This article was born to introduce the must-see sights of Budapest, the Hungarian capital city in the middle of Europe and to recommend to you some of our free walking tours during which you can get to know the story of each spot. It is probably always better to spend more days at a location and do your sightseeing at a more relaxed pace, but here are our tips for you if you are short on time and would like to see Budapest in one day.
The Danube, Europe’s second largest river, divides the city into two parts: Buda and Pest. They were not always one city, Budapest was actually created with the merge of three separate settlements, Óbuda, Buda and Pest in 1873. Nowadays the Pest side is where most of the nightlife is, there are a number of restaurants, most of the people work on Pest, which is the younger side of the capital. Buda was always the royal part during our history and nowadays it is greener and maybe a bit calmer, more like a residential part. You can find plenty of cool and gorgeous places to hang out on both sides. Pest is flat as a pizza and Buda is the bumpy part - a point that is good to remember!
Most important sights of Pest
Heroes’ square: walk along the 2km long, gorgeous Adrássy Avenue (“The Hungarian Champs Élysées”) and you will find yourself on one of the largest squares of Budapest, the Heroes’ square. Built for 1896, the 1000th anniversary of the Hungarian land-taking in the Carpathian basin.
Saint Stephen’s Basilica: the biggest and most beautiful Roman Catholic Church of the city built between 1851 and 1905.
Dohány street grand synagogue: the second largest synagogue of the world after the Temple Emmanuel in New York, and the biggest one in Europe seating 3000 people. You can find it in the 7th district, which is the Jewish quarter, a religious center for the significant Hungarian Jewish community and the entertaining center of Budapest, too.
Parliament building: designed in neo-gothic style, it was opened in 1902. It has been the largest and most expensive building in Hungary since its completion.
Central market hall: it is the oldest and largest indoor market hall in Budapest built in 1896. It is located at the southern end of the Váci street, which is a cca. 2 kilometers long shopping street in Pest.
What you should see in Buda
Castle District: after a Mongolian invasion in 1241 and 1242, a castle was built on top of the cca.70 meters tall hill next to the river Danube. The Castle district has been evolving here ever since. Most important sights of it: Royal Palace & the Fisherman’s bastion with the Matthias Church. From Pest to Buda and the Castle district, walk across the Chain Bridge which was the first permanent bridge connecting the two sides of the Danube in 1849.
Gellért hill: a cca. 235 meters tall hill overlooking the Danube and both sides of the capital. On the top you can find the Liberty statue and a fortress named Citadella. Watching sunsets is the most romantic from up here!
Visit a bathhouse: Budapest has almost a dozen thermal baths and 123 thermal springs. Many spas are century-old, most importantly the Turkish baths, like the Kiraly, Rudas or Veli Bej Baths. Gellért bath is in a gorgeous Art Nouveau style building built between 1912-18.
See the sights on our free tours in Budapest!
Our free walking tours in Budapest include most of the sights that we mentioned. The sightseeing tours range from General, Communism to Jewish district, Street art and Evening walks. It is always a good idea to join one or two of these free walks a day during your stay to get an excellent overview of our history and culture besides seeing the highlights of the Hungarian capital!
Thank you for reading the article. For more travel tips from our local guides around the world check the blog section of our website! We release unique travel recommendations every week. If you like this article or have any question, feel free to leave us a comment below!
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