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Main Sights in Budapest and near to Budapest
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Main Sights in Budapest and near to Budapest what you have to see: 

Budapest looks its most beautiful at dawn. As the sun slowly rises over the eastern plains, bathing PestBudapest is also spectacularly appealing at night. The Chain Bridge is festooned with white lights, and the main public buildings like the Parliament, the Opera and the Royal Palace, as well as the entire panorama of the Castle District, are imaginatively and sensitively floodlit. It’s easy for Budapest to play with light in the manner of an elegant lady trying on her jewels, for everything looks good. This is a vibrant city: it throbs with life morning, noon and night; visitors arriving from other countries get the feeling that something interesting is happening round every corner.

 

Spa and wellness

Budapest’s Number One Visitor Attraction

The Church of Royal Weddings

A Collection of hungarian Wines

Special Attraction – a Cave Tour in the Capital

Budapest’s Most Beautiful Park is an Island

The Capital with the World’s largest number of Thermal Springs

Pest – On the Streets of World Heritage

The Continent’s First Underground Railway

Largest Collection of Fine Arts

Budapest’s Finest Art Nouveau Thermal Spa

Gerbeaud

The Biggest Church and the Heaviest Bell

One of Europe’s Oldest Zoos

Hungary’s Largest Church

Central Europe’s Largest Mediaeval Castle Keep

Queen Elizabeth’s Favourite Palace

European Nostra Prize-winning Village

Formula One

A Paradise for Fishing and Water Sports

 

Budapest’s Number One Visitor Attraction

In Buda, contrary to many other capitals, the royal castle really is at the top of a hill, as it is in all the best old stories. Known as the Royal Palace of Buda, it is visible from virtually every point in the city.

Not just one but three castles have been built on this site. The first appeared in the thirteenth century after the Mongol invasion and was a thick-walled fortress intended to withstand enemy attacks. Few contemporary descriptions have survived but archćological digs have revealed fragmentary remains. In the fourteenth century it was enlarged in the Gothic style, and then at the time of one of Hungary’s greatest monarchs, King Matthias, it was remodelled into a Renaissance palace famed far and wide. The Turks took Buda without a battle in 1541, and for a while the medićval buildings remained structurally intact. However, they suffered grievously later through siege, conflagration, explosion and earthquake. The city walls often had to be patched up and new bastions built, and today a part of the fortifications from this period can still be seen.

 

Having lasted almost 150 years Turkish rule ended with a three-month siege, and this heralded the third main period of castle building in Buda. Ruined buildings were cleared away, cellars filled in, and in 1714 the building of a baroque palace began. It was further extended in the nineteenth century into the form with which we are familiar today. The Royal Palace was completely burned out in the Second World War, losing in the process its valuable furniture and art treasures. On restoration it was converted into a centre of culture becoming home to the medićval, Renaissance, baroque and later Hungarian masterpieces that comprise the permanent collection of the Hungarian National Gallery. In separate wings of the palace complex, the Budapest History Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the principal library of Hungary, the Széchényi Library are housed. The Palace can be reached from the Danube embankment by the Castle District’s own special funicular railway, the “Sikló”. The two coaches and both stations have been restored to their original nineteenth century condition.

 

Unique Sights behind the Gates of Buda

When locals say Buda Castle they are usually referring not just to the Royal Palace but to the whole of the medićval town built on Castle Hill, with its charming squares, narrow twisting streets, and fantastic views over the city. Some of the old houses sport Gothic decorated door and window frames. It is worth looking into the courtyards and long gateways, for you can sometimes see a Buda speciality, the medićval sedilia. In olden times the retinue accompanying an important guest could rest awhile in these hollowed-out stone seats with their Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance decorations.

 The Church of Royal Weddings

One of the most beautiful Gothic churches in all Hungary stands next to the Holy Trinity Column commemorating the plague of 1709 in Szentháromság Square in Buda. The Church of Our Lady – more commonly known as the Matthias Church – was founded at the same time as the first of the Buda Castles, by King Béla IV. Later rulers left their mark on it, adding a tower here and a door there, and generally enlarging the building, and for a while it was also used as a coronation church. It came to be called the Matthias Church in honour of King Matthias, Hungary’s illustrious monarch, who held both his marriage ceremonies here. Its appearance today results largely from nineteenth century reconstruction, and its excellent acoustics make it a favourite venue for organ recitals and orchestral concerts.

