Budapest is the capital of Hungary. It is considered to be the ‘Paris of the East.’ This beautiful city is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Buda Castle
The 18th-century Buda Castle (Budavári Palota) is a massive 200-room palace. The palace was badly damaged in World War II. Now, much of the exterior has been restored. Plus, sections of the interior are also repaired. It now houses a number of important museums. These include the Hungarian National Gallery in the main wing. In the south wing, the Budapest History Museum occupies four floors. In front of the castle, overlooking the Danube river, stands a bronze equestrian statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy. This entire historic complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Buda Castle is spectacularly illuminated at night. Also, the castle courtyards remain open 24 hours a day.
Hungarian Parliament Building
The architecturally beautiful Parliament building (Országház) is a must-visit in Budapest. It is flanked by the Museum of Ethnography and the Ministry of Agriculture. This is the world’s third largest parliament building. The Neo-Gothic building was inaugurated in 1886 to mark the country’s 1,000th anniversary. It has 691 rooms, as well as an impressive 19 kilometres of corridors and stairs.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Budapest’s St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István-bazilika) is also very popular for its interior beauty and panoramic views from its dome. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Stephen, Hungary’s holy king and the founder Its construction began in 1851. But after several construction setbacks—including the collapse of its unfinished dome—it was not dedicated until 1905. One of the best things to do here is to take one of the two elevators that carry visitors up to the cupola. Here you get a sweeping 360-degree view over the city and the Danube.
The Danube (or “Duna” in Hungarian) flows through Budapest from north to south. In some places within city boundaries it is as much as 640 metres wide. One of the top free things to do in Budapest is strolling along the Danube Promenade (Dunakorzó). On the banks of the Danube you’ll find the chilling Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial. It consists of a series of 60 pairs of steel sculpted shoes in memory of the Jews shot here by the Nazis. It is a poignant and moving reminder of the Nazi atrocities suffered by Hungary in World War II.
Budapest’s Central Market Hall
Budapest’s Central Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) is located just across the Freedom Bridge. It is also known as the Great Market Hall. You can’t miss it for its central location and its roof of colourful Zsolnay tiles from the town of Pécs. It was built in 1897 and is the largest and oldest of Budapest’s many markets. This popular indoor marketplace encompasses an area of over 10,000 square meters. It is as popular with the locals as it is with tourists. You can shop for fresh produce, food stuffs, and other goods being traded across its many levels.
The Museum of Fine Arts (Szépmuvészeti Múzeum)
This is Budapest’s most important art gallery. It houses one of the largest collections of works by the Old Masters to be found in Europe. There is an extensive array of Italian, Spanish, and Dutch paintings are on display.
Szechenyi Thermal Bath
Budapest is well-known worldwide for its incredible thermal springs. Many of these have been harnessed to provide citizens and tourists the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate in thermal baths. The best known one is Széchenyi Thermal Bath (Széchenyi gyógyfürdo). It was established in 1913. The suppliy is by two thermal springs. It’s also the biggest such facility in Europe, capable of handling thousands of bathers at a time in its three outdoor pools. Plus, it has 15 indoor pools.
Ferris Wheel of Budapest
For the best views of the entire city, take a ride on the Ferris Wheel of Budapest in Erzsébet Square. Its 65-meter height allows you to get amazing vantage points of Buda Castle, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the Hungarian Parliament Building. The best to ride the Ferris Wheel of Budapest, is sunset.
The Garden of Philosophers
The Garden of Philosophers is a series of serene sculptures atop Gellért Hill. The installation was created in the 1990s by Hungarian sculptor Nándor Wagner. It features Buddha, Abraham, Jesus, Laozi, and Akhenaten situated around a shiny orb. You can also see statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Saint Francis, and Bodhidharma along the sidelines.