Places to see in Budapest

Walk and Taste Tours

Walk and Taste is a culinary food tour program for tourists and locals in Budapest. We offer 4 hour cooking tours in the city centre of Budapest which contains a 2 hour sightseeing tour and a 2 hour cooking class with a local Hungarian. Our tours include: visiting the Opera House, St Stephens Basilica, The House of Terror, and Hunyadi Food Market as well as a Hungarian home where cooking takes place. Free tasting of Hungarian food, Langos, which is a Sour Cream Deep Fried Flat bread is included. Cooking together as a group at a Hungarian home is also included in the price (Lecso and Palacsinta) Traditional Vegetable Stew and Pancakes Hungarian style. We have a 100% money back guarantee program. For more info please click here.

About Budapest

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary. One of the most beautiful historical capitals in Europe, is situated on the banks of the Danube. The city actually consists of three cities, Óbuda, the oldest section, with Celtic and Roman ruins, Buda in hills on the western bank, famous for its historic Castle Hill and beautiful residential area, and bustling Pest with its shopping, government and commercial districts on the flat plain of the east bank. The city has a population of about 1.7 million people. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3,271,110 people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometers (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of right (west)-bank Buda and Obuda with left (east)-bank Pest.

Historically,Aquincum originally a Celtic settlement, was the direct ancestor of Budapest, becoming the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia Magyars arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42. The re-established town became one of the centers of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, development of the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after the 1873 unification. It also became the second capital of Austria-Hungary, a great power that dissolved in 1918. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest of 1945, and the Revolution of 1956.

Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world's largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parlament building. The city attracts about 2.3 million tourists a year,

Considered an important hub in Central Europe, the city ranked 3rd (out of 65 cities) on Mastercard's Emerging Markets Index (2008), and ranked as the most livable Central/Eastern European city on EIU's quality of life index (both 2009 & 2010). It is also ranked as "Europe's 7th most idyllic place to live" by Forbes. It is the highest ranked Central/Eastern European city on Innovation Cities' Top 100 index, and has featured well in a number of specialist rankings.

Budapest is home to the headquarters of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), and the first foreign office of the CIPA.

History

The first settlement on the territory of Budapest was built by Celts before 1 AD. It was later occupied by the Romans. The Roman settlement - Aquincum - became the main city of Lower Pannonia in 106 AD. The Romans constructed roads, amphitheaters, baths and houses with heated floors in this fortified military camp.

The peace treaty of 829 added Pannonia to Bulgaria due to the victory of Bulgarian army of Omurtag over Holy Roman Empire of Louis the Pious. Budapest arose out of two Bulgarian military frontier fortresses Buda and Pest, situated on the two banks of Danube. Hungarians led by Árpád settled in the territory at the end of the 9th century, and a century later officially founded the Kingdom of Hungary. Research places the probable residence of the Árpáds as an early place of central power near what became Budapest. The Tatar invasion in the 13th century quickly proved that defence is difficult on a plain. King Béla IV of Hungary therefore ordered the construction of reinforced stone walls around the towns and set his own royal palace on the top of the protecting hills of Buda. In 1361 it became the capital of Hungary.

The cultural role of Buda was particularly significant during the reign of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. The Italian Renaissance had a great influence on the city. His library, the Bibliotheca Corviniana, was Europe's greatest collection of historical chronicles and philosophic and scientific works in the 15th century, and second only in size to the Vatican Library. After the foundation of the first Hungarian university in Pécs in 1367, the second one was established in Óbuda in 1395. The first Hungarian book was printed in Buda in 1473. Buda had about 5,000 inhabitants around 1500.

The Ottomans pillaged Buda in 1526, besieged it in 1529, and finally occupied it in 1541. The Turkish occupation lasted for more than 140 years. The Turks constructed some fine bathing facilities here. Under Ottoman rule almost all Christians left the city and it became a truly Muslim town. By 1547 the number of Christians was around one thousand. In 1647 it had fallen to about seventy. The unoccupied western part of the country became part of the Habsburg Empire as Royal Hungary.

In 1686, two years after the unsuccessful siege of Buda, a renewed campaign was started to enter the Hungarian capital. This time, the Holy League's army was twice as large, containing over 74,000 men, including German, Croat, Dutch, Hungarian, English, Spanish, Czech, Italian, French, Burgundian, Danish and Swedish soldiers, along with other Europeans as volunteers, artilleryman, and officers, the Christian forces reconquered Buda, and in the next few years, all of the former Hungarian lands, except areas near Timişoara (Temesvár), were taken from the Turks. In the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz these territorial changes were officially recognized, and in 1718 the entire Kingdom of Hungary was removed from Ottoman rule.

