Top 10 Places to Visit in Budapest

Budapest, Hungary’s extraordinary capital, is halved by the River Danube with the impressive Chain Bridge linking the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. Lauded as the ‘Paris of the East, Budapest is not shy of fascinating historical sights, impressive monuments, refreshing baths, majestic castles and lovely hills. Whatever your sightseeing preferences, Budapest will definitely charm you. These are some of the finest places to visit in Budapest, Hungary’s incredible capital. For all of these great destinations, I highly recommend using TripAdvisor to start your booking process to get there!

1. Buda Castle & Castle Hill

Buda Castle Buda castle, Hungary

Set on the Buda side of the city and towering over the Danube River, Castle Hill houses some of Budapest’s most impressive attractions such as Buda Castle. Buda Castle’s green dome is the heart of Budapest’s skyline as it’s visible from anywhere in the city. Buda Castle and palace complex was once the home of Hungarian kings and queens but is now a collection of museums open to the public. The palace is divided into three museums: The Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum, and the National Széchényi Library.

2. St. Stephen’s Basilica

St Stephen's Basilica, Hungary St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest

The architectural majesty of St Stephen’s Basilica is a sight to behold. Dedicated to St. Stephen, Hungary’s holy king and the founder of the Hungarian state, the cathedral’s construction started in 1851. The mummified right hand of St. Stephen, “the Holy Right Hand” is kept on the left of the main altar inside an ornate glass cabinet decorated with gold and rubies. This 97-meter masterpiece nearly blocking out the sky with its magnificent and monumental facade is one of the most photographed attractions in Budapest, its interior is decorated with statues, frescoes, mosaics, and famous works of contemporary artists.

3. Fisherman’s Bastion

Fishermans Bastion, Budapest Fishermans Bastion, Budapest

Found near the Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion is a famous sight named after the fishermen’s guild, which was largely known for protecting the stretch of the defenses. Built in Neo-Romanesque style, the design features 7 towers to represent the 7 Magyar tribes that founded the nation. Further, it’s divided into two courtyards, the northern part houses statues of Julianus and Gellert monks while the southern part has a bronze statue of St. Stephen. This is also where you will arguably find the best views of the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Danube River from the top, especially during the sunset.

4. Hungarian Parliament Building

Hungarian Parliament building Hungarian Parliament building

Set on the banks of the Danube River on the Pest side of the city, rests the intricate facades, majestic domes, and soaring spires of the famous Hungarian Parliament Building. Since it’s the seat of Hungary’s National Assembly, the Parliament Building plays a key role in the country’s governance and legislative affairs. This building has 29 entrances and four levels with 152 statues carved out of stone a staggering 691 rooms, as well as an impressive 19 kilometers of corridors and stairs. The Parliament House is a must-visit when in Budapest. 

5. Central Market Hall

Great Market Hall, Budapest Great Market Hall, Budapest

Central Market Hall is the oldest and largest indoor market in Budapest meaning there’s lots to see and buy.  On the three floors of this market, you’ll find a variety of spices, fruits, vegetables, cheese, local foods, cafeterias, eateries etc. Saturdays are typically the busiest days at the market since it’s closed on Sundays. To beat the crowds, plan a weekday visit preferably early in the morning. 

6. Matthias Church

Matthias Church, Budapest Matthias Church, Budapest

Perfectly placed in the Castle Hill district and next to Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church is one of Budapest’s most beautiful architectural displays and undoubtedly among the most beautiful churches in Europe. The church’s impeccable Gothic features and roof tiles that are made of Zsonay tiles are the stuff of architectural brilliance. Extraordinary architecture aside, visit the Ecclesiastical Art Museum located on the church’s medieval crypt which features a collection of sacred relics, stone carvings, and replicas of the Hungarian crown jewels.

7. Heroes’ Square

Heroes Square, Budapest Heroes Square, Budapest

Nestled between the Museum of fine arts and the Palace of Art, Heroes’ Square displays the iconic Millennium Monument which is a 36-meter column crowned by Archangel Gabriel that features depictions of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars on each side, who are believed to have led the Hungarian people from central Asia to the Carpathian basin. Heroes’ Square is the largest and most important square in Budapest.

8. Széchenyi Chain Bridge

Szechenyi chain bridge, Budapest Szechenyi chain bridge, Budapest

Széchenyi Chain Bridge was opened in 1849 and was seen as a symbol of reawakening and re-emergence. The bridge was the first permanent bridge to span the Danube in the country and links Buda to Pest. This suspended bridge is around 375 meters long and 16 meters wide with four lion statues at both bridgeheads. Be sure to check out Castle Bazaar and Royal Gardens along with the Clark Adam Square which are located around this bridge.

9. Széchenyi Baths

Szechenyi Baths, Budapest Szechenyi Baths, Budapest

Budapest is known as the ‘City of Spas’ due to its 120 geothermal springs. Szechenyi Thermal Bath is the biggest thermal spring in Europe and has three outdoor pools and 15 indoor pools, tourists can also enjoy steam rooms and saunas, along with exploring their spa massages. Other famous baths are the Gellert Bath and Rudas Bath.

10. Margaret Island

Margaret Island, Budapest Margaret Island, Budapest

Margaret Island is a 2.75-kilometer island situated in the middle of the Danube River and is Budapest’s main recreation and recuperative center for locals. The Palatinus Baths, a massive spa complex, is the main attraction on Margaret Island that has a bath with artificial waves, together with various medicinal, swimming, and children’s pools capable of accommodating up to 20,000 bathers at a time. Fun things to do on Margaret Island include visiting the ruins of a medieval convent, climbing an art nouveau water tower, kicking back in the Japanese or rose garden, or picnicking by the musical fountain.