Budapest – the capital and largest city of Hungary (population over 1.5 million people). Budapest is very easy to explore on your own, despite some difficulties in understanding (due to the Hungarian language). At the same time, it is a popular tourist city, where many different tours are sold. So everyone will find what he likes best.
People lived here even before the arrival of the Romans, but Budapest, as a city, has the exact date of foundation. It was formed on November 17, 1873, as a result of the unification of three Danube cities – Buda, Pest and Obuda. Let’s talk about Buda and Pest separately, and now about the rest of the sights and actually about Budapest.
View from the observation deck of Gellert Hill. On the left is Buda and behind it is Obuda, on the right is Pest
Budapest is located on the Danube River, across which there are seven bridges. The bridges of Budapest are a separate attraction, although they are all, in fact, new. In 1945, the retreating Nazis blew up all the Budapest bridges (then there were five). However, the bridges are all different and beautiful. Embankments are equipped in the city almost along the entire length of the Danube. In the warm season, sightseeing boats ply the river.
Most of the buildings in the center of Budapest were built during the time of Emperor Franz Joseph, or rather, by 1896, when the millennium of the migration of Hungarians to Europe was celebrated. This refers to the settlement of this territory by the Huns (well, or by the Hungarian tribes, as it is now believed). I don’t know how the exact date was calculated, but Budapest owes its modern look and many sights to this anniversary.
Margaret Island (Margitsziget)
This is an attraction that does not belong to any part of Budapest, since it is located in the middle of the Danube. It is not necessary to sail to the island, you can just go down the nearest bridge, which is also called Margaret. You can also come to Margitseget by bus, but cars are allowed there only with a special pass.
The island is a park surrounded by running tracks. Trees, many lawns, cafes, in general, a place of rest for the townspeople.
There are also two churches on the island. From one, very large, only ruins remained.
Margaret Island. Remains of the church of the XIII-XVI centuries.
The second – the church of St. Michael, appeared on the island in the 12th century, but was destroyed by the Turks three centuries later and restored only in the thirties of the 20th century. The bell of the church is original and it is one of the oldest surviving bells in Hungary (XV century).
Margaret Island. Church of St. Michael XII century.
There are also two hotels on the island, since there are also thermal springs here – it is their hotels that operate.
Obuda is now a large residential area not too popular with tourists – quite far from the city center and not many attractions. You need to go there by commuter train.
In Obuda is what remains of Aquincum. The Roman city of Aquincum grew out of a military camp and in 106 became the capital of the province of Pannonia Inferior. By the end of the II century. about 30-40 thousand people lived in Aquincum. Aquincum occupies a rather vast territory, but this is an excavation area, that is, at best, small fragments of walls remain from the buildings. Although the scale is impressive.
The amphitheater was also part of Aquincum, and it is located quite far from the excavations. Previously, this entire territory, now built up with modern houses (that is, most of Obuda), was an ancient city.
Not much remains of the amphitheater either, but it is one of the largest Roman amphitheaters outside of Italy. Now there are concerts.
In Obuda there are still the remains of a rich Roman villa, but it was not possible to get inside and, in general, it is not easy to find it. From the outside, it does not impress – again, these are ruins covered with a glass dome.
The collapse of the Roman Empire led to the gradual desolation of the city and the beginning of the VI century no one lived in Aquincum.
There are also several churches in Obuda, and Fyo Square with the sculptural composition “Women in the Rain”
Women in the rain
In general, it’s not that there were a lot of interesting things in Obuda, but it doesn’t hurt to visit there in order to get a complete impression of the city.
Buda was the capital of Hungary before the formation of Budapest. On the Buda Hill are the main attractions of old Hungary – the Royal Palace and the Church of St. Matthias.
The main observation deck in Budapest is Gellert Hill. Saint Gellert is considered the person who brought Christianity to Hungary (at the beginning of the 11th century). The hill is named after him, because here he was martyred at the hands of the pagans – he was put in a barrel of nails and lowered from this very hill (1038).
