Top Things to Do in Budapest, Hungary
April 14, 2020
Budapest is a wonderful city with many historic sites to see and visit. We spent six days in Budapest during our trip, which gave us the ability to visit many different places at a leisurely pace. Obviously you don’t need that much time, but spending at least three days would be beneficial. Budapest is really a combination of two cities sitting on either side of the Danube River with one Buda being on one side and Pest being on the other. We stayed in the busier Pest with all of the restaurants, hotels, and many wonderful locations like the Parliament Building and St. Stephen’s Basilica. Here are some of the locations that should be part of your Budapest itinerary.
- Royal Palace (Buda Castle) – The Royal Palace, also known as the Buda Castle, is one of the most dominant buildings in Budapest. Sitting on top of Buda Hill, it looms above the Danube River with wonderful views.
- St. Stephen’s Basilica – The interior of the basilica is quite beautiful, but one of the main reasons for visiting the basilica is to go to the observation deck with its wonderful views of the city. It is one of the most popular sites to visit in Budapest, so it can be quite busy.
- The Parliament Building – Although we didn’t do a tour inside of the Parliament Building because the English tours were all sold out, just walking around the building with its unique architecture is worthwhile. With a height that is purposely equal to that of the basilica, the Parliament Building dominates the views of Pest when looking from the Buda Castle District.
- The Citadella – The Citadella is a fortress located on the Buda side of the Danube and once again is another location with amazing views. The giant statue of a woman holding a palm leaf can be seen from throughout Pest. One of the best ways to get to the summit of Gellért Hill is to take the winding path from the base through the park.
- The Dohany Street Synagogue – There are many reasons to visit the Dohany Street Synagogue from its size, history, architecture, and cultural importance. It is also the location of the Hungarian Jewish Museum, Heroes’ Temple, and Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, which will give you a glimpse into the affects of the Holocaust within Hungary.
- Matthias Church – Located in the Buda Castle District, the Matthias Church is quite interesting with its colorful roof and unique features. Built in the gothic style, its bell tower can be seen from throughout the city and is as visible as the Royal Palace.
- The Shoes on the Danube Bank – It is certainly a somber sight to see as it represents the fate of the Jewish citizens at the end of WWII. As the Germans prepared to leave Budapest, they lined up citizens, tied them together with a rope, and had them remove their shoes. When one citizen was shot, the rope pulled in the rest of them into the river to drown.
- Day Trip to Bratislava, Slovakia – There are a couple of day trip choices when visiting Budapest, but we chose to go to Bratislava since we had already visited Vienna, which is the other popular day trip. If you have enough time to do a day trip, seeing historic Bratislava is certainly worth the time.
- Fisherman’s Bastion – Built in the late 1800’s, the Fisherman’s Bastion is a wall around the Danube River side of the Castle District with a very unique architecture. The views along the wall are definitely amazing as you overlook the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Parliament Building, and St. Stephen’s Basilica on the other side of the river.
- Heroes’ Square – It is a short underground railway ride to reach Heroes’ Square. It is an interesting war monument, but is also the location of a park and several museums including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art.
- Hungarian National Museum – Located in the center of Budapest, the Hungarian National Museum is a three-story museum with many different historical and cultural exhibits.
- Széchenyi Chain Bridge – Connecting the cities of Buda and Pest to create the capital of Budapest, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge spans the Danube River. It is certainly worth walking across the bridge to see the views and to reach the funicular that will take you the top of Buda Hill and to the Castle District.
- Cave Church – Located at the base of Gellért Hill is an interesting church built in one of the many caves in the mountainside. Cave Church was built in the 1920’s and even served as a hospital during WWII.
- Restaurants and Spas – Budapest has many different hot springs and spas as well as an abundance of wonderful restaurants. With so many wonderful places to see, it is worth taking some time to relax and enjoy the food and atmosphere of the city.
- Go to a Ruin Pub – An interesting trend has occurred in Budapest where dilapidated buildings are converted into pubs with a funky vibe. They are very popular and quite fun and worth taking the time to at least visit one of them.