The city was destroyed during the battle. Hungary was then incorporated into the Habsburg Empire.

The nineteenth century was dominated by the Hungarians' struggle for independence and modernization. The national insurrection against the Habsburgs began in the Hungarian capital in 1848 and was defeated a little more than a year later.

The Hungarian State Opera House, built in the time of Austria-Hungary.

1867 was the year of Reconciliation that brought about the birth of Austria-Hungary.

Cutaway Drawing of Millennium Underground in Budapest (1894–1896) which was the second underground in the world.

The polyethnic nature of Budapest in 1919. During the Hungarian Soviet Republic the Heroes Square of Budapest was completely demolished and rebuilt into Marx-Engels memorial by the communists. The statues of Hungarian national heroes were toppled. The Hungarian national symbols were banned, many Hungarian historic monuments were destroyed in the name of internationalism.

This made Budapest the twin capital of a dual monarchy. It was this compromise which opened the second great phase of development in the history of Budapest, lasting until World War I. In 1873 Buda and Pest were officially merged with the third part, Óbuda (Ancient Buda), thus creating the new metropolis of Budapest. The dynamic Pest grew into the country's administrative, political, economic, trade and cultural hub. Budapest went from about 80% German-speaking in 1848 to about 80% Hungarian-speaking in 1880. The capital, Budapest, was 23% Jewish. Due to the prosperity and the large Jewish community of the city, Budapest was often called as the "Jewish Mecca"World War I brought the Golden Age to an end. In 1918 Austria-Hungary lost the war and collapsed; Hungary declared itself an independent republic. In 1920 the Treaty of Trianon finalized the country's partition, as a result, Hungary lost over two-thirds of its territory, about two-thirds of its inhabitants under the treaty including 3.3 million out of 10 million ethnic Hungarians.

In 1944, towards the end of World War II, Budapest was partly destroyed by British and American air raids. From 24 December 1944 to 13 February 1945, the city was besieged during the Battle of Budapest. Budapest suffered major damage caused by the attacking Soviet troops and the defending German and Hungarian troops. All bridges were destroyed by the Germans. More than 38,000 civilians lost their lives during the conflict.

In 1949, Hungary was declared a communist People's Republic. The new Communist government considered the buildings like the Buda Castle symbols of the former regime, and during the 1950s the palace was gutted and all the interiors were destroyed.

In 1956, peaceful demonstrations in Budapest led to the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution. The Leadership collapsed after mass demonstrations began on 23 October, but Soviet tanks entered Budapest to crush the revolt. Fighting continued until early November, leaving more than 3000 dead.

From the 1960s to the late 1980s Hungary was often satirically referred to as "the happiest barrack" within the Eastern bloc, and much of the wartime damage to the city was finally repaired. Work on Erzsébet Bridge, the last to be rebuilt, was finished in 1965. In the early 1970s, Budapest Metro's East-West M2 line was first opened, followed by the M3 line in 1982. In 1987, Buda Castle and the banks of the Danube were included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Andrassy Avenue (including the Millennium Underground Railway, Hősök tere and Városliget) was added to the UNESCO list in 2002. In the 1980s the city's population reached 2.1 million. In recent times a significant decrease in population occurred mainly due to a massive movement to the neighbouring agglomeration in Pest county. In the last decades of the 20th century the political changes of 1989-90 concealed changes in civil society and along the streets of Budapest. The monuments of the dictatorship were taken down from public places, into Memento Park.

Tours

Budapest sightseeing tours

There are those who fall in love with Budapest at first sight and those who only come to love it after a longer introduction, but everyone will agree that this is one of the most beautifully laid out cities in the world. The powerful current of the Danube divides it into two parts, the hills and valleys of Buda on one side and the flatlands of Pest on the other. In spring, Margaret Island becomes a vibrant green patch on the blue waters of the river. There are caves, curative thermal springs and special conversation areas, all in a bustling

  • City Tour
  • Parlament Tour
  • Parlament & City Tour
  • Millenium Walking Tour
  • Jewish Budapest
  • Folklor Evening Tour

City Tour

Passing by the Parlament we cross the Danube through the Margaret-Bridge (Margaret-Island) and drive to the Royal Castle on the Buda side, where we visit the Fishermens Bastion (Promenade) and the Matthias Church after we climb to the Gellert Hill (Photo stop), we cross Elisabeth-Bridge and drive towards Heroes Square (Promenade). Passing by the Opera and St. Stephenes Basilica we reach Hotel InterContinental, where the tour ends.

