Budapest is a city of full of surprises and wonder, with its lively center, pretty parks, Majestic River, tall church spires and lavish spas. One of the most exciting cities in the world, Budapest is full of secrets to uncover, hidden spots to explore and old favorites to revisit. This is the city where being bored is not an option.

Budapest is the capital of Hungary with almost 1,7 million inhabitants, which makes it the largest city in East-Central Europe. The river Danube enters the city from the north; later it encircles three islands. The river separates the two parts of the city: Pest lies on the flat terrain of the Great Plain while Buda is rather hilly. Budapest is rich of historical landmarks. These two parts of the city were once separate towns and were merged together with Ancient Buda (Óbuda) only in 1873. The riverside panorama has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Budapest in Details

Area:                                    525 sq km (52516 ha), 2/3 of its territory falls to plain Pest and 1/3 to hilly Buda
Population:                      1 690109 people (about 17 % of the whole population of Hungary)
Time zone:                        GMT +1 (CET)
Country code:                 36
Budapest area code:     
Lowest point:                   the surface of the Danube (96m above sea level)
Highest point:                 János-Hill (529 m above sea level)
Number of bridges:       11 (9 for road traffic: Árpád Bridge – Margaret Bridge – Széchenyi Chain Bridge – Elisabeth  – Liberty Bridge – Petőfi Bridge – Rákóczi Bridge – Deák 
                                                 Ferenc Bridge – the two latter connecting the M0 ring around the city and 2 railway bridges)
Public transportation:  BKV buses, trams, 3 metro lines, HÉV (suburban railway), cogwheel railway; other interesting means of transport: ferry boats, the Budavári sikló
                                                 (Buda Castle Funicular), gyermekvasút (Children’s Railway) and the Zugligeti libegő (Zugliget chairlift)
Main railway stations:   Western, Eastern, South and Kelenföldi railway stations
Airports:                                Liszt Ferenc International Airport (about 15km from the city centre: Termibal 1 is closed, terminal 2A terminal is for planes within Shengen area,
                                                   terminal 2B is at the disposal of the non-Schengen airlines.)

Traces have been found of settlements dating back as far as the Old Stone Age. People lived on both sides of the Danube, where Budapest now stands, in the second millennium BC Bronze Age urn sites have also been uncovered. A decisive factor in the town’s development was the building of a Roman fort in what is now Óbuda. The Roman base of Aquincum, separated into civilian and military districts, was the capital of the province of Pannonia and flourished during the second half of the 2nd C BC.

In the 5th C A.D. the Huns swept across the country, and King Attila set up a great new kingdom in what is now Hungary. From the 6th to the 9th C the Avars settled where Budapest now stands. About 896 the Magyars led by Prince Árpád settled in the area of present-day Óbuda. Later on they migrated to the hills further west to take advantage of the greater protection they offered.

Around the year 1000 Stephen (István) I, King of Hungary, organized a feudal state on the Central European model and introduced Christianity. A few years’ later merchants from central and Western Europe settled in Buda and Pest and helped both places to develop rapidly. In 1241-42 Mongols stormed the Danube towns of Buda and Pest.  A few years later the construction of the Castle of Buda ordered by King Béla IV was completed. The royal court moved to Buda in 1347 again, when work was begun to expand the fortification into a palace in contemporary Gothic style. From then on Buda became a royal town, while Pest developed into a prosperous trading center. In the second half of the 15th C Matthias Corvinus extended the Royal Palace and Buda, together with Visegrád, became a center of Renaissance culture.

In 1526, after their victory at Mohács, the Turks took Buda and Pest. Under Sultan Süleyman I (the Magnificent) many churches were converted into mosques, fine bath-houses constructed and defensive works modernized. Buda became the seat of a Grand Vizier.

It was 1686 before Charles of Lorraine was able to reconquest Óbuda, Buda and Pest for the House of Habsburg. Various measures taken during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa led to a further economic upsurge in Buda and Pest, largely brought about by an influx of German-speaking settlers. In 1777 Buda was made a university town but lost this title to Pest a few years later. The left bank of the Danube soon became the intellectual and political center of the country. In 1848-49 there was a civil revolution led by liberal nobles.

The Chain Bridge was opened in 1849, with the aim of helping Óbuda, Buda and Pest to merge more quickly. In 1867 Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth (“Sissi”) were crowned in Matthias Church. The Austro-Hungarian monarchy of the Danube came into being. In the history of Budapest the year 1872 stands out as a milestone, for it was then that the three separate settlements of Pest, Buda and Óbuda (literally “Old” Buda) were united into one city with a population of more than 150,000. Budapest officially became the capital city of Hungary, and underwent rapid growth in size and eminence. This was the city’s golden age, and coincided with the Hungarian millennial celebrations in 1896 when the continental Europe’s first Underground Railroad was opened. At the outbreak of the First World War many well-known industrial firms established themselves in the Budapest region.

As a result of the war Budapest suffered severe economic setbacks which continued in the years between the wars. Towards the end of the Second World War, in the autumn of 1944, Budapest became a front-line town and suffered severe damage, especially in the castle quarter where units of the German army were barricaded in.

From February 13th 1945 onwards Soviet troops controlled the whole of Budapest and thereafter it was ruled along strict Soviet lines. In the autumn of 1956 political turmoil and economic hardship fuelled popular uprisings which were savagely put down by Hungarian and Soviet forces of law and order. The inner city presented a picture of devastation.

In the 1960s and 1970s much inner-city building and reconstruction took place, such as the opening to traffic of the Elisabeth Bridge, extension of the underground network, renovation of the old city center, especially the castle quarter, and the building of large luxury hotels both in the castle quarter and on the Pest bank of the Danube. What soon became known as “goulash communism” encouraged an upsurge in tourism, and visitors from Eastern and Western Europe as well as the US in particular visited the city in ever-increasing numbers.

