Budapest – top 5 attractions

Budapest – one of the most beautiful urban landscapes in the world

Regarding main title: “Budapest – top 5 attractions” – you have to know that the choice is not easy. Anyway I will try to pay attention to the most important places. You will find below more than 5 recommendations from my side, so you can choose what the most suits your needs. What is important to remember: that city must be visited in the light of a day, just before sunset and at night.

There are also some hints how to make our visit unforgettable:

  • panoramic view of the city seen from the Castle Hills,
  • visit to one of many hot springs,
  • a walk along the Danube river bend waterfront.
  • our final experience should be complemented by testing local cuisine and wine.

Budapest - TOP 5 attractions, House of Parliament in Hungary by night

Budapest, Banks of the Danube river, Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue were included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987 and 2002. We can find more details on the website of the UNESCO Committee. “This site has the remains of monuments such as the Roman city of Aquincum and the Gothic castle of Buda, which have had a considerable influence on the architecture of various periods. It is one of the world’s outstanding urban landscapes in the world and illustrates the great periods in the history of the Hungarian capital”.

Budapest - TOP 5 attractions, House of Parliament and Danube river

Budapest – why should we visit it?

You do not need to be an expert to be able to agree with the UNESCO Committee opinion. There are also other famous landmarks that include St. Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes’ Square or Nyugati Railway Station built by the Eiffel Company of Paris in 1877. Budapest impresses not only with its unique architecture or picturesque location. Tourists are also attracted by numerous geothermal springs (around 80) where some of them still remember times of the Turkish rule. There is the largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building in the world. There is also second-oldest metro line in the world, called Millennium Underground Railway.

This city also tempts with excellent (sometimes very spicy!) cuisine and wine. Contemporary Budapest is also famous for nightclubs hidden in old tenement houses, concerts of techno music, modern design and modern art.

During Christmas, this city amazes with Christmas decorations adorning the main streets and squares. Another attraction is a Christmas market at Vörösmarty Square. You can buy there, among others, numerous handicraft products, ceramics, Christmas decorations and local delicacies.

There are therefore many reasons to visit Budapest. Regardless of the season or purpose of your visit – this city will surely steal your heart. Budapest attracts 4.4 million of international tourists per year, making it a very popular destination in Europe.

Below I will share short history of the city. I will also propose what should be included on the list of “Budapest – top 5 attractions”. At the end, I will also present few other interesting places and share my personal recommendation.

Remember: Budapest is considered as one of the world’s most outstanding urban landscapes. Let’s see together what can’t be missed.

Budapest - top 5 attractions, Danube river, Budapest city by night

Short historical outline

The city was created after three other cities has been officially unified: Buda and Obuda both located on the right bank of the Danube river, and Pest – on the left bank. Thus, the new name of the Budapest was given. Budapest has been the formal capital of Hungary since 1872.

Buda, located on the Buda hills, for centuries has been a seat of the kings. To this day it has been preserved here the Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion, Gellert Hill and the citadel. Although area of Pest side is flat and less picturesque, here you can experience a real beauty of the Hungarian architecture: Parliament building, representative Andrássy Avenue and St. Stephen’s Basilica.

Budapest has been recognized as a global metropolis in 1950, since its unification with 23 neighbouring towns. At present, almost every fifth Hungarian citizen lives in Budapest, and the population of this city is approx. 1.7 million.

What’s worth seeing?

Below you can find short table of contents. If you are interested only in one specific subject, please click the link and go there directly.

House of Parliament

The Hungarian Parliament is considered as a symbol of the city and one of its most important attractions. Its construction works lasted for 19 years (in the years 1885 – 1904). Although the building was not yet completed, its grand opening was planned for the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian state in 1896. The architecture of the building is a Neo-Gothic style. Its external walls are decorated with coats of arms referring to times of the former Great Hungary. In the interiors of the building you can find numerous baroque elements, due to the fact that some rooms are richly decorated with frescos, paintings, and colorful stained glass windows. The edifice has 17 gates, 10 courtyards, 29 staircases and it is decorated with 252 statues.

Total usable area of this building is 17 thousand square meters. The building is 265 meters long, and its dome is built at a height of 96 meters – the same as the dome of the Basilica of St. Stefan. This is not a coincidence, but the result of the decision of the parliament, who underlined the equal treatment of both state and religious affairs in the country. Today the Hungarian Parliament is the world’s third largest national assembly building.

