Explore Pest on foot and you will encounter grand apartment houses, Secession-style architectural gems and imposing monumental buildings.
Discover two of Central Pest’s most popular sights, the Neo-Classical St. Stephen’s Basilica, perhaps the most striking attraction in Pest, and the iconic Chain Bridge, which regally spans the Danube. For those interested in architecture, the Gresham Palace and Post Office Savings Bank are two delightful examples of Secession style architecture.
Towering over the Danube, Budapest’s Castle Hill is filled with history and it is home to many of Budapest’s most important sights. The historic Renaissance and Baroque architecture of Buda’s hilltop Castle District makes it feel like a quaint step back in time. Indeed, in the little squares and narrow lanes of the Castle District you will find the heart of historical Hungary.
For many travelers, Castle Hill is an opportunity to enjoy numerous breathtaking views over the Danube and the Pest side of the city. The best view, however, can be enjoyed from the Neo-Gothic Fisherman’s Bastion. Other sights of interest include the Hungarian Royal Palace, the National Gallery, and Matthias Church, dating back over 700 years.
Budapest is famous for its thermal bath houses, and the Szechenyi Baths are the largest and most popular of them all. With eighteen indoor and outdoor pools and impressive neo-Baroque architecture, the Szechenyi Baths make for an unforgettable visit and we highly recommend including it in your Budapest itinerary!
The baths are located within the pleasant surroundings of the Varosliget Park, where you’ll also find the delightful city zoo, which is great for families, and the fascinating fairytale Vajdahunyad Castle. You may also want to visit the nearby Heroes’ Square, a dramatic monument that tells the 1,000 year old tale of Hungarian history in the form of towering statues of national heroes surrounding a triumphal column.
Gellert Hill & Baths
Dominating Budapest’s skyline is Gellert Hill, a 235-meter high hill that rises over the Danube. For the adventurous traveler, a rigorous walk to the top is rewarded with stunning panoramic views of Budapest, including its castle and both sides of the river. Here you’ll also find the Citadel and the Liberty Monument.
The hill was named after St. Gellert, Hungary’s first missionary and his statue can now be seen perched high above a man-made waterfall with beautiful views of the city. At the base of Gellert Hill, you can find two of Budapest’s best thermal baths, the Rudas Baths and the Gellert Baths. The Rudas Baths date back to the 16th century. Relaxing in the waters beneath its ancient stone cupola, where thin strands of dim light filter through colored stained glass, is a truly memorable experience. The Gellert Baths also provide another stunning setting to enjoy the city’s bathing culture.
Hungarian Parliament Building
As the most iconic building in Budapest, the architecturally pleasing, neo-Gothic Hungarian Parliament building is one of the most magnificent sights in the city, as it sits so proudly alongside the waters of the Danube. Take a guided tour of the parliament building (roughly 45 minutes) and visit its spectacular grand staircase, the historic Holy Crown of Hungary, and the imposing debating chamber.
Located adjacent to the Parliament building, you will find the interesting Ethnographic Museum (Folk Culture Museum). Even though it is missed by most visitors to Budapest, it is also housed in a beautiful building and was built at the same time as the parliament building – in fact, its design was almost chosen for the parliament itself.
The National Museum is Hungary's largest museum and relates Hungary's long and very turbulent history with artifacts such as crowns, jewels, clothes and weapons. Nearby, the Budapest Public Library is housed in a gorgeous neo-Baroque palace and is open to visitors.
Budapest's favorite locale for the young and the young at heart to socialize is only steps away from the museum and library. Raday Street, also known as Budapest Soho, is lined by hip cafes, galleries, restaurants, and pubs. It is an ideal place to people watch and enjoy the atmosphere.
Measuring 2.5 kilometers, Andrassy Avenue is Budapest’s busiest boulevard. The wide avenue begins at Heroes’ Square and stretches almost as far as the grand St. Stephen’s Basilica. This elegant avenue is one of the most famous streets in the city, lined by imposing neo-Renaissance palaces, grand apartments, and museums, including the superb House of Terror Museum, which focuses on the horrors inflicted by totalitarian regimes in the 20th century.
You’ll also find the breathtakingly beautiful State Opera House located on Andrassy Avenue which is well worth a visit and open for tours. If you don’t feel like walking the entire length of Andrassy Avenue, take a ride on its efficient and elegant subway, which runs directly beneath the street. Don’t worry, all of our Budapest itineraries include detailed directions and instructions on how to utilize both the underground metro and trams in Budapest.
A must for any Budapest itinerary is a visit to the seventh district, otherwise known as the Jewish Quarter. Here you’ll discover contrasting legacies of achievement and tragedy alongside a now thriving nightlife scene.
Budapest was once the site of one of Europe’s largest and most vibrant Jewish communities. Despite the horrors of the Holocaust, a small Jewish population still exists in Budapest and they still inhabit parts of the Jewish Quarter today. Visit the world’s second largest synagogue – the Dohany Street Synagogue (also known as the Grand or Great Synagogue). Here you’ll also find the haunting Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish Museum.
For night owls, you may want to revisit the Jewish Quarter in the evening, as many of its ruined buildings have now become the heart of Budapest’s nightlife scene, with some of the city’s best nightclubs and bars located in “ruin” bars and pubs.
The Central Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. First opened in 1897, this large mezzanine shopping arcade is a big hit with locals and tourists, with a myriad of small shops and stands offering a remarkable assortment of goods. From fruits and vegetables, to meat, cheeses, fish and flowers, it is a thriving market and a must visit for any foodie.
You’ll also find a range of souvenirs and Hungarian specialties here, perfect if you want to take home a special gift from your trip to Budapest.
The market stands at the southern end of Vaci Street, which is home to Budapest’s most expensive commercial real estate. You will find an assortment of big brand stores and cute boutiques here, as well as stores selling Hungarian crafts and artwork. The surrounding area also contains some of Pest’s most interesting architecture.