Budapest: what to see in a week-end

Budapest is the capital and largest city of Hungary, located in the heart of Central Europe. It is known for its rich history, architectural beauty, and thermal baths.

Budapest is divided into two main parts by the Danube River: Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. The two sides are connected by several iconic bridges, including the Chain Bridge, the oldest and most famous.

The city is renowned for its stunning architecture, with a mix of Roman, Gothic, Baroque, and neoclassical buildings. The Buda Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands atop Castle Hill and offers panoramic views of the city. Other architectural gems include the Hungarian Parliament Building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Matthias Church, and the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Budapest is often called the “City of Spas” due to its abundance of thermal springs. The city boasts several thermal baths and spas, where visitors can relax and enjoy the healing properties of the mineral-rich waters. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Gellért Baths are among the most famous.

Taking a cruise along the Danube River offers a fantastic way to see Budapest’s landmarks and bridges illuminated at night. It’s a popular activity that showcases the city’s beauty from a different perspective.

What to see

Buda Castle

Buda Castle and Castle Hill, located on the western bank of the Danube River in Budapest, are among the most significant historical and cultural landmarks in the city.

Buda Castle, also known as the Royal Palace or the Budapest Castle, is an imposing complex that has witnessed centuries of Hungarian history.

The original castle was built in the 13th century, but it has undergone multiple reconstructions and expansions over the centuries. The castle was the residence of Hungarian kings and queens for centuries until the 16th century when it fell under Ottoman rule and suffered significant damage during their occupation.

In the 18th century, during the Habsburg rule, the castle was rebuilt in Baroque and later in neo-Classical style, giving it the majestic appearance it has today.

The castle complex comprises several buildings, courtyards, and gardens. It includes the Royal Palace, the National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum, and the National Széchényi Library.

Castle Hill

Castle Hill (Várhegy) is a historic district that surrounds Buda Castle, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hill offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Danube River, Pest, and the iconic Chain Bridge.

The Fisherman’s Bastion (Halászbástya) is another highlight on Castle Hill, offering magnificent views of the Danube, Pest, and the Hungarian Parliament Building. The bastion’s seven turrets symbolize the seven Hungarian tribes that founded the nation.

Hungarian Parliament Building

Located on the banks of the Danube River in Budapest, it is one of the city’s most recognizable symbols and a significant symbol of the nation’s history and democracy.

The Hungarian Parliament Building is renowned for its stunning neo-Gothic architecture, characterized by pointed arches, spires, and intricate detailing. It was designed by Hungarian architect Imre Steindl and built between 1885 and 1904 during the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The building is the third-largest parliament building in the world. The Parliament Building is not only architecturally impressive but also vast in terms of its interior space. It houses a total of 691 rooms, including chambers, committee rooms, and offices.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Basilica, also known as St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Szent István Bazilika), is a magnificent Roman Catholic basilica located in the heart of Budapest, Hungary. Named in honor of Stephen I of Hungary, the first King of Hungary and the country’s patron saint, the basilica is one of the most prominent religious and architectural landmarks in the city. Here are more details about this impressive structure:

St. Stephen’s Basilica is a fine example of neoclassical architecture with a touch of neo-Renaissance style. The basilica was designed by Hungarian architect József Hild and later completed by Miklós Ybl after Hild’s death. Construction began in 1851 but wasn’t fully completed until 1905.

The basilica is one of the largest churches in Hungary and can hold up to 8,500 people. Its dome reaches a height of 96 meters (315 feet), the same height as the Hungarian Parliament Building, making them the two tallest buildings in Budapest.

One of the most revered relics in Hungary, the Holy Right Hand of St. Stephen, is kept in the basilica. The relic is the mummified right hand of the saint and is displayed in a chapel on the right side of the main altar. It is brought out for public veneration on August 20th, St. Stephen’s Day, which is a national holiday in Hungary.

The basilica’s interior is adorned with beautiful frescoes, intricate marble work, and elegant statues. The high altar features a stunning depiction of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

6. Panoramic Views: For breathtaking views of Budapest, visitors can climb the 364 steps to the dome’s observation deck. The panoramic vista includes the Danube River, the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle, and many other iconic landmarks.

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