 A Collection of hungarian Wines

A somewhat newer attraction on Szentháromság Square is the House of Hungarian Wines (Magyar Borok Háza), where 450 wines from all 22 of Hungary’s historical wine-producing regions can be tried in the huge cellars. Visitors receive a small cup on arrival and can begin their adventure, for 70 to 80 different types can be tasted within the admission price.

The Only Bastion never to have seen a Soldier

If you walk up to the Castle District in the evening from the Danube embankment, the illuminated, snow-white towers of the Fishermen’s Bastion (Halászbástya) rise up ahead, like so many sugar-loaves. You are more likely to associate the sight with fairy tales than with soldiers, although it is the latter who are the rightful users of a bastion. The Fishermen’s Bastion has never served as a defence; it was built in 1905 purely as a lookout terrace and to augment the cityscape. It follows the line of the old city walls and is near the site of a former fish market. And the connection with fishermen? Back in the mists of time it was the Fishermen’s Guild who were responsible for defending this section of the castle ramparts.

Labyrinths – a Town under the Town

On the northern and western slopes of Castle Hill it has been known for people to go out into their garden and suddenly find a cave, sometimes with spring water gushing up in it! The northern and central parts of Castle Hill have more holes in them than an Emmental cheese! The caves are very old and were formed by thermal springs. They were developed and enlarged in the Middle Ages and, extending to over six miles, they really did become like an underground town. In times of war they served both as somewhere to hide and as a place where the defence forces could regroup in secret.

A part of the system of natural and man-made passages, the Buda Castle Labyrinth, is open to the public.

Special Attraction – a Cave Tour in the Capital

Among the many ways in which Budapest can be summed up, one is as a City of Caves. It is the only city in the world where there are surface openings to cave systems in built-up residential districts. One such is the Pálvölgy dripstone cave system; it is Hungary’s third longest, a protected site and open to visitors for guided tours starting hourly and extending for 500 metres. A 300 metre-long, recently renovated section of the Szemlő-hegy cave is also open to visitors. This is one of those rare instances where the entrance is fully accessible to visitors with impaired mobility.

The First Permanent Bridge between Buda and Pest

The Lánchíd (Chain Bridge), the symbol of Budapest, was the first permanent crossing over the Danube on Hungarian territory, and only the second along its entire length. The river had long bisected an important trade route, and in early times people were ferried across in boats. By the beginning of the fifteenth century pontoon bridges were being used, and although in winter when the river froze over people could cross on foot or with horse and cart, when the ice started to thaw the two shores were completely cut off from each other. In a particularly cold December in 1820, Count István Széchenyi had to wait a whole week to cross, as there wasn’t a boatman willing to take the chance of carrying him from Pest to Buda between the ice flows. Széchenyi is a legend in Hungarian history for the things he did to develop the capital and the country, and after this experience he declared he would give a whole year’s income towards the building of a permanent bridge. There had been plans earlier than this. One that originated from the end of the 1700’s took the multiple buttressed Charles Bridge in Prague as its model, but this was not adopted. In England Count Széchenyi saw the bridges of William Tierney Clark and, on the basis of those, commissioned him to design the first bridge over the Hungarian Danube. Construction was entrusted to the Scottish engineer Adam Clark (no relation), and the Chain Bridge was officially opened on 20th November, 1849. Traffic crossing the bridge from Pest still had to wait a few more years, though, before it could continue its journey westwards without diverting around Castle Hill. The Tunnel under the hill was constructed in just 7˝ months in 1853; it is 32 feet wide and 32 feet tall, and, at 382 yards long, exactly the same length as its neighbour the Chain Bridge. One of the many anecdotes about these landmarks says that when it rains the Bridge can be pushed into the Tunnel to prevent it from getting wet!

 

Adding the Royal Touch to Nineteenth Century Bridge Construction

According to the superstition, if you make a wish while going under a bridge in a boat, that wish will come true. In Budapest you can have nine wishes. Counting the two railway crossings, there are nine bridges spanning the Danube, of which the newest is the Lágymányosi Bridge, dating from 1995. All Budapest’s bridges were blown up by the retreating Germans in 1945. The majority were rebuilt to the original plans, but the Elizabeth Bridge, named after the popular Queen Elizabeth, was deemed to be in such bad a state that a completely new bridge had to be built in its place. The fine suspension bridge we see today was inaugurated in 1965 after much public debate.

