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  • Writer's pictureEryn

Seeing Budapest - The Capital City of Hungary in 30 Photos

Eryn taking a photo of the Hungarian Parliament Building in front of its gardens under a cloudy sky in Budapest

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and among the most picturesque cities in Europe. Struck in half by the Danube River, its two parts, Buda and Pest, make up a riverside that is dotted with beautiful, centuries-old architectural landmarks. Connected only by bridges across the river, the two sides are distinctly different as the lofty hills of Buda are topped with castles and the plains of Pest bustle with life. Wander through charming streets and see the unique sights of Budapest that make the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an incredible place to visit.

A view of the Buda side of Budapest from across the Danube River where there are buildings and trees as streaks of sunlight peek through gaps in the cloudy sky
Eryn stands next to a statue of Imre Nagy on a small bridge under the shade of trees in Budapest, Hungary
A memorial of Imre Nagy, one of Hungary's most significant prime ministers, gazing devotedly toward parliament.

The most recognizable icon of Budapest is likely the Hungarian Parliament Building on the Pest side of town. Its Gothic Revival style facade and spires overlook the river waters amid a sweeping square. It has been the largest building in Hungary since its completion in 1904 and was intended to represent the recently united Buda, Pest, and Óbuda cities under Budapest in 1873. If you visit Budapest in Spring, the Parliament Building's surrounding greenery, among which are lavender and other purple flowers, gives the site a pop of color.

The Hungarian Parliament Building with its red roof and intricate facade beside the shrubs of its garden under a partly cloudy blue sky in Budapest
A closeup of the purple flower fields in front of the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest
Looking up at the facade of the Parliament Building's main entrance with a hanging Hungarian flag in Budapest under a cloudy sky
The facade of the Parliament Building's main entrance.

Nearby on the north side of the Parliament Building, you can find a monument of István Tisza, Hungary's prime minister from 1903-1905, topped with a lion strangled by a snake. Just opposite parliament toward the East, the intricate facade of Hungary's National Museum of Ethnography creates an interesting photo opportunity with the passing trams.

Eryn standing beneath the István Tisza Monument under partly cloudy skies in Budapest with its large bronze statues, pillars holding up a marble lion, and marble blocks with his name engraved in it
A tram passing the front of the Hungarian National Museum of Ethnography with its green lawn and trees under dark grey skies in Budapest
The Hungarian Museum of Ethnography opposite parliament.
The top of the István Tisza Monument featuring a stone lion bitten by a snake elevated by marble pillars above bronze statues behind the wall of the Hungarian Parliament Building
A closeup of the detailed stone-carved facade of the Hungarian National Museum of Ethnography topped with a turquoise bronze statue of a woman on a chariot drawn by three horses in Budapest
The facade of the Museum of Ethnography up close.

Return to the banks of the Danube, travel south, and you will then come across scattered pairs of metal shoes filled with wilted flowers and solemn candles. As a monument, the stretch of shoes commemorates the 3,500 people who were killed at the river's edge by Arrow Cross soldiers during the Second World War. The shoes represent all that was left behind when the victims were shot into the coursing waters below. Eight hundred of these victims were Jews, and the memorial is a mournful reflection of our recent visit to Auschwitz in Poland.

Countless metal shoes scattered at the edge of the Danube River as a part of the Shoes on the Danube Bank Monument in Budapest
A metal shoe with a wilted yellow flower placed inside it and another pink flower dropped on the Danube Bank in Budapest

As we continue down the Danube River, the towering domes of St. Stephen's Basilica soon appear. After half a century of construction, the building was finished in 1905, and it is the most sacred Catholic site in Hungary. Named after the first king of Hungary, it has an intricately decorated interior and even houses King Stephen's mummified right hand, a holy artifact.

Eryn standing in a crowded courtyard in front of the dome and spires of the St. Stephen's Basilica under a partly cloudy blue sky in Budapest
St. Stephen's Holy Right Hand kept in an ornately decorated gold box kept in a wooden glass case in Budapest
St. Stephen's Holy Right Hand is kept in this ornate box at St. Stephen's Basilica.
Gold images of angels and holy figures decorating the inside of the main dome at St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest, Hungary
The decorated interior of the dome of St. Stephen's Basilica.

When the time comes to cross the Danube, the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge awaits. A 375-meter-long symbol of Budapest, it was the city's first permanent stone bridge to cross the river and opened in 1849. It offers a new perspective of both the Buda and Pest sides of the city and is iconically watched over by a couple of stone lions at each end.

