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Why Visit Budapest?
Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is seen as one of the jewels of Eastern Europe. It is a top destination for many travelers with its Gothic architecture and modern facilities, making it the perfect place to jet off to if you need a break. Here in this guide to Budapest, we'll be listing our 9 favorite attractions.
1. The Szechenyi Baths
The Szechenyi thermal baths are located in the City Park and are one of Budapest's most popular attractions. The baths were opened back in 1913 but have seen major renovations since then. Here you'll be able to relax and unwind while enjoying the waters of one of Gellert Hill's many springs. There are several pools of varying temperatures, and indoors you'll find an array of saunas.
2. Budapest Parliament Building
The Parliament building is one of Budapest's more grand structures and is home to Hungary's parliament. Built back in 1902 by Imre Steindl, it has been featured on numerous postcards throughout the years. It is a great place to visit if you want to see what goes on inside Hungarian politics, but just being a beautiful structure with amazing architecture makes it worth seeing even if you aren't interested in Hungarian politics!
3. Heroes Square
Heroes Square (Hősök tere) was built back in 1896, making it much older than most other buildings in Budapest. It features statues of various famous figures from Hungarian history, including Franz Liszt, Matthias Corvinus, and Lajos Kossuth. This square has seen many protests take place here, so it may be interesting to come here and try to mentally place yourself in the midst of some of Hungary's most iconic moments!
4. Cave Church
Located beneath Buda Castle lies this beautiful cave church, carved out by monks many centuries ago! In front of the church stands a statue dedicated to Saint Gerard, an Italian monk who moved into this cave right at the end of his life after he had fallen ill – the statue portrays him holding his heart.
Personally, I think this place looks really interesting due to its unique location under Buda Castle, especially when combined with all the gothic architecture; it can't be missed as you walk around the city. If you're looking for somewhere quiet, this would be perfect, but don't forget that this area is quite touristy. Make sure you properly have a look around before heading off, as when you return, it could be quite busy, depending on the weather!
5. St. Stephen’s Basilica
St Stephen's is Budapest's main cathedral and is located right in the middle of the main square, making it an iconic structure to visit when in Budapest. It was built back in 1015 by Saint Istvan, who had just won a battle against paganism and wanted to build a church there, even though he wasn't the king of Hungary at this time.
Since then, the church has had multiple renovations, which have added some modern features but have kept its unique style, making it one of the most beautiful cathedrals on earth! Whether you are religious or not, this place is definitely worth seeing due to its unique look as well as being a focal point for many things such as concerts and art exhibitions, if that kind of thing interests you!
6. Matthias Church
This beautiful gothic church is one of our favorite attractions in Budapest and was built back in 1851 using stone from Prague. It has recently been renovated and really looks amazing now. Its colorful windows, and intricate details inside whilst still in keeping with the original architecture meant we thought this church deserved its place on our top 8 attractions list!
7. Chain Bridge
This bridge may not be the oldest or most iconic attraction in Budapest but nonetheless serves as an icon for both locals and tourists alike. Built over 120 years ago by Scotsman Adam Clark, it was given to Hungary by UK Queen Victoria after she came here for her Golden Jubilee celebrations.
The bridge holds a lot of significance today and is seen all over pop culture, whether that be through pictures online or references made in movies/books, so if you're looking for something more than just another bridge while visiting Budapest, then make sure you visit Chain Bridge too!
8. House of Terror
You can learn about Hungary's tumultuous past at this museum located on Andrassy Avenue, just off Heroes' Square. The House of Terror explores the dark chapters in Hungarian history from 1945-1989, including both World Wars as well as the period under Soviet rule when communism took over Hungary (1944-1989).
Many displays at the museum were taken from real locations such as secret police headquarters, where torture and imprisonment were common practices during these darker years. Other displays include weapons used by those who fought against communism, along with documents detailing how communist leaders ruled Hungary for so many years.