There countless charming locations and lovely places to see in Budapest. Art nouveau buildings, parks, castles, and bridges just to name a few. In this practical guide I’ll give you the most famous and unmissable locations to visit divided by geographical area: Buda, the hills on the western part of the Danube, Pest on the other side, the area around Park Varosliget, and the 7th District the Jewish quarter. Along with a few must mention areas that are outside the above mentioned.
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In This Article
- Buda Hill
- Eastern Side of the Danube
- Andrassy Ut and Varosliget Park
- District 7
- Other places to see in Budapest
- Which attraction have you liked the most?
Also known as Széchenyi Chain Bridge, to honor count Istvan Széchenyi, one of the main supporters to the construction, Chain Bridge was opened in 1849. During WWII it was destroyed by the German forces like all the other bridges in Budapest. It was rebuilt in 1949.
Chain Bridge is considered one of Budapest landmarks. The beautiful iron decorations and the majestic lions protecting it, make it one of the best photo locations in Budapest.
Once you have crossed the Chain Bridge you will find yourself in a large square which crosses Buda’s hill. That’s where you will find the old funicular to reach Buda Castle.
Pro tip : During the touristy periods it’s very crowded and you may end up squeezed inside a wagon without enjoying the view. If you notice the crowd lining for the funicular take the stairs instead. The view is great and there are even two bridges passing on the railroad where you can benefit of a nice view on the funicular.
Opening hours : Every day, from 7.30 AM to 10 PM.
Step out the funicular and attend te changing of the guard, every hour outside Sandor Palace (except for the last Saturday of the month, when it takes place only at noon).
The castle has beautiful gardens you can freely explore. While if you want to enter inside you will have to book the tickets for the National Gallery, and in that case I strongly advise you to pay to go on top of the dome that has an amazing view on the city. History lovers will also appreciate Budapest History Museum or Széchényi Library.
Opening hours : TUE to SUN from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Dating back to the 13th and 15th century the most important catholic church in Budapest is without a doubt Matthias Church. During its eventful storyline the church was also converted into a mosquee for 150 years.
By the end of the 17th century it became a catholic church and was the location of several coronations. What we can admire nowadays is a splendid Neogothic architecture following the renovations in the second half of 1800.
Opening hours : Every day 9 AM, Sunday 1 PM.
Budapest’s most famous landmark (together with the Parliament of course!), is the fairy tale looking Fisherman’s Bastion. And it’s easy to see why. Built between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century Fisherman’s Bastion has 7 conic towers that symbolise Hungary’s founder tribes.
When exploring I had princess vibes feeling especially if you are going early in the morning and you have the place by yourself. Another reason to set the clock early? The entry to the upper balconies it’s free during fall and winter months and from 7 or 8 PM to 9 AM during spring summer. Check out the complete schedule on the official website.
Opening hours : It’s always open.
Lying underneath Buda Castle, the Labyrinth is a series of caves and tunnels that dates back to the Middle Age when it was used a shelter. Following the events the maze became an harem under the Turkish control and an hospital during WWII. Nowadays the Labyrinth is a suggestive location welcoming sculptures, fountains, and frescoes.
Fearless adventurers will love the nocturnal experience! After 6 PM you can visit the Labyrinth only guided by your flashlight, they say the place is infested with ghosts (just kidding).
Opening hours : Every day 11 AM to 2 PM, and from 3 to 7 PM.
The Hospital in the Rock
Also situated under the hill of Buda Castle, the hospital was very important both during WWII and the revolution of 1956. During the Cold War it was converted in a nuclear bunker. Since 2008 the bunker has become a museum where every piece has been brought back to life.
Thanks also to the presence of mannequins posing as real patients or doctors the place is really immersive and I highly recommend visiting it to have a better comprehension of how difficult life was under the bombardments. The ticket to the hospital comes with a guided tour and no photos are allowed inside.
Pro tip : Bring Hungarian Forints for the ticket the conversion is better than in Euros. 😉
Opening hours : Every day 10 AM to 7 PM.
The Citadel and Liberty Statue
The Citadel and consequently also the Liberty Statue are currently closed due to undergoing renovations.
Even so, you can still enjoy a pleasant walk on the hill that has some of the best views on the city. There are two different ways to get on top of the hill:
- From Buda Castle the walk is longer but the uphill is easier. You can also take the bus to the stop Philosophers Garden, where there are many statues of some of the greatest thinkers of our history.