Budapest - TOP 5 attractions, House of Parliament in Hungary, amazing architecture

Parliament – important for visitors

The Parliament can be visited from April to October between 8.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m., and from November to March between 8.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. Visiting the Parliament is possible only in groups provided by the official guide, and the entire route takes about 50 minutes. The guides conduct tours in several foreign languages, e.g. in English language at 10.00 a.m., 12.00 a.m., 12.30 p.m., 1.30 p.m., 2.30 p.m., 3.30 p.m., in German language at: 10.00 a.m., 1.30 p.m., 2.30 p.m.

Reservations can be made in advance by purchasing electronic tickets online.

Tickets (price depends on the season of the year):
  • for European Union citizens, standard ticket costs 2200 – 2400* HUF (about 8-8,5$), a discount ticket 1100 – 1300* HUF (about 4-4,6$)
  • for non-EU citizens, a different price list applies: standard ticket 5800 – 6000* HUF (approximately 20,5 – 21$), discount ticket 2900 – 3100* HUF (approximately 10,2 – 11$).
  • Children below 6 years old – entrance free

*prices from March’2019

The most important places that can be visited are a beautiful main staircase, the dome hall and the the Chamber of Peers. Undoubtedly, the most important national treasure that hides the parliament building is the Coronation Insignia. Among others you can see here:  the Hungarian Holly Crown of Saint Stephen, the golden apple, the crystal scepter, the ceremonial sword and the purple royal cloak. All these insignia were worn by the rulers of Hungary until the times of Charles IV of Habsburg, who took them down in 1916.

Please note – the in the Great Dome Room, where the royal insignia are located, it’s completely prohibited from taking photos.

Useful links
  • Hungarian Parliament. On this website, among others you can check when it can be visited, as visits to the House of Parliament are restricted during weeks in which the National Assembly holds its plenary sittings. On the first day of the plenary, the building will be accessible to visitors from 8.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. and the ticket office will be open until 11.00 a.m. It is also worth familiarizing with the “visiting” tab, where you can find safety procedure applicable to parliament visitors.
  • Online store where you can buy tickets to the House of Parliament. Please note, when booking tickets online, a handling fee of HUF 250 (approximately PLN 3.5) will be charged on each ticket.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Basilica of St. Stefan is the largest church in the city. Construction of the Basilica lasted for over 50 years, with breaks almost 60 years (1848 – 1906), mainly due to several unforeseen circumstances. Already at the beginning stage it turned out that the area on which the basilica will be built is too slippery. The close distance to the Danube riverbed meant that it was necessary to create a strong base of the building. For this purpose, a three-storey cellar was built, the size of which is almost equal to the basilica standing above it.

Another obstacle appeared in 1868, when during the strong storm the main church dome collapsed, destroying the half-finished temple. An additional difficulty was the fact that during its construction, the main architect changed three times, as the other two died before its completion.

Today, within the walls of the temple, there are important works of art and a precious relic – the mummified hand of King Stefan the saint, the first crowned King of Hungary. Noteworthy is also the beautiful and richly decorated interior of the basilica, including a colorful mosaic decorating the dome from inside.

St. Stephen’s Basilica – entrance time and tickets

There is a possibility to enter the roof of the dome. There is an amazing view of the beautiful panorama of the city. To get there, part of the route you can overcome in the lift.  After the lift, you have to climb thru the winding stairs to the top. The dome is open to visitors every day. From October to June it is open from 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., from July to September from 10.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.

Admission Ticket for adults 500* HUF (1,7 $), discounted ticket price is 400* HUF (1,4$).

*prices from March’2019

Two side towers of the church are equipped with 6 bells. The most important of them is in the right tower. Bell of St. Stefan weighs over 9 tons, is over 2.5 meters in diameter and is the largest bell in the country. You can hear it twice a year: at 5.00 p.m. on August 20th on the anniversary of the Hungarian state, and at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

St. Stephen’s Basilica – a link to the official website.

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Budapest is a historical castle and palace complex of Hungarian kings. The first royal residence was erected on the Rocky Budań Castle Hill in the second half of the 13th century. However, the massive baroque palace was built only in the years 1749-1769. During the War of Independence (1848) the castle was seriously damaged. It was rebuilt only at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. At that time, the palace size was almost doubled, and its roof was crowned with a dome that is characteristic today. It was again destroyed during the siege of Budapest in 1944/45. Reconstruction after the destruction of World War II lasted until the 1980s. During this reconstruction valuable fragments of the medieval castle were discovered. Discovered fragments are now available to visitors.

