Things To Do In Budapest
Jetting off for a European city break provides the chance to get away from it all and take in some culture, sightseeing and shopping and the ever-popular Budapest, is one of the top ten weekend destinations to visit.
The beautiful city is the capital of Hungary and has been ranked as ‘the world’s second best city’ by Conde Nast Traveller. Once called the ‘Queen of the Danube, the city straddles the River Danube and is made up of three unified cities, with Buda and Óbuda on the west bank of the Danube and Pest on the east bank.
The city has been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status and mixes history with artistic style. It is a city that has something for everyone; from museums to thermal spas and we have highlighted just some of the main attractions.
The impressive and striking Parliament building in Kossuth Square is on the edge of the River Danube and is a fine example of Gothic Revival and Renaissance Revival architecture. The building is one of the largest in Hungary and the second largest parliament building in Europe. The structure is just over 100 years old and is home to hundreds of parliamentary offices. The idea of a new parliament building came after the unification of Obuda, Buda and Pest in 1873, it was finished and inaugurated in 1896 on the 1000th anniversary of the founding of Hungary. The building enjoys stunning views of the Danube and contains 691 well furnished rooms, some of which are open to visitors.
Buda Castle/Royal Palace
The Buda Castle is on the top of Castle Hill. It is also known as the Royal Palace and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The Castle was home to the Hungarian kings and was completed back in 1265. It now hosts governmental institutions and several museums like the National Gallery and Budapest’s History Museum. Buda Castle is one of the most popular attractions in Budapest and the best and most scenic way to get to the Castle is to take the funicular railway up the hill which departs from the Buda end of the Chain Bridge.
The Halászbástya or the Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style situated on the Buda bank of the Danube on Castle Hill. It was designed and built between 1895 and 1902 and is one of the most visited attractions in Budapest. The bastion was built as a viewing terrace and hosts some of the best views of Budapest. It features seven towers of the Halászbástya which represents the seven Hungarian chieftains of the Magyar tribes.
St Stephen’s Basilica
St Stephen’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica and is one the most important religious buildings in Hungary. Named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975 to 1038), his mummified right hand is said to be housed in a glass case in the reliquary. Visitors can climb up the 364 steps to the base of the dome and take in the beautiful panoramic views over the city.
The Shoes on the Danube Bank
The ‘shoes on the Danube bank’ is a very moving memorial to honour those who were killed by the Arrow Cross militiamen during World War II. There are 60 pairs of rusted period shoes cast out of iron placed on the edge of the river in memory of 3500 people who were forced to take off their shoes and were shot at the edge of the water so their bodies could be swept down the river.
Cruise The River Danube
A river cruise through the heart of Budapest will let you see all the fascinating sights on both sides of the city; the eastern flat part, Pest and the hilly Buda district. Cruise down the river over lunchtime or take a romantic evening dinner cruise and see the Parliament Building and the Castle Hill areas lit up.
Thermal Baths and Spas
Budapest is renowned for its thermal baths and spas and the biggest and most popular thermal bath in Budapest is the Szechenyi Spa and Baths. Visitors are treated to 36-degree hot water baths mixed with minerals and natural extracts used for beer brewing...hops, yeast, malt and barley. The baths include 10 indoor pools, an exquisite outside bathing area, saunas, steam chamber and massage rooms and is famous for its summer night spa parties.
Heroes’ Square is the largest square in Budapest, laid out in 1896 to mark the 1000th anniversary of Hungary. Located at the end of Andrassy Avenue and next to City Park, the square is one of the most visited sights in Budapest. The Millennium Monument erected in the middle of the square commemorated the 1000-year-old history of the Magyars. The seven chieftains who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary can be seen on the stand below under the golden Archangel Gabriel holding the Hungarian crown and a cross.
Margaret Island is the green heart of Budapest and sits in the middle of the Danube between Margaret Bridge and Arpad Bridge. It is a huge recreational space with water fountains, promenades, benches, cycle paths, a Japanese garden and can be reached via bus or tram.
If you are jetting off to Budapest soon make sure you book your meet and greet parking with I Love meet and greet. Check out our website for the latest promotion and get your time away to Budapest off to a relaxing start.
By Sarah Anglim at 28 Feb 2019