In 1989 the events of 1956 could be viewed in a fresh light, and on June 16th hundreds of thousands paid homage to the former Prime Minister Imre Nagy who had been disgraced and executed 31 years previously. These political changes led to the Iron Curtain on the Hungaro-Austrian border being pulled down, and several thousand East Germans took advantage of the situation to flee to West Germany and other western countries.

Budapest, now home to 1,7 million inhabitants, would appear countless times on any list of superlatives. The Continent’s first underground railway was built here. From here originated more pioneering Hollywood film makers than from any other European city. Budapest was the home of such world class inventors as Kálmán Kandó, the father of electric railways, and János Irinyi, one of the early developers of matches. Hungary’s two most celebrated composers – Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály – lived in Budapest, and Nobel Prize-winning Hungarian author Imre Kertész was born here.

Although initially inhabited fifty thousand years ago, it has only had its present name for a mere 128 years. Prior to 1873, Óbuda, Buda and Pest were separate towns. Under its hills there is a system of caves with thermal waters gushing from 80 thermal springs which supply 12 spas with 70 million litres of water daily.

Budapest was not always the capital of Hungary. Until the 13th century Esztergom, the birth and coronation place of St. Stephen the first king of Hungary, was the capital of Hungary. After the Mongolian invasion in 1241-1242 King Béla IV moved the Royal Seat to Buda, seeking protection. Today’s Budapest was formed in 1873 through the joining of three cities: Buda, Pest and Óbuda (Old Buda).

Budapest is home to the third largest Parliament building in the world. The Parliament Building covers an area of 18,000 sq meters (193,750 sq feet), it has 691 rooms, 20 kilometers (12,5 miles) of stairs and it is 96 meters (315 feet) high. There are 90 statues on the façade and 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of 23-carat gold was used to decorate the interior. Building begun in 1885 and the Neo-Gothic palace was completed in 1902.

Its monuments include a 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatres, 400-year-old Turkish baths and unique Hungarian Art Nouveau buildings from the 19th century. The cityscape owes its uniform appearance to the elegant mansions erected in Eclectic style in the early 20th century.

Budapest is home to the second largest synagogue in the world and to the largest synagogue in Europe. The Dohány Street Synagogue can accommodate 3,000 worshipers, it is 44 meters (144 feet) high and it covers an area of 2000 sq meters (21,528 sq feet). The synagogue was built between 1854 and 1859 in Neo-Moorish style

The northernmost holy place of Islam is in Budapest.  It’s the burial place of a Turkish dervish, named Gül Baba, who came to Hungary during the Turkish invasion in the 16th century. He was honored as a holy man and after he died in 1541 his tomb in Buda became an Islamic sacred place and a site of pilgrimage. The chapel, built between 1543 and 1548, is one of the few remaining Turkish buildings in Budapest. Other noteworthy buildings include the Király and Rudas Turkish baths.

Lovers of culture are spoilt for choice with 237 monuments, 223 museums and galleries, 35 theatres, 90 cinemas, 2 opera houses and 12 concert halls.

Budapest is also home to some major educational institutes in Europe, students from all over the world coming here study in the different colleges and universities. Some major educational institutes include Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Semmelweis University, Corvinus University of Budapest, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design etc.

The Budapest Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the world. The Budapest Zoo opened its doors in 1865 and in addition to the animals it features a number of noteworthy Art Nouveau buildings and structures, like the Elephant House, the Palm House and the main entrance.

The transport system also has some interesting features. The first underground railway of Europe has been connecting the downtown with the City Park for over 120 years. The line opened in 1896 in the year when Hungary celebrated its 1000th anniversary, hence the name Millennium Underground. In the Buda hills you will find the world’s third hill railway and a narrow-gauge forest railway operated by children.

It is the spring season that rings the bell in March, April and May with temperatures rising to a maximum of 25 degree. The city awakens to a blossoming time that reflects exotic beauty in its true form. Certainly, the weather is little unpredictable with winds blowing and sun caressing the atmosphere. Taking a walking tour or experiencing Budapest Spring festival or even festivities on its National Holiday (15th March) is the ultimate option to look for.

Followed by spring is the summer (June, July and August), with temperatures rising to a peak of 30 degrees. It is the perfect time to explore outdoor activities or enjoying evenings at some of the well known cafes or restaurants. One can experience sudden showers that might act as bliss in hot weather. Next in the row is autumn season (September, October and November). Indeed, early autumn months are ideal for sightseeing tours and exploring majestic Budapest. Though, the November can witness a drop in temperature to 0 degree. And winters are very chilly with temperatures dropping to even minus 5 degree. But, various indoor activities and experiencing snow clad structures is the perfect option for tourists in winters too. So, Budapest has something for everyone in each season.

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a large cosmopolitan city of more than 1, 7 million inhabitants.

Budapest is within easy reach from the gateways of Europe.

Budapest is an affordable city – excellent value for money.

Budapest is one of the most historic cities on the planet; charming and elegant capital sits either side of the mighty Danube River and offers a fantastic mix of 1100 years history and culture. The greatest sights to see are free

The river and its Buda Castle are and the Andrássy Avenue area UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Wide variety of cultural entertainment: folk heritage of music and dance, opera, operetta, gipsy music, jazz, pop, festivals, museums are all year round in this vibrant city

 „Spa Capital of Europe” – Thermal water or medicinal water can be found in 80% of the country

High level of Medical treatments. Budapest is known as the dental capital of Europe.

Well-developed infrastructure for MICE services

Wide Variety of Good-Value Accommodation

Budapest for children, families, couples, honeymooners – great programs, attractions, romantic places

Its Europe’s most incredible city for nightlife – Budapest has a buzzing nightlife scene.

Shopping – shops, boutiques, markets abound in Budapest. You can find all high brands also.