Eryn standing at the Danube River bank before the Széchenyi Chain Bridge crossing over to the Buda side of Budapest, Hungary
An elevated view of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge crossing the Danube River from Buda to Pest with the Pest city skyline in the background in Budapest, Hungary
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge crossing to the Pest side of Budapest toward St. Stephen's Basilica in the distant skyline.
A bright red tuk tuk parked in front of a lampost by the Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary
A cute little tuk tuk stopped in front of the Chain Bridge.
One of the stone lion statues of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and the colorful orange-roofed spires of the Fisherman's Bastion in the distance in Budapest, Hungary
A famous stone lion of the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and the colorful Fisherman's Bastion of Buda in the distance.

Walking from Pest to Buda, the chain bridge drops you off at the base of Castle Hill, a limestone plateau topped with medieval wonders. It sits 170 meters above the Danube, and the Budavári Sikló, a funicular tram, helps us make the steep crawl to the top. As you make the climb, looking out of the windows in its curious cubicle carriages reveals a beautiful view of Pest across the river.

Eryn opening the carriage door of the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular on the steeply inclined tracks in Budapest, Hungary
How adorable is the Castle Hill Funicular?
The Budavári Sikló station at the base of Castle Hill with the steep tracks of the funicular tram flanked by lush trees climbing up on the Buda side of Budapest, Hungary behind it
The Budavári Sikló station at the bottom of Castle Hill.
The view over the Danube River from the Castle Hill Funicular Tram track where landmarks including the Hungarian Parliament Building, Széchenyi Chain Bridge, and St Stephen's Basilica can be seen among the cityscape in the distance
The sweeping views from the funicular tram. Can you spot the Budapest landmarks in the distance?

Once you get off the tram at the very top of Castle Hill, it is almost as if you are suddenly transported into a different time. Greeted by the statue of the mythical Turul, a great falcon spreading its wings above the Danube, you find yourself surrounded by cobblestone streets, Baroque-style palaces, and more.

The turquoise bronze statue of the mythological Turul falcon beside ornate stone structures on Castle Hill, Budapest before a gradient blue-yellow sunset sky
Legend has it that Turul dropped the sword in his claws in Budapest so ethnic Hungarian peoples could settle there.
Eryn walking through a black gate with a metal crow on top beside a cobblestone wall and a building facade at the entrance of the Buda Castle complex in Budapest, Hungary
Walking towards the Buda Castle complex.

The main attraction here is the Buda Castle, the historical castle of Budapest's Hungarian kings since 1265. The building you see today, with its intricate facades and turquoise roofs, was built during the 17th century and currently houses the Budapest History Museum and Hungarian National Gallery. Explore the Buda Castle's surrounding grounds and find endless gardens and sculptures against the beautiful backdrop of the building's facade.

Eryn walking along a stone paved path with green lawns on either side toward a turquoise statue of a horse in the courtyard in front of the the yellow-walled, turquoise-roofed Buda Castle in Budapest
The turquoise-roofed dome of the Buda Castle, Budapest
The Mattias Fountain with turquoise bronze figures of hunters, their dogs, and killed stags at the Buda Castle in Budapest
The Matthias Fountain at Buda Castle depicting a detailed hunting scene.
Looking up at a turquoise bronze statue of a man pulling a rearing horse in front of the facade of the Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary
The turquoise statues playfully pick up on the Buda Castle's own turquoise roof and accents.

Just across the street from the Buda Castle is then the Sándor Palace, the official residence of the Hungarian president. If you are lucky, you might just catch the changing of the guards. Further down the Castle District lies the colorful Fisherman's Bastion with some of the city's best viewpoints overlooking the Danube and the parliament building on the other side.

Eryn standing in the cobblestone courtyard in front of the doors of Sándor Palace with its red roof and green windows, doors, Hungarian flags, and guard posts in Budapest
Standing in front of Sándor Palace atop Castle Hill.
The colorful orange spires of the Matthias Church by the Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, Hungary surrounded by greenery under a bright blue sky
The colorful Matthias Church by the Fisherman's Bastion. From there, you have an clear view of the Danube and Pest.

Budapest, filled with remnants of its medieval and imperial past, is a unique city that captures what you would picture when you think of European charm. Centered on the Danube River, it's often surreal walking through the city streets passing its beautiful architecture and discovering its hidden gems.

How about you? Have you been to Budapest? If not, is it on your bucket list of places to go? I hope this takes you back to your visit there or inspires you to visit one day!

We visited Budapest in 2017 during our year-long trip around the world. Click on the link to read more!


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