  • Duration:: 3 hours
  • Summer: daily 10:00 a.m. / 11:00 a.m. / 02:30 p.m.
  • Winter: 1. November 31. March daily 10:00 a.m./ 02:30 p.m.

Parlament Tour

Take the opportunity for a visit of the impressive House of Parlament, after a walk around Hungary's largest building, interior visit of the magnificent neo-gothic Parlament (Home of the Holy Hungarian Crown) with guidance through the splendid session room, the impressive staircase and the wonderful Great Vaulted Hall.

The Parlament reserves the right to cancel guided tours without notice on special occasions.

Parlament & City Tour

You can save 1.500.- HUF if you combine these two tours into one!

The Parlament reserves the right to cancel guided tours without notice on special occasions.

  • Duration: 4,5 hours
  • Available: 1. April 31. October daily 09:30 a.m.

Millenium Walking Tour

Walk to the famous Vorosmarty Square (Gerbeaud Coffeehouse) traveling on the Millennium Underground line to the State Opera House (interior visit) walking on the Andrassy Street passing by Hungarian Broadway, House of Terror, Kodaly Korond, where we take the metro again to the Heroes Square, Szecheny Spa, walking through the City Park to the Vajdahunyad Castle (interior visit) return by the Millennium Underground, tour ends at the city centre.

The Opera House reserves the right to cancel guided tours without notice on special occasions.

Jewish Budapest

We drive along the Danube ; visit of the world's second largest Synagogue, the Dohany street and the Jewish Museum (interior visits) Jewish Garden, Tree of Life, Temple of Heroes

Possibility for lunch in the kosher restaurant tour ends at the restaurant. No tour during holidays and on special occasions.

Folklore Evening Tour

The illuminated Paris of the East Spend an enjoyable evening in a traditional restaurant : after an aperitif we serve you a 3-course menu with wine accompanied by a varied folkloric show-program returning to Budapest you have a marvelous view on the illuminated city from the Citadella the tour ends at your Hotel or at the Casino.

Museums

Art Gallery / Műcsarnok

District 14. Dózsa Gy. út 37. / Heroes' Square

The largest exhibition hall of the city is located in a great classical building at Heroes' Square. Temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary artists. Open: Tue-Sun 10am - 6pm

Museum of Applied Arts

District 9. Üllői út 33-37.l

The Art-nouveau palace of the museum itself worths a visit. The collection embraces eastern carpets, treasury of the Esterházy family, art-nouveau glass works, Zsolnay ceramics, French furniture etc. Open: Tue-Sun 10am - 6pm

Vasarely Museum

District 3. Szentlélek tér 6.

Works of the French-Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely, founder of the op-art stream. Open: Tue-Sun 10am - 5pm

Museum of Fine Arts

District 14. Dózsa Gy. út 41. / Heroes' Square

Egyptian, Greek and Roman collections, 13th-18th century Italian, Spanish, Dutch paintings. French Impressionists and temporary exhibitions. One of the most renowned museum of Budapest. Open: Tue-Sun 10am - 5.30pm

National Museum

District 8. Múzeum krt. 14-16.

It is housed in a Classical style palace designed by Mihály Pollack. Its collection possesses over 1 million items. The exhibitions show the history of Hungary from the foundation of the state until 1990. Open: Tue-Sun 10am - 6pm

Hungarian National Gallery

District 1. Buda Palace / Szent György tér 2.

The National Gallery is the largest public collection documenting and presenting the rise and development of the fine arts in Hungary from Medieval stone carvings to late 20th century art.

House of Terror Museum

District 6. Andrássy út 60.

The building was used by the Nazi Party in the 1940's and after that became the headquarter of the secret service during the communist era. Today it is a memorial museum of the victims of both dictatorships. Open: Tue-Sun 10am - 6pm

Memento Park

District 22. Balatoni út - Szabadkai utca / South Buda

A glance behind the Iron Curtain. After the change of political system the statues were removed from the streets of Budapest. Open: every day from 10am. till sunset

Jewish Museum

District 7 Dohány u. 2.

Located at the 2nd largest Synagogue of the World, the Jewish Museum intruduces Jewish life and traditions and the Jewish history in Budapest.

Museum of Military History

District 1. Tóth Árpád sétány 4.

The museum is located in the Buda Castle District and it introduces 1000 years of military history in the Carpathian Basin.

