Overview : While the Buda side of the Danube is more Old World, the Pest side is dynamic, with more glitz, fine cafes and restaurants. It's where... more »
While the Buda side of the Danube is more Old World, the Pest side is dynamic, with more glitz, fine cafes and restaurants. It's where... more » you'll find the Parliament, wide boulevards and eclectic architecture. The many museums and music venues make it the hub of Budapest's art and culture scene.
These five stops will make a half-day tour, but if you'd like to make this a full day tour, spend the afternoon at the charming Margaret Island. less «
Tips: If you can't get to Margaret Island on this day, plan to visit on another day. It shouldn't be missed.
Start the day at Hungary’s government house. As much as the Danube is a symbol of Budapest, so is its 110-year-old Parliament building. Located between the Margaret and Chain bridges, the goliath Neo-Gothic structure boasts 24 slender towers, arcades and a giant dome. Ninety statues--homage to Hungarian heroes--surround it.
To give you an idea ... Moreof just how big it is, the interior has 691 rooms, 29 staircases and 10 courtyards. Halls are lined with frescoes. Under the cupola sits the Hungarian national treasure, the Holy Crown (Szent Korona), which dates back to the 12th century. It can be seen only during escorted tours of the building
From 1945-60s, Soviets dominated the country. In the hope of getting more food, it is here that students marched on October 23, 1956. Shots rang out (you can still see the bullet holes on some of the nearby buildings) and the bloody Hungarian Revolt began.
A flag next to the grave site in front of the Parliament has the Soviet Coat of Arms cut out of it. Opposite is a monument to the fallen.
Access to the building is only via public tour and then not during public holidays or when Parliament is in session. There are English speaking tours at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. Visits can be booked with a combination tour (prices vary) or by going to gate X on Kossuth Square (free)but tickets are not available in advance.
Ticket Office is open
District V, 1-3 Kossuth tér, Budapest
Tel: +36 1/441-4412Less
Turn right and walk about 1,000 feet along the river. Perpendicular to Zoltan Street is an imprint on the walk. It says, “Szaedsag Útea,” which means “the way to freedom.”
During World War II, the Hungarian Nazis (Arrow Cross Party) forced Jews to line up along the water's edge and shot them. The shoes sitting on the edge signifies that ... Morewas all that was left of them. It is said that so many were murdered in this way that the Danube ran red with Jewish blood. Nearby is a mosaic dedicated to the Jews who died from 1944-45.
Danube Promenade and Zolton Street.Less
Continue walking alongside the river. Originally opened in 1849, the city’s oldest and most beautiful of its seven Danube bridges was destroyed by the Nazis. Rebuilt and reopened in 1949, it sits alongside the Four Seasons Gresham Palace on the Pest side. At night, it is aglow and is stunning.
By the Adam Clark Square on the Pest side... More and the Sikló funicular that leads to Castle Hill on the Buda side.Less
Walk south toward the Elizabeth Bridge then turn left on Szabad Sajtó út. In about four blocks, the street becomes Kossuth Lajos Street. Turn left on Károly kōrút and walk a block to Dohány Street. You can’t miss the synagogue.
Completed in 1859, Europe’s largest synagogue covers one square block. Two... More onion-shaped domes top the Byzantine-Moorish style temple. Inside is a massive bima (alter). Two immense candelabras stand like sentries on either side of the ornate ark. Twenty-eight torahs (Jewish biblical scrolls) rest within it. Vivid stained glass and stone carvings decorate its windows and two balconies border its high walls. Just to give you an idea of its size, it takes 250 chandeliers to illuminate it. Composer Franz Liszt once played its enormous organ. It seats 3,000. Because services were, and still are conducted in both Hebrew and Hungarian, there are two pulpits.
In 1944, this huge synagogue was anything but a house of worship. Each day between May and July of that year, 7,200 people were processed for deportation here. After the war, it sat neglected. Through the generosity of ex-pat Hungarians such as the Lauter family of cosmetic fame and financier George Soros, it has been restored. When it reopened in 1996,it became a World Heritage Site.
Behind the synagogue is the Raoul Wallenberg Garden, a memorial to the gentiles who worked to save Jews. Nearby, a huge metal tree, designed and donated by actor and artist Tony Curtis (also of Hungarian descent) commemorates the 600,000 Hungarian Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust.
Dohány utca 2-8, near Astoria, Pest
Tel: +36 1/342-8949
Fri and Sun 10am-2pm
Return to Károly kōrút, turn right and pass three streets. There will be a diagonal street, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út. Turn right and follow the street to Szent Isván tér. You can’t miss the church.
The 315-foot dome of this gigantic structure, Budapest’s largest church, towers over the city. Neo-Renaissance in... More style, it was completed in 1905 after 38 years of work. The Szent Jobb Kápolna (The Chapel of the Holy Right) contains Hungary’s most sacred relic of St. Stephen, his mummified right hand. Statuary, mosaics and altar pieces make up the church’s art collection. If you feel like some exercise, climb to the cupola’s top, otherwise take the elevator. From this vantage point is yet another fantastic panorama of the city.
Guided English tours are available five times a day for 2,000HUF (about US$8.94).
District V, Szent Isván tér, Pest
Church Mon-Sat 9;30am-5pm
Szt. Jobb Chapel
Apr-Oct: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 1-5pm
Nov-Mar: Mon-Sat 10am-4pm,Sun 1am--4pm
Apr and Sept: Oct daily, 10am-5pm
If you don’t know what to in the afternoon and just want to relax, you might spend the rest of the day at Margaret Island. The 1,5 mile(2.5 km) long island park sits in the Danube right off the Margaret Bridge. Joggers, walkers, bikers and those who just come to ogle the scenery really enjoy the ancient chestnut trees, botanic gardens and... More second-century Roman ruins. Trails wind through Japanese and rose gardens.
The Artists’ Promenade (Můvész sétány) runs through the center of the island and is bordered with statuary of artists, writers and musicians. A sports complex includes tennis courts, athletic center, the National Sports Swimming Pool (Nemzeti Sportuszoda) and the Palatinus mineral baths.
On the northern part of the island, songs and chimes resonate from the Marosvásárhely Musical Fountain. Nearby, the Danibus Spa Resort uses three ancient thermal springs for its health and beauty treatments. Therapies include massages, facials and wraps as well as a salt cave and a medical facility with eye, dental and spine clinics, diagnostics and cosmetic surgery. Call ahead to make an appointment for for therapeutic treatments.
Address: On the Danube between the Margaret and Árpád bridges.
To get there via public transportation, take the M3 and get off at Árpád híd stop.
Tel: +36 1/889-4700Less