Budapest is a food capital, and for good reason – plenty of restaurants. You can find 5 Michelin-starred restaurants in the city. Hungarian gastronomy and hospitality is very famous.

..and here, wine is an art form. Hungary is famous for its vineyards.

What to see while you’re there? Start on the top, with the magnificent Buda Castle and Castle District. You won’t need hiking boots to climb Gellért Hill to enjoy breathtaking, in fact part of the UNESCO World Heritage, views of the city from the Citadel. Cross the river for the most grandiose building on the Pest embankment, the Parliament.

For sacred wonders, visit the tallest building in the city, Saint Stephen’s Basilica, and one of the largest synagogues in the world, the Dohány Street Synagogue. Heroes’ Square will give you a peek into the romantic past of the country, and in Memento Park you’ll have a chance to enjoy a modern history lesson in the open.

For a bit of romancing, stroll along the Danube promenade or head to leafy Margaret Island.

The Buda side of the capital

The Castle District with the Royal Palace, the Matthias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion

The most exiting way of getting to the Castle is by taking the Funicular, a little cable car up the Castle Hill. The Castle District is one of the most romantic pedestrian sections in Budapest. A medieval little town with atmospheric streets, picturesque houses, gas lamps and beautiful monuments.

The Castle of Buda is the eldest part of the city. Today, it functions as home to important cultural institutions and museums: Hungarian National Gallery, the National Széchenyi Library, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Budapest History Museum. After the Mongolian conquest in the 13th century, King Béla IV. ordered fortresses to be constructed made of stone. It is built onto the Castle hill, and was completed in the 13th century. The building of the Matthias Church (Church of Our Lady) was built in 1255 in Gothic style. The North tower still preserves some parts of the original church. Under the reign of King Matthias it was enlarged and renewed. The king had both of his weddings here. His coat of arms with the black raven is still visible on the South tower. That is why the commonly used name of the church is Matthias Church.

The elegant Chain Bridge and the lions guarding the bridgehead dominate the view with Castle Hill looming over the Danube. Built between 1839-49 it was the first permanent bridge connecting Pest and Buda. On the top of the old fortress walls, the Fishermen’s Bastion was constructed between 1895-1905 on the site of a former fish market – this is where the name comes from. It has never served a defensive purpose: it is an excellent lookout place. The floodlit row of bastions offer a panoramic view onto the other bank of the Danube. The cityscape opening up from there, including the Fishermen’s Bastion, has been part of UNESCO’s World Heritage since 1988.

The Matthias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion are the most beloved sights of the Buda Castle District. The castle is full of historical stuff and has wonderful places to see. You can admire the amazing city view from Halászbástya (Fisherman’s bastion) next to Mátyás templom (Matthias Church). The Nemzeti Galéria (National Gallery) is situated in the royal palace, with the Országos Széchenyi Könyvtár (Széchenyi National Library), and the Budapest History Museum.

Fisherman’s bastion is only 100 years old, and is a favourite lookout. In medieval times, the fish market was nearby and the bastion was built to commemorate the fishermen who protected this part of the city. The seven tent-like turrets symbolize the seven Hungarian tribes that arrived to the Carpathian Basin in 896.

The first royal residence on Castle Hill was built in the 13th century, after the Mongolian invasion. It was extended in the 14th century, becoming probably the largest Gothic palace of the late middle Ages. Construction continued in the 15th century, following the marriage of King Matthias Corvinus and Beatrix of Naples in 1476. Many Italian artists and craftsmen accompanied the new queen, bringing the Renaissance style to Buda. The palace was completely destroyed when liberating Buda from the Turks. In the 18th century, a small Baroque palace was built, which is identical with the core structure of the present-day palace.

During the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the palace gave home to lavish ceremonies symbolizing peace between the dynasty and the nation. The process of rebuilding the Royal Palace continued in the 19th century, and it was finished in 1904. At the end of World War II, the palace was badly damaged. It was rebuilt once again, in Neo-Baroque style, using many original parts. Today, The Royal Palace in Buda Castle is home to the Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the National Library.

The Gellért Hill and the Citadel – The Gellért hill received its name after St. Gellért who came to Hungary as a missionary bishop upon the invitation of King St. Stephen I. around 1000 A.D. The St. Gellért monument and its fountain representing his martyrdom can be found on the North-Eastern slope of the hill facing the Elisabeth bridge.  The fortress of the Citadel was built by the Habsburgs in 1851. The top of the Gellért Hill is a strategical point from where one can have an view of both Buda and Pest.

Now a residential area, private homes and embassies line the streets winding up the hill. Since 1987, Gellért Hill has been listed as a world heritage site, as part of “the Banks of the Danube” area. Gellért Hill (Gellért-hegy) offers some of the best panoramic views of Budapest.

The banks of the Danube are part of the world heritage list. The charming look of its romantic houses and wonderful bridges, as well as the landscape of the river makes Budapest one of the most wonderful places of the world. The first bridge of Budapest is Lánchíd (Chain Bridge) was built in 1849, and even today this symbolizes the unity of the city. Budapest have 9 other bridges, two of them are for train

Chain Bridge was the first to permanently connect Buda and Pest. There has been a pontoon bridge on the river since the Middle Ages enabling passage from spring to autumn. During winter, the river froze making crossing possible; however, there were times when the weather changed abruptly and people got stuck on one side. In 1820, this happened to Count István Széchenyi, when he had to wait a week to get to his father’s funeral. This experience led him to decide that a permanent bridge had to be built. He became a major advocate of the project and founded a society to finance and build the bridge.

Chief engineer Adam Clark, a master builder from Scotland, completed the span in 1849. Legend has it that he was so proud of his masterpiece he would challenge anyone to find any fault with his work. When it was discovered that the lions at either ends of the bridge didn’t have tongues, he was so ashamed that he committed suicide. This of course is only an anecdote.