Currently, the castle houses the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the National Library. The Royal Castle is part of the castle district of Buda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Royal Palace  entrance time and tickets

The courtyard of the Royal Castle is available 24 hours a day and admission is free. On selected days, when festivals take place in the castle’s courtyard, the entrance to the courtyard of the castle is closed. You should then buy a ticket to the festival if you want to go inside.

To visit the interior of the castle, go to the National Gallery or the Budapest History Museum. The visiting hours are therefore dictated by the opening hours of both institutions.

  • National Gallery, open every day (except Mondays), between 10.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. Admission 1800* HUF (6,5$). It is often open on national holidays.
  • Budapest History Museum, open every day (except Mondays), between 10.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m., from March to October. Between November and February, entrance is possible between 10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. The admission ticket costs between 2000 – 2400* HUF (7,2$ – 8,6$), depending on the season (more expensive in high season). It is often open on national holidays.
  • Royal Palace also has an interesting website. You can find there, among others information about planned festivals or special events during which entering the castle grounds will require the purchase of a ticket for the specific event.
  • Dome: with a valid ticket to any of Hungarian National Gallery exhibitions, subject to weather conditions: Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. The dome is closed from November to April.

*prices from March’2019

Budapest - top 5 attractions, Royal Palace in Budapest and Danube river
Royal Palace

Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion is undoubtedly a place from which a beautiful panorama of the city extends. It was erected at the end of the 19th century, on the remains of the city’s old defensive walls. The name was given in honor of the guild of fishermen, who in the Middle Ages was responsible for defending the designated fragment of the fortifications. The tower was built in the style of neo-Romanesque decorative architecture.

Entrance to the tower and part of the walls is payable, although only during a peak season.  During off season entrance gates are open. Undoubtedly, however, it is worth paying! Danube river view, Parliament House and Margaret Island is worth every money!

Next to the Tower there is an equestrian statue of the first king of Hungary, St Stephen and the Holy Trinity Column.

More to read directly on the Fisherman’s Bastion website.

Entrance ticket to upper towers only: 1000* HUF (3,6$), only peak season. Entrance free of charge from October 16th to March 15th . It is also free on 20th of August (National Holidays) and every day between 8 p.m to 9.00 am.

*prices from March’2019

Matthias Church

Matthias Church was built in a special place – on the hill overlooking the Danube, which in time became the seat of Hungarian kings. The origins of the temple date back to the thirteenth century. Until today only a few elements of the original Gothic building have remained: main portal or south tower. The church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary; however, it is popularly called the Matthias Church by both locals and tourists. The unofficial name is given in honour of King Matthias Corvinus – the national hero who ruled the country in the fifteenth century.

Matthias Church is one of the finest churches in Budapest, and one of the most unique churches in Europe. The church was a witness of the most important events in the history of this country – including the coronation of Hungarian kings, ceremonial marriages or Turkish occupation. When the Ottoman Turks conquered Buda, the temple functioned as a mosque for 146 years. In 1867, the coronation of Emperor Franz Josef I and his wife Elisabeth (known as Sisi) were held here, as they became rulers of Hungary.

During its 700-year history, the church was destroyed several times, decayed into ruin. The current construction is the result of a major renovation from the second half of the 19th century, which lasted 16 years. Reconstruction ended in 1896, exactly for the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian state.

Matthias Church – a history from the 20th century

The last great destruction took place during World War II. First, the roof burned down and some of the walls collapsed. In the remaining part, the German army organized a field kitchen. The Red Army, who came after, set up a stable and a latrine in the church. It has led the church to the total ruin.

Matthias Church is one of the finest churches in Budapest, and one of the most unique churches in EuropeAt the beginning of the 1950s, the condition of the building was so bad that it was considered its complete demolition. Fortunately, the ruins were secured. In 1951, a thorough reconstruction began. In 1960, the reconstruction of external walls was completed, and 10 years later the renovation of the interior was completed.

