9_Top_Attractions_in_Budapest_Hungarian Parliament

9 Top Attractions in Budapest

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Here are the top 9 attractions in Budapest! Budapest is a beautiful city in Hungary. And you can easily spend a week there, and not see everything. Use this guide and you will not miss out!

1. Tour of the Hungarian Parliament Building

Touring the Hungarian Parliament Building heads the list of the top attractions in Budapest. You can only book this tour 30 days in advance, not sooner. But English-speaking tours fill up fast. We recommend going first thing in the morning when the place just opens. It’s less crowded at this time.

Some fun facts about the Hungarian Parliament. The Hungarian Parliament is a UNESCO heritage site. The Parliament is 96 meters, this is the same height as St. Stevens Basilica. In fact, nothing can be taller than 96 meters on the Pest side. The Hungarian Parliament has the largest handmade carpet in Europe. The statues are made out of pyrogranite. Only Hungarian material was allowed to be used to build the parliament.

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The tour explains the Hungarian government as a bicameral system. Hungary as of March of 2022, elected its first female President in Katalin Novak. We learned that the Hungarian language is the most complicated as there are 44 letters in the alphabet. Another fun fact we learned was the Hungarian stenographers are world champions, despite writing in pencil! That is impressive!

2. Visit Matthias Church

Visiting Matthias Church is easily one of the top attractions in Budapest. Matthias Church is on the Buda side of Budapest which means it’s a serious hike up a hill but worth every sweat it took you to walk up that hill. Matthias Church is named after King Matthias who ordered the transformation of the original southern tower. It is located in front of Fisherman’s Bastion in Holy Trinity Square. It was built in 1015. In the second half of the 14th century, the church was constructed in a neo-gothic style. The roof is made from ceramic tile. The inside of the church has such beautiful tiles as well.

Matthias Church is a Roman Catholic Church. And lucky for you, we are Roman Catholic Bloggers. We have been to many churches in our travels and locally, but this church is one of my all-time favorites! It’s not as grand as St. Steven’s. Nor is it larger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. But there’s a uniqueness to it, that is architecturally beautiful without being overly gaudy.

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The best way to see a church in our opinion is to sit through a mass or a service. There were no English masses that fit our schedule, however, so we sat through a Hungarian mass, and followed our Laudate App to follow along. This gave us a chance to marvel at all the detail Matthias Church encompassed.

They also close the church to tourists at the time of mass, which is nice, because not all churches do this. So you can get some peace and quiet this way. Even if you’re not Catholic, we would recommend sitting through one service. This allows you free entry as well. But you must stay through the entire mass or service.

3. Visit Fisherman’s Bastion

Fisherman’s Bastion is also one of the top attractions in Budapest. Fisherman’s Bastion was established in 1902 in Holy Trinity Square. It’s open year-round and is free to go up to. The area is beautiful and the panoramic view of Buda and Pest is pretty spectacular when you look down the double stairs going down. The lookout towers used to be real castle walls. Eat at the cafe restaurant in Holy Trinity Square. The view is gorgeous! The food is okay, the drinks are better!

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4. You Must go on the Wine Cruise while in Budapest

There are various wine cruises one can take while in Budapest. But we recommend using Budapest River Cruise as our experience was exceptional and easily becomes one of the top attractions in Budapest! Choose the Budapest 7-tier wine tasting cruise. This allows you to taste 7 Hungarian wines. There’s also a live gypsy band and they are very good! This is usually held between 7-9 p.m. It’s a great time during the summer, as it at least cools down some at night. The boat itself is very well airconditioned, as one of the few places in all of Budapest you’ll find this respite from the heat.

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The cruise goes down the Danube River in Budapest City. They start seating people at 6:30, we recommend showing up on time, so you get a better seat. They also have a full bar if you are looking for more drinks. As we are pescatarians, we don’t recommend the dinner portion of the cruise as there wasn’t much to eat for us. But judging from seeing the food, we recommend eating at any one of Budapest’s fantastic local restaurants for better food and choices before you get onto the cruise.

