Budapest has a long and vibrant history of entertaining and delighting its visitors with beautiful buildings, ancient history and a charm that’s second to none! There’s so much to see and do while you’re in the city – from the famous, quirky, historical to the downright fun!
One of the greatest things I loved about Budapest is that you can explore (the vast majority) of the city in a few days, day or night– making it a perfect European city to visit for a long weekend away. Here are the important things to see and when you’re in the city for a few days.
1.) Hungarian Parliament Building
Built in the 19th century, the Hungarian Parliament Building is one of Budapest’s most iconic buildings. Take a stroll down the banks of the River Danube and watch the sunset transform this building with its warm, orange glow.
2.) Buda Castle
Buda Castle is a beautifully historic building right in the heart of the city. Take a 20 minute walk up to the top of the castle and enjoy the stunning view of the city from here. Don’t forget to explore the Labyrinth inside! (Try not to get lost while you’re at it!) 😉 🙂
Random aside: Buda Castle is also that place where Katy Perry shot her “Firework” music video.
3.) Fisherman’s Bastion
This neo gothic terrace and its towers watch over the whole of Budapest. It’s seven distinct towers are said to represent the seven tribes that settled around this basin over 1,200 years ago. When we visited, we headed up here at night, watching the twinkling lights of the city and the dramatic Hungarian Parliament Building below.
4.) Chain Bridge
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is a literal linking point for Buda and Pest (the two towns that form Budapest). This dramatic chain bridge stands in contrast to the ornate and beautiful buildings that surround it. In so many ways it reminds me of Brooklyn Bridge in New York – you can probably see why?
5.) City Park
City Park is a magical place to visit in summer or winter. If you’re popping by in summer, you should definitely take a picnic and enjoy the lovingly maintained gardens that surround you. If you’re visiting in winter, the park comes alive with music, events and ice-rinks that locals and visitors come out to enjoy.
6.) Shoes on the Danube Bank
These shoes on the bank of the Danube actually brought a tear to my eye when I visited. A sombre reminder of the horrors against Jewish people that were committed in World War II, “Shoes on the Danube Bank” reflects on the lives of many innocent victims that were shot in the city. It is a powerful sight to experience and something that we should never forget.
7.) Vajdahunyad Castle
Situated by the stunning boating lake in City Park, Vajdahunyad Castle is definitely a must-see when you’re in Budapest. We visited in the late evening when the fog consumed the lake below. It was a magical sight to see and well worth a visit just to admire the beautiful architecture that’s present in Hungary.
8.) Liberty Statue
An iconic statue based in the heart of the city, Liberty Statue was constructed in 1947, showing the world the spirit, freedom and prosperity of Hungary as a nation. Head here in the early morning if you want to avoid the majority of visitors that go to experience this site.
9.) Cave Church Inside Gellért Hill
Cave Church forms part of the Gellért Hill Cave network that surrounds this area. Take a tour inside the caves and experience a surreal landscape and place of worship unlike any I’ve ever seen before. The high alter inside the church has become one of the most famous in all of Hungary and well worth a visit.
10.) Gellért Baths
Part of the beautiful Gellért Hotel, the Gellért Baths are a pristine and natural bathing complex that is considered to hold many healing properties. The baths have been present on this location, albeit in different forms, since the Ottoman Empire conquered this region many hundreds of years ago. Take a step back in history and bathe in the splendor of these recently renovated baths – definitely one of my favourite in the city.
11.) Spot a cute pup!
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this beautiful Dalmatian. His name was pup… Although, I’m not sure that’s his real name, I still find that dalmatian too resist! 🙂