Budapest – the capital of Hungary is a charming and friendly city, suitable for every time of the year. It’s been gaining popularity during the past couple of years so if you haven’t been there already, you sure are missing out! Here’s a list of my favourite things to see in Budapest:
A huge, green hill in the city centre. On top of it you’ll find the Citadel built by the Habsburgs and the Liberty Statue – erected by the Soviet Army to commemorate the World War II, though now its meaning is more universal. What I like the most about Gellert hill though is the panoramic view on Danube river and whole Budapest. The South hillside is also a good place for a pleasant walk in quiet surroundings.
Built in XIIIth century, the castle overlooks the whole Buda part of the city. Though it was rebuilt a couple of times and didn’t retain its medieval look, it’s still quite impressive. Currently it hosts the Hungarian National Gallery, but you can also visit the Habsburg palatines and royal rooms.
If you don’t feel like climbing the Castle Hill, you can get to the top by a fenicular – be prepared for the queues though. The ride is short but super popular with the tourists.
The Chain Bridge
Though it’s only two centuries old, the Széchenyi bridge was the first permanent bridge in Hungary – and the first connection between Buda and Pest. The chain bridge made with cast iron and stone was once regarded a modern world engineering wonder and a symbol of advancement. Until this day it’s one of the most prominent constructions in Budapest – and that’s saying something. It’s also guarded by four stone lions.
The Chain Bridge is seriously the most beautiful bridge I’ve ever seen – yes, it’s even better than Dom Luis in Porto :)
You probably saw this building on the cover of every guide on Budapest – the neogothic, fascinating Hungarian Parliament by the Danube river is everyone’s favourite. It was built after the merge of three cities: Buda, Obuda and Pest into one. Its interesting interior is open for visiting, though not during the debates.
The centre of the square is the Trinity statue, commemorating the victims of plague. There’s also the Mattias church with colorful roof tiles and the Fishermen’s bastion, which looks like a fairytale castle and offers panoramic views of the city.
Surrounded by shops, restaurants and cafes, it’s an attractive and chic district of Budapest.
The central feature of Heros’ Square (Hosok tere in Hungarian) is the Millenium Memorial topped with the statue of archangel Gabriel. Behind it there’s a colonnade with statues of 14 most prominent figures in the history of Hungary. There are also two art museums on both sides of Hosok tere and a city forest hiding Vajdahunyad castle behind it. Trust me, all this is well worth of taking a longer walk away from the city centre.
St Stephen’s Basilica
A wonderful cathedral in honour of the most important saint and the first king of Hungary – St Stephen. Inside you even get to see his thousand year old, mummified hand.
I was mostly interested in climbing to the top of basilica from where you can see the whole city.
Me and my brother decided it was our favourite park in the city. Margaret island is 2,5 km long and lays in the middle of Danube river, not far from the Parliament. It has thermal water pools, playgrounds, jogging tracks, a church, a hotel, the biggest fountain in Hungary and even a free mini zoo. All this surrounded by blooming flowers and lush trees – you can spend a whole day just there and won’t get bored.
There’s a lot of hot springs in Hungary, but few can compete with the beauty of Gellert baths situated in the Art Nouveau style hotel. There are internal and external swimming pools full of thermal water (temperatures vary from 20 to 60 degrees C), saunas and massage rooms.
A visit at Gellert’s is fun but also healthy – its thermal waters heal joints, spine and asthma among many others.
All photos above are mine, please don’t use them without permission :)