Budapest’s beauty is not all God-given, humankind has played a role in shaping this pretty face too. Architecturally, the city is a treasure trove, with enough baroque, neoclassical, Eclectic and art nouveau buildings to satisfy everyone. Budapest will inspire you with visions of Habsburg royalty, terrify you with scenes of communist dystopia, get you drunk for pennies in atmospheric ruin bars, and soothe your soul in its 16th-century thermal baths.
Alongside Prague and Krakow, Budapest firmly asserts itself among Eastern and Central Europe’s biggest tourist magnets. Yet despite the crowds at the big attractions, it's easy to get lost among the crumbling 19th-century streets, dart down a side road, and find yourself immersed in the authentic atmosphere of the place.
Take A Walk To Buda Castle:With a history stretching back to 1265, you could marvel at the incredible story of this epic building for days… but first, you’re going to need to catch your breath! Located at the top of Castle Hill on the Buda side of the river, this royal palace will stun you with its size and presence. If you can bear to turn your head away and wander to the edge of the platform, you’ll be able to gaze down and see the entire modern city of Budapest on the other side of the river.
Visit The Hungarian State Opera House: The 1200 seat auditorium is considered to be one of the best in the world for operatic performances, and it is well worth it to buy a ticket to a show. This Neo-Renaissance building was first opened in 1884, following a commission from Emperor Franz Joseph. Outside of the building, you can see statues to Ferenc Erkel (composer of the Hungarian National Anthem) and Ferenc Liszt (Hungarian composer).
Shake the hand of history at St. Stephen's Basilica: This basilica is one of the most important religious buildings in Hungary, and visitors to the reliquary can see the (reported) right hand of Stephen, first King of Hungary. As this is a holy site, visitors who plan on entering the church are asked to keep their knees and shoulders covered. Classical music concerts and organ concerts regularly take place inside the Basilica and sometimes spill out into the square outside.
Soak yourself in a thermal bath:Dating back to the 16th century when the city was still in the grips of Ottoman rule, Budapest’s many thermal baths are an integral part of the city’s culture. They’re also great fun. And guess what in a few of them, you’re allowed to drink! Doesn’t get much more relaxing than that.
Get Your Tummy Full At The Great Market Hall: On the ground floor, you’ll find merchants selling fresh produce from Hungary, including meats and fish, as well as spices like paprika, processed meats and preserves. Upstairs, sit down for a hearty Hungarian meal. Rich, spicy Goulash, sweet strudel, poppy seed rolls, sour cherry soup and, if you still have room, hot plum dumplings. When your belly is full, you can wander the endless stalls, perhaps pausing to pick up a few souvenirs to take home.