The Szabadság (Liberty) Bridge, restored after the War to its original condition, was first opened in 1896 to mark the millennium of the Magyar Conquest. The King Emperor Franz Joseph himself ceremonially hammered in the last rivet with great technical bravura. He had no tool in his hand but stood in a ceremonial tent on the Pest side and pressed a button which activated a 45-ton hammer across on the Buda bridgehead. And so the last rivet, made of silver, was put in place. Subsequently it disappeared, a feat that would certainly have demanded real bravura. There is a replacement now, with a protective covering, but it’s not made of silver.

Budapest’s Most Beautiful Park is an Island

The seven-buttress Margaret Bridge, built to a French design, was Budapest’s second permanent river crossing and opened in 1876. From the central buttress a spur links to Margaret Island, unquestionably the city’s most beautiful park. After the Mongol invasion it became home for several monastic orders; it was at that time known as the Island of Hares, and only later assumed its current name in honour of the pious daughter of King Béla IV. His Margaret joined the Dominican nuns in their new convent in 1252, and remained there until her death.

In its time Margaret Island has also been a royal hunting ground, and from the nineteenth century, a 250-acre municipal park. Hidden behind its noble trees are sports grounds, swimming pools, the capital’s largest open-air leisure pool, an outdoor theatre, and two spa hotels. The island, which can also be reached by small boat, is free from traffic, and a very popular way of getting around it is by hiring a “bringóhintó” family cycle car. The north end of the island is connected by Árpád Bridge to both Buda and Pest.

Roman Town

The part of the city now known as Óbuda is the site of the principal town of the Roman province of Pannonia. The frontier of the Empire ran along the line of the Danube, and Budapest’s 2,000-year old forerunner was called Aquincum. It was an important military centre, but a civilian town of merchants and artisans also grew up around it. Remains of the military amphitheatre can be seen at Óbuda and, a mile further on, ruins of the streets of the civilian town and some of its houses.

Pest – On the Streets of World Heritage

Fast-Growing Metropolis

From the middle of the nineteenth century Budapest underwent an unprecedented surge of building and expansion. In contrast with other European capital cities, whose transformation into a modern metropolis was the continuation of a long period of historical growth, Budapest attained world status and became largely what we know today over a period of only 40 to 50 years. This was not entirely due to the economic growth of the time, but also to disasters like the great floods of 1838, in which thousands of buildings in Pest were ruined. A new, modern town grew up in their place. It was at this time that the great avenues and boulevards were laid out. Some brave visionaries even considered making what became the Great Boulevard (Nagykörút) navigable, as it had once been a minor branch of the Danube. It was also in the 1840s that the first gas lamp, a great wonder of the age, appeared on the wall of the National Museum. Within a decade there were ten thousand of them being supplied by Pest’s new gasworks. This was soon followed by the first waterworks and, with the building of the Opera House, the Parliament and the bridges, by the turn of the century Budapest had caught up with its old rival Vienna.

Pioneering Air Conditioning in the Parliament

Town planners and builders of the late nineteenth century were certainly fond of grandeur and adornment – witness, for example, one of Europe’s most splendid parliament buildings on the left bank of the Danube. The Eclectic building is itself an example of the art of the period – with its Gothic towers, intricate stonework and 88 statues on the outside, and its baroque grand staircase, frescoes, mosaic windows, Gobelin tapestry and paintings inside.

The cooling system for the Parliament building was unique at the end of the 19th century. Air ventilation tunnels were routed to the two fountains that were situated in the square in front of the building, and the fresh air that was blown back into the chambers was pleasantly cooled by water. When this system was later superseded much of the tunnel work was bricked up, although some of the original air passages are still in use today. In times of great heat, circulating air can be cooled by huge quantities of ice.