The Pest side of the capital

The city centre starts on Vörösmarty Square. Váci Street, the pedestrian main street of downtown Budapest, sets out from here and the square holds the two most popular cafés of the capital: old Gerbeaud and trendy Art Café. The square is always busy and full of life. This is where the Millennium Underground begins and this is where every year the Christmas Market is held. The Váci street was formed in the 18th century but most houses date back to the 19th and early 20th century. As the mid-day or evening promenade in Váci Street slowly became a fashionable leisure activity for the “well-to-do” in the last century, shops grew more and more expensive and later only the most exclusive merchants could afford to open an outlet on the street.

The Danube Promenade extends between the Elizabeth Bridge and the Chain Bridge in Pest along the banks of the Danube. This location was always popular for promenading, especially in the 19th century. Back then the Promenade was home to several famous hotels. Their cafés, overlooking the Danube and the Buda Castle were immensely popular. These days a new row of luxury hotels attempts to recreate the pre-war ambiance.  Things to see when walking from Elizabeth Bridge towards

Chain Bridge:

–   Elizabeth Bridge- Probably the most elegant bridge in Budapest was named in honor of Queen Elisabeth, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph. The original suspension bridge was built at the end of the 19th century, but the damage sustained in World War II left the bridge beyond repair. Using the old pillars, a new bridge was built in the 1960s.
–   Vigadó Concert Hall – The Romantic building of the Vigadó Concert Hall was inaugurated in 1865. It is located on Vigadó tér, a small square next to the Marriott Hotel. The Vigadó hosted performances by Liszt, Mahler, Wagner and Von Karajan.
–   Little Princess – Don’t overlook the statue of the Little Princess on the Promenade, sitting on the railings by the embankment; she is one of Budapest’s newest attractions
–   Széchenyi István Square – The Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Art Nouveau-style Gresham Palace are located in the square.

In the downtown there are many pubs and nightclubs. We must tell about the special kinds of pubs, called “romkocsma” (ruin pub). These pubs have simple, second-hand furniture, located in old houses which are waiting for renewal or breakdown. They have a special atmosphere, and very popular with the youth. For pubs it’s worth to visit the place covered by Andrássy út, Erzsébet Körút, Rákóczy út and Károly körút. You can find also pubs around the Universities.

Andrássy Avenue has four distinct parts:

1. Elizabeth Square to Oktogon – mainly commercial buildings, shops, Opera House, Liszt Ferenc Square
2. Oktogon to Kodály körönd – a widened part with residential and office buildings, House of Terror Museum
3. Kodály körönd to Bajza utca – an even wider part with residential villas
4. Bajza utca to Heroes’ Square – villas and palaces with gardens, some are used as embassies

The Parliament is the largest in the continent, and probably the most beautiful parliaments of the world, so Hungarian people in general are very proud of it. The Parliament building, a magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture (although displaying Renaissance and Baroque characters too), is just over 100 years old. Built between 1885 and 1904 the Parliament building soon became the symbol of the Hungarian capital. The Országház (House of the country) is situated on the east bank of the river, between Margit híd (Margaret Bridge), and the Chain bridge. The Budapest Parliament building is the third largest Parliament building in the world. It has 691 rooms, 20 kilometers (12,5 miles) of stairs and at 96 meters (315 feet) it is the same height as the St. Stephen’s Basilica.

The Shoes on the Danube is a memorial to the Budapest Jews who were shot by Arrow Cross militiamen between 1944 and 1945. The victims were lined up and shot into the Danube River. They had to take their shoes off, since shoes were valuable belongings at the time. The memorial was created by Gyula Pauer, Hungarian sculptor, and his friend Can Togay in 2005. It contains 60 pairs of iron shoes, forming a row along the Danube. Each pair of shoes was modeled after an original 1940’s pair.

St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest and can hold up to 8,500 people. Although in architectural terms it’s a cathedral, it was given the title of ‘basilica minor’ by Pope Pius XI in 1931. It took more than 50 years to build the Basilica. Building commenced in 1851, and the inauguration ceremony took place in 1906 and was attended by Emperor Franz Joseph. During its construction, in 1868 the dome collapsed and rebuilding it had to start almost from scratch, which explains the delay in the Basilica’s completion. Architect Jozsef Hild who drafted the original plans and supervised the construction died in 1867. Miklós Ybl, one of Europe’s leading architects in the mid to late 19th century, who also designed the Opera House, took over. When the dome collapsed in 1868, Ybl had to draft new plans. Unfortunately Ybl didn’t live to see the completion of the Basilica as he passed away in 1891, however work was finished according to his plans.

Originally designed in neo-classical style by Hild, the Basilica was finished in neo-renaissance style based on the plans of Ybl. The dome is 96 meters high, the exact same height as the Budapest Parliament Building. In fact current building regulations stipulate that no other structure in Budapest can be taller than 96 meters. Having the same height as the Parliament also symbolizes the balance between church and state in Hungary. The Basilica has two bell towers and Hungary’s largest bell, weighing 9.5 tons, which is located in the south tower.

The patron saint of the church is St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary. His mummified right hand is kept in a glass case in the chapel to the left of the main altar. The beautiful interior is also noteworthy as it is decorated by famous artists of the era. The most valuable artwork is the mosaic based on Gyula Benczur’s oil painting depicting the allegories of the holy mass. Another beautiful work by Benczur is the painting in which St. Stephen holds up the crown and asks the Virgin Mary to become the patron of Hungary.

