What to visit in Budapest?

Visiting Budapest in one day may be a challenge especially when you don’t want to use local public transport and you prefer to walk everywhere. It was exactly our case. Maybe walking 30 km in one day wasn’t the best idea but at least we saw a big part of the city. So we can recommend you places worth seeing in one day 🙂

1. Gellért Hill (hun. Gellért-hegy)

It was the first place we went to. The bus took us to Kelenföld vasútállomás metro station in Buda so Gellért Hill was the closest attraction. We also wanted to use the fact that it was 7 am so there weren’t many people. Although the hill is only 235 meters high, climbing may be a bit tiring.

During the Counter-Reformation the hill had a very bad opinion. People believed that it was a meeting point for witches. In 19th century the neighbourhood was considered dangerous because of a lot of crime. On the hill there is the Citadella and the Liberty Statue (Szabadság-szobor) which commemorates those who died defending Hungary. Nowadays Gellért Hill is one of the most popular vantage points. We can see both parts of the city from there: Buda and Pest. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of “the Banks of the Danube”.

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2. Buda Castle (hun. Budavári Palota, Vár)

Around 2 km away from Gellért Hill there is Castle Hill with Buda Castle. It’s another vantage point with a beautiful panorama of Pest. There are some museums and galleries now in the Castle, for example History Museum and National Gallery. Visiting the Castle is free of charge but you have to pay for the tickets to the museums and galleries.

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3. Fisherman Bastion (hun. Halászbástya) and Trinity Square (hun. Szentháromság tér)

On the Trinity Square we can see the Matthias Church, one of the most famous churches in Hungary. It’s popular because of many coronations and weddings of Hungarian kings that happened there. There is also a statue of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary, during whose reign took place the Christianization of the country.

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The Fisherman Bastion was built in neo-Gothic style and it’s another vantage points. We can enjoy the view of the Parliament Building in Pest and the Margaret Island from there. Why is it called Fisherman Bastion? The name comes from medieval times when the guild of fishermen was defending this part of city walls. Visiting the Bastion is free of charge unless you want to go the top to have a better view.

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4. Chain Bridge (hun. Széchenyi lánchíd)

Budapest is full of beautiful bridges that connect parts of the city situated on the opposite banks of Danube: Buda, Óbuda and Pest. Chain Bridge is the most popular one and it was the first stable connection between Buda and Pest. On the both sides of the bridge there are statues of lions. During the day and also at night the bridge looks simply beautiful 🙂 It’s not surprising that it’s always full of tourists.

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Unfortunately, the same tourists that admire the beautiful bridge do everything so it doesn’t look beautiful anymore and they start hanging ‘love locks’ which have nothing to do with love and for sure nothing to do with love for visited places. I hate this kind of reckless souvenirs left in random places that can cause huge damage for the bridge if there are more of them (the same as happened with the bridge in Paris that almost collapsed because of the weight of metal locks).

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5. St. Stephen’s Basilica (hun. Szent István Bazilika)

I found information about the Basilica on one of the websites that recommends interesting places to visit in Budapest. It was near places that we wanted to see anyway so I thought we could see this one too. At the same time I was convinced that it’s just an ‘ordinary’ Basilica. I was wrong! It made a huge impression on us once we saw it from far away. It’s really enormous, you can see it from all vantage points mentioned before and it’s the third tallest building in the whole country.  It has enough room for 8500 people and as the statue near Matthias Church, it’s dedicated to St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary.

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6. Heores’ Square (hun. Hősök tere)

One of the most important squares in Budapest. The is the Millennium Monument and the whole square is dedicated to those who died during the First World War.

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7. Vajdahunyad Castle (hun. Vajdahunyad vára)

Everyone knows that we love visiting castles so we just had to see Vajdahunyad Castle. It’s located near the Heroes’ Square in the City Park. The Millennial Exhibition which celebrated 1,000 years of Hungary took place in that park in 1896. There were many buildings built for the exhibition that were copies of real buildings from different parts of the Kingdom of Hungary.  Everyone liked the exhibition so much that later on they built it again using more durable materials. The buildings are a mix of different styles: Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance. The Vajdahunyad Castle is a copy of Hunyad Castle in Transylvania. There are also many statues around the buildings for example the statue of Anonymus, the first chronicler of Hungary.

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8. Hungarian Parliament Building (hun. Országház)

The Hungarian Parliament Building is the most iconic building in the whole country. It was built in neo-Gothic style and it’s very impressive from outside and from inside, although I’m not going to tell you how it looks like from inside because we didn’t enter. Unfortunately, while we were trying to book the tickets we found out that visiting the Parliament will be the most expensive attraction, even more expensive than visiting Taj Mahal (!) And everything because of the fact that the ticket for non EU citizens costs 5200 forints (around 17 euro) while EU citizens pay 200 forints (6 euros). It’s the first time for me to see something like that in Europe. So we decided to skip this attraction. Nevertheless, the Parliament looks amazing.

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9. Shoes on the Danube Bank (hun. Cipők a Duna-parton)

It’s the most moving monument I have ever seen. It’s a memorial for the victims of Holocaust in Hungary. The bank of Danube was the place where in the last years of Second World War the fascist Arrow Cross militiamen killed the Jews. The victims were ordered to take off their shoes, stand in a row at the edge of the river and then they were shot and their bodies feel into the water. The monument consists just of 60 pairs of shoes made of iron but I don’t think there is anything that could better express the tragedy of those people.

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Budapest is full of interesting monuments. While you are walking through the city you can always find a monument you didn’t hear of before. I liked one we found by accident near St. Stephen’s Basilica in Pest. It’s a monument of a boy running and carrying a bag and books in his hands.

10. Budapest by night

The best places to enjoy the view of Budapest by night are the vantage points for example Gellért Hill, Castle Hill or Fisherman Bastion. We were so tired after a whole day of sightseeing that we couldn’t climb the Gellért Hill again so we decided to observe everything from next to the Chain Bridge in Buda. Maybe it wasn’t a perfect place but we were still amazed. The most impressive was to see illuminated Parliament Building, Buda Castle and Chain Bridge. Look at it yourself:

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Budapest was really amazing. Coming back to this city after 7 years was a great idea. I could see what had changed, see some places again, visit new ones that I didn’t know before 🙂 Budapest is a great idea for a weekend, it’s nearby and we can get there by Polski Bus from Poland and not pay a fortune. We were very satisfied with this trip and what’s more, we visited another city together 🙂