Summary of contents of this post
I am convinced that when you started to organize your trip to Budapest you found yourself a little lost at first with which are the most important places, where they are, which are the points of interest, how far away they are from each other … So in this post we will share with you our essential in Budapest in which at a glance you can get an idea of which are the most important points of interest.
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If you need more information about the city, you can consult our Budapest guide and the rest of the post we have written about it: how to get from Budapest airport to the city centre, the best bathrooms in Budapest, how much a trip to Budapest costs, where to sleep in Budapest, how to get around Budapest or all the information about the boat trip on the Danube.
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These are our essentials in Budapest
Before you start planning your days in Budapest, it’s best to take a look at our essentials in Budapest so you can decide which areas you’re most interested in and which you’ll finally decide to sacrifice if you don’t have time for everything. I’m sure our Budapest guide will also help you 😉
These would be the essential places and areas in Budapest, which you will be able to distinguish in this map:
Parliament of Hungary
Essential in Budapest: Parliament of Budapest
I think it’s definitely one of the most impressive buildings we’ve ever seen. No matter how many times you’ve seen it in a picture, in person it’s a pass. It is the largest building in Hungary and was intentionally erected right in front of the Royal Palace on the other side of the Danube River. It was designed in 1885 by Imre Steindl and is inspired by the Westminster Palace in London.
2. Bastion of the Fishermen, one of the great indispensable in Budapest
Essential in Budapest: Fishermen’s Bastion
One of the great emblems of the city and one of the best viewpoints of the Hungarian capital. Although medieval in appearance, this ‘pseudo-fortress’ was built in 1905, so it doesn’t have as much history as it wants to appear. The Fishermen’s Bastion was designed by the architect Frigyes Schulek, who was also in charge of the construction of the Matthias church, located in the same square as the Bastion.
3. Monument of the Shoes
Essential in Budapest: Monument of the Shoes
This is one of the most impressive monuments in the city. The Shoes monument on the Danube is a tribute to Hungarian Jews shot and thrown into the river by members of the fascist Arrow Cross party in 1944. These 60 pairs of cast iron shoes and boots are a painful representation of the innocent lives lost in those tragic years for Europe and the world.
4. Chain Bridge
Essential in Budapest: Chain Bridge
The Chain Bridge is undoubtedly a symbol of the city. This beautiful bridge is almost as beautiful at night as it is during the day, so don’t waste the opportunity to admire it with the different lights of each day. Simply beautiful.
5. Budapest Grand Synagogue
Essential in Budapest: Great Synagogue
The Great Synagogue of Budapest, with a capacity for 3,000 people, is the largest Jewish house of prayer in the world only after New York, which is soon said. It was built in 1859 and combines several architectural styles in its rosettes, its two-colored bricks or its copper domes presiding over the towers.
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6. Central Market of Budapest, for us one of the indispensable ones in Budapest
Essential in Budapest: Central Market
From the outside, the building is really impressive. The most beautiful markets we’ve seen in Europe. The market is huge and it is a place where the countrymen come to buy fresh products: fruit, vegetables, meat, sausages… In fact, during the time we spent there we didn’t even see a tourist, although it is true that it was quite early. Upstairs there are souvenir, fabric and food stalls.
7. Citadel and Hill Gellért
Essential in Budapest: Views from Géllert Hill
This fortress over 200 meters long has not seen a battle in its entire history. It was built by the Habsburgs after the War of Independence in the mid-nineteenth century to defend the city from future strife. But the reality is, he never did. You can’t visit it from the inside, but it’s worth going up because of the wonderful views of the city.
8. Buda Castle
Essential in Budapest: Buda Castle
The Buddha Hill, home to the Royal Palace and the Buddha Castle, is a small mountain 170 metres above the Danube which houses several of Budapest’s most important monuments and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, after dozens of reconstructions due to wars, the Buddha Castle houses the Széchenyi Library, the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.
9. Vajdahunyad Castle and Varosliget Park
Essential in Budapest: Vajdahunyad Castle
Vajdahunyad Castle, with its unpronounceable name, was originally built in wood for the Expo in 1896 and when it was finished it was rebuilt in stone. Without a doubt, this was one of the most charming places we visited in Budapest. The interior of the castle houses a museum and a simply beautiful church.
10. Szechenyi Baths
Essential in Budapest: Szechenyi Spa ResortEssential in Budapest: Szechenyi Spa Resort
This spa, together with Rudas and Géllert, is one of the best known in Budapest. The funniest thing about Szechenyi Baths are their outdoor pools where you can stay warm while the ambient temperature approaches 0º. This spa has a total of 12 swimming pools, between indoor and outdoor, reaching up to 40º.
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11. Szimpla Kert
Szimpla Kert is one of the city’s best-known ruin bars and the most bizarre and charming place I’ve ever been to. If I had to describe it I wouldn’t know very well how to do it, so I think it’s best if I show you some photo.
Essential in Budapest: Szimpla KertEssential in Budapest: Szimpla KertEssential in Budapest: Szimpla Kert
Imagine an abandoned industrial building full of meaningless junk, colorful lights, the smell of alcohol and many people wanting to have a good time. That’s the Szimpla Kert. A place that we strongly recommend you to have a drink at the end of the day (they don’t serve food, so you’ll have to have dinner somewhere else).
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