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Best attractions in Budapest: Top 30

Are you wondering, “What to see in Budapest”? The rich history of Hungary’s capital is reflected in the exquisite architecture, which has been preserved to this day. Tourists are attracted by numerous basilicas, fortresses, museums, thermal springs, as well as national coloring and peculiar Hungarian cuisine. In one trip it is impossible to see all the sights of Budapest, so you should get acquainted with their descriptions and choose the most interesting.

What to see in Budapest first

Due to the fact that many interesting places are concentrated in one part of the city, many travelers choose sightseeing tours in Budapest, rightly believing that there is no sense to overpay for visiting individual monuments. If, however, after the first sightseeing some landmark wants to see more, you can always go there at the end of the tour.

1. Buda Fortress

Buda Castle in Budapest

The first thing worth visiting in Budapest is the Buda Castle (this place can safely be referred to the best sights in Hungary), which is a whole area with many historical monuments and places of interest.

On its territory there are objects, the interest in which does not dry up for many years. Among them we can mention:

  • The royal palace;
  • Matyas Church;
  • the ruins of a castle built in the Middle Ages;
  • fishermen’s bastion;
  • Shandor’s Palace;
  • art and history museum.

2. Chain Bridge or Sechenyi Lanzchid

Szechenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest

The various sights of Budapest include numerous bridges, the most grandiose and beautiful of which is rightly considered the Szechenyi Chain Bridge.

Its historical significance for the capital is priceless, as it was a powerful incentive to unite the cities of Pest and Buda, which formed Budapest in 1873.

During the war, the fascists, retreating, blew up the bridge. But four years later it reappeared in all its glory. It is decorated with royal lions, massive stylized chains, arches and lanterns. The Szechenyi Lanzchid is especially beautiful at night, when it is lit by numerous lanterns reflecting in the dark waters of the Danube.

3. The Szechenyi Baths

Szechenyi Baths in Budapest

When deciding what to visit in Budapest, you should not deny yourself the pleasure of visiting the Szechenyi Baths, located in Varoshliget Park.

This is the largest complex in Europe, open all year round. It harmoniously combines beautiful architecture, a variety of services, great care and the therapeutic effects of thermal water containing salts of sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, fluorine and organic acids.

Inside this Budapest attraction are rooms decorated with mosaics, statues, stucco and water paintings. There are 5 swimming pools and 11 baths with hot thermal water. Visitors can take a course of revitalizing massage and mud wraps, visit Finnish or Turkish baths, and take medicinal baths. People with problems of musculoskeletal system, digestive system, urogenital and respiratory system come to the baths.

There are also gyms, an aqua-fitness pool, a solarium and a cozy cafeteria on the territory of the complex.

Official website:

4. Fisherman’s Bastion

Fishermen's Bastion in Budapest

When choosing what to see in Budapest on your first visit, the Fishermen’s Bastion, located in the heart of the Hungarian capital, is worth considering.

Built in 1905, it resembles a medieval white-stone castle, surrounded by an “openwork” wall. This impression is created because of the abundance of windows, arches, projections and recesses. The seven walled towers symbolize the number of tribes that united to create a single Hungarian state. The square inside the bastion is decorated with a statue of Hungary’s first king.

The unquestionable advantage of this Budapest attraction is free admission. Tickets must be purchased only to enter the upper balconies of the towers, which offer a magnificent overview of the city.

5. Central Market

Central Market in Budapest

Not sure what to visit in Budapest to both admire its sights and buy gifts and souvenirs to remember your trip to Hungary, you should choose the central indoor market near the Freedom Bridge.

This delightful colored-brick building looks more like a museum than a mall. Its walls are decorated with moldings, ornaments and elements of forging. Its exterior lightness is given by lots of windows and arches. But the roof, covered with multicolored tiles, is especially fascinating.

The building covers an area of 10 000 m², and has three floors. It was designed by the famous architect Samuel Pecs with the support of the then mayor of Berlin Karl Kammermeyer.

