The Quintessential Budapest City Guide for the First Time Visitor
7 Places That should be there on your Budapest City Tour Itinerary
Budapest, Hungary’s capital city, is one of the most vibrant and budget friendly cities not only in Hungary, but also in all of Europe, and it’s not surprising to say that, Budapest is one of the Best Destinations in the World for Solo Travellers, either. We highly recommend in this Budapest City Guide that you keep out at least 2-3 days of your time to explore Budapest at leisure, and experience the plethora of experiences it has to offer. Trust Me, you won’t be disappointed at all.
Budapest, if you didn’t already know, is also one of the Best European Cities for Nightlife, and when you do visit Budapest, and are looking for Where to Stay in Budapest, we highly recommend that you check out these Boutique Hotels in Budapest.
Budapest Castle District
The first are we recommend you to tick off your Budapest City Tour, in this Budapest City Guide is the Budapest Castle District.
Buda Castle sits on the south tip of the Castle Hill, bound on the north by what is known as the Castle District, which is famous for its medieval, Baroque and 19th-century houses, churches and public buildings. Buda Castle is a part of the Budapest World Heritage Site, as declared in 1987.
The easiest and least crowded way to enter the whole complex, is to get up to the Vienna gate, on the northern end of the Castle hill. Vienna Gate is just a small walk from the Szell Kalman Square, where you can get the Castle Bus, that goes up and down the castle district.
To reach back to the foot of the Chain Bridge, the best way is to walk back down, or if you want to enjoy some panoramic views of Budapest, while going down, you can take the funicular.
Apart from the Buda Castle, two of the main structures standing out are the Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Matthias Church is one of the oldest buildings in Budapest and also one of the finest and unique church. Matthias church is not only a church, but a museum and a venue for classical concerts as well.
Behind Matthias Church (as you look toward the Danube) is Budapest’s most famous lookout point: Fishermen’s Bastion which is almost 100 years old.
In medieval times, the fish market was nearby and the bastion was built to commemorate the fishermen who protected this part of the city. The seven tent-like turrets symbolize the seven Hungarian tribes that arrived at the Carpathian Basin in 896.
To see the Fisherman’s Bastion at its best, head down the spiralling stairs to the park below to catch a view of the spectacular lookout from below, before heading up again.
The lookout towers, provide one of the best panoramic views of Budapest, and you can spot not only the Chain Bridget, but also the Hungarian Parliament.
Szechenyi Chain Bridge
Spanning 380 m in length and 14.8 m in width, The Chain Bridge is one of the best-known landmarks of Budapest and connects Széchenyi Square on the Pest side to Clark Ádám Square in Buda, crossing the Danube.
Walking across the bridge offers an amazing view of the Hungarian Parliament, dominating the riverside in Pest, and the Castle hill towards the Buda end.
Related : 55 Best Things to do in Budapest
The Hungarian Parliament building which is also the world’s third largest Parliament building, is over 100 years old and is a magnificent example of Neo Gothic architecture. With over 691 rooms and 20 KM (12.5 miles) of stairs, the highest point of this palatial building is 96 m, same as that of St Stephens Basilica.
While the best views of the Hungarian Parliament are from the opposite side of the Danube, you can also enjoy the building from inside, through different guided tours, when the assembly is not in session. The tickets can be taken at gate ‘X’.
The Hungarian Parliament looks best at night, when its lit up.
St Stephens Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest, and the third highest church in Hungary, and can hold up to 8,500 people, and is not only one of the most important churches in Hungary but also a significant tourist attraction.
Built in the Neo-Classical architecture, the façade is anchored by two large bell towers, and the southern tower is home to Hungary’s biggest bell, weighing over 9 tonnes. One of the most memorable experiences is the panoramic view from the top, which can be accessed by elevators, or by climbing 364 stairs.
With a capacity of hosting 330 people in its 42 cars, and standing at a height of 65 m, this giant mobile Ferris wheel, located in Erzsébet tér, was inaugurated in April 2015, and offers fantastic panoramic views of Budapest. The wheel is lit up with over 10, 000 coloured lights in the night sky, and is a beauty to admire.
Great Market Hall
If you are thinking about food, souvenirs, wine, paprika – there’s one place where you get it all, under one roof, and that’s the Great Market Hall, which is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest, located on the Pest side of the Liberty Bridge.
You can find all sorts of meat products, paprika, fresh vegetables and fruits, Tokaj wines, Palianka, candies, and various spices on the ground floor. Go one level up, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a variety of souvenirs, and the smell of yummy food pulling you towards it. A definitely must try is the Langos, which not only is one of the Best Street Food in Europe, but also the top recommendation in this Budapest Food Guide.
The famous Ruin Bars – Szimpla Kert
In the early 2000’s, the inner part of the VII District was made up of abandoned and crumbling buildings. Once the site of the Jewish ghetto, the historic Jewish Quarter became dilapidated in the decades following World War II, after the deportation of 10,000s Jews. In 2002, the guys behind Szimpla opened up the very first venue on Kertész utca – where you’ll find the Szimpla Café today. Szimpla Kert, located on the bustling Kazinczy Street in downtown Budapest, which began as a small experiment – a bar set up in an abandoned building offering affordable drinks for the young and creative crowd in Budapest, is the mother of all ruin pubs, and without a doubt the most famous one among theses 7 Amazing Ruin Bars in Budapest.
Szimpla not only became the hottest place to party, but it also set a trend and a movement for alternative spaces. Szimpla became a bohemian hub after the crumbling building got spruced up with local design and vintage, mismatched furniture, and is now one of the world’s most famous bars.
A lot of these places, recommended in this Budapest City Guide are in walking distance of each other. While the Budapest Castle District, Fisherman Bastion and Matthias Church lie on the Buda side, the remaining of the attractions lie on the Pest side, which is connected to Buda through a number of bridges like the famous Chain Bridge or the Elizabeth Bridge.
While the free walking tours, takes you to all these places of interest, mentioned in this Budapest City Guide, but the walking tour by Absolute Tours, goes a step ahead, and takes you to the Hero’s Square, and a sampling of the traditional strudels is also included, which adds on to the experience.
If you are planning on visiting Budapest, you should definitely check out whether the Budapest Card is worth the buck or not.
I hope you found this Budapest City Guide, to be of help to you, as a reliable Travel Resource for planning your Trip to Budapest in Hungary. Don’t forget to Pin these images, and save this Budapest City Tour Itinerary, for future travel planning.
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