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Blick auf Budapest bei Nacht, Bild: Artur Bogacki / shutterstock

Budapest – a city full of secrets

The “Pearl of the Danube”, “Bridge City”, “the City of Baths” or “the Paris of the East” – hardly any other city combines as many attributes as the capital of Hungary. Budapest, the Hungarian metropolis, attracts more than 2 million visitors annually and is a must-see for city travelers. Not only because of the unique location on the Danube, because of the impressive architectural monuments, but also because of the very special flair – a mix of forward-looking busyness and nostalgia.

Embark on a journey and discover the countless sights of Budapest.

Between Buda and Pest – in the magic of bygone times

The “Pearl of the Danube” emerged in 1872, when Hungary was still part of the imperial and royal monarchy, from the union of Buda and Pest, which are connected by eight bridges. Over a length of 28 kilometers, the Danube flows through Budapest and divides the city into two parts: Buda is located on the hilly west bank with numerous historical buildings, while the bustling center of Pest enriches the flat east bank. Here, the dome-crowned Parliament Building is Budapest’s most famous landmark.

The Buda Castle District – unique and world-famous

On the slopes of the limestone mountains, Buda presents itself on the remains of the royal castle from the 13th century and is home to countless sights. Buda Castle was built as a fortress at the southern tip of the castle hill and was soon chosen as a royal castle. On the remaining part of the elevation, a medieval town developed. After the devastation during the Turkish wars, the entire district had to be rebuilt. Not only the fascinating Danube panorama, but also the castle district with castle hill and the castle palace have been part of the World Heritage Site since 1987. A visit to the castle district is like a journey through time. Cobblestone narrow streets line baroque residential buildings with different facades. The main attractions are undoubtedly the popular Fisherman’s Bastion, the Matthias Church and the former town hall built around 1710.

Budapest, Parliament Building
The Parliament Building of Hungary, Image: Dziewul / shutterstock

The Fisherman’s Bastion was built between 1899 and 1905 in the pompous style of the time. The name is based on the way it was built. Stones from the old city wall were used, which was defended at this point by the fishermen’s guild during the Turkish wars. The playful, fortress-like ensemble stands on the edge of the forecourt of the Matthias Church on the steep slope to the Danube. Turrets and arcades adorn this terrace. The bastion was built in 1902 according to plans by the Budapest architect Frigyes Schulek, who combined Romanesque forms with other eras. The museum of the National Gallery in the Buda Castle is worth seeing. On four floors, visitors can admire Hungarian paintings as well as sculpture and graphics from the Middle Ages to the present day.

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Even though Castle Hill is one of Budapest’s most popular attractions, the metropolis offers a loving conglomerate of buildings from different eras in other districts. Spacious boulevards, narrow streets from the Middle Ages, Art Nouveau facades, architectural monuments from the Turkish era, ultra-modern department stores, parks and cafés form an incomparable mixture and bear witness to the former metropolis of the Danube Monarchy.

Pest – the fascinating city centre with the largest synagogue in Europe

An imaginative and form-rich architecture determines the flair of Budapest. The history of the region has left an extraordinary diversity in the cityscape. Bauhaus, Art Nouveau and Postmodernism alternate with Classicism and Baroque. 150 years of Turkish rule and testimonies of the Danube Monarchy of the 19th century characterize the cityscape of Budapest. The most famous magnificent buildings are the Parliament Building, Heroes’ Square, the Opera House and St. Stephen’s Church. In a sweeping semicircle, the inner districts of the city stretch from the Petöfi Bridge in the south to the Margaret Bridge in the north.

The path is lined with important buildings of the fin de siècle as well as important, centrally located squares. The magnificent boulevard Andrássy – also a World Heritage Site – crosses the ring at the octagon. Here, the view wanders to the beautiful Westbahnhof, built by Gustave Eiffel, the builder of the Eiffel Tower. The inner Small Ring encloses the core of the old Pest and connects two Danube bridges. In the immediate vicinity of the Liberty Bridge, the fascinating market hall of Budapest attracts with all kinds of specialties. Colourful, glazed bricks adorn the façade of the building, which was built in 1896. Also in the center of the city is the Great Synagogue, consecrated in 1859. On the edge of the former ghetto is this impressive three-aisled building with a flat roof construction. The building holds 3000 people and is the largest Jewish house of worship in the world after the New York synagogue.

The green paradises of the city centre

Where the water dances to the rhythm of classical music, where the scent of roses beguiles, where a sandy beach beckons and a Japanese garden delights, is the enchanting Margaret Island. The island, which grew together from several sandbanks, was already inhabited in Roman times. With its parks and spas, the Margaret Island is one of the most popular destinations for the people of Budapest. The Arpád and Margaret Bridges lead to the 2.5-kilometre-long Danube Island. The city park is no less delightful. Where the moor once stood, a beautiful park with enchanting places to linger has stretched since 1810.