In the numerous market stalls you can buy affordable food, clothing, dishes, national souvenirs, which include rag dolls, embroidered napkins and other handmade items.

Official website:

Be sure to check out this beautiful video about Budapest!

6. Citadel

Citadel in Budapest Civertan Grafikai Studio

The towering Statue of Liberty on Mount Gellert is visible from all points of Budapest. But the only way to find out that there is a citadel behind it is to go up.

The reason for its construction was the rebellion of Hungarian patriots against the rule of the Habsburg dynasty. After its suppression it was necessary to control and, if necessary, to pacify again revolted citizens. The mountain was an ideal place for the construction of a citadel, from which Pest and Buda were clearly visible and exposed to fire.

After the departure of the Austrian garrison, the townspeople wanted to demolish the structure, but only the main gate was demolished.

During the Second World War it was again used against the Hungarian people, but only by the Nazi army. The exposition in the museum of the citadel, which is currently closed for reconstruction, tells about this.

7. Vaidahunyad Castle

Vaidahunyad Castle in Budapest Marc Ryckaert (MJJR)

There are places of interest in Budapest that don’t often appear in brochures and guidebooks about Hungary, but they are extremely beautiful and well-loved by tourists. Such places include Vajdahunyad Castle, located in the cozy park Varoshliget.

Not to notice it is simply impossible. Visitors who enter the territory of the complex, it seems that it was built in the Middle Ages, and served as a reliable shelter from enemies and robbers. However, this is just a stylization. In fact, the castle was built at the beginning of the last century, so it is well preserved.

After admiring the architectural ensemble, visitors can visit the Museum of Agriculture. There are numerous exhibits and photographs showing the wonders of plant and animal breeding. In a separate room one can see examples of hand tools and mechanized equipment, which many generations of Hungarians used to cultivate the land. And connoisseurs of good wine can go to the tasting room, where numerous varieties of this beautiful drink made by local winemakers are on display.

Official website:

8. Heroes Square

Heroes' Square in Budapest Gabor Dvornik

The sights of Budapest include the central square, the image of which can often be seen in guidebooks on the capital. On the square is a huge Millennium Marble Column, with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel mounted on it, holding the symbols of the Hungarian state.

At the base of the column are equestrian sculptures of the leaders of the seven Magyar tribes, whose union laid the foundation of Hungary. Behind the monuments there are two semi-circular colonnades. Here you can see 14 heroes who have marked the history of Hungary. And in the center of the square you can see a memorial to the soldiers who died liberating their homeland from invaders.

After admiring the beauty and grandeur of the sculptures, you can visit the Museum of Fine Arts, located here on the square.

9. Matthias Church

Matthias Church in Budapest

When deciding what to see in Budapest, you should not miss the opportunity to visit the Matthias Church, built on Buda Hill.

Visitors enter the main building through a large gate. Inside the temple there are numerous sculptures, wall paintings and stained-glass windows, the beauty of which fascinates at first sight. Despite the fact that the church has undergone a complete restoration at the end of the XIX century, it remains two columns, dating from the middle of the thirteenth century. Along one of the walls, a number of chapels of saints revered in Hungary, as well as of the royal family, are clearly visible. One of the galleries houses a museum of religious art.

Attached to the main temple building is the tall bell tower and the King Bela Tower, which are open to visitors and parishioners.

Official website:

10. Hungarian State Opera House

State Opera House in Budapest

Music lovers know that the Budapest State Opera House is a must-see in Budapest, because it is among the top three halls in Europe in terms of acoustic quality.

The building itself amazes with the luxury of decorations. Its walls and ceilings are decorated with paintings by Hungarian masters, frescoes, bronze chandeliers, and numerous sculptures. The hall of this Budapest landmark can accommodate 1,261 people at a time. But it is worth ordering tickets for the concert in advance.

For those who are not planning to visit the opera, there are tours in several languages, including Russian, after which you can listen to arias performed by artists of the theater.

