European capitol city, Budapest shines for being an architectural and artistically inclined gem. Straddling the Danube River with the Buda hills to the west, and the rolling Great Plains to the east, this city is breathtaking for all the right reasons.
Immersing yourself in this wonderful city is as easy as learning the Hungarian language, well maybe just a tad bit easier than that. Budapest has dozens of landmarks worth a visit, but here’s a quick trip for first-time visitor’s that will introduce you too five major hot spots. All it takes to visit these in a day is some walking and a few short metro rides.
1. Royal Palace
Start the day off in a big way at the Royal Palace. Today it is home to two museums, the Hungarian National Gallery and the Castle Museum, as well as the National Széchenyi. The Hungarian National Gallery has an immense collection spanning four floors with art dating as far back as the 11th century. On the other hand the Castle Museum retains 2,000 years of city history including restored palace rooms, the Gothic Hall, Royal Cellar and Tower Chapel.
Photo courtesy | Moyan Brenn
2. Széchenyi Chain Bridge
Leaving the Palace behind take the 25 minute leasiurely walk towards St. Stephen’s Basilica and in doing so, cross over arguably one of the finest bridges in the world, Széchenyi Chain Bridge. Named in honor of its initiator, István Széchenyi, and eventually built by Scotsman Adam Clark, Chain Bridge is known to be the oldest bridge, opening it’s doors in 1849. Today the bridge is special for two reasons, one is because the bridge served as the first dry link between Buda and Pest, and second, the bridge toll did not exempt the aristocracy.
Photo courtesy | SF Brit
3. Stephens Basilica
After admiring the view from Chain Bridge, continue the walk and head to St. Stephens Basilica. Built over the course of half a century (the dome actually collapsed during construction due to a storm), it finally opened in 1905. Within the religious relic you’ll find a treasury of ecclesiastical objects, the main altar and the Holy Right Chapel containing the Holy Right (otherwise known as the mummified right hand of St Stephen himself).
Photo courtesy | David R.
4. Széchenyi Baths
All right, now it’s time to find the Metro station. After a quick walk to the station take the Metro 1 seven stops to Széchenyi fürdő, and another quick walk and find yourself at the famous thermal baths. Situated at the north end of City Park, the Széchenyi Baths remain a warm thirty-eight degrees Celsius all year round. The baths are outstandingly huge with fifteen indoor pools and three outdoor ones, and housed in an awe inspiringly bright and clean building.
Photo courtesy | Graeme Churchard
5. Central Market Hall
After such a long morning of sightseeing it’s time to finish off the day with a little food and shopping. After leaving the baths behind, find yourself back at the Metro 1 station and take an 8 stop trip to Deák Ferenc tér, from there board the HEV (Budapest’s above ground train system) Fővám tér M, from there take a walk over to Central Market Hall. A mix of sightseeing, shopping and eating, the Central Market Hall is a colorful three story hall that offers visitors the spender of learning about Hungarian culture. Similar to other European cities this covered market hall serves the inhabitants of Budapest with anything you could imagine. Wander stalls decked with strings of paprika and garlic, salamis and sausages, oven-fresh pastries, wines and of course souvenirs for the whole family!
Photo courtesy | Steve P.