From Habsburg grandeur to steaming spas, you’ll find history and charm around every corner of Hungary’s ancient capital. Explore some of the Budapest sights and sounds and learn more about the top must see attractions below.
Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge
Towering above the Danube River, Buda Castle is the crown of Budapest. This beautiful Habsburg palace evokes the age of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with lots to admire and explore. Inside, the Budapest History Museum tells the story of the city’s last 1,000 years and the changing lifestyles of its citizens. Entry for adults is around £5.70 and concessions are approx £2.85 – it usually opens every Tuesday-Sunday with seasonal opening hours, so always best to check before you intend to visit.
The best way to visit the Castle District is to cross the iconic Budapest Chain Bridge. Designed by British engineer William Tierney Clark (it’s a larger version of an identical bridge he built in Marlow, Buckinghamshire), this grand suspension bridge with stone lions guarding both sides became Budapest’s first permanent bridge when it opened in 1849. Once you’ve reached the base of Castle Hill, ride up on the restored 19th century funicular railway up to Buda Castle.
After visiting Buda castle, saunter down the medieval streets to the colourful Matthias Church and the romantic towers around the Fisherman’s Bastion for perfect picture-postcard views across Budapest.
Pest around the Danube
Stretching out along the Danube Banks on the Pest side, the Hungarian Parliament Building dominates the skyline with its Gothic Revival spires. From here, take a stroll along the promenade and you’ll come across 60 pairs of period shoes cast in iron on the edge of the water. This is the poignant “Shoes on the Danube Bank” memorial, dedicated to around 3,500 people, many of them Jews, who were shot into the river by fascists towards the end of World War II.
Afterwards, wander over to St Stephen’s Basilica, dedicated to Hungary’s first king and one of Budapest’s most photographed buildings, with ornate gold interiors and neoclassical grandeur. Once you’ve admired it from below, climb up the winding stairs to the terrace above the domed cupola for a dramatic view across the Pest skyline and the Buda Hills.
Andrássy út Budapest
Andrássy út is Budapest’s answer to the Champs Elysées, reaching from the back of St Stephen’s Basilica all the way up to Heroes’ Square and City Park. This elegant boulevard intersects with Nagymező utca, Budapest’s own Broadway, and is home to the Hungarian State Opera House and many designer boutiques, including local brands like Nubu. The Andrássy út Budapest is a haven for shoppers and foodies alike and is definitely worth a visit!
City Park contains the Millennium Memorial, built at the turn of the 20th century, and spreads out across a white plaza encircled by sculptures of Hungarian kings. City Park is also home to Budapest Zoo, Vajdahunyad Castle and the Széchenyi thermal bath.
Szechenyi Thermal Bath
With 80 natural thermal water springs, Budapest is often called the “City of Spas”. One of the most popular is the Széchenyi Thermal Bath where you can bathe in the Baroque revival elegance of the early 20th century. Feel free to lose yourself in its labyrinth of indoor pools and treatment rooms offering various massages and treatments. But the true beauty of the Széchenyi Thermal Bath is its canary yellow exterior, accented by columns, and you can bathe outdoors in the bubbling and steaming thermal pools any time of year. Entrance fees to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath range from £13-£16, and they are open every day from 6am-10pm. A 20-minute foot massage in the treatment rooms is just under £13; a 70-minute ‘Royal Thermal Massage’ is just over £50.
Ready to dive in? Discover a beautiful place to stay in Budapest and plan your trip.