Budapest – A Mecca for connoisseurs – between wellness and culinary diversity

Budapest is the only city in the world that is both capital and health resort. There are 32 baths in the city area, nine of which are state-approved spas with 123 developed thermal springs. Many other springs pour underground into the Danube. Not only the Celts once appreciated the hot springs. In the first century, the Romans gave the city the name “Aquincum” (lots of water) and founded the legionary camp of the same name. The ruins of ancient settlements in northern Buda are home to abundant mosaics depicting scenes from the Roman pleasure baths. Probably the most famous Budapest bath is located at the southernmost end of Gellért Hill. The water pools in the men’s steam bath are decorated with lavish Art Nouveau decorations.

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Budapest, Vajdahunyad Castle
Vajdahunyad Castle, Image: Brian Kinney / shutterstock

Budapest convinces with an extraordinary culinary variety. The most popular restaurants are located on Ráday Street, Budapest’s Latin Quarter. Dishes from all over the world can be tasted here. Indispensable: The typical Hungarian goulash soup, which pampers the palate with special spiciness.

Saying goodbye to Budapest is difficult. A last glance reveals: Magnificent buildings, spacious boulevards, elegant coffee houses and sumptuous Art Nouveau baths like from the Arabian Nights – Budapest rightly bears the name: “Paris of the East”. The glamorous musical, theatrical and cultural life complements this picture.

What is the best way to get to Budapest?

1. Airplane

  • Fastest option: Direct flights to Budapest from major German cities such as Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and Hamburg are available and usually take between 1.5 and 2 hours.
  • Airlines: Several airlines offer flights, including Lufthansa, Ryanair, and Wizz Air.
  • Airports: Budapest Ferenc Liszt Airport (BUD) is the main airport serving the city.

2nd move

  • Scenic Route: Traveling by train is a great way to enjoy the scenery. There are direct connections and connections with transfers.
  • Tourist season: The train journey can take between 7 and 12 hours, depending on the departure point in Germany and the connection.
  • Booking: Tickets can be booked via Deutsche Bahn (DB) or Hungarian railway MÁV-START.

3. Bus

  • Cost-effective: Bus travel is often cheaper than air or train travel, but it is also slower.
  • Provider: Several bus companies such as FlixBus offer regular connections from various German cities to Budapest.
  • Tourist season: The journey time varies depending on the starting point and can range from 10 to 15 hours.

4. Car

  • Flexibility: With the car, you have the flexibility to stop along the way and customize the route as you wish.
  • Tourist season: The journey time depends on your starting point in Germany and can vary between 8 and 12 hours, not taking into account breaks.
  • Route: The route usually passes through Austria and/or the Czech Republic, so keep in mind that you may need vignettes for the motorways of these countries.

 

Weather in Budapest

Month Average temperature (°C) Precipitation (mm)
January 1 40
February 3 39
March 7 42
April 12 61
May 17 70
June 20 79
July 22 63
August 22 58
September 18 40
October 12 39
November 7 66
December 2 48

 

How many days should you spend in Budapest?

We have compiled the most important tips. Whether you want to spend 3, 5 or 7 days in Budapest:

3 Days: The Highlights

  • Day 1: Explore Buda Castle, walk across the Fisherman’s Bastion, and visit Matthias Church. Enjoy the afternoon at one of the city’s famous thermal baths, such as the Széchenyi Thermal Baths.
  • Day 2: Visit the Parliament Building, stroll across the Chain Bridge, and discover the Jewish Quarter with the Great Synagogue. In the evening, you could take a Danube cruise.
  • Day 3: Explore Andrássy Avenue to Heroes’ Square, visit the Art Museum, and stroll through the City Park. Taste Hungarian specialties in one of the traditional cafes or restaurants.

5 days: Dive deeper

With two additional days, you can experience Budapest even more:

  • Day 4: Visit some of the city’s museums, such as the Hungarian National Museum or the National Gallery. In the afternoon, you could explore the palace district or visit one of the smaller thermal baths.
  • Day 5: Take a day trip to the surrounding area, such as Szentendre, a charming small town upstream on the Danube, or the Royal Palace in Gödöllő.

7 Days: Experience Budapest Like a Local

With a full week, you will have the opportunity to explore Budapest at a more relaxed pace and also discover lesser-known sights:

  • Day 6 and 7: Visit local markets, such as the Great Market Hall, discover the neighborhoods outside the center, and enjoy the local gastronomy. Take time to stroll through the parks, discover hidden cafes and bookstores, or take a bike ride along the Danube.