its unique and ornate design.
The synagogue has historical and cultural importance as it has been a place of worship and a symbol of the city’s Jewish heritage. The complex also includes the Jewish Museum, which showcases exhibits related to Jewish history, art, and culture. It is a must-visit attraction for those interested in exploring Budapest’s rich cultural diversity and history.
Buda Castle Hill:
Buda Castle Hill:
Buda Castle Hill, also known as Castle Hill (Budai Várhegy in Hungarian), is one of the most iconic and historically significant areas in Budapest. This elevated district sits on the western side of the Danube River, overlooking the Pest side of the city. Here are some key details about Buda Castle Hill:
- Historical Significance: Buda Castle Hill has been a focal point of Hungarian history for centuries. It was the site of various royal palaces and fortifications, witnessing events that shaped the nation’s destiny.
- Buda Castle: The Buda Castle, also known as the Royal Palace or Buda Castle Palace, is the dominant architectural structure on the hill. It has undergone numerous renovations and changes over the years, with its current incarnation being a blend of Baroque and Neo-Baroque styles. It’s been the residence of Hungarian kings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Attractions: The hill is home to numerous museums, galleries, and historic sites, such as the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. Visitors can explore the complex history and cultural heritage of Hungary.
- Panoramic Views: The hill offers breathtaking panoramic views of Budapest, including the Danube River, Parliament building, and Pest side. Many tourists visit to capture these stunning vistas.
- Matthias Church: Matthias Church, a stunning Gothic-style church, is located on Buda Castle Hill. It is renowned for its colorful and ornate roof, and it has played a role in royal and religious ceremonies throughout history.
- Funicular and Walking Paths: Visitors can access the hill by taking a historic funicular or by walking up various paths and staircases, including the majestic Habsburg Gate.
Buda Castle Hill is not just a place to explore history but also a scenic spot for enjoying the culture and architecture of Budapest. It’s a must-visit location for tourists looking to immerse themselves in the city’s rich past and captivating views.
This fairy-tale-like structure features seven towers symbolizing the seven Hungarian tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin.
St. Matthias Church:
Matthias Church, also known as the Church of Our Lady, is a historic and stunning church located near Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest. Here’s more information about this iconic landmark:
- History: Matthias Church dates back to the year 1255 when it was originally constructed. Over the centuries, it has undergone several reconstructions and renovations. The church has played a significant role in Hungarian history and has witnessed numerous coronations of kings and queens.
- Proximity to Fisherman’s Bastion: It is located very close to Fisherman’s Bastion, and its colorful rooftops are a distinguishing feature that can be seen from afar. Together, the church and the bastion form a picturesque duo on Castle Hill.
- Architecture: Matthias Church is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture. Its exterior features colorful tiles and intricate details, while the interior boasts some of the most exquisite stained glass windows.
- Illumination: The church’s exterior, particularly its colorful roof, is beautifully illuminated at night, creating a captivating and magical sight.
- Royal History: Notable historical figures have been connected to Matthias Church. Queen Elisabeth of Hungary, also known as Empress Sissi, was crowned here. The church was named in honor of King Matthias, one of the many monarchs who were crowned within its walls.
- Interior: The interior of Matthias Church is equally impressive, with stunning stained glass windows, intricate frescoes, and a richly decorated altar.
- Visitors: While tourists may not spend extended periods inside, it is a must-visit attraction when exploring Castle Hill in Budapest.
Matthias Church, with its rich history, remarkable architecture, and its association with Hungarian royalty, is a true gem among Budapest’s many attractions. It’s a place where history and beauty converge, making it a popular site for both tourists and history enthusiasts alike.
Discover the history behind the iconic Hungarian liqueur Unicum, created to soothe the stomach of Emperor Joseph II.
A peaceful retreat in the heart of the city, featuring a wide range of attractions, including the ruins of a convent.
Budapest Thermal Baths: Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, with Széchenyi Thermal Bath being the most iconic. It’s a great way to relax and experience the city’s unique wellness culture.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a party lover, or someone who enjoys cosmopolitan vibes, Budapest has something for everyone. It’s a unique European capital that deserves to be explored. Surrounded by the Buda Hills to the west and the great plain to the east, Budapest unveils its splendor along the banks of the Danube, making it one of the hottest destinations in the world. A place where people have built this architectural gem with love, generation after generation.
Don’t miss out on the fantastic atmosphere and beautiful tourist attractions in Budapest.