Today, the visit to the church belongs to the obligatory program points of every tourist. The interiors of the church perfectly reflect the history of the state. Noteworthy are the colorful frescoes (depicting, among others, the coat of arms and the figure of King Matthias), a collection of valuable liturgical objects, or the tomb of King Bela III.

Matthias Church and big tower – visiting hours and admission tickets
  • Tickets can be purchased at the cash register located in front of the church and on-line.
  • Tickets purchased at the box office, you can buy in a package: only church, church and tower or church and Fisherman’s Bastion. Therefore, for all attractions there is only one queue. However, each attraction can be visited independently of other attractions. For example, you can enter the church tower without visiting the church.
  • Tickets bought online allow us to avoid standing in a long queue.
Worth to know:
  • Visiting the church for most of the year is possible between 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. These hours may change on Sundays and holidays (1.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m.), or visitors may not be allowed to enter (i.e. on December 24).
  • On the official website, in the tab for the visitors there is a calendar, where day after day you can check during what hours entrance will be valid for the tourists. On the same page you can buy tickets online.
  • In the church it is allowed to take pictures using a flash, but in the part where there are valuable liturgical vestments, flash lamp must be turned off
  • Entrance to the church towers is carried out only in a group with a guide, max. 15 people. It takes place every full hour between 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. The entrance requires proper physical condition. There is no elevator, and to climb the top, you have to climb over 197 stairs.
  • Entrance tickets: church and church tower – separate ticket to each attraction is needed –  1800* HUF (6,4$) each

*prices from March’2019

Castle Mountain

Both the Royal Castle, Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion are located on the Castle Hill.

There are several ways to get there, below will describe two – the most popular among tourists.

Funicular railway

The funicular is historic and dates from 1870. Officially, it is called the Castle Hill Railway. The prototype and inspiration for its creation was the first of its kind funicular built several years earlier in French Lyon. It was a railway driven by a stationary steam engine. The need of building a railway on the hill was dictated by the desire to bring together public facilities (the theater, ministries located in the castle walls) to the ordinary citizens. It was supposed to be the first urban transport providing access to the Castle Hills.

The modern railway at that time functioned almost unchanged until 1944. At the end of the war, the railway and its entire infrastructure were destroyed during the bombing of the city. After the war, it was not decided to rebuild it. It was only in 1984 that it was decided to restore the railway for the city’s inhabitants. The new, fully automatic funicular came back in 1986 and functions until today. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the city landscape and the Castle Hills.

Funicular railway – opening hours and entrance tickets

The funicular operates daily between 7.30 a.m. – 10.00 p.m. It departs on average every 5-10 minutes, when the wagons are full. Every second Monday (odd week in a given month) – the funicular is closed for the duration of technical work.

Castle Hill entranceThe entrance to the funicular and the ticket office are located opposite the descent from the Chain Bridge. It is impossible not to notice this, as from a distance you can see colorful wagons climbing up the hill. One-way ticket: 1200* HUF (approximately PLN 16), return ticket 1800* HUF (approximately PLN 24). The ride by train takes about 1 minute.

The funicular operates daily between 7.30 a.m. – 10.00 p.m. It departs on average every 5-10 minutes, when the wagons are full. Every second Monday (odd week in a given month) – the funicular is closed for the duration of technical work.

The entrance to the funicular and the ticket office are located opposite the descent from the Chain Bridge. It is impossible not to notice this, as from a distance you can see its colorful wagons climbing up the hill. One-way ticket: 1200* HUF (4,3$), return ticket 1800 HUF (6,5$). The ride by train takes about 1 minute.

*prices from March’2019

More information about the Budapest Funicular can be found on the Buda Castle website.

Entrance to Castle Hills on foot

You can also climb the hill on foot. I recommend getting there on foot, from the side of the Chain Bridge. To cross the bridge is already an attraction itself.

After crossing the bridge, facing the Castle Hills and the funicular, the beginning of the walking route is on the left. Go along the defensive wall and then enter the first open gate in the wall. A walking trail starts right on the other side of the wall.

Castle Hill map of Buda in Hungary

The walking up the hill takes about 15-20 minutes. You can go thru this route faster or much slower. All depends on how many times you will stop on the way to take pictures and enjoy the views. The route runs twice over the railroad tracks, so this is an additional attraction: to stand above the passing funicular.