Transport Museum

District 14. Városligeti krt. 11.

Located in the picturesque City Park, the museum offers a great program for families with children. You can have a closer look at great old vehicles.

Attractions

Budapest Zoo

The second oldest zoo in Europe offers not only rare animal and plant species, but an architectural beauty, too. The zoo is one of the key attractions of the city park, where many places of interest can be found.

Margitsziget

Margaret Island is a traffic free green spot in the middle of the downtown. It is a beloved place for leisure and recreation both for locals and foreigners.

Millenáris Park

The recently opened park is located on the Buda side, close to Moszkva tér. It hosts some important establishments, such as the House of Future and the Palace of Miracles. There is a concert hall in the park as well, making it a beloved place for young people.

Palace of Arts

The Palace of Arts is the newest cultural establishment of Budapest, opened in 2005. It consists of three important institutions: the Festival Theatre, the National Concert Hall and the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Arts.

Ice rink and boating lake

During winter time the biggest ice rink of the city operates here. In the summer pairs can enjoy paddling in the lake next to Vajdahunyad castle in the city park.

Baths

Széchényi Spa

Address: Budapest,Állatkerti krt. 11.

Situated in the City Park, in a lush green area, the Széchenyi thermal bath is the largest bath in Europe. It was built in neo-baroque style between 1909 and 1913 and later enlarged. It consits of an in-door and an open-air part. Its water originates from the artesian springs of the City Park. The thermal water is effective in healing gynealogical, dermatological problems and diseases of the nervous and digestive system.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6am to 10pm, Saturday to Sunday 6am to 10pm.

Gellért Spa

Address: Budapest, Kelenhegyi út 2-4.

The Gellért SPA is one of the best known and most favoured among the thermal baths of Budapest. It is in the same building as Hotel Gellért, which was built in 1918 in art nouveau style. The thermal water was already used in the middle ages, and during the Turkish occupation of Hungary in the 15th century a bath house was built on this spot. In the second world war the building was badly damaged, but later it was reconstructed and modernised preserving its oriental decoration and atmosphere. Today it has a thermal bath, a swimmingpool and an open-air section. The thermal water is used to cure nerve-system problems, respiratory diseases and locomotor disorders. It is definitely worth a visit because of its unique atmosphere.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6am to 7pm, Saturday to Sunday 6am to 5pm.

Rudas Bath

Address: Budapest, Döbrentei tér 9.

Supplied by 21 different thermal springs, the Rudas Bath is one of the largest spas at the foot of the Buda hills. At this place there was a bath already in the 14th century, but it had a boost during the Turkish occupation in the 15-16th century. From the original building the dome is still preserved, and the bath is one of the most remarkable establisment from the Turkish era. The building has an octagonal structure and the main pool is lit through the dome by small octagonal holes.

Tub and thermal bath, sauna, dental shower and indoor swimmingpool serve for those who seek for recreation, healing and comfort. Its radioactive water heals all kind of rheumatic diseases.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6am to 6pm, Saturday to Sunday 6am to 5pm. Please note that on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday only men can visit the bath, on Tuesdays only women can enter. Weekends are open for everyone.

Király Bath

Address: Budapest, Fő utca 82-86.

The most interesting thing about Király bath is that it has never had its own water supply. When the Turks occupied Buda, during the sieges they did not want to give up the pleasure of bathing. As a result of this they had a pipeline constructed, which led here the water of Lukács bath. It had an octagonal shape and the typical elements of the Turkish bath such as a huge dome with pillars, smaller niches and lancet windows were also found here. When Buda was liberated in 1686, the neighbouring buildings suffered serious damages but miracolously the bath survived. Later it had several owners, among them the most famous was the König (Király in Hungarian) family and today it is named after them. They had it rebuilt in classical style preserving some parts of the old Turkish building. The thermal water is effective in healing nerve problems, respiratory diseases and locomotor disorders.

Opening hours: for men 9am to 8pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; for women 8am to 7pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Sundays are open for everyone.

Budapest Transport

The 4 metro lines M1, M2, M3, M4, buses, trams trolley buses operate between 4.30 and 11 pm. There are several nightlines running until the morning.

Tickets are available at the subway stations, news stands, (can’t buy tickets on vehicles)

Types of tickets offered for tourists

The ticket system is relatively complicated we recommend to buy travel cards (24 hour, 72 hour or 7-day travel cards or Budapest Cards) because they can be used simply without ticket validation for any number of trips within their time of validity. However, if you decide to use single tickets, please read carefully the conditions of their usage, where you can buy them etc.

