Budapest is a city worth visiting during all seasons of the year, while it offers lots of attractions and activities to have a good time. Some of the most important attractions are the famous Buda Castle, the imposing St. Stephen’s Basilica, the beautiful Margaret Island and the traditional Great Market Hall. You should also not miss out on a cruise in the Danube and biking in the city! Budapest offers many options to enjoy your time there, no matter how many days you stay.
No trip to Budapest is complete without visiting one of Europe’s most beautiful castles, which is massive and impressive in its architectural style. Access to the castle can be achieved in many ways, like using a cable car (costs 7€ aller-retour), by bus (16 & 16A), on foot or through the most low-cost and least tiring way that you will find in our tips! On the castle hill, apart from the royal palace, you can also find the Museum of History, the National Library and the National Art Gallery, which is the only one of them worth visiting. Many events take place inside the castle and lots of cafés and restaurants provide the opportunity to enjoy a meal surrounded by the site’s scenic beauty. At night, it looks stunning from Pest’s side, as the strong lighting makes for an amazing view, so much that you can’t get your eyes off of it! While leaving the castle, take a walk in Buda, which doesn’t get that much credit*, so you can get to know this part of the city as well.
* because most of the sites are located in Pest.
Suggested visit time: 2.5-4 hours
The know it all says: It has been besieged 31 times and rebuilt even more? That’s why the current palace looks like a patchwork of various architectural rhythms!
Many lines have been written about this bridge that we feel that there is nothing we could add…oh wait! There is! It is one of the most B-E-A-Utiful, glorious bridges in the world! (High on our list are also London’s Tower Bridge and Prague’s Charles Bridge.) It’s close to the Parliament and you can drive, ride or walk across it. The Chain Bridge oozes elegance and the lions guarding its gates are emblematic of its power and grandeur. They say that it is worth crossing and photographing only in the evening, but the truth is that it looks magnificent all day long! Nevertheless, the most ideal time is when dusk falls and the lights wrap the bridge, along with the surrounding area, in a faded shade of yellow…Make sure you fill your personal album with many pictures of it, because…it is truly majestic!
Suggested visit time: 30-45 minutes
The know it all says: The construction of this famous suspension bridge was greatly funded by Greek entrepreneur George Sinas? His name is mentioned on the basis of the bridge’s south-west foundations in Buda’s side!
The Parliament is a remarkable piece of architecture that spreads along Danube’s bank. You can only comprehend its size and greatness when you stand right in front of it! Its interior is magnificent, while the golden details and the fact that it is spotless make it stand out. Another positive trait is that tours are scheduled and conducted in various languages, so you can learn all about the building and its history, in your language of choice. Don’t miss the chance to marvel at Danube’s jewel, any time of day, from as many possible angles as you can*. The only certain thing is that it is going to mesmerize you, no matter the angle, the color that the sun or the floodlights project on it. If you want to have a chance to see all that, it’s best that you book your tickets online, choosing the date that best fits you, because you might not find any from the ticket office!
*From Pest, the Buda castle, the Fishermen’s Bastion and the cruise ship.
Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: Every day, November-March 08:00-16:00 & April-October 08:00-18:00.
Tours in English start: 09:45, 10:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00.
Cost: 10.5€ for all EU citizens 18+, 6€ for ages 6-18. 20€ for non-EU citizens 18+, 10.5€ for ages 6-18. Children under the age of 6 are granted free entrance.
The know it all says: Its height (96m) is not at all random, as it refers to the 1896 National Millennium, as well as the occupation of the Hungarian Kingdom in 896. Lucky Number 96!
The Basilica is in the city center and stands out, due to its “high stature” (about 100m tall) and its exterior charm. Devout, magnificent, imposing and marvelous, St. Stephen’s Basilica will grip you and take you on a journey through Hungary’s religious customs. There is no entrance fee, so everyone has the chance to see its rich interior adornment. Stained glass windows, statues, wall paintings, golden touches, large organs are only a few of the features that draw the attention. Don’t miss the chance to climb the temple’s dome (via elevator or steps) and enjoy the view! In front of the church, you will find St. Stephen’s Square, where, during the Christmas holidays, lots of events take place and they set up booths that serve food, wine and various goods. Also, there are a lot of cafés and restaurants in the surrounding area, where you can enjoy some hot chocolate or a nice meal.
Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00, Saturday 09:00-13:00, Sunday 09:00-17:00.
Cost: *Free for the temple (if you wish, you can pay a small fee for the preservation of the Basilica), approx. 4€ for the dome.
The know it all says: St. Stephen’s church is called a Basilica, not because of its architectural rhythm, but because of its size! (Justifiable, admittedly!)
As any big city, Budapest has its own historic square, the Heroes’ Square. It is located in the city’s north side, close to the Zoo, and is accessible by metro, bus, taxi or bike. It was constructed in honor of the Hungarian history’s heroes and the monument standing in the middle of the square is called the “Millennium Memorial”. This monument was built to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the Magyars’ conquest of Budapest. Imposing and wide, it immediately gives you a sense of the Magyars’ history and “makes” you want to know it better and capture it from any possible angle. The best time to visit it is during twilight, as the statues, complimented by the golden-red horizon, offer a sight to remember! Get there by riding your bike through the amazing bicycle path that spreads through most parts of the city!
