Budapest has hundreds of sites, so you might feel a bit overwhelmed as to which ones to check out while in town. Here is a list of the 10 must-see sites that anyone who is interested in history, culture and architecture should see in Budapest.
And if you’re worried about not being able to fit in everything you want to see or if you want to visit the city with an expert local guide, make sure you sign up for our Custom Tour.
Built between 1885 and 1904, this impressive Neo-Gothic building is the world’s third largest parliament building. It has 691 rooms and 19 kilometers of corridors and stairs. Sign up for a guided tour and you’ll get a chance to see the Hungarian Crown Jewels.
2. Shoes on the Danube Bank (memorial)
During the Holocaust, 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed and hundreds of them were shot into the Danube by the Hungarian Nazi party called the Arrow Cross Party. The 60 pairs of sculpted shoes represent the victims’ shoes that they left behind on the bank right before they were killed.
3. St. Stephen’s Basilica
Dedicated to Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen’s Basilica was built between 1851 and 1905. Make sure you visit both its gorgeous interior and the cupola (accessible through elevator or a staircase with 364 steps), where you can enjoy a stunning panorama over the city.
4. Heroes’ Square
One of the main sites in Budapest, Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) is an immense square by the City Park and it features the Millennium Monument, a figure of the Archangel Gabriel, the seven chieftains of the Magyars and the memorial of the Unknown Soldier.
5. Dohány Street Synagogue
The Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. Built between 1854 and 1859 in Moorish Revival style, this stunning Neolog synagogue seats 3,000 people.
6. Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. With its 10,000 square meters and with its three stores, this market offers the greatest selection of stalls from meats, fish, spices, spirits and more. The Great Market Hall is closed on Sunday. Check out our blog post about other markets in Budapest.
7. Chain Bridge
One of the most beautiful bridges in Budapest, the Chain Bridge was opened in 1849 and it connects Széchenyi Square on the Pest side and the area below the Castle District on the Buda side. In the evening, thousands of light bulbs illuminate the bridge, making it a must-see site in Budapest.
8. Fisherman’s Bastion
One of the best lookout spots in Budapest, the Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in the Castle District with seven towers, representing the seven Magyar tribes. Built in Neo-Gothic and Neo-Romanesque style between 1895 and 1902, it was nearly destroyed during the WWII and then reconstructed right after the war.
9. Matthias Church
Matthias Church is another major site in the Castle District. The church’s history dates back to the 11th century but it was rebuilt in the second half of the 14th century in Romanesque style and then extensively restored in the 19th century.
10. Margaret Island
Margaret Island is between Buda and Pest and it’s easily accessible through Margaret Bridge. The island is an excellent place if you want to take a break from the busy and noisy city. With immense green areas, an intimate Japanese garden, a swimming pool, a running track and a hotel and spa, you can easily spend a full day of relaxation on this island.