Official website:

Budapest sights: what else to see in Budapest

Special attention should be paid to guides in Budapest, who may have different experience, level of foreign language skills, as well as differ in the prices of their services. In order to arrange everything in the best way, it is recommended to decide at the outset which specific museums, cathedrals etc. you want to visit and how much you are ready to spend for your guide.

11. St. Stephen’s Basilica

St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest

Some sights in Budapest are shrines to everyone in the country. One such place is the Basilica of St. Stephen, erected in honor of King Stephen I the Holy, who founded the Hungarian state.

This monumental building has the shape of an equilateral cross. Attached to the main building are bell towers on both sides, one of which hangs a giant bell weighing nine tons.

The semi-darkness of the premises inspires lofty feelings and thoughts and makes one forget one’s problems for a while and leave all fuss over the threshold. The rich decoration of the temple also makes a strong impression. The walls and columns are decorated with multicolored mosaics, paintings by artists, carvings and gilding. Stained-glass windows depict the faces of saints looking at the visitors with love and forgiveness. In the altar section of the basilica there is a mummified hand of Hungary’s first ruler.

Official website:

12. Hungarian National Museum of Ethnography

Hungarian National Museum of Ethnography in Budapnst

When choosing what to see in Budapest, the best place to go is the Hungarian National Museum, which has more than one million exhibits on display.

Opened in the very beginning of the nineteenth century, this museum represented only the collection of Count Ferenc Szechenyi, consisting of manuscripts, ancient coins and a collection of books. Nowadays, however, it has many rooms on various subjects.

In this Budapest attraction are collected archaeological finds from the times of the Roman Empire, items of everyday life of people who lived in the Middle Ages, exhibits devoted to revolutions and wars.

The mantle of Hungary’s first monarch, Istvan the Holy, deserves special attention. Lavishly decorated with pearls and gilded embroidery, it has been admired for centuries.

Official website:

13. Hungarian Parliament Building

Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest

The majestic building of the Hungarian parliament rightfully graces the front pages of guidebooks to the capital. So when deciding what to see in Budapest, this is the first place to look.

This building is one of the largest residences of European rulers. It has 691 rooms and 29 staircases. The architecture of the building is interesting as well, in which neo-Gothic and eclectic are harmoniously intertwined.

But most of all the Parliament looks smartest at night thanks to professionally decorated illumination. Reflected in the dark water of the majestic Danube, the building is a fascinating sight.

Official website:

14. Margaret Island

Margit Island in downtown Budapest

Tired of the hustle and bustle of bustling and hurried Budapest, it is better to go to Margit Island, to which the Arpad Bridge leads. This green oasis has everything an outdoor enthusiast needs. There are comfortable jogging and cycling paths, courts, a stadium, swimming pools and playgrounds for children. There is also a bath with thermal water, where you can not only relax but also improve your health.

Those who love sights will be glad to visit the ruins of an ancient monastery and the grave of Princess Margarita, after whom the island is named. Here around the clock works “dancing” fountain, which in the evening is illuminated by all the colors of the rainbow.

15. Hungarian National Gallery

Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest

The National Gallery is among the main attractions of Budapest, not only by the number of exhibits, but also by the fact that they all belong only to Hungarian masters.

Since the opening of the gallery in the Royal Palace building, the collection is constantly being enriched with works from private collections, museums, exhibitions and other sources. More than 100,000 works on view cover the Middle Ages, Gothic, Renaissance and modern art. It is impossible to go through all the halls and examine every exhibit in one visit, so many return here again and again, taking away new impressions and emotions each time.

Official website:

16. Shoes on the Danube promenade

Shoes on the Danube Embankment in Budapest

One of the most famous and sad monuments to the victims of fascism was the metal shoes that appeared on the city’s Danube embankment in Budapest in 2005. Sixty pairs of children’s shoes, women’s slippers and stumbled men’s shoes are a reminder of the hundreds of thousands of Jews shot and tortured during World War II.

All-permissiveness and lust for profit gave the Nazis and their supporters on the part of the Hungarian National Socialists their cruelty. People chained together in a live chain were shot right on the shore, so that one person would drag other innocent victims into the water after him. Before being executed, they were forced to take off their shoes to be used later for sale. This is how the idea for this monument came about.