Suggested visit time: 30-45 minutes
The know it all says: Beneath every statue, there is a relief depicting each historical figure’s most significant moment in life!
Vaci Utca is Budapest’s most famous pedestrian street and you are bound to walk through it many times during your trip, as it covers 1.2 km inside the heart of the city! It’s kind of like Athens’ Ermou Street(but much cleaner and without all the street merchants). The statue of Hermes symbolizes its bustle, energy and liveliness! Although its shops are a bit pricey, it’s very clean and you can have a pleasant walk, do some shopping, have a cup of coffee or dine in one of its many restaurants, along with the thousands of people that visit it daily! It’s also worth mentioning that Vaci Utca is very safe throughout the whole day and night, as it is always full of people. Many love it while others are not so fond of it…we fall in the first category!
Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
The know it all says: At the street’s starting point, near the Vorosmarty square, you will see some white lines that outline the ruins of the city’s once prominent gate, as well as a plaque depicting it!
Budapest is known as “Danube’s pearl” and part of the city’s unique character is the fact that it is both divided and connected by the river. The diverse nature of the old and the modern parts of the city is highlighted by Danube and this is one of the things that make it so special! Each of the eight marvelous bridges that connect the river’s banks has its own grace and history. There are three different ways in which you can discover all that; on foot, via tram and, of course, via cruise ship. No matter which one you pick, the best time to begin is on sunset, so you can gaze at the colors of the sky and the lights that brighten the city bit by bit. The option of walking gives you the chance to organize your time in our own terms and cross any bridge you want to get from one bank to the other. The tram (line No.2) that goes up and down the river is obviously the most relaxing option. As for the cruise, it is the ideal choice, especially for an evening ride to enjoy Budapest aglow!
Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
The know it all says: Danube is an international river that crosses 10(!) different countries!
The castle is located on the Gellert Hill, in the Buda area, and is the highest point in Budapest! It is clearly visible from afar, as at its top stands the 46 meters tall Statue of Liberty. You can access it either by bus or on foot, which is the best choice. After having crossed the Liberty Bridge and spent 25-30 minutes of clambering(!) through the narrow pathways, you will come across the city’s most breath-taking view! The view from the Fishermen’s Bastion may be the most well-known, but the one from Citadella is beyond compare! You should bear in mind that the ascent is not an easy task, mainly because of the distance and the inclining pathways, so carrying a bottle of water is essential, especially during the summer months! Still, you will find lots of spots where you can stop and catch your breath while taking a few pictures. See you at the top!
Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
The know it all says: None of the castle’s 60 canons where ever used in battle!
Margaret Island* is an island (duh!) that stretches through 2.5km inside Danube! Various parks and leisure facilities compose a relaxing landscape, whatever the season. In the summer, the many events being held, green trees, gardens, fountains and large gathering crowds create innumerous images that are just full of life. Furthermore, during the summer, various sports and cultural events take place there. On the other hand, during the winter months, options are scant, as well as people, but it is still suitable for picnics, walks or exercise. The perfect way to explore the island, from end to end, is by bike, while the pleasant route offers dozens of photo themes! Your visit can be even more interesting if you do a little research on its history beforehand; you will discover some interesting facts about it!
* You can access it through the Margit híd bridge.
Suggested visit time: 2-4 hours
The know it all says: Margaret Island was created in the 19th century from the merging of three smaller islands; Festo, Furdo and Nyulak!
The Zoo-Botanical Garden is the perfect place to admire nature’s wonders and spend some pleasant and carefree hours in Budapest, especially if you have children. It’s close to the Heroes’ Square and covers a vast area, hosting a great variety of plants and animal species. The fact that the whole place and the animals’ living spaces are so clean and bright deserves a big thumbs-up! Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the zoo is very well-organized and the staff really polite. From time to time, they bring in some rare animal species and present them as their mascots! During the period of our visit the cute Vombat was their honorable guest! You can also attend a sea lions’ show, for which you don’t have to pay extra. Finally, the long tour compels you to take a break in one of the zoo’s many resting spots.
Suggested visit time: 2.5-3.5 hours
Open: 09:00-16:00 during winter months & 09:00-19:00 during summer months.
Cost: 10€ standard ticket & 7.5€ for children/students.
The know it all says: It was constructed in 1820 and hosts more than 1,070 animal species, making it an endangered species sanctuary!
A supermarket different from any other, the Great Market Hall is housed under a French-style train station and offers dozens of products from the local cuisine, and many more. This place is like a combination of a Turkish market, a Greek street market and a delicatessen, divided into small booths/kiosks! The whole place “smells” like Hungary, as you can find Langos (local fast food) and all sorts of spices, cheeses & cured meats, pies, vegetables, chocolates, pasta and any other Hungarian product you can imagine! You should know that many of the cured meat products come from horse meat, so you should probably try them first. Apart from food items, there are also lots of home products being sold. A visit to the Great Market Hall is an excellent way to get to know the culture and customs of the Magyars!
Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: Monday 06:00-17:00, Tuesday-Friday 06:00-18:00 & Saturday 06:00-15:00 Closed: Sunday
The know it all says: When the Great Market Hall first opened, the ships could sail right in, using special platforms built for this purpose!
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