With so much history, a scenic river, and beautiful architecture, Budapest has plenty of landmarks and tourist attractions for you to visit. Admire the Opera House, relax at one of the thermal baths, walk through the backstreets, and take a cruise down the Danube as you discover the 2 sides of Buda and Pest.
Here are the spots that made our list:
Buda Castle – This beautiful large castle was originally built in 1265 but most of what we see today is from the 1700’s. Once a Palace for Hungarian Royals, it now houses the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum along with other events, the courtyards and grounds often being used for festivals. You can reach the impressive castle, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by walking or by cable car, you’ll find stunning city views when you reach the top.
St. Stephen’s Basilica – This stunning Roman Catholic church or basilica was completed in 1905 and dedicated to the holy king of St Stephen. Impressive from the outside, go inside to admire the breathtaking dome decor from below, you can also climb to the top of the dome to admire the panoramic city views. Also, don’t miss seeing the Basilica exterior lit up at night!
Heroes’ Square – The largest and most important square in Budapest, Heroes Square contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the Millennium monument which shows the Seven Chieftains of the Magyara as well as other important Hungarian leaders with Archangel Gabriel towering above on a central column. Walk through the square in the daytime and at night if you have the time to see how the energy changes.
Address: Budapest, Hősök tere, 1146 Hungary
Fisherman’s Bastion – A stunning piece of architecture in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style that retains amazing ambiance. The fairytale-like Bastion with its beautiful turrets is a 2 level terrace that offers up great panoramic views over the River Danube – An ideal spot for watching the sunset over Pest.
Address: Budapest Budai várnegyed 1014
Margaret Island – Only 2.5km long and 500m wide, this tiny wooded island is an idyllic refuge from which to escape the hectic pace of city life. It contains a petting zoo, small deer enclosure, a large fountain, athletic park, and trails on which you can walk, cycle, or jog. It’s connected to both Pest and Buda at both ends via bridges, or you can enjoy a boat ride across.
Address: Budapest Margitsziget 1138
Deák Ferenc tér – This square is a central hub in the city, the ideal meeting place, and a main transport point between metro/tram/bus. The square is surrounded by bars, restaurants, and shops and contains a large open-air swimming pool, skatepark, and funpark with a ferris wheel. Busy during the day and at night this is a place to relax for a moment and watch the world go by.
Address: Budapest Deák Ferenc tér 1052
Citadella – A fortification and monument on the top of Gellért Hill, a short yet steep walk up from Liberty Bridge, that offers picturesque panoramic river and city views. Built in 1851 the fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site but you cannot go inside it – Simply go to relax with friends and enjoy the views, especially at sunset.
Address: Budapest Citadella sétány 1 1118
Hungarian State Opera House – An elegant 19th century neo-Renaissance Opera House with guided tours in the daytime and shows (opera, ballet, musicals, etc) at night. Dating back to 1884, this prestigious musical institution is said to be one of the finest in the world due to its acoustics. Step inside and admire the ceiling frescos by Károly Lotz’s and the gold-gilt boxes around the horseshoe shaped auditorium.
Address: Budapest Andrássy út 22. (Hajós u.) 1061
Városliget – This large central park is a great place to relax whether you walk the paths or sunbath on the grass. In Winter you can enjoy ice skating on the picturesque lake as you admire the beautiful Vajdahunyad castle or in summer, take a boat ride on the lake. The park also contains Szecheni thermal baths, museums, and it’s easy to reach with a metro station in the middle!
Address: Budapest Városliget 1071
Vörösmarty tér – Otherwise known as Vörösmarty square, this large public space is an elegant pedestrian area lined with classical buildings containing some of the city’s top shops and cafes. This square is where the fun and festive Christmas Markets are held with more fairs held at Easter.
Gellért Hill – Measuring 235m high this hill provides stunning city views across the Danube river and is a popular place for locals to relax and hang out with friends and family. The hill contains the Citadella fortress and statues and has paths so you can enjoy a walk or simply sit on a bench and enjoy the view after the climb up.
Address: Budapest Gellért tér 1118
Vajdahunyad Castle – A beautiful fairytale-like castle that contains the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture. Dating back to 1896, the castle was designed like a Transylvanian gothic castle and has a large artificial lake and beautiful grounds that you can explore.
Address: Budapest Városliget 1146
Gozsdu Udvar – One the Jewish quarters of the city, Gozsdu courtyard is now a dynamic center containing shopping, culture, nightlife, and more with bars and restaurants, clubs, markets, and art fairs. It’s described as the place where the happy people meet and is always crowded, drawing in a young and vibrant crowd who want to socialize.
Musical Fountain – A pretty fountain by day, ideal for cooling down in on a hot Summer’s day, it has to be seen at night to fully appreciate it as you’ll discover a stunning light and water show accompanied by music on the hour. Located on Margaret Island, this fountain is sure to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
Address: Budapest Margitsziget 1138
Shoes on the Danube Bank – A moving memorial containing 60 pairs of empty shoes (metal on concrete) on the banks of the river These shoes represent the thousands of Jewish people who, during WWII, were forced to remove their shoes at gunpoint and then executed, their bodies falling into the river.
Address: Budapest id. Antal József rakpart (Zoltán u.) 1054
Parliament – This striking 100 year old government building with its neo-gothic style architecture can be admired from the outside and from inside with a guided tour to admire the grand interiors. Make sure to admire the building at night when it’s all lit up and its true beauty can be admired.
Brody Studios – A hip and quirky performing arts venue / events space that’s also a private bar/club. Enjoy comedy, art exhibitions, live music, dance, or a weekend party in the atmospheric avant-garde interior where you’ll be surrounded by a cool crowd in a great atmosphere.
Address: Budapest Vörösmarty u. 38. 1064
Robert Capa Kortárs Fotográfiai Központ – An art/photography exhibition space and several individually decorated rooms and courtyards containing a bar/restaurant/club with beautiful art nouveau architecture in a rundown apartment building. Combining creativity and cuisine it’s a very unique venue that holds an array of events.
Address: Budapest Nagymező u. 8. (Paulay Ede u.) 1065
Bécsi Kapu – This quiet square is a bit of a hidden gem, located within the Buda Castle grounds. It contains the historic Vienna gate aka the Becsi Kapu gate which was rebuilt in 1936 but has stood on this spot since Medieval times and the neo-Baroque style Lutheran Church.
Address: Budapest Ostrom u. (Hunfalvy u.) Hungary
Church of Saint Mary Magdalene – This 13th century church, that later became a mosque before being returned to a church after the Ottoman era received extensive damage in both WWI and WWII before being completely destroyed in the communist era. Today, 1 window, the tower, and some minor ruins survive as a memorial.
Tal Gur is a world traveler and personal development enthusiast. An adventurer at heart, after trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, Tal spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey continues as a location-independent blogger, lifestyle entrepreneur, and coach. Tal’s published two books: One Year to Freedom, a 1-Year Roadmap to Living Life on Your Own Terms; and, his most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living – 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World.