Budapest, apart from being the Hungarian capital, is also a city teeming with history. Home to almost 20% of the country’s population, Budapest is most famous for its fabulous sunsets, ancient hills and grand fortresses. A traveler to this city has plenty of attractions to spend time at. There are many theatres, parks, galleries, museums, monuments and even historic mineral baths. And then of course are the famous bridges that dot the Danube River, which help connect Buda to Pest. Here are some of top things to do in Budapest, Hungary that you absolutely cannot miss!
The Citadel, Budapest – Steeped in History
The Citadel can very well claim to be the most popular tourist destination in Budapest. It’s a 19th century fortress standing upon the Gellert Hill (known locally as Gellert Hegy), which itself rises 430 feet above the ground. The view from the top is one of the best you will ever see as it stretches all around. The place played host to both German and Hungarian troops during WW II and was again the centrepiece during the Hungarian revolution in 1956 as it stood witness to the final stand made against the Soviets by the revolutionaries. Evidences of the same can be found in the countless bullet and bomb holes from that violent episode. There is also a German bunker preserved that seems to be of similar vintage.
Budapest Parliament Building – The Seat of Law in Hungary
The Budapest Parliament Building is without doubt one of the finest buildings in the city. It is situated at Tomo, in the Lipot district of Pest. The structure at its widest measures 140 yards while the length is 300 yards. The top of the building is characterized by spires that are finished off by a huge dome (82 feet). The parliament’s insides are no less grand. There are dollops of marble all around only further enhanced by paintings, monumental murals and statues. A special mention must also be made of the floors, walls and ornate windows used in the building. One of the striking points is the large amounts of pure gold used for embellishments within the building.
On the outside, the parliament is surrounded by a number of statues, 88 to be precise, that depict the country’s great leaders and rulers.
OperaHaz – The Budapest Opera House
Budapest Opera House, also known locally as OperaHaz, is among Europe’s most opulent and grandest of its kind. The structure’s design is distinctly neo-renaissance what with its sweeping staircases made of marble, grand chandeliers from the 19th century, statues of famous Hungarians (sculpted by the Hungary’s most well-known artist, Alajos Strobi), red velvet banquettes, walls covered by damask, vibrant frescoes of Mor Than and Karoly Lotz and balconies on five stories containing gilded boxes draped with blue silk and gold. The OperaHaz was built over a period of 9 years, starting from 1873 to 1884.
Gul Baba Tomb – A Vestige of Budapest’s Turkish Era
The Gul Baba tomb is a Muslim place of worship built in the honor of a historical figure of the same name. This person was prominent during the conquest of Buda by Turkish forces in the year 1541. The tomb is located at the bottom of Roszadam, which is Hungarian for Rose Hill and is known for its distinct octagonal shape. The literal meaning of Gul Baba is ‘Father of Roses’ and its origin lies in the fact that the said person was instrumental in the growth of colorful roses on the Rose Hill. Because of this, the tomb is surrounded by rose bushes. The tomb is located in the Vizivaros district, which is a part of ancient Budapest.
Lukacs Baths, Budapest – A Throwback to Budapest’s Medieval Times
The Lukacs Baths, Budapest are among the oldest baths in the city and hark back to the medieval times when they found extensive use in medicinal treatments. This use underwent a slight change under Turkish rule during the 16th and 17th centuries as they added the pleasure factor to the entire bathing concept. In the year 1884, the baths were enclosed by a hotel that was aimed at serving foreign tourists. Some of the star attractions at the bath include 40 degree thermal baths, a pungent steam room and provision for disposing off healing waters containing Sulphur.
Hopefully some of top things to do in Budapest, Hungary that we write as above can be a useful reference for your next vacation.
Travel Article by:
Steve Tasker, guest writer at Astoria City Hostels, Best Hostel in Budapest.