While there are many worthwhile places to go and experience in Western Europe, escalating prices have made trips to this region increasingly expensive in recent years. At the same time, places in Central and Eastern Europe have been increasing in profile since the fall of the Iron Curtain less than 25 years ago.
They possess sights that are rich in history and beauty, but lack the high cost of living that predominates across the more developed regions of the continent, meaning that the prices in places in Budapest, Hungary are much cheaper than in Paris or London, for example.
As such, you’ve decided to include the Hungarian capital in your tour of Central and Eastern Europe this coming spring – all you’re looking for now is some essential sights to get you started on your itinerary.
To aid you in your quest, we are pleased to present to you 3 unmissable sights to see in Budapest. There are many to choose from, but get your sightseeing started by making a trip to see…
1) Buda Castle
One of the first Gothic style castles to be built in Europe, Buda Castle was home to Hungarian royalty until the Ottoman Turks took the palace in 1541. The ensuing countersiege badly damaged much of the castle and the surrounding buildings, leading to much of it being re-constructed in the Baroque style afterwards.
Today, the castle is one of the preeminent attractions in Budapest, with many impressive sculptures and fountains in its courtyard, and a small chapel that uses the exposed rock of the castle and regal red carpets to create a divine atmosphere within its lower levels. Photographers take note: the outer façade of the castle is lit up brilliantly at night, making for excellent night shots.
2) Fisherman’s Bastion
A terrace designed to give an excellent view of the Danube River and to honour the working people that volunteered their free time to defend Budapest’s city walls back in the Middle Ages, the Fisherman’s Bastion is an excellent stop to capture memorable photographs of the surrounding area. The seven turrets along the length of the terrace represent the tribes that settled this area near the turn of the 10th century, and a bronze statue of Stephen I, a former king of Hungary, can also be found here, which depict him riding his favourite steed.
3) Gellért Thermal Bath
After doing a fair bit of walking around this storied city, you’d be a fool to leave Budapest without going for a soak in one of its public thermal baths. Gellert Thermal Bath is one of more elaborately designed ones, boasting indoor pools framed by walls and columns of granite, as well as open air pools that allow you to contrast the hot water with the bracing outdoor air in any season.
These pools are fed by mineral springs infused with calcium and magnesium, among other (reputedly) curative elements. Even you don’t believe in the claims behind their properties, the opulent surroundings and soothing heat of the water makes a trip out here practically mandatory.
Everywhere you look in Budapest, the intricately designed churches, museums, and other buildings will have your head spinning continually, and in serious indecision of what to see first. With this guide to get you started, we hope that we will get you started on your very fulfilling tour of this storied city!