Two summers ago, I traveled to Budapest for a week and explored every inch of the city. Budapest was my first Eastern European country to visit and it exceeded all of my expectations. There’s a great cafe culture in Budapest and several markets to explore, especially in the summer. Visiting one of their famous Baths is a must and you can read about one of my favorites here. However, there are a ton of touristy sights and landmarks to pick from and I’m here today to let you know which one’s are worth seeing.
I’m a sucker for pretty buildings so I loved touring the Hungarian Parliament. The tour lasts about 45 minutes and you get to view around 10 rooms. Every room was lavishly decorated and covered in gold. The exterior is absolutely stunning as well and you can get the perfect view while sailing along the Danube River. I loved this Parliament building almost as much as England’s Parliament… and that’s saying something!
I know this isn’t a particular sight but strolling along the Danube River almost every evening was definitely a highlight for me. You’ll find plenty of cafes and restaurants along the water, not to mention the beautiful views of Buda (the western side of Budapest).
It’s hard to miss the Hungarian State Opera house while exploring the streets of Budapest. A one hour guided tour (the only way you can get in) costs about $15. We paid a little extra to see a short performance at the end of the tour which was completely worth it. I’m such a Phantom of the Opera nerd so being in any kind of opera house was exciting for me. Our guide let us pop into one of the royal boxes too which was fun. The English guides were great and they keep the groups small. English tours are at 3 and 4 pm every day and I’d suggest buying your tickets earlier in the day.
St. Stephen’s Basilica reminded me so much of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. I think it looks really similar from the outside and also the interior with its ornate chandeliers, high ceilings, gold everything, and natural light pouring in through the windows. If touring churches isn’t your thing, I would still recommend visiting simply for the views that you’ll find at the top of the Basilica. You can pay just a few dollars and ride the lift all the way to the top.
One of my favorite places in Budapest was Heroes’ Square, home to the grand Millennium Memorial. This memorial was constructed in 1900 and is dedicated to all of the heroes that gave their lives to serve and protect Hungary over the years.
Heroes’ Square is also home to two museums, The Museum of Fine Arts (pictured above) and the Palace of Art. We only visited the Museum of Fine Arts and were pleased with our choice. To our surprise, the museum was practically empty which only meant more a/c for us! I’d definitely recommend popping in for a good hour. I’d also recommend strolling through City Park which is directly behind Heroes’ Square. It’s a perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon in Budapest.
Last but certainly not least is the Castle District. I absolutely loved this side of Budapest. The Castle District is located in Buda and is a nice escape from the bustling city just on the other side of the river. It’s hillier, greener, and more picturesque in my opinion.
Here you’ll find two of my favorite sites: Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church. Fisherman’s Bastion consists of beautiful towers and viewing terraces along the hills which overlook the Danube River and Pest. This is where you’ll find the best panoramic views of the city! Also, right next door is Matthias Church which was built in the 14th century. It’s worth going inside if you have extra time but I wouldn’t go out of your way. The exterior of the church is my absolute favorite and you can gawk at it (for free!) for as long as you want 🙂
Of course I left out several places but these were the most memorable to me. Have you been to Budapest before? Let me know some of your favorite places!