 

On the Trail of World Heritage – by Number Two Tram

The number two tram can be boarded in Kossuth Square in front of the Parliament building: it is an excellent means of sightseeing. From its windows the entire World Heritage section of the Danube panorama of both Buda and Pest can be seen. First stop is Roosevelt Square, by the Chain Bridge, where stands the 1860’s neo-Renaissance edifice of the Hungarian Academy of Science. Next door is one of the finest art nouveau buildings, the Gresham Palace. It was the city’s largest residential structure (130,000 square feet) when it was built in 1907 for the English Gresham Life Assurance Company. After the First World War a coffee house opened on the ground floor which became a favourite meeting place for progressive- thinking intelligentsia and artists in the 1920s and 30s. The building has recently undergone extensive restoration and now houses the city’s most elegant luxury hotel.

The Continent’s First Underground Railway

When Budapest’s first underground railway opened for service in 1896 it was the first of its kind on the Continent, and only the second after London. It conveyed passengers just below street level from the City Centre to the City Park in around ten minutes. The twenty-foot wide tunnel is supported by riveted iron pillars, and the restored stations with their wooden ticket kiosks and ceramic tiled walls faithfully recall the atmosphere of a century ago. The first set of coaches lasted in service for eighty years, and an example of one is preserved in the Underground Museum. After Budapest’s second Underground line was built, a deep-tunnel construction called the Metró, the original one affectionately became known as the “Little Underground”.

The Most Beautiful Example of City Planning

The route of the original Little Underground follows that of Budapest’s most elegant boulevard. Andrássy út represents the pinnacle of Budapest’s late nineteenth century city planning. It is also home to many of Pest’s theatres, including the imposing Opera House, with its columns, statues and terraces, as well as the Operetta Theatre and numerous others on neighbouring side streets. Just before the Oktogon is Liszt Ferenc Square, a place that has in a short time become one of the capital’s favourite pleasure grounds – filled with coffee houses, international restaurants, club restaurants, musical bars and jazz clubs. In summer it seems that half the city is here relaxing and enjoying itself at the outdoor tables.

Champion Archangel

Andrássy út terminates opposite one of the best known groups of statues in Hungary, the Millenary Monument at Heroes’ Square. Construction began in 1896, and the centrepiece is a 118-foot Corinthian column supporting a 16-foot statue of the archangel Gabriel. In his right hand he is holding the holy Hungarian crown, and in his left the double Apostolic cross – just as he is supposed to have appeared in a dream to Hungary’s first king.

The statue won the Grand Prix at the 1900 Paris World Exhibition. Around its base are equestrian statues of the seven chiefs of the conquering Magyar tribes, and within the arched colonnades to the sides stand bronze figures representing the most illustrious rulers of Hungarian History.

Largest Collection of Fine Arts

Two opposite sides of Heroes’ Square are taken up with fine neo-classical buildings. The Palace of Arts (Műcsarnok) is Hungary’s largest fine arts exhibition space, and displays the works of contemporary Hungarian and international artists and designers. A separate room accommodating 80 people shows three-dimensional films about treasures of Hungarian natural and architectural history.

The Museum of Fine Arts (Szépművészeti Múzeum), opposite, is Hungary’s principal fine arts gallery, containing much to attract those interested in European and also ancient art.

 

Budapest – City of Spas

The Capital with the World’s largest number of Thermal Springs

Budapest first gained the epithet City of Spas in 1934, and with it recognition that there isn’t another capital city anywhere in the world that has more hydrothermal and mineral springs. It is also a unique fact that the 118 natural or specially drilled springs, with a temperature ranging from 21 to 78 °C (70–172 °F), deliver 70 million litres (15.4 million gallons) per day. Walking along the Danube embankment on the Buda side, you come across the famous thermal baths one after the other. They have a wide appeal, suiting those engaged in sports as well as those who would rather sweat it out in the steam room or pass the time of day unwinding in the soothing thermal water. The particular mineral content of the waters here marks them out as being efficacious in the treatment of locomotor, circulatory and gynćcological disorders. Close to the baths you can find springs and pump rooms, offering the range of natural mineral waters to drink. The most renowned pump room for taking curative drinks is at the entrance to the Lukács Baths. It was opened in 1937 and is recommended, amongst other things, for those suffering from gastric complaints. The building dates from 1894, and the establishment’s fame spread quickly throughout Europe, becoming one of Hungary’s best known attractions.

In Buda there are also working thermal baths remaining from the Turkish period, for example the Király and the Rác, both built towards the end of the 1500’s. Another, the Rudas, is both the oldest and the most elaborately decorated, and includes a fine octagonal main pool.