- From Gellert Bath there is a short staircase that connects the iconic thermal complex to the Citadel but I’ve found it harder especially after a long day of walking around.
Gellert Thermal Bath
Among all the thermal complex we visited in Budapest Gellert’s were my personal favorites. The beauty of the Art Nouveau interiors is undeniable and will capture your attention when visiting. Moreover they are less crowded than the famous Szechenyi Bath, which makes them also more enjoyable.
Besides two outdoor pools you will find 4 thermal pools, 2 immersion pools, saunas and Turkish baths. The complex is open from 6.30 AM to 7 PM. Saturday until 1 PM and Sunday it’s closed. With the entry ticket you can stay inside for 3 hours.
For more informations and booking your tickets check out the official website.
Eastern Side of the Danube
The only way to visit the Parliament is via a guided tour that you can book via the official website, (I highly recommend purchasing the tickets as soon as possible as the spots get fully booked quickly!). The tour is very interesting allowing to learn more about Hungarian history. You can also book the tour with audioguides which I personally recommend. The visit lasts overall two hours.
Important to know : You must print the tickets as you will need them to get past the controls.
Built between 1884 and 1902 the Parliament has 691 pieces and is 268 meters long and 118 meters high. You can take photos freely inside the building except for the room of the crown jewels.
Shoes on the Danube bank
Situated amid the Parliament and the Chain Bridge, the Holocaust Memorial is one of the most touching and evocative memorial that I ever had the chance to visit. Between December 1944 and January 1945, about 20.000 Jews were executed on the Danube banks and imported by the river leaving the only valuable thing they had, their shoes.
The monument is a serie of shoes facing the river’s waters as they were left from their owners.
Inaugurated in 2005 the installation attracts regularly locals and tourists alike bringing candles or flowers to commemorate the victims.
Saint Stephen’s Basilica
The end of 1800 and the beginning of 1900 was probably one of the most important architectural revolutions in Budapest. St. Stephen Basilica is one of the many examples.
The Basilica, which is the largest building of the country, was completed in 1905 and is dedicated to the first Hungarian King, Stephen (975 – 1038). Inside you will find an important relic, Stephen’s right hand.
Pro tip : I highly recommend to pay the small fee to climb to the top of the right tower and enjoy a beautiful view of the city.
Opening Hours : MON 9 AM to 4.30 PM, TUE to SAT 9 AM to 5.45 PM, SUN 1 to 5.45 PM.
Official Website : Szent István Bazilika
Paris has Champs Elysées, Barcelona Las Ramblas, and Budapest has Váci Promenade. Shops, bar, and restaurants, Váci is one of the places to be in Budapest. During day as well as during night.
What you shouldn’t miss? Gerbaud Pastry! One of the oldest in the city it sells deserts that are made with the original recipes from the 19th century. Although careful to the bill, the prices are quite high!
Food lovers should also try the famous chimney cakes Kürtőskalács, which can be tasted in one of the many bakeries in the area.
The Central Market
The story of the Central Market is quite interesting: inaugurated in 1897 it was severely damaged during WWII. Completely abandoned and forgotten after the war, in 1991 it was declared in ruin. But three years later renovation works brought it back to its previous splendors making it one of the most iconic buildings in the city.
The elegant iron structure is very interesting for taking photos. Inside you will find several shops selling many different products but mainly food.
Opening Hours : MON 6 AM to 5 PM, TUE to FRI from 6 AM to 6 PM, SAT 6 AM to 3 PM, it’s closed on Sunday.
Situated between the Central Market and Gellert Thermal Bath, the Liberty Bridge is probably the most elegant and photogenic in Budapest because of its iconic green paint. The one you will see is a reconstruction of the oldest one, demolished by the German soldiers in 1945.
Why do I love this bridge so much? Besides the undeniable aesthetic beauty the Liberty Bridge has a well hidden (but well known) statue of King Franz Joseph made by Ukrainian artist Kolodko. To find it you will need to look on the Parliament side. The tiny sculpture is only about 20 cm long! If you like hidden statues or simply are looking for the most iconic in Budapest, check out our dedicated blog post.
Andrassy Ut and Varosliget Park
Andrassy Promenade (Andrassy Ut)
Andrássy út connects the city center to Varosliget Park and it’s considered one of the most beautiful streets in Budapest. In 2002 it has been declared Unesco World Heritage Site.
It will take you about 30 minutes to cross it all.