17. The therapeutic bathing house and the swimming pool named after Rudash

The Rudas Baths and Rudas Swimming Pool in Budapest, Hungary. Rudas Bath in Budapest misibacsi

Budapest attractions such as Rudas Spa attract visitors not only the opportunity to recover and have a good time, but also to admire the unusual architecture of the building. Another interesting thing about the thermal baths is the possibility to visit them at night and admire the starry sky through a special glass dome.

There are 5 swimming pools, where the water has a temperature of 28 to 42 ° C. There is also a Turkish bath. Also on the territory of the complex you can visit the Turkish bath, take a massage and aromatherapy courses. Purified water from springs is used for treatment of diseases of the digestive system.

Official site:

18. Andrassy Avenue

Andrassy Avenue in the Hungarian capital Civertan

Andrassy is one of the key streets of Budapest, stretching from Erzsebet Square to Varoshliget Park. It brings together a large number of old mansions, townhouses, as well as famous museums, theaters, boutiques, restaurants and other interesting places. In fact, the avenue itself is one big attraction, so it is always crowded, but walk along the avenue in the shade of sprawling trees, feel the historical spirit of the place, look into one of its cozy cafes really worth it. The name “Andrassy” once came from the name of the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, who initiated the construction. Like many other sites, the opening of the avenue was timed to coincide with the millennium of the state, which was celebrated in 1896. It was a truly tremendous 40-year construction project, in the process of which more than 200 dwellings were even demolished and the owners of the structures were given compensation payments.

19. Cafe Gerbo

The famous Zerbo Cafe on Vörösmarty Square in Budapest Bjoertvedt
Luxurious interior of Cafe Zherbo in the heart of Budapest Yelkrokoyade

Undoubtedly, Cafe Zerbo is one of the cult institutions of the Hungarian capital - a luxurious coffee house with a noble interior and the highest level of service appeared there in the 19th century, when one of the confectioners decided to open his own confectionery. Invited young partner named Gerbaud after a while bought the place and conducted an extensive reconstruction. And today this coffee house has preserved the appearance that it had in its heyday - to this day it is still as crowded, even despite the rather high price level. In fact, this is exactly the case, when you do not spare money - better, leaving cares, enjoy a piece of exquisite dessert “Esterhazy”, specialty “Gerbo” or chocolate “Dobosh”. The building itself is decorated in classical style - the interiors are decorated with marble, bronze and precious wood, the huge space of the floor is covered with elegant carpets, the ceilings are decorated with elegant chandeliers.

Official website:

20. The Great Synagogue

The Big Synagogue in Budapest's Pest Jewish Quarter Garloa
The interior of the Great Synagogue in Budapest's Jewish Quarter Pelz

A small town in a big city, a place with national color and ancient architecture is Old Budapest. Reviews testify that it is here, in the historic center, where the soul of the city lives and where the most valuable objects preserving centuries-old memories are located. One of them is the Great Synagogue, located in the Jewish Quarter, where Jews traditionally live. It is the largest establishment of its kind in Europe, and its inner area of 1200 square meters can accommodate up to 3,000 people at a time. The construction of the synagogue began in the middle of the 19th century. The building was designed in the Byzantine style, with an addition of Eastern ethnic motifs. In the courtyard of the synagogue are the Budapest Jewish Museum, the Church of Heroes in honor of the Jews who died in World War I, and finally the main monument, the weeping willow memorial, dedicated to the many victims of the Holocaust.

21. Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine Arts in a neoclassical building on Heroes Square in Budapest Vadaro

The main cultural center of Budapest is the Museum of Fine Arts, the largest collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures in the country. It is based on about seven hundred paintings, once in the private collection of the Princes of Esterhazy. In 1896 an edict was issued for the removal of foreign art collections from the Estherhazy and Counts Zichy estates, and the Buda Castle. This was the reason for the founding of the museum, which was opened in 1906. Today, the total number of exhibits is more than 100 thousand, distributed in several halls. Six galleries of the museum represent the history of world culture, from ancient Egypt to the heyday of Impressionism. The main section, or “Gallery of Old Paintings”, presents about 2.6 thousand paintings by prominent masters of Italian, Spanish, Flemish, English, and French schools.

