Things To Do
There are so many amazing things to do in Budapest, so why not make a weekend of it and explore this great city!
With the Buda Castle in the background, the Hungarian capital’s first bridge, now a monument, is a fascinating spectacle that has attracted many tourists to Budapest. Completed in 1849, Chain Bridge was considered a technical wonder of its time. In World War II, the bridge was destroyed, along with all the other bridges in Budapest, but was rebuilt almost in its original form, except for some necessary modernisation. One of the highlights of evenings along the Danube is when the lights on the bridge are turned on, accenting the bridge’s arching shapes. With its characteristic shape, two enormous stone gates and beautiful suspending chains, the Chain Bridge has become an essential part of Budapest’s cityscape for over a century and a half.
The Gellért Hill and the Citadel is the capital’s popular excursion place. The Hungarians call it a “mountain”, although at 235 metres, it is nowhere near the geographical definition of one. Nonetheless, with its steep craggy sides, trees changing colours with the seasons and architectural heritage, it forms an integral part of the Budapest landscape. The fortress located on the top of the hill was erected by the Habsburg rulers after the 1848-1849 revolution and war for independence was crushed. The Liberty Statue which stands in front of the fortress is of a female figure holding up a palm leaf. This is perhaps the most popular spot from which to view the city.
One of Europe’s largest synagogues, situated at the edge of the former Jewish quarter, its twin towers can be seen from a distance. Built based on the blueprints of Viennese architect Ludwig Förster, the building was completed in 1859 and serves the Reform Jewish community. Connected with the synagogue are the arcade surrounding the inner courtyard and the Heroes’ Synagogue, completed in 1931. This building, based on plans by architect László Vágó, commemorates the 10,000 Hungarian Jewish soldiers who died while serving their homeland during the First World War. The statue of a weeping willow (by Imre Varga) which stands in the courtyard is a favourite subject for tourists’ photos. Four different guided tours are available in English, the most detailed lasting two hours.
With 21 pools, Széchenyi Bath is one of the largest bathing complexes in Europe. Its adventure pool features a water chute, underwater jacuzzi, neck shower and bubble deck. In addition to traditional medicinal services, the entrance fee also includes wellness services such as the fitness gym, saunas and underwater gymnastics.
Hop on the bus and plan your first tour of Budapest just the way you want it, without any restrictions. The greatest advantage of this type of sightseeing is that even people who can’t sit still can enjoy themselves. If they get tired of the guided tour, or want to take a closer look, all they have to do is get off at the next stop for a little detour. Really determined visitors can even go on several routes to see all of the city’s sights and attractions.
One of the sights most often mentioned in the Budapest guidebooks is the biggest market hall the City! Situated at the foot of Liberty Bridge, it’s a compelling sight, made really unique by its eosin-glass Zsolnay ceramic roof tiles. On entering the building through the main gate, visitors are overwhelmed not only by grandiose architecture but also by the huge selection of vegetables, meats and dairy products. Those who feel a touch peckish can have a taste at the first-floor diners of the best varieties of foods in Hungary.
This 2,800-metre-long island in the Danube is guaranteed to be the greenest part of the city. Dubbed “Budapest’s Central Park”, it was once a royal hunting ground, and was known for a time as Rabbit Island for this reason. The island is dotted with huge sycamore trees, walkways, statues, the ruins of a medieval monastery and tennis courts. Boat houses along its shores, a casino designed by Miklós Ybl in its centre, a water tower designated a UNESCO protected site and the Japanese garden are also worth mentioning. The easiest way to reach the island is via Margaret Bridge or by boat.
Despite its short history, this is already a spot with a cult following. Founded by four liberal arts students, this “ruin pub” was created in 2002 in the inner courtyard of an old apartment building, and gradually took over the building as well. Originally a “ruin pub” out of necessity, it became the start of a new trend. It houses live concerts, film screenings and a farmer’s market at weekends. Frequently voted the city’s best bar, not necessarily because of its drinks, but mostly for its unique atmosphere: old furniture, houseplants and disco balls.
Situated at the end of Andrássy Avenue and at the gateway of the City Park – a masterpiece of city planning from every perspective. When approached from the avenue, the 36-metre column topped by the Archangel Gabriel can be seen from afar. The column and the group of statues placed near its base constitute a unified visual image with the monuments arranged in two semicircles. Under their arcades stand effigies of the great figures of Hungarian history, created by sculptor György Zala. The square, designed by Albert Schikedanz, sits between the buildings of the two museums, the Hall of Art on the right, and the Museum of Fine Arts on the left.
A walking tour of Buda with an English-speaking guide is available, starting daily from Szentháromság Square at 2:00 pm, and touching on major places of interest in the Buda Castle district. See the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Matthias Church, the Royal Palace and lesser known attractions. The tours are guaranteed to start every day and no registration is required.
For further information on the above sites or to see what else Budapest can offer, please visit https://www.budapestinfo.hu/