Budapest is a capital of Hungary, and is one of the most popular cities with tourists and a perfect place for a family vacation. You have a wonderful opportunity to glide across the magnificent Danube, enjoy the famous hot springs, and learn more about Hungarian history and culture by visiting the most beautiful sights in the country.
If it’s your first visit to Budapest, learn our list of top things to do in Budapest.
1. Hungarian Parliament Building
The first of the things to do in Budapest Hungary in our list is visiting the Hungarian Parliament Building. Being the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary since 1904, it is considered one of the most beautiful parliament buildings of the world.
This impressive neo-gothic building with a red dome and white stone ornaments, steeples and arches, which lies along 268 m of the Danube, is rightfully considered the symbol of the city. It is also the largest building in Hungary and the highest one in Budapest. The façade of the building is decorated with statues of Hungarian leaders and heroes, coat of arms of the county and the city. Stone lions guard the main entrance.
Inside the Parliament Building, tourists can see richly decorated central stairs, a spacious hall under the dome, the Hungarian Crown jewels and the waiting room of the former House of Magnates and the session hall of the high court of the Parliament.
2. Andrassy Avenue
Tourists who come here never ask themselves “What to do in Budapest?” Visiting Andrássy Avenue is always on the list of any tour guide. Andrássy Avenue lies between the centre of the city and the city park. This 2.3 km long street is surrounded by houses and mansions of Renaissance Revival style, which were built in the nineteenth century. A walk along this avenue is a great way to spend some time, admiring remarkable architecture and the sights of the city.
The most outstanding are The Hungarian State Opera House, the Franz-List Squire, the House of Terror, The Hungarian University of Fine Arts, the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asian Arts and finally the city park – all these sights are citizens` favourite places for recreation.
The avenue is also one of the main commercial streets of Budapest. There are boutiques of famous brands such as Louis Vuitton, Armani and Gucci. Comfortable coffee houses, luxurious restaurants and theatres are always ready to welcome clients.
3. Heroes’ Square
One of the best things to do in Budapest is visiting Heroes` Square. It’s located north of the Andrássy Avenue. In the centre of it, is the Millennium Memorial. The Seven statues of Chieftains of the Magyars, which had founded Hungary more than one thousand years ago, surround the monument.
As well as them, there is a semicircular colonnade, which includes the statues of the most important national leaders and heroes of the country. This square is the biggest and the most impressive one in Budapest.
Most of the tours start from the Heroes` Square. This place is the one that every tourist should visit. Almost all significant city activities take place there. To the north, there is the Museum of Fine Arts. To the south, there is the Hall of Art. The square is also an unusual entrance to the city park.
4. St. Stephen’s Basilica
The largest church of Budapest is named after Saint Stephen, the first Christian king of Hungary. This church is located on the square of the same name. The most important relic in Hungarian Catholicism is the mummified right hand of King Stephen. It is housed in the reliquary inside one of the chapels.
The St. Stephen’s Basilica includes two bell towers. Inside one of them is the largest bell in Hungary with a weight of almost 10 tons. The great dome, which is 100 m high, illuminates the temple. The tourists can go up to the dome terrace by a staircase with 302 steps or by lift. The terrace offers an amazing panoramic view over the city, but it is open only from April to October.
5. Dohany Street Synagogue
Among Budapest things to do we can suggest visiting the Great Synagogue. It’s the largest Synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. This impressive building with twin-towers is more than 150 years old. The architect of the project was inspired by the Byzantine style that was born from the connection of Romanesque and Islamic styles.
Inside the building, there is the Jewish Museum. The exhibition includes photos and paintings describing the Jewish ghetto during the Second World War. There is also a number of religious and historical artefacts. The memorial hall dedicated to Holocaust victims is also a part of the complex.
6. Matthias Church
This church was built more than 700 years ago and had seen many coronations of Hungarian kings. Standing on Holy Trinity Square, the highest point of Castle Hill, it was originally named “the Church of Mary” but in the fifteenth century was renamed after King Mathias, who had married there.
Many Mathias relics are kept within these walls, including his gold goblet.
The colourful roof tiles and the gothic steeples have made this church one of the most remarkable buildings in Budapest. Inside it is richly decorated with gilded sanctuaries, rose windows and luxurious frescos. The church is also a home to a museum, which keeps a number of religious relics and jewels. The museum is also the entrance to the crypt.
7. Buda Castle
In our list of 10 things to do in Budapest we have a place for the spectacular Buda Castle, which is also known as Royal Castle, and is located on the banks of the Danube River. The mixture of many styles, from gothic to baroque, represents the architecture of the structure. Nowadays the castle is the important cultural centre of the country, and includes a number of museums.
The historical museum teaches more about the history of the city, exhibiting archeological finds. The castle complex also includes the National Gallery of Hungary and Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art. From within the castle grounds, there are also other remarkable views of Budapest: Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion.
8. Fisherman’s Bastion
Next thing to do in Budapest according to our list is visiting the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Next to Matthias Church on the magnificent Castle Hill there is one of the main sights of Budapest – Fisherman’s Bastion. The Bastion provides an incomparable panoramic view of the city and Danube, which lie beneath.
The Bastion was built in 1902 and takes its name from the medieval guild of fishermen that were in charge of defending this stretch of the castle walls.
Fisherman’s Bastion offers one of the greatest views of the city: Danube, the Chain Bridge, the Parliament Building, and distant Pest.
At night, when the Bastion is brightly lit up, it becomes a charming view for those on the opposite bank of the Danube.
9. The Szechenyi Chain Bridge
This amazing suspension bridge, one of the most famous symbols of Budapest, was built in the nineteenth century to connect two cities (Buda and Pest) into one, physically and symbolically. It was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary and was considered a miracle of engineering. Plenty of interesting ornaments, including stone lions, decorate the bridge. At night, the bright lights make the bridge look especially wonderful.
From the direction of Buda near the Chain Bridge, a tunnel runs under Castle Square. Here the tourists can catch a funicular railway, which will deliver them to Castle Hill. From the direction of Pest, there is Gresham Palace, the interior ministry, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, many hotels and historic buildings.
10. Memento Park
The one of the most popular stuff to do in Budapest is visiting Memento Park. One of the more unusual sights in Budapest is Memento Park, which is located on the outskirts of the city.
All the monumental statues from Hungary’s Communist period were gathered from all over the city and brought there. Some of the giant monuments and memorials were delivered there from other cities. This place presents a unique collection.
Tours include the exhibition and the showing of films about old times. There is a gift shop, which offers jars with humorous inscription “the last breath of socialism”, and Lenin and Stalin figure candlesticks. Taking photos for personal use is allowed.