A Day trip at Budapest, HungaryPosted on Aug 30 in Europe, Featured, Hungaryby ShelynPrint
Capital of Hungary, Budapest, holds a front-ranking position among the most attractive cities of the world. Among a few capitals of different countries that I visited in Central Europe, Budapest captivated me the most with its magnificent buildings. It successfully combines a centuries old architectural and cultural heritage with the latest features of modern life.
A day trip at Budapest is possible as the public transports are very convenient, especially with its Hop On Hop Off services. With HUF 4500 (around Euro 16) per pax, we purchased tickets from Giraffe Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus and Boat tour. The tour includes:-
- Audio guided in 16 languages
- Total 21 stops at historical sites and main attractions at Budapest
- Ticket valid for 48 hours, we get to use it for 2 days
- Boat sightseeing tour with 3 stops
It’s ideal for those who don’t enjoy the hassle of walking and navigation with a map in hands, like my mum. So I got her Hop on Hop Off tour and she enjoyed it a lot by just hopping off at each stops at our leisure.
Széchenyi Chain Bridge
Anyone who has just one day to spend on sightseeing around the capital, like us, needs a well-planned program. It would be a pity to miss Buda Castle, Danube embankment and Andrassy Avenue, all World Heritage sites. My favourite landmark at Budapest has to be the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. It’s a suspension bridge that spans the River Danube between Buda and Pest, the western and eastern sides of Budapest.
The capital’s first bridge, a historical monument, has attracted many tourists to Budapest. Count Istvan Szechenyi commissioned William Tierney Clark to design the bridge and engineer Adam Clark to build it. Construction lasted from 1839 – 1849. The bridge did not escape the destruction of the Second World War, and it was rebuilt in 1949, on its 100th anniversary.
Perhaps I haven’t seen the world enough, Budapest really captivated me so much. I felt as if I have traveled back in time to the great empire of Hungary during its magnificent period in 1000 AD, where gateways of Baroque houses reveal Roman-age stones and finely carved sedilia from the age of chivalry. Here, I can only use the term “Majestic” to describe every single building that I saw. The buildings here are so imposing and solid as if they can survive earthquakes and bombs.
Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes’ Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world’s largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building.
Royal Palace at Castle Hill
Our first stop was at Castle Hill / Castle District. The Castle quarter on Castle Hill stands 180m above sea level. It is around 1.5km long and in places it is 500 metres wide. It represents the core of the ancient town and an area guarding some of the most important historical monuments in the country. It boasts three churches, five museums, many historical buildings, monuments, streets and squares, a theater, four hotels, numerous atmospheric restaurants, cafes, galleries and gift shops.
Located on Castle Hill, Royal Palace is one of the symbols of the nation, the palace has witnessed wars and occupation from the 13th to the 20th century. It was destroyed three times and then rebuilt, each time in the architectural style of the age.
The Fishermen’s Bastion is one of the most popular spots of the Castle District with visitors, as it offers superb viewpoint over almost the entire city. It is situated at the eastern side of Castle Hill, and can be reached from the centre of the district (Szentharomsag Square). The castle-like Fisherman’s Bastion was constructed in 1895 on the designs of Frigyes Schulek. It was sited on the place of the medieval fish market and the walls protected by the guild of the fishermen, hence the name. It is a popular place to look out over Pest.
Panorama over entire city of Pest from Fishermen’s Bastion
Matthias Church right next to Fishermen’s Bastion
One of the defining buildings of Budapest, the over 700-year-old Matthias Church, stands in Szentharomsag Square. Its Gothic tower and the backdrop of Fishermen’s Bastion make this one of the most commonly photographed monuments.
Gothic tower of Matthias Church
Parliament on the Danube embankment
After an hour stop at Castle district, we continued our journey to the landmarks on the Danube embankment. The most significant building along the river has to be Parliament, the largest building in the country, the permanent site of the national assembly.
The neo-Gothic building is the work of architect Imre Steindl, and was constructed between 1884-1904. It has 691 rooms, is 268 m long and its cupola rises 96 m into the air. You can access Parliament from Gate No. 10 daily with admission fee of HUF 2640 (adults) and HUF 1320 (students). Free admission for citizens of the European Union.
Andrassy Avenue and the underground
Andrassy Avenue and environs make up a unified architectural form dating from the late 19th century. It was named after the former prime minister who had done much to make Budapest a true metropolis. The Avenue’s environs boast a huge variety of architectural styles and interesting sights. The near 2.5km-long Avenue was inspired by the boulevards of France, and it originally had a separate lane reserved for gentlemen out riding.
One of the special features of Andrassy Avenue is continental Europe’s first sub-surface railway, which was built under the road. The more than 125-year-old underground is still carrying passengers today along a line only slightly longer than its original.
Here at Andrassy Avenue, you can take a leisure stroll along the boulevard to admire many beautiful tenement blocks with intimate inner courtyards, statues and fountains.
Andrassy Avenue terminates in Heroes’ Square at the Millennium Monument. Anyone coming up Andrassy Boulevard sees from afar the 36-m-high column in the centre of the Millennium memorial, on top of which is a statue of the Archangel Gabriel holding the Hungarian Holy Crown and apostolic double cross.
Hungarian State Opera House
The magnificent buildings of the Hungarian State Opera House and the Museum of Fine Arts are located just across the street from Heroes’ Square. The Budapest Opera House opened in 1884. Its neo-Classical and neo-Renaissance design is the work of the greatest Hungarian architect of the 19th century, Miklos Ybl.
The Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts has housed the collection (now around 100,000 art works) since 1906. The museum has a broad collection of foreign art from Antiquity to the present day. The museum opens from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am – 5.30pm.
There are a lot more interesting sights to recommend but I can’t put everything into one blog post. So I will end my article here with an overview of most of the top attractions at Budapest. The source of the information are mostly from the Official Guidebook from Tourism Office of Budapest. Remember to grab one of the guidebooks whenever you visit Budapest. They are available in the airport, hotels and Buda Castle.