Where is Budapest: the geography of the capital of Hungary
Budapest is the capital of Hungary and a true pearl and gem located on the Danube. It is precisely this beautiful river that is the permeates its urban geography.
The Danube, in fact, divides the city into three historical areas that before 1873 represented three distinct cities: Obuda and Buda, located on the west bank of the river and Pest, the flat area on the east bank. Connecting the city in a continuum of beauty and magic is the splendid Chain Bridge, which we recommend crossing from side to side on a sunny day. In Budapest, history is everywhere: styles, eras and artistic and architectural currents chase each other and complete each other, creating a city that looks like a painting.
What to see in Budapest: from the parliament to its historic buildings
Impossible not to notice and, for this reason, undoubtedly one of the first things to see during a stay in Budapest. We’re talking about the city’s Parliament which, situated on the bank of the Danube, is imposing in its grandiose
majesty. This is a building featured in the Guinness Book of Records building, the third largest building in the world to house a parliament.
Characterized in its structure by a strong neo-Gothic core complex with spires,
turrets and domes, inside it, the visitor is sure to notice its strongly baroque and renaissance style. The beautiful courtyards and countless rooms are not only home to the Parliament of Budapest . Inside the palace, in fact, there is a great library and, above all, the Hall of the Dome, where you can admire the Sacred Crown of King St. Stephen together with the scepter, the globe of the cross and the sword that combined, make up the royal insignia. Among the sections open to the public are also the Hall of the National Assembly, the Hall of Congress, and the Hall of the Tapestry.
After a visit to the Parliament, we continue our journey through the historical buildings of Budapest, crossing the picturesque Chain Bridge. As mentioned earlier, the bridge connects the two banks of the Danube, giving a sense of urban unity to the entire capital. The structure before us is splendid and majestic and will not leave you indifferent. Once you have crossed the bridge, you definitely should visit the Castle of Budapest, an impregnable fortress located in the hilly part of the city. To reach it, you can walk uphill or take the convenient cable-car that from the Chain Bridge arrives will get you directly to the Castle.
When visiting the castle of Budapest, you get a sense of the tormented history that characterized the capital of Hungary. Since its first construction in 1243, this immense fortress has been the scene of bloody battles that, over the centuries, have greatly changed its features: medieval, baroque and neoclassical, the castle of Budapest was eventually reduced to rubble during World War II and rebuilt later.
The historical and cultural symbol of the city, the castle is today the pulsating heart of city life. There are churches and public buildings throughout, and above all, the Historical Museum and the National Gallery, which houses the most important works of Magyar art in the world.
Budapest's thermal baths: between history and the healing power of water
Budapest's spas are built on a tradition that is literally thousands of years old. From the Celts to the Romans, from the Turks to the period of Austro-Hungarian domination, Budapest's spa buildings are places steeped in history and in each of them you can find architectural traces of past dominations. That's why it
would be unforgivable not to spend at least one day of relaxation at one of the many facilities in the city. The possibilities are countless: from the Baths of Széchenji located within the Park of Városliget (to date, the largest spa complex in the city), to the Rudas and Kiraly Spas, which show clear traces of a strong Turkish influence. Other beautiful spas are located in the complex Palatinus, on the island Margaret in the middle of the Danube.
The “ruin” pubs of Budapest
An evocative name to describe a true institution of the Hungarian capital. The ruin pubs of Budapest are one of the most recent developments in the city’s social and urban evolution. Founded about 10 years ago, these are clubs and taverns that have seen the light in some of the many buildings abandoned on the city’s soil, which is where the name of these oddly peculiar places originates from. Each one different from the other, the ruin pubs enjoy a very special atmosphere, made even more creative and playful by the typical urban decor that characterizes them individually. There are many throughout the city, both in the center and in the outskirts. Among these, the most famous is undoubtedly the Szimpla Kert, one of the first ruin pubs opened in the Budapest. The pub saw the light in 2000 and today is a true landmark in terms of entertainment and club life. In an atypical urban garden, you can watch films, admire art installations or eat and drink local delicacies. There are so many ruin pubs to visit and, as you discover the city, you will be able to admire the way in which artists, creatives and entrepreneurs have given new life to buildings that had been left in a state of neglect. In short, the ruin pubs are a real must-see when scheduling a trip to Budapest.
Visiting Budapest: other attractions
Budapest is a city full of attractions: those described so far probably make up only a tenth of the things to do and see in the Hungarian capital. All that's left, then, is for us to quickly review the other things to do and see when you are in Budapest.
St. Stephen's BasilicaA neoclassical church of incredible charm; made of fine marble, decorated with beautiful mosaics, stucco and gold decorations, it is a real must-see if you find
yourself staying in Budapest. You can also climb up to the dome, from where you can observe part of the city from above.
The Great Synagogue of BudapestThe Budapest Synagogue is among the largest in the world and the largest in Europe. Built in the second half of the 1800's, it is splendid in its majestic grandeur, characterized by the blending of many styles, from the Byzantine to the Moorish. In addition to observing the beauty of the structure, you can visit the Jewish cemetery and pay tribute to the monument-sculpture of Varga Imre, created to commemorate the Hungarian victims of the Holocaust.
The Central Market
Visiting a city also means tasting its most gastronomic side. That's why you can't miss out on a visit to the Central Market, Budapest 's largest indoor market. In addition to offering an immense variety of food products, it is also a building in which you can sense the very history of the city. Built in 1897 and severely damaged during the Second World War (and later fallen into disrepair), at the beginning of the 1990's it was closed to the public. Restored a few years later, it has returned to its former glory becoming, today, one of the city’s most representative buildings.
The House of Terror
Visiting Budapest also means getting acquainted with its most hard and tormented history. The Terror Haza Museum, known as the House of Terror, is a museum that traces the history of the two regimes that marked the life of Budapest and the whole of Hungary: the Nazi and the Communist regimes.
Budapest out of town: Memento ParkIf you want to know more about the city’s communist period, you have to travel about half an hour out of the city center: here, in fact, is the so-called Park of Statues, which houses all the statues and sculptures that were in the city when Hungary was part of the Soviet Union.
To organize a trip to Budapest and to travel to the city, you must have a passport or ID card that is valid for travel abroad. Hungary is one of the countries in the European Union.
Are you planning a trip to Budapest and wondering about the best time to visit? Since the city is characterized by a temperate continental climate, spring and autumn are undoubtedly the best seasons for taking a trip to the city: you can enjoy mild, pleasant temperatures and the many events that take place in the city. Especially in spring, visiting Budapest means taking advantage of various cultural events: the Budapesti Tavaszi Fesztivál, or Spring Festival, transforms the city into the capital of the arts. Countless music, theatre and ballet performances are held in various locations; it is a truly wonderful event, which usually takes place in April.
If you decide to visit Budapest in the summer, be prepared to face very high temperatures, especially in July and August: the locals go on holiday and the city is full of tourists. From outdoor discos to drinks in the square, in summer Budapest is perfect for outdoor living.
In winter the temperatures tend to drop significantly and, if you are lucky, you will be able to admire the enchanting sight of this snow-covered city on the Danube.
Also referred to as the "Paris of the East", Budapest welcomes its visitors in an urban fabric that is in continuous evolution. It’s a city that changes constantly but that keeps the history that has characterized it – from the communist period to the revolution of 1956 and until 1989 when, with the fall of the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of Hungary was born – well alive.