Budapest’s Finest Art Nouveau Thermal Spa

The foot of Gellért Hill was the site of a hospital in the Middle Ages; by the Turkish period there was a bathing place there.

On one of his travels, the Turkish writer Evlia Cselebi advised that one should stay in the water almost until one’s body turns red and then quickly get out but keep warm. Today’s Gellért Hotel and Baths date from 1918, although the wave pool and whirlpool bath are later additions. This is Budapest’s finest thermal bathing complex, still displaying original art nouveau fittings, colourful mosaics, marble columns and stained glass windows and statues.

 

The Best Views of Buda and Pest

Legend has it that in 1046 pagan Hungarians revolting against Christianity hurled the missionary Bishop Gellért into the Danube from a steep cliff face on the hill that now bears his name. His huge statue marks the spot, above a waterfall, and looks commandingly out over the river. Following the putting down of the Hungarian War of Independence (1848-49) the Austrian Emperor had a citadel built at the top of the hill – to show the rebellious town who was master. From its terraces 450 feet above the Danube there are spectacular views over the city. And conversely from nearly every point down below there is a good view up to the bronze statue of a woman holding aloft a palm branch, the Liberation Monument. This was erected in 1947 and commemorates the liberation of Budapest at the end of the Second World War.

Multi-coloured Pest

Concert Hall of Great Musicians

From the Chain Bridge one of the most pleasant walks is south along the embankment (korzó) towards the Vigadó Concert Hall, one of the best examples of Romantic architecture and a venue for grand balls and concerts since 1865. Great figures from the world of music such as Liszt and Brahms played here, while Mahler, Dvořák, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky and Ravel all conducted.

The Capital’s Largest Covered Market

Two buildings that dominate the southern stretch of the Danube embankment on the Pest side are the one-time Customs House built in the 1870’s (now the Economics University) and, behind it, the capital’s largest covered market. When first opened in the 1890’s a network of tunnels enabled incoming barges to unload their goods directly under the market floor.

Today the Market Hall houses the city’s biggest, best and richest selection of merchandise, including everything from fresh vegetables to meat and spices. It has several times appeared in world news broadcasts, as it is a favourite place for celebrity guests to be filmed buying garlic or red paprika pepper.

The City’s Longest Pedestrianised Street

The City Centre’s most popular pedestrianised street, Váci utca, begins opposite the Market Hall. This was a favourite place for the well-to-do to promenade as early as the eighteenth century, and has always attracted better quality shops, now as much as then. Today virtually every world-ranking brand of cosmetics, clothes or shoes can be found in the businesses housed on the ground floors of the hundred year-old buildings. Váci utca finishes in Vörösmarty Square, dominated on one side by Gerbeaud, one of Pest’s most refined coffee houses.

 


 The Eiffel Tower’s Distant Relation

Just like Paris, Budapest is proud of two of its old, iron framed railway stations: the Eastern Station (Keleti), and the Western (Nyugati) built in 1877. The latter is one of the most striking buildings along the Great Boulevard, and has a connection with Paris and the Eiffel Tower. The tender to build the Western Station was won by the Eiffel Company, and much of the ironwork was cast in Paris.

The Biggest Church and the Heaviest Bell

It’s only a short walk from the Western Station to Budapest’s largest church, the 8,500 capacity Saint Stephen’s Basilica. With its principal façade facing towards the Danube, the proximity of the river necessitated digging extremely deep foundations; indeed the three levels of cellars go almost as deep as the height of the imposing church. The ground plan is in the form of a Greek cross, and the Basilica was consecrated in 1905. The right-hand tower houses Hungary’s heaviest bell, weighing in at nine tons, while Hungarian Christianity’s most important relic – the mummified right hand of the founder of the Hungarian State and Church, King Saint Stephen – can be seen in the chapel behind the sanctum.

Europe’s Largest Synagogue

A short walk along the Inner Ring Road brings you to Dohány utca and Europe’s largest working synagogue. The first Jewish merchants settled in Buda in the middle of the thirteenth century. In the eighteenth century a Jewish community, along with craftshops and workshops, was established in Óbuda. A gradual migration into Pest started a few years later and in the mid-nineteenth century the period’s largest synagogue was built to a Romantic-Moorish design on the edge of the new Jewish quarter. It can seat three thousand people, and features cast iron columns and arches which at the time of its construction were very much a new innovation.