Budapest Opera House – The opera house in Budapest stands as one of the most beautiful Neo-Renaissance buildings in Europe. When it was opened in 1884, the city shared the administrative duties of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with Vienna. In fact, Emperor Franz Joseph commissioned its design. Construction included the use of marble and frescos by some of the best artisans of that era. Designed by Miklós Ybl, one of Europe’s leading architects in the mid to late 19th century, the Budapest Opera House quickly became one of the most prestigious musical institutions in Europe. It is horseshoe-shaped and, according to measurements done by a group of international engineers, has the third best acoustics amongst similar European venues (after the Scala in Milan and the Paris Opera House). The statue of Ferenc Erkel stands in front of the Opera House. He was the composer of the Hungarian national anthem and the first music director of the Opera.

The Academy of Music in Budapest was founded in the 1870s, enabling talented music students to receive higher education in Hungary, which until then was possible only abroad. One of the biggest supporters of the conservatory was Ferenc Liszt, the famous Hungarian-born composer. In 1873, the Parliament decided to create the institute, and Ferenc Liszt was elected as president. The Academy opened its doors in 1875, and in a short period of time it became one of the most prestigious musical institutions in Europe. First the Academy was located at Ferenc Liszt’s apartment, then it moved to a building on Andrássy Avenue and finally in 1907 it took residence in a new Art Nouveau building.

The Heroes’ square – Here you can see the statues of the most famous kings and leaders of Hungary. Surrounded by two important buildings, Museum of Fine Arts on the left and Kunsthalle (Hall of Art) on the right, Heroes’ Square is also a station of the Millennium Underground. The Andrássy avenue, which is part of the world heritage list, connects this square to the heart of the city. The Millennium Monument in the middle of the square was erected to commemorate the 1000-year-old history of the Magyars. Archangel Gabriel stands on top of the center pillar, holding the holy crown and the double cross of Christianity. The seven chieftains who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary can be seen on the stand below. Statues of kings and other important historical figures stand on top of the colonnades on either side of the center pillar.

When the monument was originally constructed, Hungary was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and thus the last five spaces for statues on the left of the colonnade were reserved for members of the ruling Habsburg dynasty. The Habsburg emperors were replaced with Hungarian freedom fighters when the monument was rebuilt after World War II.

City Park is the largest park in Budapest. The first trees and walkways were established here in 1751. In the first decades of the 19th century a park was created, which became the first public park in the world. In 1896 the Millennium Celebrations took place here, leaving many attractions behind. Vajdahunyad Castle, a replica of a Transylvanian castle of that name, was built to show the various architectural styles found in Hungary, and has Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque parts. In the courtyard is the statue of Anonymus,  the nameless medieval chronicler to King Béla. His work is the main source of information on Hungarian history through the Middle Ages, however the fact that there were four kings called Béla during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries makes it hard to identify him or the monarch.

The castle is surrounded by an artificial lake that’s used for boating in the summer and turns into an impressive ice skating rink in the winter, which is a local favorite. The history of the City Park Ice Rink goes back to the 19th century, when skating was considered a favorite winter pass time by the elite. It first opened on January 29th 1870 and Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, was present for the inauguration ceremonies.

The Budapest Zoo, the Municipal Circus, the Museum of Transport, the legendary Gundel Restaurant and the famous Széchenyi Baths are also located within City Park. In addition, there are playgrounds, slides, wooden castles and monkey bars in the park to keep the small ones entertained. There are many seasonal activities and you can easily spend a full day here. Getting here from the city center is quick and easy with the Millennium Underground.

The Széchenyi Thermal Bath is one of Europe`s largest bath complexes. The atmosphere of Roman bathing culture may be felt in its light, spacious pool halls, while Greek bathing culture is reflected in the tub baths, but traces of Nordic traditions may also be found in the heat chambers, saunas and dipping pools. This first spa of Pest owes its existence to the well dug by Vilmos Zsigmondy in 1879. The present bath building was constructed in 1913. The swimming pool was built in 1927, but it was only open from May till September until the 1960ies, when, in 1963, it was made suitable for winter swimming as well. Since then it has been open throughout the year. The two “public bath” units were established also in 1927, today housing the mixed baths and the complex physiotherapy units (day hospital).  Budapest and the whole country are famous for its thermal water. We say “if you dig a hole, you’ll find hot water there”.

The Great Synagogue in Dohány Street (also known as Dohány Street Synagogue) is the largest Synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world, capable of accommodating 3,000 people. It was built between 1854 and 1859 in Moorish Revival or Neo-Moorish style, in the wake of Romanticism. Originally, there was a residential block next to the synagogue. In fact, Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, was born in one of the houses located there. This site is now part of the complex and home to the Jewish Museum. During the inter-war years, anti-Semitism grew quickly in Hungary. A series of anti-Jewish policies were passed, and fascist groups like the Arrow Cross Party started to attract more followers. Hungary became an ally of Germany and the Arrow Cross Party damaged the Synagogue in 1939. During World War II, the Great Synagogue served as a stable and as a radio communication center for the Germans. Today, the compound serves as the main center for the Jewish community. The buildings and the courtyards of the Synagogue include the Jewish Museum, the Heroes’ Temple, the Jewish Cemetery and the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park.

Central Market Hall built at the end of the 19th century, the Central Market Hall is the largest indoor market in Budapest. Among other things, on the ground floor you’ll find a large selection of sausages, meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. On the second floor, there are food stands and plenty of vendors selling handicrafts, clothing, embroidery, chessboards and other souvenirs. Paprika and Tokaji are also sold here. In the basement, there is a fish market, a small Asian grocery store, a supermarket, and a small drugstore. While focusing on Hungarian products, on International Gastro Days, the Central Market Hall also features the food and cuisine of a foreign country.