The Parliament and the Buda Castle are supposed to light up at 9 p.m. in the summer, but it’s not exact. But after you get off the cruise, stick around near the Danube River and watch beautiful Budapest City light up!

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5. Hike up to Liberty Statue

Hiking up to the top to see Liberty Statue is one of our favorite top attractions in Budapest. Liberty Statue is on Gellert Hill. It was established in 1947 and represents Hungary’s Freedom from the Soviets in World War II. On the Statue is an inscription that was modified in 1989 after the transition from the communist rule to democracy. The inscription reads “To the memory of those all who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom, and prosperity of Hungary”.

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We recommend visiting the place early in the morning while it’s cool, as it’s a long hike up this hill, but the views are breathtaking looking down on the Danube River and the rest of Budapest. Definitely bring water, a small towel, and good shoes!

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6. You Must take a whirl around the Budapest Eye.

Budapest Eye may not at face value appear to be one of the top attractions in Budapest but when you sit in a pod and see the city view, you will change your mind! We would recommend getting advance priority tickets. It’s 4500 forint per person. But here’s the thing…this does not allow you to skip the initial line even though they don’t put that on their website. Once you get to the window, and there are only two available, you show them your priority ticket. They then give you an actual voucher. This is when the priority part comes in. And then you can go to a separate line so you can go on first.

We were initially upset as we paid for priority, but after going on the ride so quickly once we got to the window, we would recommend it, otherwise, you’ll have to wait in 2 lines. The Ferris Wheel goes around 3 full cycles. It’s slow too, so you get a nice chance to see Budapest and take pictures too. We would recommend going at night, after 9 p.m. as everything is lit up.

If you have a fear of Ferris Wheels, don’t worry, these are really nice seats, and it’s very well locked in. I am a little afraid of heights, and this was better than the Ferris wheel in Disneyland in California. 🙂

7. Take a Personal Tour inside the Dohangue Synagogue while in Budapest

To go on a vacation or a holiday, and not explore another culture is not living in our opinion. Taking a private tour inside the Dohangue Synagogue definitely made the list of one of the top attractions in Budapest! Learn something new, as we did when we took a personal tour inside the Dohangue Synagogue. Our tour guide was a Jewish woman who lost her father during the Holocaust which made this experience even more touching.

The website states you have to dress respectfully and not show certain body parts, but truthfully, they won’t turn you away. They will instead give you a poncho-like garment to put over you. For pictures and out of respect, we recommend adhering to their dress code. Men have to be wearing a hat while indoors, or they will give you a paper-made Kippa to put on with bobby pins to attach to your head. The women don’t have to cover their heads.

The Dohangue Synagogue is the second largest synagogue in the world only to New York. But New York’s Synagogue is only big in size. The Synagogue was built outside of the city walls due to Anti-Jewish laws. The beautiful building is off-centered to look toward Jerusalem. The Dohangue Synagogue looks like a Catholic Church inside. The builders were not Jewish, so they replicated the church to look Catholic. The Jewish people at the time wanted to become Hungarians. They wanted to assimilate. So the Jewish gesture was to accept the church as Catholic-like. The Dohangue Synagogue has a beautiful organ system inside. Orthodox Jews however won’t enter a church with organs because it’s considered work. Neologue Jews are more liberal, and thus these are the Jews that attend the Dohangue Synagogue.

3000 people can sit in this Dohangue Synagogue! Only Jewish men are required to come because ladies have children and housekeeping to do. There is a clear division of labor in the Jewish religion. Jewish Neologue times to worship are arranged, while Orthodox Jew’s services are based on the sun. The Dohangue Synagogue survived the War. Toni Curtis, an American helped fund the reconstruction of the synagogue. There’s a lot of oriental influence in the Synagogue. There’s an inscription along the top of the church. It is to be read from right to left. It says Praise God from sunrise to sunset and geographically from East to West.

The private tour guide took us outside to see the memorial and cemetery. Jewish cemeteries can’t be near synagogues. It’s against the rule. But 3000 people are buried outside the Dohangue Synagogue since 1945. It used to be a garden. They are able to get around the rule, by it not being an operating cemetery. We recommend the long private tour as it continues to the Hero’s temple which is a smaller temple.

