Top 10 Sights in Budapest



Budapest, the enchanting capital of Hungary, is a city rich in history, culture, and stunning architecture. From its majestic castles and historic churches to vibrant markets and relaxing thermal baths, Budapest offers a diverse array of attractions that captivate every traveler. This guide will take you through the top ten must-see sights in Budapest, providing insights into their historical significance, architectural beauty, and unique highlights, ensuring you experience the very best this magnificent city has to offer.

Travel Guide: Top 10 Sights in Budapest, Hungary

1. Buda Castle

  • History: Buda Castle, also known as the Royal Palace, was first constructed in the 13th century following the Mongol invasion. It has been rebuilt and expanded several times due to wars and destruction, particularly during the Ottoman era and World War II. The current Baroque-style palace was largely completed in the 18th century.
  • Details: The massive castle complex sprawls over the southern tip of Castle Hill. It houses important cultural institutions, including the Hungarian National Gallery, which features a vast collection of Hungarian art from the Middle Ages to the present day, the Budapest History Museum, detailing the history of Budapest from Roman times onward, and the National Széchényi Library, which contains historical documents.
  • Highlights: The castle courtyards are a favorite spot for visitors, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Danube River, the Chain Bridge, and the Pest side of the city. The interior exhibitions provide a deep dive into Hungary’s artistic and historical heritage. Don’t miss the Changing of the Guards ceremony in the castle courtyard.
  • Location: Szent György tér 2, 1014 Budapest

2. Parliament Building

  • History: The Hungarian Parliament Building, inaugurated in 1902, was designed by Imre Steindl in a Gothic Revival style. It was inspired by the British Parliament in London. The building symbolizes Hungary’s newfound independence and national pride following the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867.
  • Details: This architectural marvel is one of the largest parliament buildings in the world, boasting 691 rooms, 29 staircases, and a length of 268 meters. Its central dome rises to 96 meters, commemorating the year 896, when the Magyars settled in the Carpathian Basin.
  • Highlights: Guided tours are available in several languages, taking visitors through the grand staircase, the Dome Hall where the Crown Jewels and the Holy Crown of Hungary are displayed, and the opulent Assembly Hall. The exterior is stunning, especially when illuminated at night.
  • Location: Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, 1055 Budapest

3. St. Stephen’s Basilica

  • History: Named after Hungary’s first king, Stephen I, the basilica was built over 50 years and completed in 1905. It is a major site for Catholic pilgrimage and a symbol of the Hungarian nation.
  • Details: This neoclassical church is the largest in Budapest and can accommodate up to 8,500 people. Its architectural features include a grand dome, two bell towers, and intricate interior decorations.
  • Highlights: Visitors can ascend the dome for a 360-degree view of Budapest. Inside, the right hand of St. Stephen, the nation’s most revered relic, is displayed in the Chapel of the Holy Right. Regular concerts are held in the basilica, taking advantage of its excellent acoustics.
  • Location: Szent István tér 1, 1051 Budapest

4. Fisherman’s Bastion

  • History: Constructed between 1895 and 1902, the Fisherman’s Bastion was designed by Frigyes Schulek to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian state. Its name refers to the guild of fishermen who defended this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages.
  • Details: This terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style features seven towers representing the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin in 895.
  • Highlights: The Bastion provides some of the best views in Budapest, particularly of the Parliament Building across the Danube. Nearby, the Matthias Church impresses with its colorful tiled roof and Gothic spire. The area is especially magical at sunset.
  • Location: Szentháromság tér, 1014 Budapest

5. Chain Bridge

  • History: The Széchenyi Chain Bridge, completed in 1849, was the first permanent bridge to span the Danube, uniting Buda and Pest into a single city. It was designed by English engineer William Tierney Clark and built by Scottish engineer Adam Clark.
  • Details: The bridge is a suspension bridge with large stone lions guarding both ends. It played a crucial role in Hungary’s economic development and national unity.
  • Highlights: Walking across the bridge provides stunning views of the Buda Castle and the Parliament Building. The bridge is beautifully lit at night, making it a romantic spot for an evening stroll. The annual fireworks on August 20th, Hungary’s national day, are best viewed from here.
  • Location: Between Széchenyi Square and Clark Ádám Square