Personally, I recommend to everyone to climb up the hill on foot. The route leads through the park, most of the way is paved, the stairs are secured with handrails. It is not difficult, but it is certainly not suitable for people who have walking problems, for the wheelchairs and for the baby strollers. On the way to the hill, there is a large observation deck, where you can rest. The views of the Danube river, the Chain Bridge and the panorama of the city – are breath-taking there. It is really worthy to experience it.

You can also enter the castle hill through the park, located on the right side of the railways. This entrance also leads through the park, up the stairs with handrails. You can also go along the main street (going to the right of the cash registers) and reach directly entrance stairs to the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Budapest. Other attractions

Margaret Island

Margaret Island map, on the Danube river in Budapest HungaryMargaret Island is the most beautiful park in Budapest. It stretches in the middle of the Danube river between the Margaret bridge and Arpad Bridge. This green island is 2.5 km long and at its widest point it is 500 meters wide. At the entire island it is prohibited to move around by car. The only public means of transport is a bus that takes you directly to the island from the Margaret Bridge. Although there is a car park on the island next to the Arpad Bridge, outside of the car park, it is not allowed to drive further into the island.

The island owes its name thanks to Princess Margaret. She was a daughter of King Bela IV, who in the thirteenth century, spent almost 20 years here, closed in a monastery. Only the ruins of this monastery have survived to this day. Inscribed on the list of UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage.

The island is the green lung of the city and is a favourite recreational place for residents. It attracts joggers, rollerbladers, cyclists. A large number of gardens attract fans of outdoor gymnastics. There are several bike rentals, scooters and many other two- and three-wheelers, whose names I do not even know.

On the area of the island there are several hotels, a casino, sports facilities (i.e . sports fields, tennis courts, swimming pools and baths), clubs and restaurants. There is also a small zoo, a Japanese garden, a garden of roses and a garden of light.

In the summer there are many festivals, concerts and street shows.

Worth to know:
  • The best way to get to the Margaret Island is to take city bus No. 26, which enters the island directly from the Margaret bridge. On the spot, the bus has several stops. It is also the only public means of transport that you can get there. The bus runs quite often, every few minutes, and the stops are very short (instead of waiting for another bus, you can go to the next stop).
  • The bus No. 26 starts its route from the Nyugati stop, on the Pest side. You can get there by Metro line 3, or by tram 4 or 6.
Adrassy Avanue

Andrassy Avenue, known as Budapest’s “Champs Elysées”, is a representative showcase of the city. Along the whole alley there are not only architectural gems, such as: the Opera House, the Academy of Music, the Art Gallery, the Operetta Theater and the Moulin Rouge. It is a street where you can also find stores of the most expensive brands in the world, elegant restaurants and always full bars.

Underneath the avenue runs an underground railway line (yellow subway), put into use in 1896. It was then the first electric subway on the European continent and the second metro in the world after London.

Both the Adrassy Avenue and the historic metro under it – have been included in the UNESCO list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage

Heroes’ Square

The Heroes’ Square, also called the Millennium Square, is one of the largest and most important squares in Budapest. It is located at the end of Adrassy street and borders with City Park. The architecture of the square is a reflection of national pride and aesthetics.

In the middle of the square there is a tall column standing (36 meters) – called Millennium monument. Erected in 1929 as a commemoration of the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian state. There is a statue of the Archangel Michael on the main column. According to the legend he was the one who appeared in a dream to the Stefan – first king of Hungary and ordered him to Christianize the country.

On the square there are also arches with colonnades, which depict heroic figures from the history of Hungary.

There are majestic buildings on both sides of the square . In one of them there is the Museum of Fine Arts and in the other the Palace of Exposition – Mucsarnok.

Vajdahunyad Castle

Vajdahunyad Castle is located in the City Park in Budapest. It was established in 1896 as part of the Millennium Exhibition. It was held due to the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian state. On this occasion, it was decided to erect a complex of buildings made of non-durable materials (most of them were made of wood) that were copies of the most important objects from Hungary. They were supposed to represent different styles as an example of diversity in Hungarian architecture. The exhibition appealed to the public very much. In the years 1904-1908 it was decided to build these buildings again, this time from durable materials.

Budapest - top 5 attractions, Vajdahunyad Castle, view from the lake side

On the official website of the castle we can read such an introduction: “The castle is actually a fantasy pastiche showcasing the architectural evolution through centuries and styles in Hungary. The castle is the home of several festivals, concerts and the exhibitions of the Hungarian Agricultural Museum”.

