10 things to see in Budapest, Hungary

10 things to see in Budapest

Nina Akimkina

The Hungarian Parliament building is probably the first thing that comes to mind when mentioning Budapest. The majestic building, the largest in Hungary, is beautiful inside and out and looks more like a palace than a government office. The huge dome is 27 meters high, carved towers in neo-Gothic style, interiors decorated with paintings, frescoes and gilding – it is impossible to miss such a miracle. You can go inside by booking a tour (there are also tours in Russian). It is better to do this online: you can avoid the queues and there are enough seats. Come to the parliament building and at night. In the evening, the lights turn on and bats are swirling in the rays of the light – a magical sight.

2. Climb up to the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Looking for the best view of the Houses of Parliament? Climb up Fortress Hill to Fisherman’s Bastion. It’s a square surrounded by a 140-meter gallery with seven towers. The bastion was built in the early twentieth century and has no historical value – the aim of the architect was to create a suitable frame for the Church of St. Matthias. The site used to be home to fortress walls and a fish market, with fishermen repelling attacks on the town – hence the name. Entrance to the upper towers of the bastion is paid.

3. See Vaidahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle is another pseudo-historical building in Budapest. In 1896, the city hosted an exhibition of national achievements in honor of the 1000th anniversary of Hungary. For this exhibition in the Varoshliget Park a castle was built of papier-mache, wood and plywood, which the citizens liked so much that they decided to build it in stone. Construction was completed in 1908. The architect combined several styles in the castle (Romanesque Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance) and elements of twenty famous buildings in Hungary. Nowadays the castle houses an agricultural museum.

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4) Relax your body and soul

Budapest is rich with thermal springs, of which there are more than a hundred. The first baths appeared in the times of the ancient Romans, and during the Turkish rule they finally took root. There are 27 baths in the city: ancient, with luxurious interiors, outdoors, therapeutic and many others. The largest one in Budapest and the whole of Europe is Szechenyi, located in Varoshliget Park. Gellert Spa is located in the hotel of the same name and attracts with its Art Nouveau interior. Lukacs and Rudas baths have existed since the 16th century, of course, since then they have been modernized. The Palatinus complex, the first open-air bathing house, has a beach and water slides, and is located on Margaret Island.

Bathing facilities usually have several thermal pools, swimming pools with ordinary water, saunas. The water temperature in the pools ranges from 16 to 42 degrees. You can see the schedule and prices of the most popular bathing centers on a special website. Whichever bathing area you choose, bring flip-flops and a towel.

5. Take a cable car ride

Janos Mountain is Budapest’s highest point at 529 meters. At the top of the mountain is the Erzsebet Kilato Tower, named after Empress Sisi, who loved to enjoy the panorama of the city. Entrance to the tower is free and in clear weather the visibility is 70-80 km. One way to get to the top of the mountain is the 1.5 km Lybigö cable car. However, this is the best way to go down – you can see Budapest as if in the palm of your hand, and the views are spectacular.

6. Become a passenger on the Children’s Railroad

The children’s railroad appeared in the Buda Hills in 1948 and until 1990 it was called Pioneerskaya. It was built following the example of the Soviet Union and is still operating, unlike many other former socialist countries. The road is designed to acquaint children with railway professions: all work, except for train driving, is performed by schoolchildren aged 10-14. The length of the road is 11 km, there are 9 stations on the train route.

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7. Go shopping at the market

Where else can you experience life in the city, but the market? The Budapest Central Market, or Központi Vásárcsarnok, built in 1897, is the largest and oldest in the city. Going shopping, pay attention to the building itself – the architecture with neo-Gothic elements, the roof lined with colorful tiles. The market consists of two floors: the first floor is for groceries, on the second floor you can buy souvenirs and snacks. The prices compare favorably to the stores in the tourist streets, so make sure you have plenty of time to visit the market. Try the local sausages, cheeses, dairy products, wines, spices (especially red paprika). Bring Hungarian lace or embroidery as a souvenir.

8. Enjoy the panorama of the city

Saint István Basilica is the largest temple in Hungary, and was under construction for 54 years. Inside the basilica is decorated with marble, stained glass and mosaics. Above its construction worked three architects. The height of the basilica is 96 meters, the same as the height of the Parliament building – these are the two tallest buildings in Budapest. On the dome there is an observation deck with a great view of the city; you have to pay to get in.

9. Learn the tragic history of Hungary

The House of Terror is a museum on Andrássy Avenue dedicated to the tragic history of Hungary during the fascist and communist regimes. The building was built in 1880 and was originally conceived as an apartment building. During World War II it was the headquarters of the Nazi party Crossed Arrows, and afterwards the State Security Office. In 2002, a museum of terror was opened. Large letters TERROR are embossed on the building’s canopy, casting a shadow with the inscription on the facade in sunny weather. There are photographs of victims, documentary evidence, torture instruments, interrogation rooms, cameras, etc. on display. The museum leaves a heavy impression, but is necessary as a reminder of the crimes against humanity.

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10. Meet the sunset on Gellert Hill

Gellert hill is 235 m high, at the foot of which are the baths of the same name. On the top of the hill there is a citadel from the middle of the 19th century, now converted into a recreation area. There is a 14-meter high Statue of Liberty with a palm branch in her hands near the walls of the citadel. There are hiking trails on the slopes of the hill, so it’s a pleasant walk up the hill. Climb the hill at sunset and enjoy beautiful views of Budapest.

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