Concerts are regularly held in the Synagogue, and the adjacent building houses the world renowned National Jewish Museum. This covers the history of Hungarian Jewry, has displays of ritual artefacts and everyday objects, and commemorates the Holocaust. There are kosher shops and restaurants in the neighbourhood.

Hungary’s First and Largest Public Collection

One of the most beautiful buildings on the Inner Ring Road is the neo-classical Hungarian National Museum dating from 1846. Its comprehensive displays richly illustrate the history of Hungary from its original founding onwards, and also include exhibitions of Roman, medićval and modern stonework. The building itself is regarded as a symbol of national independence, as it was the scene of pivotal events in the 1848 Revolution. The Revolution is now marked annually by the 15th March national holiday, when there are also commemorative events held at the museum.

The Capital’s Largest Park

Budapest’s City Park is reputed to have been the world’s first public park open to all. In 1808 the Emperor ordered a Hungarian “National Garden” to be laid out, including the planting of seven thousand trees.

Today’s City Park contains amusement areas, sports grounds, foot and cycle paths, as well as the hundred-year old Széchenyi Thermal Baths (Pest’s first), popular for swimming, relaxation and treatments. There is also the Transport Museum, containing rare model locomotives, the Petőfi Hall, home to rock concerts, and at weekends one of the city’s most interesting flea markets, where goods on sale range from interesting old books and antique painted plates to valuable old toys.

In summer there is boating on City Park Lake. In winter, it is transformed into Central Europe’s largest artificial skating rink.

Model comes to life

On the shore of City Park Lake stands Vajdahunyad Castle. The first version of this was a wooden edifice constructed for the 1896 Millennium celebrations to a mix of designs in order to show characteristic elements of architectural styles from different parts of Hungary. This giant “model” was so successful that after it was taken down it was rebuilt out of stone. It later became home to the Agricultural Museum, which also contains one of the world’s largest trophy collections.

One of Europe’s Oldest Zoos

Budapest Zoo is a pleasant day out for all the family. It first opened in 1866 and has in the last decade undergone significant modernisation. Some of its buildings are particularly fine examples of Hungarian art nouveau. Five hundred types of animal and 4,000 different plants live within its 250 acres. The animal petting area is especially popular with children – they can come into close contact with and feed the goats, small cows and sheep.

In the Regal Countryside of the Danube Bend

Hungary’s Largest Church

 


 

The towns situated on the banks of the Danube tend to show their best faces to those approaching by boat. At Esztergom (A4), Hungary’s ecclesiastical centre and seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop, the Basilica and the walls of the ancient castle rise imposingly on the Danube’s right bank. The Basilica, as well as being Hungary’s largest church, is noteworthy for its remarkable altarpiece depicting the Assumption, which is the largest single-canvas oil-painted altarpiece in the world.

The church’s stately interior contains Hungary’s finest complete Renaissance monument, the Bakócz Chapel, built from red marble in the early 1500’s. The Cathedral Treasury is the richest in Hungary. In the nearby Bishop’s Palace is a Christian Museum noted for its valuable collection of fine arts.

The first fortress was built on Castle Hill in 972, and it was here that the founder of the Hungarian State and Church, King Saint Stephen, was born, earning the town’s epithet “Cradle of Hungary”. The twelfth century castle chapel and one of the symbols of Esztergom, the rose window, vividly recall the importance of the former palace building.

Central Europe’s Largest Mediaeval Castle Keep

The stretch of the river known as the Danube Bend is one of the most attractive parts of all Hungary. The river follows the form of a double “S” shape, which it carved out for itself between the hills after the last Ice Age. The town of Visegrád (B4) is in the most picturesque part. The town’s principal monuments are the thirteenth century citadel perched high on the hill and the fourteenth century royal palace at the bottom. Their golden age was the time of the Renaissance King, Matthias, noted for his discerning taste. He added terraces, a grand courtyard, a red marble ornamental well and baths. Guests visiting from far and wide regularly likened the palace to a paradise on earth. After Matthias’ time the buildings fell into ruins, were completely destroyed by fire and buried by mud and rocks tumbling down the hillside. Now, however, thanks to decades of archćological excavation and painstaking research, the palace’s Renaissance grand courtyard has been faithfully reconstructed.