The lion’s share of photos with views of Budapest is made here. Excursions to the hill carry, of course, on buses, but it’s not difficult to climb on foot. There are two ways of ascent (or descent 🙂 – from the side of the Gellert baths and the Freedom Bridge or from the side of the Erzhibet bridge. High, of course, but there are no cliffs with rockfalls, everything is equipped – stairs with railings, recreation areas with benches.
Viewpoint on Gellert Hill
On top of the hill, in addition to the observation deck, there is a citadel, which now houses a museum of weapons (built by the Austrians after the suppression of the 1848 revolution, in order to control both Buda and Pest at the same time), a hotel, and the Freedom Monument – a huge statue of a woman with a wreath in her hand, erected in 1947 to commemorate the victory over fascism.
Citadel on Gellert Hill
Freedom Monument on Gellert Hill
From Gellert Hill you can clearly see the Buda Hill with the Royal Palaces – the old one (also called the Buda Castle) and the new one.
The oldest part of the Buda Castle dates back to the 14th century. Under the Turks, the castle was used for household needs. After the liberation, from the beginning to the middle of the 18th century, a new palace was built (using old buildings, of course). During the revolution of 1849, the castle burned down and was restored 7 years later.
In 1875, a decision was made to build a new royal palace, and in 1912 the construction was completed. The new palace is a quite typical building of the 19th century. Pompous and large, in the style of the era. During the Second World War, this palace was turned into ruins. After the war, along with restoration work, archaeological excavations were carried out, during which parts of the old fortress were discovered. As a result, now the New Palace, as it were, stands on the Old Castle.
Royal Palace and Buda Castle
You can climb the Buda Hill by funicular if you are too lazy to stomp the stairs, but this five-minute pleasure costs like three tickets for regular transport.
The old castle houses the Museum of the History of Budapest, the entrance to which is located in the new building. The museum is huge, several floors, and there are more floors down than up. Actually below is the Buda Castle.
Of course, it is now at the bottom, but once it was at the top of the hill, as it should be for a fortress. If you go down to the lowest floors, you find yourself in a completely medieval setting – vaulted halls, large windows with stone benches … Very impressive. Well, in general, the museum is interesting.
Hall in the old royal palace
The next point is the Fisherman’s Bastion. In general, this is not a bastion at all, and you won’t be able to fish from there either :). This is a specially built at the beginning of the XX century sight. She is still building up. But, the view of the city from there is beautiful and everything is built beautifully, you can’t say anything.
Behind the Fisherman’s Bastion begins the Old City.
On the square are the main church of Budapest – the Cathedral of St. Matthias and the plague column, and then there are pretty medieval streets. Plague columns (or plague pillars) were erected in Europe as a thank you to God for getting rid of the plague and in memory of those who died during the epidemic. The plague column in Buda was installed in 1709, instead of the previous, simpler one.
Plague column of the 18th century
The Church of St. Matthias was named after King Matthias Corvinus, during whose reign the previous church of St. Mary was significantly rebuilt (in particular, a bell tower was added). Under the Turks, the building was turned into the main mosque of Buda. In the 19th century A large-scale reconstruction was carried out in order to return the church to its historical appearance.
Cathedral of St. Matthias XIV-XIX centuries
Cathedral of St. Matthias XIV-XIX centuries
Directly in the old town and closer to the embankment, at the foot of the hill, there are several more attractions.
The most interesting is the tower of Mary Magdalene. This is one of the oldest buildings in Budapest. The chapel was built in the middle of the 13th century, in the 15th century a three-apse church already stood in its place. During the Turkish occupation, the church remained the only functioning Christian church, and services were held for both Catholics and Protestants together.
Tower of Mary Magdalene
Tower of Mary Magdalene
Evangelical church of the 19th century
Church of St. Anna 18th century
Not far from the old town (Úri utsa, 9) is the Buda Labyrinth – another tourist attraction. The labyrinth is, of course, loudly said, it is difficult to get lost there. But in general, the place is quite entertaining.
These are catacombs of natural origin, which have long been equipped by the surrounding residents for their own needs – like wine cellars, warehouses, etc. Lighting is very poor, uterine sounds and the ringing of iron are periodically heard … Mystical atmosphere. The corridors are decorated with rock paintings, sculptures, etc.
