If you have an itinerary that allows you a chance to get to Budapest, seize the opportunity! There are some really wonderful things to see and do. Here are my top picks:
- The Hungarian Parliament Building is one of the defining landmarks of Budapest. It sure does look gorgeous all lit up at night! To get the best views, you need to head across to the opposite side of the Danube River. You can go inside if you book a guided tour, and if Parliament is not in session. It is wise to book your tour in advance because ticket queues can be very long. The tour only takes about 45 minutes, and only goes to the main, and very impressive stairway, the House of Lords, to the Crown Jewels, and a few other areas.
2. St. Stephen’s Basilica is one of the two tallest buildings in Budapest, the other being the Parliament Building. St. Stephen’s website tells us it is one of the ten most photographed buildings in the world. I am having a hard time believing that, but it sure is beautiful!
3. Matthias Church, or Matyas church, is located high on the hill near the Budapest Castle. It is stunning and has a rich history filled with coronations of kings. If you attend Mass on Sundays at 10am you can hear the magnificent organs play.
4. The Shoes on the Danube Monument is an incredibly touching remembrance of Hungarian Jews who were killed in WW2. The victims were ordered to take off their shoes before being shot at the banks of the river and then falling into the river.
4. The Hungarian National Gallery is best known for its fantastic collection of Hungarian Art Nouveau, also known as the Secession art.
5. Hungarian National Museum – This is a great place to learn more about Hungarian History. I always like to understand a little bit about the places we visit.
6. Statue Park and Memento Park is where the Communist Era statues ended up after the iron curtain fell. This looks like a quirky and interesting park.
7. The House of Terror was formerly the Headquarters of Communist Hungary’s Secret Police. Before that, it was the home of the Nazi Secret Police. This is a terrible history, but it is very worthwhile to remember, and a bit part of Budapest’s not so distant past.
7. Gellert Hotel and Baths – The Gellert Hotel is the most iconic hotel in Budapest and worth checking out on its own. Baths are sort of a big deal here, it seems and you can use the indoor pool for a fee, even if you are not a guest at the hotel.
Lots of folks head through Budapest as part of a River Cruise or land tour itinerary. It is definitely worth some extra time, if you can stay a little bit longer. Lots of beauty and lots of history!