Official website:

22. House of Terror

The House of Terror on Andrassy Avenue in Budapest Chmee2/Valtameri
Museum dedicated to the tragic periods of Hungary's totalitarian history Darren Donahue

Against the background of the elegant palace facades of Andrassy Boulevard stands a gloomy light gray building girdled with a mournful black frame with the word “terror” embossed on it. The ominous shadow of the canopy falls on the facade and the sidewalk, which makes you want to speed up and pass by, but you shouldn’t - at least once, overcoming the fear that comes over you, you should enter this place, see and feel all the horrors of the cruel dictatorships of the last century - fascism and communism. After all, the House of Terror does not show a documented history, but focuses on the sensations, forcing the visitor to let the entire essence of the pernicious regime pass through. Built at the end of the 19th century as an ordinary apartment building, it was not until 2002 that it housed a museum with grim exhibits related in one way or another to terror - photographs, instruments of torture, and documents that until some time were secret.

Official website:

23. The New York Palace Hotel

The beautiful interior of the five-star New York Palace Hotel in Budapest Visions of Domino

At the crossroads of Budapest’s Rakocí and Erzsebet streets, an elegant building houses the opulent New York Palace Hotel. The construction was built at the end of the 19th century by the American insurance company New York Life Insurance for the arrangement of its representation in Hungary. The openwork details of the facade, sculptures and columns are especially excellent in the evening when the lights are on, emphasizing the volume and reliefs of each element of stucco. To appreciate all the luxury of the interior design, you can book a room or at least come into the hall of the institution, reminiscent of a small courtyard with palm trees, comfortable sofas and unusual glass dome, through which the natural light pierces. Spacious rooms are furnished with elite furniture and silk wallpaper, and equipped negotiation and conference rooms are available for business guests.

Official website:

24. Gellert Baths

The swimming pool of the Gellert Baths on the right bank of the Danube River Roberto Ventre

In winter, Budapest transforms and becomes truly magical - snow covers the narrow old streets and cobblestone streets, creating an atmosphere of fairy tale and magic. Traveling at this time of year, the tourist asks a reasonable question - what to see in Budapest in winter to brighten up your winter vacation? When it is cold outside, you should definitely visit the baths, of which there are about three dozen in Budapest, and more than ten - medicinal. And undoubtedly, the most beautiful among them is the old baths Gellert - a beautiful and luxurious complex in the style of Art Nouveau, which has 12 pools: 4 of them are therapeutic, 2 have an open-air beach, one is recreational and another is equipped with a whirlpool. Gellart once had a more prosaic name, Muddy, because the lake formed at the base of Gellart Hill was full of silt. One monk, secluded in the cave of the hill, was the first to discover the healing properties of the lake waters.

Official website:

25. Gellert Mountain

14-meter-high Freedom Monument at the Citadel walls on Gellert Mountain in Budapest

In addition to man-made monuments, the natural attractions of Budapest also find their place in the city. Many people pass by Mount Gellert and notice it on the right bank of the Danube River from afar. But not many people think to climb it, which is one of the remarkable sights one gets from it, overlooking the streets and districts of the city, the valley of the Danube and its beautiful bridges. On the mountain there are many interesting objects - for example, here rises a mighty Habsburg fortress of the 19th century, and around it there are cafes and souvenir stores. Going down towards another fortress, Buda, you can see the monument to St. Gellert. At the top there is also a 14-meter Statue of Liberty in the form of a woman holding a palm branch. On one of the slopes you can visit a cave temple dedicated to the hermit healer.

