Read about the city

Budapest is one of the grand capitals along the Danube River, and its magnificent history dates back to Roman times and the military outpost Aquincum. There are still remains of excavated facilities to be seen from the Roman era, and since then, one of the most beautiful cities in Central Europe has grown on both sides of the river.

The hilly Buda district stands opposite the flat Pest, and the two boroughs are located on either side of the Danube, which wind through the Hungarian capital. The city is extremely rich in monuments from all periods over the last 2,000 years, and combined with its very beautiful location it offers ample opportunity for many great sights and interesting activities.

The hot springs of the city are unique and some very popular attractions, which for many is one of the reasons for a trip to Budapest. In several of the city's spas and pools, you can go into the warm water year-round and both outdoors and indoors. And an added benefits is the decoration and architectural style of many of the grand spas.

Budapest has of course everything else that belongs to a large European capital with a rich history. Here are a lot of beautiful churches, large institutional buildings, pedestrian streets, museums and much more. You can also make some nice day trips out of town, and town along the Danube are great choices with much to see.

Other attractions

Gresham Palace, Budapest

  • Gresham Palace/Gresham Palota: Gresham Palace is located along the Danube and off the beautiful Széchenyi lánchíd chain bridge. It was built in 1907 as one of the city's finest buildings of that time in a magnificent Art Nouveau style. Today it is one of the fine hotels in Budapest.
  • Alexander Palace/Sándor palota: Sándor palota is the name of the building which is the official residence and office of the Hungarian President. The palace was damaged in World Wat II and renovated after the system change in 1989. By 2002 the restoration was complete and it got the present status the following year.
  • Buda Funicular Railway/Budavári Sikló: You can take the funicular railway from the banks of the river Danube to the Buda Castle. It was built in 1870 by initiative from private investors.
  • Budapest Historical Museum/Budapesti Történeti Múzeum: This museum, housed in the southern wing of Buda Castle, depicts the history of Budapest. You can see different models of the city's development and a variety of themed exhibitions from medieval times to today.

Freedom Bridge, Budapest

  • Liberty Bridge/Szabadság híd: The Liberty Bridge is one of the distinctive bridges that span the Danube and connect the Buda and Pest districts. The bridge was constructed 1894-1896, and it is 336 meters/1,102 feet long and 20 meters/65 feet wide.
  • Gellért Hill/Gellért hegy: This is a 235 meter/771 feet high hill where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Budapest and the Danube river on its way through the Hungarian capital.
  • Hungary State Opera/Magyar Állami Operaház: Hungary's State Opera in Budapest was built 1875-1884. The style is Renaissance and the building is very richly decorated. The foyer, the main staircase and the large stage with the mighty royal lodge are of particular interest.

Freedom Square, Budapest

  • Liberty Square/Szabadság tér: Liberty Square is one of Budapest's large open spaces. The monument to the Soviet liberation of Budapest in World War II stands here. It is an obelisk with a red star at the top, and it was built in memory of the fallen Soviet soldiers in the fighting for the city.
  • Váci Street/Váci utca: The street Váci utca is the city's fine shopping street with cafes and shops. The houses are mainly from the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. A stroll here is a wonderful experience, and you can notice many beautiful details on the buildings.
  • The Great Market Hall/Nagycsarnok: The Great Market Hall is, in many people's opinion, Budapest's most beautiful market, and it is the largest indoor market hall. It was built 1894-1896.
  • New York Café/New York Kávéház: The New York Café is an opportunity to explore Budapest around 1900. The cafe is located in the luxury New York Palace hotel and it opened in 1894. Today, the interior look just like inthe old days with all the decoration that belonged to the late 1800s.
History overview

    Read about city history

    Aquincum
    The central location of Rome's Aquincum Budapest on the Carpathian plain has for thousands of years brought various peoples to it, including Celts, Romans, Huns, Mongols and Germans.

    The first settlement stood the Celts for about the year 0, and in the following centuries the Romans came to the area. They established Aquincum in present-day Óbuda, and as a fortified military post it became the capital of the Lower Pannonia region in 106.

    Hungary is founded
    Later the Magyars (Hungarians) arrived from western Siberia. They settled in the area and thus became the start of what later became Hungary. The Magyars were a horsemen, and it took time before they settled down and founded real cities.