The building also has some architectural significance. The metal roof structure is still the original, and the roof is covered with decorative Zsolnay tiles. There are four other markets like this in Budapest, which were all built in the same style (these are in Klauzál tér, Rákóczi tér, Hold utca and Hunyadi tér). An interesting fact is that all five buildings opened on the same day, on February 15th 1897

The Margaret Island, the largest park of Budapest is an island in river Danube, between the Árpád Bridge, and Margaret Bridge. It is a scenic island of peace and quiet with some trees that are hundreds of years old, the colourful tapestry of a rose garden, a thermal spring in an evocative Japanese-style garden and a waterfall. Musicals are staged in the open-air theatre at the water tower. The ruins of a 700-year-old Dominican and a Franciscan church and monastery are the island’s historical monuments. In the belfry of the Premonstratensian chapel, the oldest bell in the country can still be heard.

When you’re done with the must-sees, leave the main streets behind, and let the city unfold its secrets.  Plenty of design shops, tiny parks, terraced cafés, and architectural treasures wait in the nooks and crannies.

Enjoy every minute in this beautiful, colourful city!

Visitors will notice that (except for touristy attractions and restaurants), many items cost less in Hungary than in Western Europe. Hungarian salaries are lower also, to the extent that when compared to income, the relative cost of living is actually quite high. Unemployment is also high, and many people are employed in low-paying jobs, so a higher proportion of the population has difficulty making ends meet.

Even university-educated middle class citizens with “good” jobs generally have less disposable income for luxuries and conveniences than their counterparts in Western Europe. For Hungarians who can afford it, and for visitors who earn their money in wealthier countries, Budapest offers everything that other modern cities can offer in terms of accommodations, entertainment, shopping, and culture. Tourist attractions, restaurants, and accommodations generally charge prices on par or slightly below similar places in Western Europe (since visitors can afford to pay and prices seem reasonable by their standards).

Shops:                  food shops are open from 6 or7 am – 6 or 8 pm, clothes shops between 10 am – 6 pmor in Plaza 8 pm during the week.
Office hours:     generally from 8am – 5 pm Mon. to Fri.
Post offices:      Mon. – Fri: 8 am – 6 pm, Sat 8 am – 1 pm (for details see Postal services section)
Banks:                  Mon – Thu: 8 am – 3 pm, Fri: 8 am – 1 pm.

Budapest has an efficient public transport network made up more than 180 bus, 14 trolleybus, 29 tram, and four metro lines. In general the buses, trams and trolleybuses operate between 4.30am and 11 p.m. The three metro lines intersect at Deák Square in the centre of town. Metros run at 3-15 minutes intervals from 4.30am to 11.10pm. The local suburban train (HÉV) can be used to travel out to Csepel island in the south of the city, and to nearby Szentendre, Gödöllő and Ráckeve.

Maps sited at the entrances to metro stations give a comprehensive overview of the entire public transport network in Budapest. Conditions of travel are also included in German and English.

Practical guide to Budapest Public Transpportation (download in PDF)

Tickets May be purchased at metro stations, ticket machines, in some tobacconists and newsagents. It is perhaps best to buy your tickets at a metro station because there you have a choice of several types of tickets and various passes.

Single ticket (350 Ftif you buy in advance but 450 Ft bought on the spot at the driver): valid for bus, tram, trolleybus, metro, cog-wheel railway for the entire length of the journey, as well as the suburban railway within the administrative limits of Budapest. The ticket has to be purchased beforehand, and validated in the ticket stampers found on the public transport (on the metro, either before you enter the metro or on the platforms) before the trip starts.

It is worth finding out about the different ticket types available (transfer ticket, day ticket, 3-day oe weekly tourist ticket, metro section ticket, metro section transfer ticket, etc.) as these can save you money.

The Budapest Transport Authority (BKV) has published a free brochure in English and German entitled Information (available from hotel receptions, Tourinform offices), and which gives detailed information about the types of tickets and costs, Information can also be found on the following Internet site:

Ticket controls: you may be requested to show your ticket on all public transport or at exit points of the metro by ticket inspectors who wear armbands and have a badge with photograph (they generally operate in pairs, but they may be 4-5 inspectors on the metro). For this reason please keep your ticket until the very end of your journey or until you have left the metro station.
(ource: Budapesti Turisztikai Kht, Budapest Guide)

This city card is the tourist’s “best friend” for 2- or 3-day (24, 48 or 72 hours) city sightseeing tours. The card includes a colour prospectus in four languages with details of how to use the card and all the services and benefits that are available. Aside from the numerous free services, the Budapest Card offers discounts into the best restaurants in the city. Unique programs, river cruises and unfor-gettable shows are also available with a discount using the Budapest Card.

Cards may be purchased in around 250 locations across the capital (airport, hotels, travel agencies, tourist information offices, main metro stations) and in travel agencies abroad. Check out more details and prices HERE about budapest Card

Budapest taxis have yellow number plates and a taxi sign in yellow. (Any vehicle without these features is operating illegally.) The total charge that has to be paid by the passenger is made up of three separate parts: the basic charge wich is irrespective of how far the journey is (maximum HUF 300 during the day, maximum HUF 420 at night), a per kilometre charge which depends on how many kilometres are covered during the journey (maximum HUF 240 per kilometre during the day, maximum HUF 336 at night), and the waiting charge.

The larger taxi companies work with rate far lower than the maximum charges listed above. It is well worth noting down their telephone numbers, and then calling them because a taxi ordered by phone is cheaper than one called on the street.

