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Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is a glorious city straddling the banks of the mighty River Danube. It’s a top choice for cultural visitors who want to be wowed by architectural gems, parks, ancient castles, steaming spas and art museums. The UNESCO-listed heart of the city includes many noteworthy cultural attractions including Parliament Building, Buda Castle, St Stephen’s Basilica and the fairytale viewing platform at Fisherman’s Bastion.

Budapest is a worthy setting for the Hungarian State Opera House, commonly cited as the loveliest in Europe. Built in grandiose neo-Renaissance style, it opened in 1884 and quickly gained a reputation for high-quality operatic performances. Richly decorated, and boasting high quality acoustics, it is the home of the Budapest Opera Ball and the Hungarian National Ballet. Opera lovers are in for a treat!

Getting Around Budapest

Sitting either side of the broad River Danube, Budapest is a hilly world-class capital. Once two cities (Buda and Pest) divided by the river, it merged and became one unified city around 150 years ago. The best way to get around this sprawling city is using public transport which includes buses, trams and trolleybuses.
City taxi is one of the most reputable taxi firms operating in the city, but you should agree the fare before stepping aboard.
Metro trains are a fast, cheap way to travel around Budapest. There are 3 Metro underground lines (M1 yellow; M2 red; M3 blue) that all merge at the Deák Ferenctér Station. Simply pre-purchase your ticket and punch it to validate it when boarding the train.
The best way to use the public transport network, which extends to the suburbs, is by purchasing a Budapest Card which provides free travel on all modes of public transport and offers generous discounts to most major attractions and restaurants.

Budapest Attractions

Budapest Opera House

Like many opera houses in Europe, the Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest is a splendid building with a grand porte cochere, arched balconies and a roofline decorated with classical statues of great composers. It was designed by Hungary’s greatest architect, Miklos Ybl. Built from marble with frescoes painted by leading 19th century artisans, it has hosted many renowned musicians, composers and opera singers. The acoustics rival those of La Scala in Milan and the Paris Opera House.

To get a look inside this opulent Opera House before attending a world-class performance, take a 45-minute guided tour behind the scenes. These tours take place daily at 3pm and 4pm in a variety of languages and they end on the main marble staircase with a 5-minute mini concert by an opera singer. Tour tickets are available from the Opera Shop/Booking Office.

Location: Andrassy Avenue 22, district VI

Getting there on foot: The Opera House is about 1.7km from the Castle District via the Szechenyi Chain Bridge and takes about 20 minutes on foot.

Getting there by Metro: Take the Millennium underground metro (Line M1) to Opera Station.

Getting there by bus: The nearest bus stop is Andrassy ut (Opera M) just 2 minutes’ walk from the Opera House along Andrassy ut.

River Danube Boat Trip

Cruising along the River Danube is a relaxing way to see the city’s most imposing waterfront architecture and attractions. There are several boat companies and cruises to choose from. Booking desks and departure points are at Vigado Ter and various other points along the promenade on the Pest (east) side of the river.

Location: Danube Promenade

Getting there on foot: The promenade is 5 minutes’ walk south of the Szechenyi Chain Bridge.

Getting there by rail: The nearest railway station is Vigado Ter on yellow Line 2.

Getting there by Metro: The nearest Metro station is Vorosmarty Ter, just 2 minutes’ walk along Vigado u.

Getting there by bus: The nearest bus stop to the promenade is Vigado Ter served by bus routes 15 and 115.


Buda Castle Royal Palace

Buda Castle, also known as the Royal Palace, is the magnificent building presiding over the city from Castle Hill. The current palace dates back to the 14th century in places, although the site has had a castle there from earlier times. The castle houses a vast exhibition of local treasures and artworks in a series of museums and galleries.

Location: Castle Hill

Getting there by funicular: The best way to reach Buda Castle is via the Budapest Funicular Railway which was built in 1870. It has two interconnected trains which balance each other as they travel in opposite directions up and down the steep gradient. The railway climbs 51 metres in its 100 metre length and the city views are wonderful.

Getting there by cable car: The siklo or cable car runs from Clark Adam Square to Buda Castle.