    After being defeated by the Germans in 955 in the Hungarian territory, and with the coronation of Stefan (Istvan) as the country's first king in 1000, the country Hungary was founded.

    The country's first 250 years were affected by many disputes over the throne, weakening the country which lost territories to neighboring countries. To stop this development, the castle of Buda was built in 1247-1265 under Béla IV, and at the same time Pest became a city with royal privileges.

    Prosperity and stagnation
    The new measures strengthened the cities of the Danube, which experienced a boom. The royal palace was expanded, a university in Óbuda was founded, and the first bridge over the Danube was built. The times of the rise came after the reign of Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490), under which Budapest had become one of Europe's leading cities and the absolute capital of Hungary.

    In 1526, Budapest was attacked by the Turks, who destroyed parts of the city before re-entering the city in 1541. It was a time when Budapest and Hungary's period of independence and relative prosperity had ended.

    Hungary under Habsburgs
    The country's own resistance and the aid from Austria sent the Turks to flight in 1686, after which Hungary became a province in Austria's Habsburg Empire.

    It was the start of Budapest's great growth, both financially and culturally. Buda became German-speaking under the name Ofen, and in the late 18th century it was the country's administrative center and a royal garrison town, while Pest developed as the region's trading town. The plague's development led to a significant expansion of the city, and the city walls had to be removed. Around 1800, 50,000 lived in the urban area.

    In keeping with the positive development of Budapest, a growing national consciousness emerged throughout the Hungarian area. In 1849, it led to an uprising and a declared independence led by Lajos Kossuth. However, the Habsburg Empire managed to fight the rebellion quickly.

    The Hungarians continued the resistance passively, and after some military defeat for the Habsburgs, the double monarchy of Austria-Hungary was created in 1867. The Hungarian position in the kingdom was considerably strengthened.

    Merging and new growth
    The three cities of Buda, Pest and Óbuda were separate cities until 1873, when Hungary's new role in the monarchy brought together a single city, Budapest. The time after the creation of the dual monarchy and the merging of cities into one became unparalleled for Budapest's economy and cultural flourishing.

    Large parts of today's Budapest are listed during this period. The large boulevards of the town plan were built, large typical houses were built and the distinguished parliament, the Mathias church and other large monuments were erected. One of the highlights of the Belle Epoque era was the six-month exhibition in Budapest in 1896 in celebration of the millennium for the Magyars' conquest of the Hungarian territory. That same year, the first metro on the European continent was opened here.

    Dissolution of the double monarchy
    The Austro-Hungarian Empire entered World War I with Germany.
    The defeat meant a fragmentation of the great kingdom of the Habsburgs, and Hungary became a republic. The Hungarian Communists had power in Budapest until Romanian armies entered the country five months later.

    With the end of World War I, Hungary was greatly reduced and given the size it has today. During World War II, parts of Budapest were destroyed, including the Buda castle and the Danube bridges.

    Communism and New Freedom
    In 1947, Hungary's communists were elected as the country's rulers, a position that remained in place until 1989. In 1956, fighting broke out in the streets of Budapest. The end of this national uprising occurred when Soviet forces seized the city and restored peace in the country.

    In the decades following the uprisings, reforms were continually launched, creating cultural and economic development and prosperity in not least Budapest. Janos Kádár's regime fell with the general political upheaval in the region in the late 1980s. After 15 years as the new Hungarian Republic, the country joined the EU in 2004 with Budapest as the capital of modern Hungary.
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Budapest, Kædebroen, Széchenyi Lánchíd, 1051 Ungarn

Top attractions

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest

  • Fisherman's Bastion/Halászbástya: This is a beautiful terrace with one large and six smaller towers. The terrace was established in the years 1895-1902. From the bastion's terrace you have a fantastic view over the Danube and to the Pest district. The place is popular with locals and tourists for the fine views.
  • Buda Castle/Budai Vár: The history of Buda Castle began in the mid-1200s, when King Béla IV commissioned the first royal residence. The present castle has been rebuilt after the destruction of World War II. In 1966, the exterior was finished while the interior was completed in the 1980s. Today, the castle is home to various museums.