26. Aquincum

Ruins of the ancient Roman city of Aquincum Jozsef Rozsnyai

In the Obud area you can see and explore the history of European civilization with your own eyes. It is in this area that the ruins of an ancient Roman city that once existed here can be found. Aquincum is the biggest open-air museum in Hungary, immersing the visitor in a world of archaeology and unique artefacts. It was here that the development of Hungary and its capital began, the Celts lived here, who built a fortress, and soon the settlement grew to become a whole city. In the 3rd century the rich merchants came to the town to visit the warm springs - we know them today as the baths of Budapest. Unfortunately, in the 4th century the city was plundered by barbarians and fell into oblivion. And only in the 20th century began active excavations, opened a museum, where there were sarcophagi, sculptures, household items, jewelry, dishes, coins, and finally, a unique find - a water organ.

Official website:

27. Varoshliget Park

Varoshliget Park is a vacation spot for Budapest residents and visitors to the Hungarian capital Natalia Semenova

It is possible to have a rest in Budapest quite economically - the city hospitably opens gorgeous parks and squares, museums and monuments, many of them for free. If you wonder what to see in Budapest for free, you can find a simple solution - go to the heart of the historic capital, where the cozy park Varoshliget is located. The park regularly hosts a variety of festivals and festivals, because originally Varoshliget was built to celebrate the millennium of Hungary. Once there were endless swamps in this area, but under Empress Maria Theresia the land was drained, canal systems were stretched and numerous trees were planted. Today the park occupies an area of 1 sq. km, and here one finds both quiet secluded corners of serenity with artificial lakes and trees, and noisy entertainment - for example, in the neighborhood there are attractions, a zoo, a swimming pool, a restaurant and much more.

28. Brunswick Castle

Brunswick Castle in neo-Gothic style surrounded by a beautiful English park Adam Harangozo

It is impossible to imagine an old city in Eastern Europe without palaces, castles, fortresses, which are an integral part of the glorious history of Hungary. One of the striking examples of palace architecture is Brunswick Castle, located near Budapest. It is often called the “nest of Beethoven” because you can get acquainted with the works and life of the famous composer within its walls. In the 18th century the magnificent neo-Gothic castle was home to Hungarian aristocrats Brunswick. Beethoven was in close contact and friendship with the noble family, so he frequently visited Brunswick, and it is believed that he wrote his famous “Moonlight Sonata” here. Nowadays, part of the castle is occupied by a scientific institute of agriculture, and part is a museum dedicated to the works of Beethoven. Here you can see old musical instruments, antique furniture, a bust of Beethoven and stands with the family tree of the owners.

29. Budapest Zoo

Entrance to the Budapest Zoo at Varoshliget Park Fred Romero

When choosing where to go with children, the Budapest Zoo is definitely worth a visit. On its spacious and picturesque territory there are real mountains, waterfalls and lakes, but most importantly - there are more than a thousand species of birds and animals from around the world. The history of the zoo goes back to 1866, but then it was just a small menagerie, which in our time has grown many times over and has sheltered more than 3000 individuals of different species of fauna - from large mammals to beautiful tropical butterflies. The Magic Mountain pavilion tells about the birth of life on earth, where the ancient ocean with models of the first creatures - trilobites, mollusks and sponges is represented. In the semi-dark section dedicated to nocturnal animals, you can observe the mysterious life of bats, shrews and jerboas. Besides all this, the Budapest Zoo is also a beautifully landscaped park with rest areas, benches and alleys.

Official website:

30. Danube River in Budapest

Suspended bridges over the Danube River in Budapest

When looking for something to see in Budapest in the evening, a win-win option is to head for the water. This ancient city, which is already beautiful by day, transforms into something fantastic at night. Especially its embankment, stretching along the Danube, the great river that has forever divided the Hungarian capital into two parts, is transformed. The most famous riverfront is the Central Promenade, decorated with fragrant flowerbeds, sculptures, and spectacular views of the Buda Fortress and Gellert Mountain. The city does not skimp on the lighting, so at dusk its panoramas are fantastically transformed in the light of night lights. One of the most romantic ways to admire the city at night is on the Danube. Along the entire promenade there are many stops for the boats that serve as river transport.

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