Similarly, by reconstruction of a section of the original walls, visitors to the Citadel can appreciate how strong a fortress it would have been in its heyday. This is the finest lookout point anywhere on the Danube Bend. The nearby thirteenth century castle keep, the largest anywhere along the line of the Danube, has survived the ages completely intact. The five-storey, 31 metre high hexagonal Salamon’s Tower today houses original wells and statues found during the excavations of the Renaissance palace.

Most Visited Little Town

Whoever visits Szentendre (C5), the most picturesque little town along the Hungarian stretch of the Danube, and home to sculptors and painters, is not likely to forget it. The town is a charming monument to the eighteenth century, with its undulating cobbled streets and unexpected alleyways, and if it exudes something of a Mediterranean atmosphere then that’s probably thanks to the Serbs, Dalmatians and Greeks who settled here from the fourteenth century onwards. Szentendre is famed for its seven churches – among them a bishopric of the Greek Orthodox Church – its rich museums, exhibitions of contemporary art, galleries and wonderful eating places. Hungary’s largest open-air ethnological museum, or skansen, is situated at the edge of the town. Its old peasant houses, church and handicraft workshops are well worth visiting.

Attractions Around the Capital

Queen Elizabeth’s Favourite Palace

A third of a million people a year visit the former Royal Palace at Gödöllő (D5). One of Hungary’s finest mansions, and less than an hour’s drive from the capital, it was built in the eighteenth century for one Antal Grassalkovich, a legal official who in a most remarkable career rose to be one of the most influential aristocrats and keeper of the Hungarian treasury. Grassalkovich amassed a huge family fortune and had several other mansions built, but it is the elegant creation at Gödöllő, one of the very finest of the baroque style, that went on to be used as the inspiration for others around Hungary. Empress Maria Theresa was a frequent guest, but it was later, during the reign of Franz Joseph, that it became the favoured Hungarian residence for the Austro-Hungarian Royal family. The Emperor’s wife, the hugely admired Queen Elizabeth, affectionately known as Sisi, especially loved Gödöllő.

These days the main wing of the Palace once again greets visitors with suitable grandeur, and altogether twenty-six rooms have been restored and opened to the public, including the royal apartments, the grand hall and Franz Joseph’s study. Concerts and cultural festivals are regularly held in the Palace and in its grand courtyard. The baroque theatre, a rarity in Europe, has also been restored, and after 200 years, has once again become a working theatre.

Hungary’s Richest Plant Collection

Lovers of nature in general and plant life in particular should head for a well-loved beauty spot, Vácrátót (C5), where in the protected environment of the botanical gardens (covering 70 acres) 13,000 different species of plants can be seen.

Fine Example of Hungarian Romantic Style

The sight of the twin towers of the nineteenth century Catholic church will announce from quite far off that a traveller is approaching Fót (C5). One of the finest examples of Hungarian Romantic style, it is well worth visiting, not least to see its painted panelled roof and crypt with Carrara marble statues. The town’s second major attraction is the Károlyi Mansion, whose Grand Hall and park are venues for cultural events. Concerts are also held in the church.

European Nostra Prize-winning Village

The village of Ócsa (C7), not far from Budapest, was awarded a prestigious European Nostra Prize in 1996 for its work in preserving its old buildings. The thirteenth century Calvinist church is one of the most important surviving examples of Romanesque architecture in Hungary, and thanks to its excellent acoustics is a popular venue for choral and organ concerts.

Also noteworthy are the hundred or so strangely-shaped wine cellars, the rare flora and fauna that thrive in the nearby marshy areas, and the Village Ethnographic Museum situated in one of the old reed-thatched peasant houses.

Formula One

There has been motor sport in Hungary since the early 1900s, when the first automobile club was set up. In 1912 the first international car race took place. Today, at Mogyoród (C5) just to the east of Budapest, the Hungaroring circuit is the only Formula One racetrack in Central Europe, and each year in August it is tested to the limits by the world’s best racing drivers, attracting crowds in their hundreds of thousands. On the other hand, the Hungarokart go-carting centre is open all year to followers of that sport.

Hungary’s Only Triumphal Arch

The town of Vác (C4), on the Danube’s left bank, has a proud past stretching back a thousand years. The bishopric was founded by King Saint Stephen; there is also a neo-classical cathedral and bishop’s palace.