The Opera House is halfway through Andrássy út and is one of the most important Neo-renaissance buildings in Hungary. The building’s facades are decorated with sculptures of famous musicians and composers.
I highly recommend booking the guided tour (in English of course) that lasts an hour every day at 1.30, 3, and 4.30 PM. Make sure you reserve the spot at least one week before. Tickets are available on the official website.
House of Terror
The House of Terror is a museum about communist dictatorships featuring underground prisons, documents and many objects.
Opening hours : Every day 10 AM to 6 PM, closed on MON.
Is one of the most important squares in Budapest. The square is decorated with statues of the seven leaders of the Hungarian tribes. On one side of the square you will find the Art Museum featuring a large collection of Egyptian, Italian, Spanish, as well as other nationalities artifacts. While on the other side you will find the Expo Palace.
Varosliget is a green oasis inside Budapest and one of the most beloved locations by locals. Anciently it was a hunting terrain for the nobility in the area.
Inside the parkyou will find a beautiful castle, a statue to Anonymus and the House of the Music, a modern building inaugurated in 2022.
Initially built in wood for the 1896 Expo, it was then completely rebuilt in stone. The design is very interesting as it mix and match many other styles. Inside you may visit the agriculture museum and a church in romanesque style.
Would you like to fly in the middle of the Hungarian capital in a hot air balloon? Then Ballonfly may be the perfect experience for you! The experience is quite expensive comparing to other but it’s still worth it to see Budapest from new heights.
The flight lasts about 5 minutes and the balloon goes up to 150 meters. You will have a nice view of the park and Szechenyi Baths.
Official Website (in Hungarian) : BalloonFly
Visit the largest baths in Europe! Szechenyi Baths were built in 1900 and it has in and outdoor pools with different temperatures.
The complex is a must see for sure, but even though we loved the outdoor pools there are other baths in the city that were cleaner and overall more enjoyable to enjoy thermal baths, notably Gellert’s.
If you want to visit the baths remember to bring flip-flops, swim cap, swimsuit, and towel. Check out the official website for opening hours and buying the tickets.
New York Cafè
New York Café is one of the most beautiful bars in the world! The Art Nouveau interiors are some of the finest in Budapest. You can enjoy a coffee with pastries but careful to the bill. Also don’t be surprised to wait in line before being able to sit. But the wait is worth it!
Budapest has the largest Synagogue in Europe and the forth in the world. The Grand Synagogue can welcome up to 3000 people. The tickets gives access to the Synagogue and the Jewish Museum. On getyourguide you can buy a skip the line ticket.
Remember, when visiting religious places to dress properly. Men will be given the traditional kippah to wear, a head covering that every men must wear inside Synagogues as a sign of respect.
Opening hours : Check out the opening hours on the official website.
Among all the places to see in Budapest, ruin bars are certainly one of the most fascinating. There are several of them in the District 7, but the one you must see is Szimpla Kert. Urban explorers will love to explore the rooms with written walls, and old objects.
The area is ideal also to enjoy many different types of street food. Bars are open until very late in the night.
Street art lovers Akacfa ut is for you! Graffiti and modern art have invaded the area which is also where you can find the Instant another famous ruin bar.
Other places to see in Budapest
Margaret Island is one of the greenest areas inside the Hungarian capital. Situated in the middle of the Danube it is 2,5 km long and 500 meters large. A musical fountain, a Japanese garden, and an aquatic center are only a few of the highlights on the island.
Pro tip : we loved exploring the island with rental bikes! Otherwise there is also a small tourist train. How to reach Margaret Island? Via the bus line 26.
Is a cemetery for the statues from the communist period that once decorated the most famous squares. For historian and art lovers it’s a must visit!
How to get there? With the bus lines 101B, 101E and 150 from Kelenfold metro M4, or with the shuttle from Deak Ter square.
Opening hours : Every day May to October 10 AM to 6PM, November to April 10 AM to 4 PM.
Website : Mementopark
The children railway is an unusual service connecting the most beautiful locations among Buda hills. Established since the Soviet period the railway is managed by students, for ticket control. In case you are wondering the train is driven by adults. 😉
Website : Children’s Railway
Which attraction have you liked the most?
My personal favorites were visiting Buda Castle at night and enjoying Budapest’s nightlife in Szimpla Kert, in addition of course to tasting all the hearty and delicious Hungarian dishes! If you are looking for more travel inspiration and travel tips from Budapest check out our Hungary page. Otherwise you can find more destinations on our Destinations Page.
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