The Vajdahunyad castle style combines elements from several historical periods in Hungary. All styles are placed in one eclectic palace. You can find here styles from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

The name comes from a copy of the Vajdahunyad castle in Transylvania, currently located in Romania.

In the castle gardens there are more interesting buildings. Among others there is a replica of a Romanesque chapel, a Romanesque stone bridge with lions and a bridge gate.

An interesting fact is the 1903 statue of the Medieval Hungarian Chronicler. The Anonymous (aka Anonymus) is a sitting figure in a monk’s habit with his face covered by a hood. He holds a fountain pen in his hand. Apparently, it is said that touching his pen guarantees a surge of writing inspiration. Anyway, it is always worth trying 😊

Budapest - top 5 attractions, Anonymus monumnet of the unknown writer
Anonymus
Worth to know:
  • The castle museum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. On Sunday it is open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays. Admission 1600* HUF (about 5,7$).
  • Entrance ticket to the museum is also needed to enter the castle tower. The tower is open at the same time as the museum. You can enter the tower at every full hour, admission only with a guide (also available in English). It is possible to buy a ticket only for the tower – entry 600* HUF (about PLN 8). Attention, the entrance to the tower requires good physical condition. To get to its top you need to climb 150 stairs.
  • You can also enter the castle gate, which is open daily between 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Admission 400* HUF (about 1,5$).
  • The easiest way to get to the Vajdahunyad Castle is by Metro Line 1 (yellow), Szechenyi Fundo stop, or tram number 1.

More details can be found directly on the museum’s website.
*prices from March’2019

Szechenyi Thermal Bath

Budapest is a city with 12 thermal baths. It makes Budapest an attractive resort and a perfect place to relax. Both residents of the city and tourists eagerly use the city baths for both healing and pleasure. In their architecture, you can find elements from both the times of Turkish rule and those from the 20th century. The most interesting architecturally are:

More information about selected city baths can be found on the official website of the Budapest Thermal Bath.

On the terrain of the City Park there is a Szechenyi Thermal Bath. It is the largest and most popular thermal bath in the city. It is also one of the largest natural thermal baths in Europe. Since its inception in 1913, it has reportedly benefited over 100 million people. There are 21 pools all together, while 18 of them are open throughout the year (including holidays).

Budapest - TOP 5 atractions, Széchenyi thermal bath in the City Park in Budapest Hungary

Besides the health and wellness, the entrance ticket includes the use of saunas, gymnastics and aqua fitness. At the pool, you can relax with a glass of wine or a beer.

Worth to know:
  • Only people over 14 years old can enter the Szechenyi bathhouse. It is possible to enter with babies, but only if children are provided with special pool diapers.
  • The admission ticket depends on the day of the week, time of day (whether in the morning or in the evening) and whether we want to enter the max. 2 hours if we want to have an “open ticket”.
  • The admission ticket between Monday – Friday varies between 5200* – 6000* HUF (from 18,5$ to 21,5$). The admission ticket on Saturdays and Sundays varies between 5400* – 6200* HUF (from 19,2$ to 22,1$).
  • It is possible to buy a ticket with a guide for walks in the bathhouse. The walk takes 20 minutes and allows you to view the main rooms and pools. The tour takes place twice a day: at 10.30 a.m. and at 4.00 p.m.. Entrance tickets 2000* HUF (around 7,1$).

*prices from March’2019

Gellért Hill

In addition to the Castle Hill, the Gellért Hill also rises above the city. It is 235 meters high and offers fantastic views of the Danube river and the city. The road to Gellert Hill leads through the Freedom Bridge, next to the historic Gellert Hotel and the Gellért Baths.

The name of the hill comes from the Bishop of Hungary – St. Gerard, who lived in the years 980 – 1046. He had a significant influence on the Christianization of Hungary. He died a martyr’s death at the hands of the heathen. St. Gerard was thrown down the hill in a barrel that was nailed from the inside by nails. In 1904, a monument of Saint was erected on the hill. This is perfectly visible from every point in the city. His statue surrounds a semi-circular colonnade.

In the 18th century, the slopes of Gellert Mountain were overgrown with vines. Local legends proclaim that the mountain was inhabited by witches who performed the Sabbath here.