                              Főtaxi:                   +36-1-222-2222
                              Budataxi:              +36-1-233-3333
                              Citytaxi:                 +36-1-211-1111
                              Taxi                         +36-1-2000: 200-0000
                              Tele 5:                    +36-1-355-5555
                              Rádiótaxi:             +36-1-377-7777
                              6×6 taxi:                +36-1-266-6666

All cars must have a taximeter installed, and these also print out a receipt. Taxi drivers are required to give an invoice on request.
Tipping: in general 10 % of the fare is acceptable, but this naturally depends on how satisfied the passenger is with the service.
(Source: Budapesti Turisztikai Kht, Budapest Guide)

  1. Discover historic Castle Hill with a walking tiur.
  2. You will love the vistas of Pest from Fishermen’s Bastion
  3. Take a Danube  crusie for beautiful panoramic views of both Buda and Pest.
  4. Whether it’s day or night you will enjoy the views from the Danube Promenade.
  5. Enjoy a performance at the world famous Budapest Opera House
  6. Shop with locals or try some traditional Hungarian food at Central Market Hall.
  7. Take a dip and relax in one of Budapest’s Famous baths.
  8. Walk across Chain Bridge, the first bridge to connect Buda and Pest.
  9. Visit Hungary’s Parliament Building , see the amazing architecture and the Hungarian Crown Jewels.
  10. Climb the stairs (or take the elevator) to the Basilica’s observation deck for some of the best views of Budapest.
  11. Take a stroll on Andrassy avenue to Heroes’ Square and you’ll understand why Budapest is often called the Paris of the East.
  12. Try an authentic Hungarian dish paired with vintage Hungarian wine. Best enjoyed at one these award winning Budapest restaurant.
  13. Window shop and people watch on Váci utca (grab a coffee but look elsewhere for restaurants).
  14. Go for a jog or take a stroll around Margaret Island and/or City Park.
  15. Visit museums with one single ticket during the ‘Night of the Museums’, held annually in June.
  1. Enjoy a performance at the world famous Budapest Opera House.
  2. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts and enjoy a day amongst famous European art.
  3. Classical music lovers will appreciate a performance at the Academy of Music.
  4. Visit the Palace of Arts, Budapest’s new cultural hub. Check out the contemporary art collection at the Ludwig Museum or book a free guided tour to learn more about the building and its architecture.
  5. Sziget Festival is one of the biggest musical events in the world attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every August. You could be one of them.
  6. The Mai Manó House of Photography is for all photo enthusiasts and want-to-be’s.
  7. Learn about great Hungarian masters and their works at the Hungarian National Gallery.
  8. Sign up for a Contemporary Art Tour to visit the the best galleries of the city.
  9. Experience contemporary Hungarian art at its best at the Kogart Gallery or the Trafó Gallery.
  10. If you are into handicrafts check out the Festival of Folk Arts, held annually in August in Castle Hill, and you may even learn Hungarian folk dancing.
  1. Take a thermal bath!  

    Budapest isn’t called “City of Baths” for nothing. Due to thermal and medicinal water springs, the bathhouses are healing, relaxing, and total social hubs. Check out the best baths in “5 Thermal Baths For The Best Pampering Days And Breaks In Budapest“, so you can try a different one every day during your visit!

  2. Eat lots and lots of goulash with paprika

    Meaty, saucy, and goes down easy with a glass of red wine. Goulash is traditionally Hungarian made from a meat stew with noodles and vegetables, seasoned with paprika and other sorts of delish spices for hearty flavors.

  3. Morning walk across the Chain Bridge

    Designed by English engineer William Tierney Clark, Chain Bridge crosses River Danube between Buda and Pest. Opened in 1849, it was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Budapest. Take the time to pose next to the majestic lions. Just as NYC’s Brooklyn Bridge, Chain Bridge was viewed as one of the modern world’s engineering wonders. Visit in the morning before it gets way too crowded later in the day

  4. Grab your drinks at ruined pubs

    Ruin pubs in Budapest attract both locals and international travelers. Ruin pubs, pop-art galleries are huge parts of Budapest’s post-Communism culture. It’s a must-do during your visit to check out an exhibition, a photography or art show at a ruin pub such as Szimpla Kert. Culture, great drinks and awesomely cool people…you just can’t beat that!

  5. Afternoon stroll in Castle Hill

    Várhegy (Castle Hill), has a touristy but gorgeous cable car that takes you up the hill with a magnificent view of the city. Do not miss Royal Palace, Mary Magdalene Tower, Vienna Gate and changing of the guards is pretty cool too! Strolling down the cobblestone streets in this area is fantastic except during the month of August…far too sizzling hot!

  6. While you’re at Castle Hill, wanderlust through Fisherman’s Bastion

    Named after both the medieval fishmarket and the Guild of Fishermen who defended this part of the wall during wars,  Fisherman’s Bastion is the gigantic white tower that is hard to miss. If you’re tired of walking, there are nice cafes with live music where you can enjoy the view from atop

  7. Caving inside Palvolgyi Cave

    These cave systems—some tens of millions of years old—were only recently discovered by accident at the turn of the early twentieth century. Many of these caves are protected and prohibited from public entry, but you can still explore. Find more details in our contributor Jerry Leon’s “Do You Dare? A Journey Inside Budapest’s Palvolgyi Cave.”

  8. Central Market Hall

    YUM! Great (or Central) Market Hall is touristic but a must-do! If you’d like to find  produce, meats, pastries, candies, spices, and spirits such as paprika, tokaji, túró rudi, and caviar; first floor is your perfect hub. Second floor has tons of souvenir vendors, and delicious (to-die-for) local eateries. LángosPörkölt and stuffed paprikas are our favorites!

  9. Get in on one of Europe’s best nightlife scenes!

    Not only is Budapest the kingdom of ruin pubs, the city’s nightlife scene is full of character. Happening pubs constantly feature touring DJs, and parties go on ’til dawn. Check out Instant for butterflies, rabbits, owls, neon lights, disco balls as it hosts an always up-to-date repertoire of current DJs and sets itself as the city’s music trendsetter. There’s also A38, a boat that sits on the gorgeous Danube and it used to be an Ukrainian stone-carrier.


  10. Keep it classy with chamber orchestra live performances

    For centuries, classical music in Hungarian culture has played a prominent role, just think: Liszt and Bartók. The disciplined regiment and training to become a classical musician in Hungary is world-renowned. Spend one night sitting in an ornate church, enjoy a few hours of live performances by chamber orchestras. Seeing a performance at the Opera House is a great option too! 

