The ‘Pearl of the Danube’ – 8 Places to see in Budapest


One of the greatest cities in Europe, Hungarian capital Budapest delights millions of visitors each year.

Arriving either to sample the city on a short break, escorted tour or quickly taking in the sights as part of a cruise itinerary, Budapest has a host of great sights and experiences.

Here are 8 charming highlights found in Budapest that may just provide some inspiration if thinking about visiting this fascinating part of the world.

1. Buda Castle

Buda Castle

One of Hungary’s most important buildings, historic Buda Castle was once the grand home to the country’s Royal family and has hosted a fair few regal parties in its time.

Built in the 18th century, Buda Castle is a fantastic looking building overlooking the famous Danube waterway.

Some of our readers may have even passed this glorious landmark on a great river cruise voyage.

Budapest is a popular port of call on many itineraries showcasing the best of Europe’s great historic cities as they follow the Danube river.

When visiting the castle, visitors can explore the National Gallery, hosted here, and also wander the courtyards.

Elsewhere in the castle, the Budapest History Museum presents over 2000 years of Hungarian history.

Included here, there are some wonderful paintings charting some key moments in Hungary’s past.

2. Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge

One of the most photographed bridges in Europe, the Chain Bridge, provides access to both sides of Budapest, known as Buda and Pest, divided by the mighty Danube River.

Guarded by Lion statues on either side of the bridge, the Chain Bridge is a popular tourist spot providing great views across the city.

Be sure to visit the bridge both during the day and at night, where you will witness the glory of the Hungarian Parliament building, wonderfully lit during evenings, as it illuminates onto the deep blue river.

Depending on the timing of when you visit, festivals are often hosted on the bridge, offering a chance to learn about Hungarian culture.

3. Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion

One of the most famous sights in Budapest, the Fisherman’s Bastion is a neo-gothic marvel.

With a wonderful staircase leading up to lookout towers dating back to the 19th century, Fisherman’s Bastion offers perhaps the best views in the city.

For those with a keen eye for photography, the Fisherman’s Bastion is a magical sight that wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney production.

Quite often, local guided tours incorporate both a trip to nearby Buda Castle and this historic fortress structure.

Take time to appreciate both angles of the city with contrasting experiences.

Why not try and secure a place on a short river cruise journey to catch the magnificence of some of these locations, as well as observing the city from this unbelievable viewing point.

4. Gellert Bath

Gellert Bath

Dating back to the start of the 20th century, Gellert Bath, or Gellert Spa, is an attraction sure to leave you relaxed and reinvigorated.

With ornate features, including some Romanesque pillars, Gellert Bath is the optimal environment in which you will be able to unwind from a day’s exploration.

Features include intricate mosaics adoring some of the walls and marble-covered balconies where you can cool off from your trip into the thermal baths.

5. Hungarian Parliament

Hungarian Parliament

In our opinion the main attraction in Budapest, the Hungarian Parliament Building is a key example of neo-Gothic architecture.

Hungary is clearly proud of its monumental building, allowing visitors to visit and explore the interior when parliament is not in session.

And so they should be proud. Why not shout about something when it looks this fantastic? They have also taken the time to dramatically light up the building at night!

Inside, the main parliament chamber is designed to allow light to filter through onto a golden colour scheme with rows upon rows of seating winding along the floor in a maze-like fashion.

When full of members of parliament, we imagine that it’s more than a little cosy, particularly when a fiery debate breaks out!

Tours inside the building also include a glimpse at some real-life treasure – the Hungarian Crown Jewels.

6. St. Stephen’s Basilica

St. Stephen’s Basilica

St. Stephen’s Basilica, named after the country’s first King, is another precious Budapest landmark.

Taking over 50 years to complete, the Cathedral rivals the Parliament Building in beauty.

The Cathedral’s most prominent feature is its large dome.

On the inside, the dome’s circular shape dramatically frames some fascinating artwork.

Be on the lookout for the relic of Saint Stephen, one of the key pieces in the Cathedral.

7. Szechenyi Spa

Szechenyi Spa

The biggest of its kind on the European continent, Szechenyi Spa or Szechenyi Thermal Bath is great to experience.

A popular attraction, expect crowds at the Spa’s centerpiece – a round thermal pool, complete with statues and pool-side lounger areas with umbrellas.

The thermal pool water is expertly regulated and kept at optimum temperatures to help your body benefit from the water’s medicinal properties.

8. Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle

A visit to Vajdahunyad Castle ticks the following holiday boxes.

Stunning scenery, historic landmark, magical setting.

As you approach the Castle, it’s size and scale is slightly obscured, hidden by some fantastic foliage (depending on the time of the year).

The castle’s design incorporates architectural trends from throughout Hungary’s past, a conscious decision that was made in the hopes of showing off changes in architecture over the centuries.

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