Citadel

In 1850-54, the Austrian Citadel was erected on Gellert Hill. The fortress is 220 meters long and 60 meters wide, surrounded by a wall reaching 16 meters in height. At the end of the 19th century, the citadel was handed over to the city. Today is a great vantage point, the most visited just before sunset. The citadel houses, among others museum, restaurant, disco and youth hostel. Along with the Castle Hills and the Danube promenades – the citadel is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In addition to the fortress at the top there is also the Freedom Monument. Built in 1947, it was dedicated to Soviet soldiers who fell in the fight for Budapest. The monument depicts a figure of a woman made of bronze with a palm leaf in her hand. The monument itself is 14 meters high, but additionally it stands on a 26-meter pedestal. After 1989, the communist symbols (including a red star) and subtitles were removed from the monument. Today, the monument has a universal message and commemorates all those who fell for the freedom of Hungary.

Budapest. My personal recommendation

Cafe New York

At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, the New York Café was the most beautiful and the most beloved café in Budapest. It was a popular place among artists, writers and editors. It is said, that the upper gallery of the restaurant has been used by writers for editing texts for the most influential newspapers of those times. After the Second World War, the once famous cafe fell into disrepair. For some time there was a sports shop. The cafe was again opened in this place in 1954 under the name Hungária. Unfortunately, it did not resemble that one from years ago. It was only in 2006 when the Cafe New York was restored to its original splendor.

Cafe New York – today

Today the cafe is located in the New York Palace Hotel, built in 1894 in an eclectic Italian style. The menu is reminiscent of the multicultural cuisine of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy – it is simple but very tasty. You can come here for lunch or – due to high prices – just for coffee with a cake.

Budapest - top 5 attractions, Cafe New York in Budapest Hungary
Cafe New York

The café has a neo-baroque and very rich decor. Inside you can admire magnificent frescos and gilded columns decorated with stucco. Its interior is breath-taking, because it looks like a beautiful palace. During the day, guests are accompanied by live music. Apart from concerts on the piano, a gypsy music band also performs on stage. The band performs in a cafe every day between 11.00 a.m. To 5.00 p.m., for 15 minutes every hour. You can order a song from them on request 😊.

In front of the cafe there is often a queue of people willing to go inside. I recommend making a reservation of a table, so you can avoid the queue. Tourists often crow in the entrance also just to take photos of the cafe inside. Without a table reservation, guests are not allowed to enter beyond the line marking the beginning of the queue.

This is my favourite place in Budapest. I recommend this Cafe to everyone who is going to Budapest. Each time I am in Budapest I just have to visit this place. I also know that I will never get bored of it.

If you are interested in getting more info, please visit the website of the Café New York.

Railway station Keleti (Eastern Railway Station)

Once, the Keleti railway station was called the Central Railway Station, but currently it is the Eastern Railway Station. When it was built (1881-1884) it was one of the most modern railway stations in Europe. It is currently the largest railway station in Budapest. The main attraction is the architecture of this building, called the jewel of the Neo-Renaissance style. Above all, here are the sculptures and the elegant, richly decorated entrance hall. The main hall is 93 meters long and 80 meters wide.

There are many international trains that stop at this station, including direct connections from Warsaw (journey time about 13 hours).

Unfortunately, it is impossible to hide that this beautiful station has been falling into ruin for a long time. The main hall requires urgent renovation, both inside and outside of the building.

During my last visit, by accident I came across a part of the newly renovated station. This renovated part is beautiful. It gives hope that the renovation will also reach the other parts of this beautiful building. You can read more about this here.

The Keleti station is currently connected to the metro line 2 and 4.

Budapest – my other posts

In my next post “Budapest – tailor made travel plan” you can find few tips how to travel around the top city attractions, and how much time it will take you. It is also my own proposal for full three-day program. You can see with me the best of the Pest, Buda and  Margaret Island, but also go for 1 day trip to Esztergom and Szentedre.

In my second post Budapest onde-day outside city, I will take you for one day trip around Danube river bend. There are three places to see. Esztergom, where the largest and the most important Christian Church in Hungary is located. Visegrad with ruins of the royal palace and citadel, as well as panorama of the Danube valley from the nearby hills. Szentendre (St. Andrews) – colloquially called “Artistic Mecca” considered as the most beautiful small town in Hungary and one of the most beautiful in Central Europe.

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