1. Halászbástya (Fisherman’s Bastion)
One of several landmarks that were built in the late 1800s to celebrate the 1000-year anniversary of the founding of Hungary, the Fisherman’s Bastion is made up of 7 towers, representing the 7 Magyar tribes that founded the nation. Sitting atop Castle Hill, the Bastion provides some of the most spectacular views of the Danube and city.
2. Az Országház (House of the Nation)
The House of the Nation, or Hungarian Parliament building, is the third largest parliament building in the world. Finished in 1902 after nearly 20 years of construction, it was built almost exclusively with Hungarian materials and contains 691 rooms. It also houses the Hungarian Crown Jewels.
3. Szent István Bazilika (St. Stephen’s Basilica)
The largest church in Budapest, St. Stephen’s Basilica was built over the course of 50 years in the 1800s. Originally the design of architect József Hild, it’s construction was mostly overseen by the renowned Miklós Ybl, one of the leading architects of the time who also designed the Budapest Opera House. At 96 meters high, its center dome is as tall as that of the Hungarian Parliament.
4. Dohány Utcai Zsinagóga (Dohány Street Synagogue)
The Dohány Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and second largest synagogue in the world. Constructed in the 1850s, it’s style has influenced that of later synagogues, most notably New York City’s Central Synagogue.
5. Mátyás-templom (Matthias Church)
Over 700 years old, Mátyás-templom was the site of the coronation of Franz Joseph I of Austria and his wife Elizabeth, which marked the establishment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867. Its roof is tiled in ceramics from the renowned Zsolnay factory of Hungary.
6. Budavári Palota (Buda Castle)
Also known as the Royal Palace, Buda Castle sits atop Castle Hill on the Buda side of the city. The site of lavish ceremonies during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, it is now home to the Budapest History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery, and the National Széchényi Library.
7. Iparművészeti Múzeum (Museum of Applied Arts)
Established in 1872, the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts is the third of its kind in Europe. In addition to its extensive collections of works largely originating from the Hungarian National Museum and purchased through world fairs, it has an entire treasury of objects once owned by one of Hungary’s wealthiest aristocratic families, the Esterházys. Its roof, like that of the Matthias Church, is made of Zsolnay tiles.
9. Széchenyi Lánchíd (Széchenyi Chain Bridge)
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in Europe, and the first permanent bridge to connect the Buda and Pest sides of Budapest, when it was built in the mid-1800s. Today, it is widely regarded as the most beautiful bridge in the city. Rumor has it that its two guardian lions have no tongues— they do, you just can’t see them from the ground.
10. Vajdahunyad vára (Vajdahunyad Castle)
Located in Budapest’s City Park, Vajdahunyad Castle hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, as well as the exhibitions of the Hungarian Agricultural Museum. During the summer and fall, residents and tourists can boat leisurely on the lake, while in winter it becomes an ice skating rink.
11. Hősök Tere (Heroes Square)
Located at the end of Budapest’s main shopping street, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes Square is a Unesco World Heritage site. Home to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art, its most prominent feature is the Millenium Memorial, built in 1900 to commemorate the 1000-year anniversary of the arrival of the Magyar tribes to the region that is now Hungary.
12. Párizsi Udvar (Parisian Arcade)
Built in the early 20th Century, the Parisian Arcade was once an ornate and lavish shopping center. Modeled after the Passage des Panoramas in Paris, the Arcade was built in myriad styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau, and is now a largely empty, but nevertheless stunning, work of architecture in Budapest. It was also the filming location for part of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
13. Boscolo Budapest Hotel
Formerly the New York Palace, the Boscolo Budapest’s greatest draw is the New York Café, a traditional coffeehouse of muraled ceilings and gilded columns that was at the forefront of Budapest’s café scene at the turn of the 19th century.
14. Magyar Állami Operaház (Hungarian State Opera House)
When it first opened in the 1884, the Opera House was such a spectacle that eager crowds overran security guards in order to catch a glimpse of the ornate architecture.
15. A Cipők a Duna-parton (Shoes on the Danube)
Created by Hungarian sculptor Gyula Pauer and his friend Can Togay in 2005, Shoes on the Danube pays tribute to Hungarian Jews who were killed by the river at the hands of the Arrow Cross Party, one of Hungary’s most notorious fascist organizations, in the 1940s. Because shoes were very valuable at the time, victims were asked to remove theirs before execution. Each sculpted pair is modeled after actual shoes of the time.
16. Szépművészeti Múzeum (Museum of Fine Arts)
Dedicated largely to exploring the visual and artistic history of Europe, the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts houses an extensive collection of European, as well as Egyptian, works, including an equestrian sculpture by Leonardo da Vinci. It also features the second largest collection of Spanish artwork outside of Spain.
17. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace
Divided into small apartments under the People’s Republic of Hungary, Gresham Palace was returned to the city in 1990, and contains beautiful art nouveau details, such as stained glass, mosaics, and wrought iron.
18. Budavári Sikló (Budapest Castle Hill Funicular)
Originally constructed in the late 19th century as a way for workers on Budapest’s Castle Hill to commute, the funicular now offers panoramic views for visitors to the city.
19. Margitsziget (Margaret Island)
Perched in the middle of the Danube River, Margaret Island has been, at various times in history, home to several churches and cloisters, a harem under the Ottoman Empire, and a resort for royal dignitaries. It was eventually declared a public park in 1908, and features several swimming pools, a Japanese Garden, and an Art Nouveau style water tower.
23. Memento Park
Memento Park is an open air museum devoted to exploring the Communist era, particularly its grand and symbolic sculptures. One of the most popular attractions within the park is the Grandstand and Stalin’s Boots, a 1:1 replica of of the stand where Communist leaders would make appearances and the boots of the Stalin Monument that was torn down during Hungary’s 1956 October Revolution.
26. Keleti & Nyugati Pályaudvarok (Eastern & Western Railway Stations)
Hungary’s two most important train stations, the Keleti (pictured first) and the Nyugati connect Budapest to the rest of Hungary, as well as major cities on either side of Europe, including Vienna, Bucharest, Munich, and Moscow.
28. Villamos (Tram)
With over 96 miles of track, the Budapest tram network is one of the largest in the world, as well as the most popular source of transportation in the city. Tram No. 2 follows the curve of the Danube River and provides gorgeous views of the Buda side of the city.
29. A Duna (The Danube)
The Danube River is the longest river in the EU and the second longest river on the continent of Europe. It winds through Budapest, separating the two sides of the city—Buda, on the West, and Pest, on the East.