Beautiful Budapest is home to stunning bridges, sweeping boulevards and packed with history in every quarter. Here are the 10 top Budapest attractions for you to see.
The might Danube runs below the Chain Bridge
1. The mighty Danube River runs through the city from north to south splitting it into two and is the reason it’s called the ‘capital of bridges’. Many were rebuilt following their destruction during the Second World War and are an integral part of the Budapest’s character. Make sure to walk across the Chain Bridge, adorned with majestic lions.
2. If you walk along the banks of the river from Chain Bridge towards Parliament, you’ll come upon a very moving sculpture memorial to the many Jews who died in Budapest during a short period towards the end of the World War II. It’s called Shoes on the Danube in tribute to those shot into the river at the hands of Fascist Arrow Cross militiamen.
3. Browse the stalls at the ‘Kosponti Vasarcsarnok’ or central market, located at the Pest end of Liberty Bridge. This three-storey hall is as grand as it is vast and buzzes with tourists and locals alike in search of speciality foods, jams, liqueurs and spices.
4. Escape to Margaret Island, once known as the ‘Island of the Rabbits’ and used as a harem during the Turkish occupation. The island is now a much-loved green park in the middle of the Danube. Walking the length of the island, with its romantic pathways and medieval ruins, takes about 20 minutes.
5. Take advantage of a free walking tour – there are several on offer to suit all tastes. The ‘original’ takes in all the major sites from Gresham Palace to the Fisherman’s Bastion, while the fascinating Communism walk provides a fascinating account of life in the city pre and post Iron Curtain.
6. Take in a panoramic view of the city by climbing Gellert Hill. Stretching to a height of 235 metres, walking to the top should take you around 15 minutes. Here you’ll also find the Citadel and Liberty Statue.
7. Visit the beautiful St Stephen’s Basilica which, with a capacity of 8,500 people, is the biggest church in Budapest. It took more than 50 years to complete construction and the dome is 96 metres high. Climbing to the observation deck ensures you amazing views, but there is a nominal fee for this.
8. Watch the world go by in the impressive Heroes’ Square. Laid out in 1896 to commemorate Hungary’s thousandth anniversary the square is flanked by the Museum of Fine Arts and the ‘Kuntshalle’ (Hall of Art).
9. Pay your respects at the reconstructed tomb of Gül Baba and its beautiful surrounding rose garden. This is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims and you must remove your shoes before entering. It’s located in Rose Hill, one of Budapest’s richest neighbourhoods.
10. Okay this last one isn’t technically ‘free’ – just a total bargain. For one night only each year, so long as you time your visit for June, for the cost of one single ticket you can channel you inner Ben Stiller and spend a night at one of Budapest’s many fascinating museums. Institutions taking part in this year’s ‘Night of the Museums’ include the Hungarian National Gallery and famed House of Terror Museum.