There is an inexhaustible source of wine in the center of the labyrinth. 🙂
A trickle of red liquid flowing from the faucets really smells like wine, but it is strongly not recommended to drink it, as the inscriptions on the walls warn about. But that doesn’t stop everyone. 🙂
House in Buda
Pest is located on the east bank of the Danube. This is the largest of the three components of the Hungarian capital – in terms of territory, it occupies approximately 2/3 of Budapest
Tourists are first brought to look at one of the main attractions of Pest – Heroes’ Square. There is a sculptural composition created for the anniversary of 1896, and representing a semicircle of statues of prominent statesmen of Hungary.
On the sides of the square there is the Museum of Fine Arts and the Exhibition Hall, and not far from the baths (with thermal springs, of course), the zoo and the attraction called Vajdahunyad.
Vajdahunyad Castle is a complex of buildings of different architectural styles, replicating the most significant Hungarian buildings. All this is located in a large park. It is named after the castle of the noble family of Hunyadi (one of their representatives is King Matthias Corvinus). A copy of this castle, of course, is also present.
Entrance to Vajdahunyad
There is also a monument to Anonymous – the nameless author of the ancient Hungarian chronicle. Tourists, with their touches, rubbed his feather to a shine. What, interestingly, should you make a wish at the same time? Write without errors? 🙂
On the other side of the Heroes’ Square is the Budapest Zoo. What I liked – access to safe animals is closed purely symbolically, sometimes the rope is just stretched.
Zoo. Camels. Apparently not spitting 🙂
Moreover, there is a special pen with various small animals where people are allowed in and where all these lambs and goats can be stroked and fed. The kids love it.
Zoo. Children’s paddock 🙂
In general, the zoo is big. In addition to the animals themselves, there are various structures – for example, in the middle of the zoo there is a large natural rock that you can climb up and survey the surroundings, and, like in many European zoos, funny sculptures.
Zoo. Wingspan like Uhu bird. Doesn’t reach Fakokeselyu yet. Great and mighty is the Hungarian language…
In Pest, on the banks of the Danube, there is a building that has become a symbol of Budapest and one of its main attractions – the Parliament. The spectacle is truly impressive. You can even get inside, if you wish – on certain days there are guided tours. I don’t know what’s really interesting.
Another symbol of the city is Vaci Street – a pedestrian street with shops and restaurants. Naturally, a must for tourists to visit.
Vaci Street runs into the market building. Not a single tourist will miss the Budapest Central Market either – you can’t leave Hungary without Hungarian salami, paprika, etc. Sausages and other meat and non-meat products of Hungarian agriculture are incredibly numerous here. True, prices are almost always higher than in a supermarket, but there are quite a few products that you will not find in a supermarket.
Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest. Construction began in 1854 and lasted 54 years. There is an observation deck on the dome. Access to the church itself is free, but you have to pay to climb the dome.
St. Stephen’s Basilica, 19th century
St. Stephen’s Basilica, 19th century
Basilica of St. Stephen – a casket with the relics of a saint
View of Budapest from the observation deck of St. Stephen’s Basilica
The Budapest synagogue is the largest not only in Hungary, but in general in Europe. Many Jews still live in this area of the city to this day.
Great synagogue of the 19th century
In general, you can walk in the center of Pest in any direction – everywhere there are beautiful buildings, public gardens, etc.
Church of the Virgin Mary XVIII century
Baths of Budapest
Budapest is the only European capital in which a huge number of mineral thermal springs operate. They are actively exploited – huge medical and bathing complexes have grown above the main ones, the buildings of which are not inferior in pathos to the buildings of the main Budapest avenues.
The cost of a day ticket ranges from 5 to 15 euros, depending on the location and promotion of the institution. The most expensive: the Gellert Bath, located at the foot of the hill of the same name, and the Szechenyi Bath, which is located near the Heroes’ Square. The latter is the largest bath in Europe and contains 15 outdoor pools and 13 indoor ones.
See also – currency exchange and transport of Budapest.
Tourist map of attractions in Budapest
Pest center map
Buda Hill Map