Budapest: Main Sights
The Capital of Hungary
Budapest has a rich history and culture to explore and offers a vast array of spectacular sights and fascinating attractions. Its adopted name is the 'City of Spa's' in recognition of the large number of spa's and thermal baths. Budapest has a host of museums and together with Buda Castle there is no shortage of things to see and do.
One of the reasons the Romans first colonised Budapest was because of the array of mineral rich hot springs. There are underground tunnels with 118 natural springs and boreholes running underneath Budapest creating a host of Thermal baths right in the centre of the city. Some Baths have separate days for men and women and have water temperatures ranging between 16-42 degrees. Due to generous government subsidies entrance fees to the thermal baths are kept low making them an unmissable treat for visitors to Budapest.
Forty-Eight feet above the Danube in the Buda Hills, the Buda Castle is the dominating feature of the capital and one of the major tourist attractions. One of the symbols of the country, Buda castles has been privy to many battles throughout the centuries, since the Mongols invasded in the 13thcentury to the Hapsburg Empire in the 18th century. Over time Buda Castle has needed rebuilding several times, but none more so than in January 1945 when it was reduced to ruins and need extensive restoration works. The castle has 203 rooms and is home to several museums among them the Budapest Historical Museum and The National gallery.
The awe-inspiring panoramic view of the Royal Palace in Budapest sits atop Castle Hill overlooking the city. At night the area is lit up and from the opposite side of the Danube looking over towards Chain Bridge is a truly remarkable sight. A visit to the Royal Palace tells the stories of its remarkable history; built in the 13th century to protect the city from Mongol invasion, devastated under attack from the Ottoman Turks and later the official residence of the Hapsburgs.
Aquincum Museum and Roman Ruins
The ruins in the ancient Roman province of Aquincum in Budapest are over 2000 years old. The vast archaeological Park has been open to visitors for over a century displaying the glorious find of Roman murals, mosaic floors, a reconstructed water fountain and a diorama showing how the Roman nobility ate. Perhaps most impressive is the ruins of the civil amphitheatre though the area is often crowded with homeless which might restrict viewing to the outer parameters.
Budapest History Museum
Budapest History Museum dedicated solely to events that shaped the capital of Hungary and housed in the Royal Palace in Buda. Its collection consists of artefacts found on archaeological digs conducted in the city and sheds light on the history of Budapest. Some of the finds displayed in the museum date back 40,000 years giving an insight into what the settlement was like from the days of prehistoric man, right through to present day.
Museum of contemporary Art
The museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest is home to the collection of Peter and Irene Ludwig and features many weird and wonderful creations produced from around the world over the last 50 years. There is work from America's Pop-Art era, as well as a healthy collection of German and French artists prominent in the 1980's. Hungarian over the last two decades also features heavily.
The spectacular 19th century Parliament building in Budapest is set on the East bank of the River Danube and is a symbol of Hungary's independence. The neo-gothic style of the Hungarian Parliament designed by Imre Steindl inspired the Parliament building on the banks of the Thames in London. The Parliament building in Budapest took 17 years to complete and at the time of construction was the largest Parliament building in the world.
The House of Future Centre in Budapest
The House of Future Center for Culture and Science in Budapest is built on the restored site of the former Ganz Electric Works. The area is largely park space with several buildings housing exhibitions, museums, galleries and performances. One of the permanent exhibitions is The House of Future Centre, giving an interesting insight into how families will be influenced by technology developed in the future.
Sight Seeing Tours in Budapest
When on a city break, the quickest way to explore the city and learn about some of its history and culture is with a sight-seeing tour. Budapest as a host of things to see and do and a sight-seeing tour is the perfect starting off point to anyone who is not sure what they would like to visit. There are various guided tours in Budapest to choose from and last between 3 and 4.5 hours. Prices range between £18 and £30 depending on which tour you opt for.
Margaret Island sits in the middle of the Danube in central Budapest and is a place of peace and tranquillity where many locals go to relax. Its name is derived from Saint Margaret, the daughter of Bela IV of Hungary who lived out her years in the Dominican convent situated on the island. It is also home to medieval ruins and small zoo and a number of romantic walks.
Chain Bridge in Budapest
Built in the second half of the 19th century, the Chain bridge is the oldest bridge in the city of Budapest and spans the Danube connecting Buda with Pest. It is regarded as the best bridge to walk across the river because as there are less cars creating noise and pollution. Like many bridges and buildings in Budapest, and indeed Europe, it was blown up during the Second World War and reconstructed in 1949. Its true charm is when lit up at night.
Matthias Church in Budapest
Dating back to the 13th century, The Matthias Church, or Church of Our Lady, is one of the principal tourist attractions in Budapest. Set in the Buda Hills over looking the city it is a dominating feature of the Budapest landscape, the development of which it has bore witness too throughout the centuries. During the Ottoman rule it was converted into a mosque, but was restored to Christian faith by the Jesuits when the Austrians drove the Turks from the city.