One of the finest baroque squares in Hungary is situated here – the 15th of March Square – and contains several noteworthy listed buildings. In the crypt of the Dominican church the “Memento Mori” exhibition is unique in all Europe. Coffins and their entire contents dating from the eighteenth century have been mummified by the peculiar climatic conditions in which they have lain.

Vác also possesses Hungary’s only baroque bridge decorated with statues, and its only triumphal arch, built for a visit of the Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresa.

Hungary’s Only Lamp Museum

A short distance to the west of Budapest is Zsámbék (A6), best known for its thirteenth century church ruin. It came to grief in an earthquake in the eighteenth century, but the towers and walls that are still standing present an interesting sight and an unusual venue for the annual summer festival of theatre and music. The village’s other main attraction is the unique collection of the Lamp Museum.

Journey to the Distant Past

At the town of Százhalombatta (B7) on the right bank of the Danube, the main attraction is the skansen. Here, by one of the hundred Iron Age tumuli that give the place its name, visitors can travel back in time to see Bronze and Iron Age dwellings, and can themselves fashion utensils and jewellery using contemporary methods.

A Paradise for Fishing and Water Sports

The Ráckeve branch of the Danube, to the south of Budapest, was once a favourite royal hunting ground; today it is home to many rare birds and plants and is also one of the most popular spots for fishing. In the town of Ráckeve (B8), Hungary’s earliest baroque mansion can be visited, along with the only Serbian Orthodox church dating from the fifteenth century.

Recruiting to the Sound of Drums

It is strangely appropriate that one should find Hungary’s only drum museum in the same town – Cegléd (E8) – as that in which the great Hungarian politician and patriot, Lajos Kossuth, began recruiting for the 1848 Revolution of which he was to become leader. A statue of Kossuth today stands in the town, and a museum is devoted to his life and work. Cegléd is home to Central Europe’s largest neo-classical Calvinist church, and is the venue for an annual international drum and percussion festival that also puts to use some of the special instruments on show in the drum museum. 

Hungarian National Tourist Office

www.itthon.hu

 


 

 

Budapest GuestRooms in Budapest has 3 reviews

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Congratulations! With the opening of this nice place from your very first guests.
A couple from the Netherlands.

A szobák szépek, az ágyak hatalmasak és kényelmesek otthon sem tudok ilyen jót aludni. A reggeli bőséges és finom, az ellátás barátságos.
Egy házaspár Nagykanizsáról.
 

Budapest is a lovely city. It is very vibrant with lots of place to visit and enjoy.

The Guesthouse is well located, being located close to the Metro, trams and buses, learn to use them as soon as possible as it will save time and get you to anywhere you want to go.

Sightseeing musts:
1.)   The Castle and its surrounds in Buda. Super views.
2.)   The No2 tram along the riverbank.
3.)   A cheap way to cruise the river is by local ferry from Boráros tér by Petőfi bridge to Margit Island. The island is very interesting and pretty.
4.)   Visit the Jewish synagogue and Museum. (only 10-15 minutes walk from the Guesthouse)
5.)   Go to the City Park and Heroes Square. (Take the yellow metro line form the Oktogon.) It is quaint and the oldest mainland Europe.
6.)   Take the HÉV train from Batthyany tér to Szentendre. Lots to see there but do make sure to visit the Margit Kovács Museum. (An outstanding sculptress and ceramicist)

Eating:

There are hundreds of restaurants catering for a wide range of tastes and budgets.

Try the Spoon restaurant (riverboat) and the New York cafe (not for annoy but the wine is very expensive – coffee and beer much cheaper.

The Guesthouse is a super place to have as a base. It is attractively furnished with spaciory bedrooms.

Judit is a lovely person, very interesting, helpful and pleasant. Do try her scrambled egg and bacon. Thank you Judit for your kindness  warmth  help.

Brian, Joyce +Paul

Cambridgeshire
England 

 

Budapest Guestrooms is a fantastic place to stay, close to the local transport which can get you around Budapest. The rooms have everything you need and the service and the hospitality is excellent. Nothing was too much trouble and we will be recommending to friends and family.

Thank you for a fantastic stay.

Neil, Emőke, Sophia.

St Neots, England.