Single ticket

Price: HUF 350

Valid for one uninterrupted trip without change on bus, tram, trolleybus, cogwheel railway services on the whole length of the lines and on HÉV suburban railway within the administrative boundaries of Budapest. During the time of validity you can change lines within the metro and underground network (metro lines 1, 2 or 3). It does not entitle you for interruption of the trip or a return trip. On the metro lines the ticket has to be validated before starting your trip and on other vehicles immediately after boarding or after the vehicle has started. You can use them for 60 minutes after stamping, on the night service for 110 minutes. The ticket has to be presented and handed over for ticket inspector's request. It is not returnable.

10-piece discount coupon book

Price: HUF 3,000

It contains 10 SINGLE TICKETS and CAN BE PURCHASED ONLY IN BLOCKS. The tickets can be torn out from the block and used separately for traveling. It cannot be returned.

A ticket of the 10-piece discount coupon book is valid for one uninterrupted trip without change on bus, tram, trolleybus, cogwheel railway services on the whole length of the lines and on HÉV suburban railway within the administrative boundaries of Budapest. During the time of validity you can change lines within the metro and underground network (metro lines 1, 2 or 3). It does not entitle you for interruption of the trip or a return trip. On the metro lines the tickets have to be validated before starting your trip and on other vehicles immediately after boarding or after the vehicle has started. You can use them for 60 minutes after stamping, on the night service for 110 minutes. The tickets have to be presented and handed over for ticket inspector's request. It is not returnable.

Short section metro ticket

Price: HUF 300

Valid on the metro for one short trip up to 3 stops for 30 minutes after validation. It does not entitle you for interruption of the trip or for return trip. Within time of validity you can change lines within the metro network (lines 1, 2 and 3) but it is valid only for 3 stops altogether (i.e. 3, 2+1 or 1+2 stops). The ticket has to be handed over for ticket inspector's request. It is not returnable.

Transfer ticket

Price: HUF 530

Valid for one trip with one change on BKV Zrt. buses, trams, metro, underground, trolleybuses, cogwheel railway on the whole length of the lines but on HÉV suburban railway lines only within the administrative boundaries of Budapest. Besides change it does not entitle you for interruption of the trip or for return trip. The ticket has to be validated twice when you start your trip at one end and when you change at the other end, with the exception of changes between metro lines (metro lines 1, 2, 3). When validated with stamping machine it is valid for 90 minutes (on night services for 110 minutes), within this for 60 minutes after second validation. When the second validation takes place at the entrance of a metro station, it is valid for 60 minutes even if the whole trip exceeds 90 minutes. When the second validation takes place on the night service it is valid for additional 110 minutes. The ticket has to be handed over for ticket inspector's request. It is not returnable.

Places to see

Budapest Parlament

The monumental building of the Parlament is one of the biggest attractions of Budapest. It hosts the diet and the crown jewels. Guided tours are organized 4 times a day.

St Stephen Basilica

The largest Catholic church in Budapest, where the most important relic of the Hungarian Catholicism, the Holy Right of King St. Steven is kept.The panorama terrace offers a great view of the city.

Heroes' square Budapest

The momumenta lsquare at the end of Andrássy Avenue sums up the history of Hungary. The millenium memorial commemorates the 1000th anniversary of the arrival of the Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin.

Budapest State Opera

The neo-renaissancebuilding is a pearl of architecture, the lavish inner decoration reflects elegance and splendour. Guided tours are organised every afternoon. A performance is an unforgettable experience too.

Castle District

With its narrow streets, old citizenhouses the Castle district of Budapest reflects a medieval atmosphere. The Royal Palace houses different museums and exhibitions. Bring yourself time to walk around.

Fishermen's Bastion and Matthias Church

The emblems of Budapest, no tour can be complete without visiting them. Rebuilt several times, the Matthias Church is a mixture of architectural styles. Organ concerts are held regularly.

Gellért hill and the Citadel

For the best panorama of Budapest, Gellért Hill definitely worth a visit. The old fortress and the statue of Liberty can be seen from far, they are an important part of the cityscape.

Váci street and Danube Promenade

The bustling walking areas of the downtown offer famous cafés, terraces, elegant shops, boutiques and theatres. Not to mention the view of the Castle from the Danube Promenade.

City Park

The largest green area of Budapest conceals the Castle of Vajdahunyad, the Széchenyi termal bath, the Zoo and the Amusement park. It is a beloved corner of the city for walking and relaxing.