6. Heroes’ Square

  • History: Built in 1896 for the Millennium celebrations of Hungary’s foundation, Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) honors the leaders of the seven tribes that founded Hungary and other important historical figures.
  • Details: The square is dominated by the Millennium Monument, with the Archangel Gabriel at its pinnacle holding the Holy Crown of Hungary. Statues of Hungarian kings and national leaders line the colonnades.
  • Highlights: The monument’s grandeur and the surrounding statues create a powerful sense of history. The square is flanked by the Museum of Fine Arts and the Kunsthalle (Hall of Art), making it a cultural hub.
  • Location: Hősök tere, 1146 Budapest

7. Széchenyi Thermal Bath

  • History: Opened in 1913, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the largest medicinal bath in Europe, fed by two thermal springs. The baths were built in a Neo-Baroque style and have been a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
  • Details: The complex includes 18 pools, both indoor and outdoor, with varying temperatures. There are also saunas, steam rooms, and facilities for medical treatments.
  • Highlights: The outdoor pools are especially popular, offering warm water even in winter. The atmosphere is lively and relaxing, with people often playing chess while soaking in the thermal waters. The grand architecture adds to the experience, making it one of Budapest’s must-visit spots.
  • Location: Állatkerti krt. 9-11, 1146 Budapest

8. Great Market Hall

  • History: The Great Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok) was opened in 1897 and designed by Samu Pecz. It was heavily damaged during World War II but has since been restored to its former glory.
  • Details: The market is spread over three floors and features a stunning neo-Gothic exterior with colorful Zsolnay tiles on the roof. Inside, vendors sell everything from fresh produce to meats, cheeses, pastries, and traditional Hungarian crafts.
  • Highlights: The first floor is a culinary delight with an array of Hungarian specialties, including sausages, salamis, and paprika. The second floor offers traditional Hungarian street food, such as lángos (deep-fried dough with toppings), and various souvenirs. The basement level has fishmongers and pickled goods.
  • Location: Vámház krt. 1-3, 1093 Budapest

9. Matthias Church

  • History: Matthias Church, officially named the Church of Our Lady, was built in the 14th century and has been a central site for many historical events, including coronations of Hungarian kings. It was extensively restored in the late 19th century by Frigyes Schulek.
  • Details: The church stands out with its unique Gothic architecture and colorful Zsolnay ceramic roof tiles. The interior is richly decorated with frescoes and stained glass windows.
  • Highlights: The interior is breathtaking, featuring beautiful frescoes and intricate woodwork. The Ecclesiastical Art Museum, located in the church, displays medieval and Renaissance stone carvings, sacred relics, and replicas of the Hungarian royal crown and coronation jewels. The church’s tower offers splendid views of Budapest.
  • Location: Szentháromság tér 2, 1014 Budapest

10. Gellért Hill and the Citadel

  • History: Gellért Hill, named after St. Gerard who was thrown to his death from the hill, has been a strategic vantage point for centuries. The Citadel was built by the Habsburgs in 1851 after the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49 to control the city.
  • Details: The hill offers extensive green spaces and walking trails. At its peak stands the Citadel, a fortress with historical significance, and the Liberty Statue, erected in 1947 to commemorate those who died for Hungary’s independence.
  • Highlights: The panoramic views from Gellért Hill are unrivaled, encompassing the Danube River, the Buda Castle, and the sprawling city of Pest. The Citadel itself is a fascinating site, and the Liberty Statue is a symbol of freedom and resilience. The hill is also home to the Gellért Thermal Bath, another beautiful spa complex.
  • Location: Gellérthegy, 1118 Budapest

Enjoy exploring the rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture of Budapest through these incredible sights!