One of the most beautiful cities of Europe must be Budapest – you could truly explore it for weeks and never get bored. It’s split in two parts: Buda offers nature and historical castles, while Pest offers a more city-like visiting experience, as well as affordable and tasty food. Dramatic history, extravagant architecture, healing thermal waters, and a nightlife that is unrivalled in Eastern and Central Europe – Budapest has something for everyone.
There is a small chance that you’ll be in Budapest for a long time, though. This is exactly why we’ve made a checklist for all the most interesting sights of this magnificent city.
Buda Castle and Castle Hill
There are numerous medieval monuments and museums on the Castle Hill, which overlooks the Danube River. The most important structure there, though, is the Buda Castle. The massive 200-room structure was built in the 18th century to replace a 13th-century castle. Even though it was badly damaged during World War II, much of it has been restored.
You can find various museums inside the castle today, including the famed Hungarian National Gallery in the main wing, and the Budapest History Museum in the south wing.
A bronze equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy stands in front of the castle.
The entire Castle Hill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is truly worth exploring. Its medieval lanes and its Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architecture are sure to take anyone back in time.
You can reach the castle on the Castle Funicular Railway, which departs from the Buda end of the Chain Bridge.
St Stephen’s Basilica
A cathedral popular for its impressive architecture, the magnificent interior, and the panoramic views from its dome, the St Stephen’s Basilica is dedicated to Hungary’s holy king who was also the founder of the Hungarian state. It was begun in 1851, but it wasn’t dedicated until 1905. The church was immensely damaged in World War II but was successfully restored to its former glory.
You can reach the cupola with two elevators or by climbing exactly 364 steps.
Fisherman’s Bastion and The Danube Promenade
The impressive Neo-Romanesque complex of towers, courtyards, colonnades, and walls was built between 1895 and 1902 where the fishermen’s guild built their defence walls in the Middle Ages. It overlooks the Danube River, and is one of the most popular touristic points.
The Danube Promenade is a pleasant century-old riverside walk perfect for enjoying views of the river and the city. You’ll find the chilling Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial on the banks of the river – a series of sixty pairs of steel sculpted shoes commemorates the Jews that were shot there by the Nazis.
You can also explore the river by boat, or you can have fun watching the sturdy vessels from the historic Freedom Bridge.
The Museum of Fine Arts
Budapest’s most important art gallery also houses one of the largest collections of works of the Old Masters in Europe. The extensive array of Dutch, Italian, and Spanish paintings can be found in this classically influenced 19th century building.
It was established in 1870 after the country inherited a fine collection of prints, paintings, and drawings. Today, it is divided in six departments: Egyptian art, Ancient Art, the Old Sculpture Gallery, the Old Painter Gallery, the Modern Collection, and the Graphic Collection.
City Woodland Park (Városliget)
The 302-acre park with its beautiful lake is a popular recreational site for both locals and visitors. The park has had many additions over the years since it was laid out in the 19th century: the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art; the Municipal Zoological and Botanical Garden; the Transport Museum of Budapest; Tivoli Pleasure Park, with its kids‘ rides and arcades; the massive open-air Széchenyi Medicinal Bath; the fairytale Vajdahunyad Castle; and the 100,000-seat People’s Stadium.
Of course, there are more things you can do in Budapest, especially if you have the time. Add more things to this checklist and enjoy Budapest as much as you can!