Sightseeing in Budapest is truly spectacular, not only because of the sunny skies making everything that more pleasant but thanks to this city’s remembrance of its extensive history. Culture and history buffs are sure to fill their schedules on Budapest holidays, thanks to sculptures like The Shoes on the Danube Bank, and the architectural wonders of the local cathedrals and the parliament building.
Buda Castle is an incredible palace complex which can be found in the beautiful centre of the city, being home to many of Hungary’s noble and ancient kings throughout the years. Completed in 1265, this Gothic wonder now houses the Hungarian National Gallery, as well as the Budapest History Museum; making this a great place to get your bearings and discover the stunning artefacts of this fascinating capital.
Holidaymakers will see how the Budapest History Museum covers the city’s early history as you wander around the restored parts of the medieval castle, just as knights did long ago, all while marvelling at the Royal Chapel and the rib-vaulted Gothic Hall. Travellers can also find the Palatinal Crypt here, too, if you’re brave enough to climb down the spooky stone staircase.
Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest is a fairytale lookout point, offering some of the best views of Budapest. Plus, being over 100 year’s old in age, it has a beautiful and romantic feel to it, like something straight out of a classic Disney film. This viewpoint is open all year-round – day and night, making it the perfect place to venture for an evening stroll after dinner to see Budapest lit up at night.
The many domes and towers here rise far above the city, and since the Middle Ages, the seven turrets have represented the seven tribes of Hungary. To climb up to Fisherman’s Bastion (being one of the highest points in the city), there is a small charge but afterwards, you can relax in the café on the terrace and enjoy the panoramic views.
From these lofty heights, you can see the spectacular Buda Castle, excellent views of the Danube river and all of the historical jewels along the waterfront – which make it a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Great Market Hall – also named the Central Market Hall, is the largest and oldest indoor market in the whole of Budapest, which can be found at the end of Vaci Utca on the Pest side of Liberty Bridge.
Stepping into this charming building is like travelling back in time, with its quirky and even bizarre olde world designs which are beautiful to look at, as you wander around the stalls that span three floors. You can find an array of foods and goods here like meats, pastries, paprika and kolbasz sausages, as well as souvenirs and trinkets, which are great examples of typical Hungarian culture. If you want to shop, cook and eat like the locals, then make sure you visit this quaint market bustling with life.
Keep an eye out for the diverse range of events held here, too, including Hungarian or Persian days, where holidaymakers can find foods and goods that celebrate the cuisine and culture of each nation.
Visit one of the most famous places in Budapest, Hősök Tere – also coined as Heroes Square, which can be found right next to the lush city park, Városliget. There are a host of fascinating things to see at this magical square, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Műcsarnok – a contemporary art museum.
The central feature of this intriguing square is the Millennial Memorial that’s over 100 year’s old, built to commemorate the country’s heroes. Feel the gravitas of this incredible place as you admire the memorial and the Millennium Column, where the angel Gabriel stands holding a crown in his right hand. The myth says he once appeared to Saint Stephen in a dream, to offer him the crown of Hungary.
The colonnade has 14 stoic statues of influential Hungarian figures, and below them, you can find historical scenes which depict Budapest’s intriguing history. This square is the gateway to learn about Budapest’s great history, being the focal point of this magnificent capital.
History buffs love visiting the House of Terror Museum, thanks to its intriguing monuments and lengthy detail into Hungary’s past. This history museum is much like an art installation, with its carefully placed audio system, lighting, pictures and posters. The museum’s exhibitions are spread across different rooms, much like an art show; providing an overall experience that you simply won’t find from other museums located in beautiful Budapest.
There are written handouts found in each room, detailing the history of the Hungarian people and what they endured and celebrated in the past. However, this does entail a lot of reading without much context, so an audio-guided tour is a must – especially if you’re not familiar with the Hungarian lingo. One of the helpful audio guides will then teach you about Budapest’s history, providing intriguing artefacts on the local’s experience of extreme socialism and capitalism.
Under 26-year-olds can even get discounted tickets to this sightseeing attraction, so be sure to pack your ID before heading over there.
The Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest feels majestic, towering above the city, and is one of the grandest and imposing structures you will see on holiday here. Holidaymakers will be in awe of the intricate architecture, admiring this building which you can find sitting right near the Danube river.
There are regular tours revealing how this building fits into Budapest’s fascinating history, including headphones if you’re looking for an independent tour at your own pace. Inside this glorious building, there are two identical parliament halls, one of which is used for politics, and the other is to enchant the city’s visitors.
The parliament building is one of the tallest structures in the city, along with Saint Stephen’s Basilica, where you can find the saint’s mummified hand. This building contains many clues about the city’s history, with its statues of Hungarian rulers and Transylvanian leaders. So, for anyone interested in culture, history and art, this is a fantastic sight to visit.
Shoes on the Danube Bank is a memorial in Budapest, created by the sculptor Gyula Pauer and was made in honour of the people killed by the fascist Arrow Cross party during WWII. The shoes represent real-life events that occurred during the war and when visiting this sculpture, you can really feel the gravitas of the city’s history.
This powerful and poignant sculptor is an important part of Europe’s history, and you can find right in the heart of Budapest. Budapest has a rich Jewish culture, and the memorial is a part of that history, as about 800 out of the 3,500 victims that the sculpture represents were Jewish. You can’t miss the 40-metre-long sculptor down by the river, and it can be found close to the Parliament Building if you’re taking in the sites of this fantastic city.
If history is something that interests you, then check out the House of Terror Museum to learn more about the country’s socialist past, or wander around the abandoned Jewish Cemetery.
St Stephen’s Basilica is a grand Catholic cathedral, where travellers can admire the ornate architecture of this stunning building and climb up the 364 steps of the incredible domes. However, if your legs are a little tired from seeing the amazing sights of Budapest, you can take the lift up.
Those who are keen on choral and classical music should catch the organ performances at the Basilica, and in the summer months, why not join the choir performances on a Sunday after spending a lazy day picnicking in the park? There are often performances on Thursdays, too, lasting just over an hour. Or, you can go and see one of the ‘mini concerts’ for a bitesize piece of rich, classical music.
There is a diverse range of quaint cafes in the area, where you can sit and take in the spectacular structure of St Stephen’s Basilica – an essential site to visit when getting to know Budapest and its many wonders and curiosities.
Vaci Street is rated as one of the best in Europe (alongside streets in Amsterdam, Milan and Paris), because of its buzzing atmosphere, and fantastic service in some of the best shops in the whole of Budapest. This pedestrian street is great for lazy afternoons, or when looking to browse the shops after a great day exploring the city.
If you fancy a wander, you can start from Vorosmarty Square and walk along Vaci Street until you see the colourful tile of the Great Market Hall – the largest and oldest market in the whole of Budapest. Vaci stretches out alongside the glorious Danube river and has an array of quaint side streets running off it, filled with curiosities.
You can find all of the usual high street names and designer labels down this street, too, from Zara, Mango, ESPRIT, Hugo Boss, Lacoste and Nike. So, get ready to shop until you drop when sauntering down Vaci street – the spot where there is something for everyone.
Vajdahunyad Castle is just a stone’s throw away from Heroes’ Square, and from a distance, you can even admire this charming, fairytale castle nestled next to the boating lake in City Park. The castle has been a huge inspiration for famous films including Dracula, so make sure you seek out the vampire statue within the grounds and touch the statue of the ‘writer anonymous’, which is believed to make you a better writer.
On a balmy summer’s day, feel the breeze in your hair by going boating on the lake, or ice skating in the colder months, and don’t forget Vajdahunyad Castle hosts exhibitions, festivals and concerts, so make sure you see what events are on during your holiday.
The castle is also home to the Hungarian Agricultural Museum – the largest agricultural museum in Europe. This is a great spot for the whole family to enjoy, and you and your little ones can even ride on a tractor. This majestic castle really is a must visit when holidaying in Budapest, where you can get some great holiday snaps and make some unforgettable memories, too.