There’s an area by the Danube River that shows a line of shoes. We recommend visiting the area as it serves as a Memorial for the Jews that were claimed as “victims” that were shot in the Danube. Sadly, Hungarian fascists shot the Jews but it doesn’t say that. Even in the current day, there is still a lot of anti-Semitism. She went on and showed us the Weeping Willow statue showing sorrow. She told us about Sir Nicholas Vinton who saved 669 Jewish babies out of the kindness of his heart.

Our tour guide also showed us another Jewish temple a couple of blocks away. This temple is more modern and is also used for entertainment purposes as it is owned by the government. She even recommended eating at some of the local Jewish establishments. Overall, the private tour was about 3 hours long, so bring some comfortable shoes and water. We would highly recommend it as we learned so much that you can’t get from a textbook or online.

8. Visit St. Steven’s Basilica while in Budapest

Visiting St. Steven’s Basilica is number 8 on our list of top 9 attractions in Budapest! Budapest is predominantly Catholic! St. Steven is responsible for Budapest being Catholic. The Basilica is named after Hungary’s first king. The Holy Right hand or the hand of King St. Stephen is housed at the church. The king was canonized on 15 August 1083. His right hand was found intact and because the body part belongs to a saint, it is called a relic. This relic was first held in Transylvania, then Dubrovnik, and then Vienna. It was finally brought to Buda in 1771. In 1944, it was moved to the West, and now back to Hungary since 19th August 1945! It’s definitely an adventurous hand!

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St. Steven’s Basilica is of the same height as the Hungarian Parliament topping out at 96 meters. Visitors can purchase tickets to go to the top of the church’s right tower and get a beautiful view of Budapest. From October to June, the tower is open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. And from July to September the tower is open from 10 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. There are other places in Budapest that give magnificent views, so we skipped the line and cost of the ticket and opted to go see a concert at St. Steven’s Basilica instead!

St. Steven’s has a beautiful organ system and remarkable acoustics. As such they house 70-minute concerts here. The concert consists of well-known and professional pianists, violinists, and opera singers! We would highly recommend seeing a concert here. We had such a great time! And then you get another chance of beautiful photos of the inside of the church at night, which has an added touch to it.

9. You Must go to a Thermal Bath while in Budapest

We saved the best for last. Visiting a thermal bath in Budapest is our favorite, top attraction in Budapest! There are over a dozen thermal baths in Budapest. Budapest is known as the “City of baths”. It sits on a fault line and the baths are naturally fed by 120 hot springs! The waters are rich in minerals. As such these thermal baths are good for both relaxation and medicinal purposes. They are also a lot of fun!!! We went to the Szechenyi Bath.

Szechenyi Bath is the largest thermal bath in all of Europe! Szechenyi has 15 different thermal pools! 3 of which are open air. It is composed of different medicinal properties and temperatures. There are also 10 saunas and steam cabins. There’s also a lazy river section that gives “lazy” a new meaning, as the water is so strong as it pushes people around the current. It’s extremely fun! We only wish it was bigger. Szechenyi Bath has a nice place to eat as well. Better food than what is offered in American water parks. Their lockers are pretty decent as well.

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The other popular place that is recommended in Budapest is called Gellert Bath and this is more upscale. There are only 10 pools here. They have a more strict adherence to what kind of bathing suit you can wear. The Gellert Bath is attached to the Gellert Hotel.

Overall, we cannot say enough great things about Budapest! We are so happy we went and would love to return again! Thank you, Budapest!


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4 thoughts on “9 Top Attractions in Budapest”

  1. Nice read on a lazy Labor Day Monday .
    It was great traveling to Budapest with you !
    Breath taking photos and information.
    You , as pretty as ever in your environment of adventure.
    Thank you 🙏
    Irene Mani

  2. A great post with lots of information about the interesting places to visit in Budapest: I have visited Budapest but still learned new things from reading this post.

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