Buda Castle Labyrinth Tunnels

Beneath Buda Castle are miles of tunnels connecting enormous spaces which were once used for storage or as bomb shelters. The best way to explore the tunnels is on a guided tour. It’s a refreshingly cool option on a hot summer’s day!

Location: Castle Hill, Uri Utca 9

Getting there by funicular: The best way to reach Buda Castle Tunnels is via the Budapest Funicular Railway which was built in 1870. It has two interconnected trains which balance each other as they travel in opposite directions up and down the steep gradient. The railway climbs 51 metres in its 100 metre length and the views are wonderful.

Getting there by cable car: The siklo or cable car runs from Clark Adam Square to Buda Castle.

Fisherman’s Bastion

This eye-catching monument is the best viewpoint for gazing across the city landscape. The bright architecture includes seven towers and was built in 1895 as a bastion stronghold.

Location: Castle District

Getting there on foot: The climb up Castle Hill on foot from Szechenyi Chain Bridge takes about 16 minutes.

Getting there by bus: The nearest bus stop to the Fisherman’s Bastion is Szentharomsag Ter and is on routes 16, 16A, 116 and 916.

Great Synagogue

The magnificent Dohany Street Synagogue is a jaw-dropping building and is one of the largest Jewish synagogues ever built, seating over 3,000 worshippers. Twin towers, arcaded colonnades and gilded onion-shaped domes provide external interest. The interior features rose windows, massive chandeliers and the Ark. The building is also home to the Hungarian Jewish Museum.

Location: Dohany Utca 2-8

Getting there on foot: The Great Synagogue is about 19 minutes’ walk from Szechenyi Chain Bridge

Getting there by Metro: The nearest Metro station is Astoria on red line M2, just steps away from the Great Synagogue.

Getting there by bus: Take bus 7 or 78 to Astoria Station then walk along Karoly Korut towards Deak Ter.

Getting there by tram: Take tram 47 or 49 to Astoria Station then walk along Karoly Korut towards Deak Ter.

Hungarian Parliament Building

Rising above the Danube River, the spectacular Hungarian Parliament Buildings are truly spectacular. The grand central dome and forest of towers and turrets make this palatial building one of the finest landmarks in Budapest. It took 20 years to build in 1904 and required 40 million bricks and 14 kilos of gold.

Location: Kossuth Lajos Ter 1-3

Getting there on foot: The Parliament Buildings are 10 minutes’ walk north of Szechenyi Chain Bridge on the Pest side of the river.

Getting there by Metro: The nearest Metro station is Kossuth Lajos Ter on the red M2 line.

Getting there by tram: The nearest tram station is Kossuth Lajos Ter on the yellow line.

Getting there by bus: The nearest bus station is Kossuth Lajos Ter and is served by bus routes 15, 70, 78, 115 and M2A.15,

City Park

Known locally as Varosliget, Budapest’s City Park was laid out in the 19th century and has beautiful trees, a boating lake and a tranquil atmosphere. It’s a pleasant place for a relaxing stroll. The main attractions include the Museum of Agriculture and the wonderful architecture of the Vajdahunyad Castle.

Location: Hosek Tere

Getting there on foot: City Park is a 45-minute walk from Szechenyi Chain Bridge along Andrassy ut.

Getting there by Metro: The nearest Metro station is Hosok Tere which is on the yellow M1 line.

Getting there by bus: The nearest bus station is Benczur utca which is served by bus routes 30, 30A, 75, 79, 230 and 979. The bus stop is within sight of the park entrance.

Szemlőhegyi Cave

One of Budapest’s most valuable natural treasures is this Szemlőhegyi Cave which is filled with natural crystal. It’s an easy 40-minte walking tour through parts of the 2.2km airy caves, admiring the beautiful crystal formations as you go.

Location: Pusztaszeri ut 35

Getting there on foot: The caves are a one-hour walk along Bem rkp on the Buda side of the river from Szechenyi Chain Bridge.

Getting there by bus: The nearest bus stop to the caves is Szemlohegyi-barlang which is on bus routes 29 and 111.

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