Budapest is the largest city in Hungary, its capital and some say one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. As the country’s political, cultural, commercial and industrial centre, Budapest has a population of 1.7 million inhabitants and occupies both banks of Danube River. Originally a Celtic settlement, Budapest became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia and later, in the 9thcentury, was invaded by Hungarians. Over time, the magnificent city was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Soviet Republic, the capital of Austro-Hungary, and in 1873, it became the capital of the country.
When visiting Budapest, there are several must sees, but to be fair, it’s extremely hard to put together a list of ten things to behold, as the city is a real nest of monuments, historic landmarks and architectural wonders. Be that as it may, try to fit the following on your visiting list and make the most of your extended holiday to the Hungarian capital.
1. Budapest Baths
A highlight of the city includes the total of 80 geothermal baths where you can spend a day lazily soaking and getting long massages – at Szechenyi Baths, Rudas or Gellert Baths. Equipped with thermal and swimming pools, venues for therapy and even parties, sports and games, the Budapest Baths must definitely be one of your stops, as relaxation is welcome after an entire week of sightseeing.
2. Buda Castle
Taking the Funicular Railway uphill you will reach the famous Buda Castle and have the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular city view from the Fishermen’s Bastion.
Walk to Mathias Church and take a stroll inside; the interior is quite fascinating. While at it, have a cake and coffee at Cafe Ruszwurm and a wine tasting in Faust Wine Cellar or in the Royal Wine House, all on Castle Hill.
3. Heroes Square
Budapest’s centrepiece is Heroes’ Square, a historical venue and home to the equestrian complex called Millennial Monument. Flanking the square on both sides are the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hall of Arts exhibiting splendid international pieces all year long.
For more historical sightseeing, take a stroll through City Park towards Vajdahunyad Castle, on the artificial lake or go see the House of Terror on Andrassy Avenue. This popular museum gives an insight on the dark days of communism, exhibiting unique pieces from the Nazi regime, when the venue used to be the headquarters of the secret police.
4. Danube strand promenade
A city is best visited by foot and Budapest is no different: take a stroll on the banks of Danube River and marvel at the neo-gothic Parliament building. Go over Margaret Bridge and take a bike ride around Margaret Island, the most popular and beautiful park in the Hungarian capital.
5. The Sound of Music
A strong cultural city, Budapest hosts a large Opera House and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Furthermore, the Hungarian capital hosts yearly festivals such as Sziget Festival, Balaton or Volt Festivals.
For younger souls, try Godor Club or Zold Pardon and enjoy live concerts together with the locals.
6. St. Stephen’s Basilica
The magnificent structure is on of the most significant tourist attractions and the third highest building in Hungary. Named in honour of King Stephen I, the catholic basilica has strong neo-classical influences and to this day, hosts numerous organ and vocal concerts.
Another beautiful landmark is the Budapest Central Synagogue, along with the old Jewish museum surrounded by a handful of kosher cafes and restaurants.
7. Shopping in Budapest
For fresh vegetables and fruits, Hungarian paprika and traditional tablecloths, visit the Central Market Hall, whereas for clothing and souvenirs walk through the city centre and along the Danube banks. There are numerous boutiques, stores and shops crowding the streets of Budapest.
8. Party Hungarian style
The city of Budapest is the best example of the European capital: full of nightclubs, pubs, bars and discos featuring all night long parties and of course, the popular festivals. The city offers fun for every taste, dancing habit and drinking preference. It’s easy to enhance your nightlife in this large city that truly never sleeps.
9. Budapest cuisine
Local specialties are quite delicious and include delicacies such as goose paté, duck, wild boar and the best tasting pork – Mangalitsa. Combine that with the traditional wines and have a complete go at all its cuisine while dining Hungarian style. For desert, try the local pastries, they are really delicious! Restaurants stud the city centre and great cafes and small bistros stretch all along the riverside.
10. Danube River Cruise
For a comprehensive view of the city, embark on a river cruise and catch a glimpse of all major highlights of Budapest. At night, the Hungarian capital is truly delightful, with its numerous UNESCO heritage sites: the Buda Castle, the Citadel, the Parliament, the Gresham Palace, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Margaret Island and the magnificent bridges – Chain and Liberty, in the middle. Sip a glass of wine or a steaming coffee, sit and relax while taking in all the beauties that Budapest has on display on both banks of River Danube.
This magnificent European capital is indeed among the most visited cities on the continent and a real architectural gem. A holiday in Budapest will render a vast pallet of activities, ranging from sightseeing of historical sites, museums, art galleries to gorgeous squares, lively Danube banks and splendid architecture.
Delight in Hungarian specialties and go to a wine tasting, followed by a hot cup of coffee in the city centre and a loud party in a popular Budapest club. And finally, after days of sightseeing, book the weekend in a thermal bath to enjoy the full Budapest experience. The city is absolutely beautiful and after one visit, you will hurry to plan the next one – as it’s impossible to take in all the wonders of the Hungarian capital in just one sitting.