  11. Hungarian Parliament Building by night

    Currently the largest building in Hungary and the tallest building in Budapest, Parliament building sits along the bank of the Danube. The night time view of the building is absolutely breathtaking! Insider tip: Check out the fabulous Holy Crown of Hungary in the central hall! 

  12. Vintage shopping

    Budapest hubs a generation of booming young designers and an exciting art scene. But vintage shopping in Budapest is a bit more edgy and much more underground. You can find an assortment of vintage stores on Anker köz street.Or for antiques and art, check Falk Miksa Street.

    1. Gellért Baths
    2. Kiraly Baths 
    3. Gellért Baths
    4. Szechenyi Baths
    5. Dagaly Spa and Swimming Pool
    6. Lukacs Baths and Swimming Pool
    7. Rac Baths
    8. King Baths

    Check out more details HERE about Thermal Baths in Budapest. 

Budapest: a history lover’s paradise
No other city is as symbolic of old-world Europe as Budapest, the capital and the largest city of Hungary.

  1. Have your photo taken with Lenin at Memento Park – Statue Park.
  2. Take a walking tour and discover historic Castle Hill at your own pace.
  3. The House of Terror Museum provides an insight into how Fascism and Communism affected life in Hungary.
  4. Discover Hungary’s Jewish heritage at the Jewish Museum in Budapest.
  5. Visit Matthias Church to get a glimpse of 700 years of history.
  6. Enjoy the magnificent architecture and view the Crown Jewels in Budapest’s Parliament.
  7. To learn about the history of Budapest visit the Budapest History Museum.
  8. Set foot on part of the Ancient Roman Empire in Aquincum.
  9. The history of the first metro on the continent is on display at the Underground Museum.
  10. We know you love Hungary, so learn more about its history at the Hungarian National Museum.
  1. Visit the Palace of Miracles for a day of fun and education.
  2. It’s all fun at Aquaworld for the entire family.
  3. Your kids will love the baby animals in the ‘Kindergarten’ at the Budapest Zoo.
  4. Explore the Buda Hills on the Children’s Railway operated by kids.
  5. There are zip-lines, climbing walls and labyrinths at Challengeland. Need we say more?
  6. Let your kids conquer the Buda Castle.
  7. Take your kids on a caving adventure in one of Budapest’s Caves and labyrinths.
  8. The entire family will enjoy the Hungarian Natural History Museum, one of the most kid friendly museums.
  9. Not only will your kids eat their meal, they won’t want to leave VakVarjú Restaurant.
  10. Are you afraid of clowns? Find out at the Municipal Circus.
  11. Railway History Museum
  12. Tropicarium Sharks and other tropical creatures make this a fun stop fror the little ones. Located in south Buda in a shopping mall.
  13. Miniversum is a gigantic model layout of the landmarks and sights of Budapest and Hungary. A unique experience to see the magical mini world located in the downtown area on the beautiful Andrassy boulevard.
  14. Margaret Island is Budapest’s central park where you go for city strolls, runs and just relaxing a day at the park. The entire island is car free and offers many things. There is a swimming pool, children’s zoo (free), many playgrounds, Japanese garden and more. To get around on the island a 4 wheel bike called a BRINGO COACH
  15. If you have kids who happen to be crazy for Thomas the Engine, take them to this exciting outdoor museum and park in Budapest, the Hungarian Railway Museum. The vintage locomotives stand in a neat half circle towering above you and recalling the era when this powerful steam engines were running along the railway lines of Hungary.
  1. Try some traditional Hungarian food, like lángos at Central Market Hall.
  2. Take a Hungarian cooking course and impress your friends back home.
  3. Sample some of the best Hungarian vintages at the Budapest International Wine Festival held annually in September and/or visit one of the city’s wine bars.
  4. You know you are in good hands at Bock Bistro, the creation of an award winning chef and a celebrated vintner.
  5. You will want to take the bus to the Budapest Pálinka & Sausage Festival held annually in October.
  6. Food enthusiasts will be happy to know that Budapest has five Michelin Star restaurants, Costes, Onyx, Tanti, Costes Down Touwn,
  7. After all the spicy Hungarian food, have a shot of Unicum, the famous digestive, and learn about its history at the Zwack Museum.
  8. Take your designated driver on a day trip to the Etyek-Buda Wine Region, best during the Etyek Cellar Festival held annually in May.
  9. Szamos Marzipan is a must try, it even has it’s own museum.
  10. Visit Mangalica & Társai Húspatika, a deli dedicated to the curly-haired mangalica pig. Try the cured ham and the tasty sausages and salamis.
  1. Art, history, fashion, marzipan and langos. Everyone enjoys a day trip to Szentendre.
  2. The scenic Danube Bend provides the perfect getaway for nature lovers.
  3. Feel like a king in Esztergom, the first royal seat of the Kingdom of Hungary.
  4. You will want a designated driver when visiting Etyek in the Etyek-Buda Wine Region.
  5. Lake Balaton, aka the Hungarian sea, is always busy in the Summer.
  6. The Tokaj Wine Region is a must (in every sense of the word).
  7. Bull’s Blood in the Valley of Beautiful Women. Did we pique your interest? Visit Eger.
  8. A historic town in the foothills of the Mecsek Mountain and some of the best vintages in Hungary. Pécs & the Villány Wine Region.
  9. Aching for some Wiener Schnitzel? Vienna is so close to Budapest you can go for lunch.
  10. Beer is the only thing that’s better in Prague than in Budapest. Can you tell we are biased? OK, Prague is actually pretty cool too.

Send us your inquiry with your expectaions and we prepare you a personalized offer meeting all of your requirements.

Send us your inquiry with your expectations and we prepare you a personalized offer meeting all of your requirements.

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