On one side of the Danube river there once were cities Buda and Óbuda. Located on a hill with the best view, very elegant architecture, a lot of green areas and a really lovely atmosphere, it is my favorite part of Budapest. On the other side of the river is Pest. It’s the flat part of the city, with more buzzing nightlife, a lot of restaurants, cultural and other sightseeing.
It is definitely a city worth visiting a couple of times, not just once. It offers a variety of cultural and natural areas, a lot of places to find a very good food, nice relaxing places to take some time off and cool spots to party.
Here are just some of the things to see and do in Budapest.
#1 FISHERMAN’S BASTION
It’s one of my favorite places in Castle Hill, different than any other things in Budapest. The panoramic viewing terrace with fairy tale towers was built in neo-gothic and neo-romanesque styles. It’s located behind Matthias Church, where a guild of fishermen defended the city from invasion during the Middle Ages.
The seven towers of the Bastion represent the seven Magyar tribes that helped to settle the Magyar people in the Carpathian Basin.
#2 MATTHIAS CHURCH
It is one of the most unique churches in Europe, majestic architecture with stunning details and colorful ceramic roof tiles. Located right next to Fisherman’s bastion on Castle Hill. According to church tradition, it was originally built in Romanesque style in 1015. In the early 19th century the church was finally restored in neo-gothic style.
#3 BUDA CASTLE
Up on Castle Hill, a few minutes walk from the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Matthias church is the Buda Castle. Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, and was first completed in 1265. In the past, it has been called Royal Palace and Royal Castle. It was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill, bounded on the north by what is known as the Castle District, which is famous for its Medieval, Baroque, and 19th-century houses, churches, and public buildings. In the palace is Hungarian National Gallery. There are also a lot of festivals and food markets in Buda Castle courtyards.
#4 LIBERTY STATUE ON GELLERT HILL
The Liberty Statue or Freedom Statue is a monument on the Gellért Hill. It commemorates those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom, and prosperity of Hungary.The 14 meter tall bronze statue stands atop a 26 meter pedestal and holds a palm leaf. Several smaller statues are also present around the base. You can also see some nice view to the city from here.
#5 THE DANUBE RIVER
The Danube is Europe’s second-longest river. It was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire, and today flows through 10 countries. You can go on daytime or evening sightseeing cruise on the river, to view the city from other perspective.
#6 HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT BUILDING
This marvelous iconic architecture building is definitely worth visiting. You can take educational tour inside the parliament, where you can see a lot of gold and jewels and more. And it gets quite busy, so you have to buy tickets a lot earlier. Something I left for some other trip to Budapest in the future.
The best spectacular view from the outside is from the other side of the river.
There is also a nice Parliament square with fountain water and a view to the opposite building Museum of Ethnography.
#7 ST. STEPHEN’S BASILICA
This basilica is one of the most important religious buildings in Hungary. This largest church in Budapest, is dedicated to Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen.
About 8500 people can get in the beautiful Neoclassical cathedral at the same time. You can go up the cupola and take in the view of whole Budapest from above.
#8 MARGARET ISLAND
Margaret Island is a 2.5 km long island which sits in the middle of the Danube, which is covered in parkland and recreational facilities.
You can rent pedal carts, golf carts, and other vehicles, so that you can explore the island properly. Among the present historical monuments on the island are the 13th century ruins of a Franciscan church. Other attractions on the island include the Centennial Memorial which commemorates the 100th anniversary of Budapest, a Japanese Garden, a tiny zoo, a music fountain, and an octagonal water tower. The outdoor theater hosts operas, concerts and plays during summer.
It’s a really pleasant place to relax or exercise, to have a picnic or just walk though the island to clear you mind.
There are a lot of other things to see, such as the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, the most well known and one of the bridges that link the two city parts, Shoes on the Danube promenade, Dohány Street Synagogue in in the Jewish quarter, Heroes’ Square, House of Terror, Hungarian State Opera House, and a lot of thermal baths and spas, Széchenyi Thermal Baths, Gellért Baths. Next time I won’t miss the baths!