Szcchenyi Bridge, Budapest

  • Széchenyi Bridge/Széchenyi Lánchíd: The Széchenyi Bridge is one of Budapest's landmarks. It was built in 1849 as the first permanent bridge across the Danube, and thus there was also a new and large connection between the district of Buda and Pest. In the evening, the city is beautifully illuminated, and here the bridge and the entire course of the Danube through the Hungarian capital is an unforgettable sight.
  • Parliament/Országház: Budapest's large neo-Gothic parliament building was built in mainly neo-Gothic style in 1885-1904. The building is beautifully located along the Danube as one of Budapest's absolute landmarks. The dome is 96 meters/315 feet high and contains the beautiful Dome Hall with the grand staircase.

St Stephen Cathedral, Budapest

  • St. Stephen Cathedral/Szent István Basilica: The cathedral in Budapest was built in the years 1851-1905 as the most impressive church in Hungary at this time. The central dome reaches a height of 96 meters/315 feet, making it one of the tallest buildings in the city.
  • Metro Line 1 (M1)/Millenniumi Földalatti Vasút (M1): Line 1 of Budapest's subway is the second oldest in the world, only parts of the London Underground is older. The line is now inscribed in UNESCO's list of world heritage sites. The line was built 1894-1896.
  • Heroes' Square/Hősök tere: Heroes' Square is one of Budapest's most impressive squares. The Millennium Monument/Ezredéves emlékmű stands as the center piece. It was built from 1896 at the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of Hungary's founding. The monument was completed in 1929 and is now one of the city's landmarks.

Szcchenyi Baths, Budapest

  • Széchenyi Baths/Széchenyi strandfürdő: The impressive castle-like thermal baths, Széchenyi, is Europe's largest and considered by many to be Budapest's best. The baths are built in the city park and opened in 1914 with the buildings in imposing neo Baroque architecture.
  • National Museum/Nemzeti Múzeum: The Hungarian National Museum, founded in 1802, contains the country's largest collections of art and artifacts from the history of Hungary. The large current Neoclassical-style museum building dates from 1837-1847.
  • Parisian Arcade/Párizsi udvar: This is an arcade in a distinguished eclectic style built with Gothic and Moorish elements in the early 1900s. A trip to the Paris Arcade is like getting to the beginning of 20th century with its architecture and shopping malls.
Trips in the area

Esztergom, Hungary

  • Esztergom: This city is Hungary's religious center, being the seat of the country's archbishop and thereby the headquarters of the country's Roman Catholic church. Esztergom Cathedral is Hungary's largest church and also among the largest in the world. In addition to the cathedral, there are many beautiful buildings in Esztergom, whose old town is definitely worth a stroll.
  • János Mountain Chairlift & Elisabeth View Tower/János-Hegy Libegö & Erzsébet Kilátó: The trip to Budapest's highest point should be taken with the János Mountain Chairlift. The reward is fabulous views from the top of the 23.5 meter/77 feet high viewing tower.
  • Aquincum: The Roman city of Aquincum was founded in the year 89 and it was the capital of the Roman province of Pannonia Inferiore. When it was at its peak, the city had about 60,000 inhabitants. In the area you can see the ruins of public baths, which were also used by the Romans as a meeting place, as well as the Marcellum market hall.
  • Szentendre: Szentendre is a very cozy city, with numerous uildings from the Middle Ages and the 18th century, some museums and in general much to see and do for tourists.

Balaton, Hungary

  • Balaton: The Hungarian Lake Balaton is the largest in Central Europe, and it is the "sea of ​​Hungary" with everything that comes from swimming, water sports and coastal relaxation. In summer, the lake's water is often warm, so the place is a very nice alternative to, for example, a trip to the Mediterranean beaches.
  • Siófok: Siófok is Balaton's largest holiday area, and in the summer many tourists come here to enjoy the beautiful beaches and the many activities and entertainment offerede in and around Siófok.
  • Balatonfüred: Balatonfüred is the largest holiday town on the north shore of Balaton. The city was the first resort to be built here, and the tourists arrived already in the 18th century.
  • Tihany: The town of Tihany on the peninsula of the same name is one of Balaton's most see-worthy places. It is set above the lake and offers one of the most beautiful views to the great Balaton lake.
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