8 Great Budapest Sights

My wife and I recently visited Budapest, at the end of our Viking river cruise and then for four days afterward. It was nice to remain in one spot for a few days and experience these and other Budapest sights.

Following are some Budapest sights we enjoyed, certainly not everything we saw, nor everything Budapest has to offer, and not necessarily the “best” Budapest sights.

Please enjoy and let me know what are some of your favorite Budapest sights.

8 Great Budapest Sights

1. Chain Bridge

8 Great Budapest Sights
Budapest sights: Chain Bridge

Our Viking River cruise docked next to Chain Bridge connecting Buda with Pest over the Danube River. When we left the boat, the first thing we did was walk across the Chain Bridge. Our local tour guide, Rita, told us that it is a mystery whether or not the lion statues have tongues. Across the Danube River is the Buda Castle, also called the Royal Palace, housing the National Gallery museum.

Walking from Pest to Buda on Tuesday afternoon, we encountered the below scene. We learned that taxi cab drivers form this protest line between 4pm and 6pm every Tuesday to protest Uber and Lyft services.


Budapest Sights
Budapest sights: taxi cab protest line on Chain Bridge

2. Little Princess Statue

8 Great Budapest Sights
things to do in Budapest: Little Princess statue along Danube Promenade

The Little Princess statue is a short stroll from Chain Bridge. Yes, it looks like a boy. Rita told us that it is definitely a princess but the model was a boy. Rubbing the legs is said to bring good luck. Another legend is that speaking your wish between her legs will make it come true, so you are likely to see some odd situations if you wait long enough.

3. View From Buda

Budapest Sights
Budapest sights: Viking Freya dock from Buda side

From the viewpoint on Castle Hill, at the top of the funicular, the view is magnificent. We could see our ship, Viking Freya, docked next to Chain Bridge. The tallest building in view is St. Stephen’s Cathedral (more about that place later).

Budapest Sights
Budapest Parliament Building, view from Buda

In spite of the Budapest Parliament building being so massive, it is possible to get unobstructed views, although I do like this view with some greenery.

rare sight of airplane flying along Danube River in Budapest
things to do in Budapest: Budapest Air Show

Yes, that is a large commercial jet and they do not usually fly this low to ground over Budapest. This Wizz Air Airbus A321 flew over the Danube River as part of the Budapest Air Show on May 1, 2016. While there were hundreds of great viewpoints through the city, we chose to watch the air show from our hotel window. Not a bad view, right?

4. Margaret Island

8 Great Budapest Sights
Budapest sight: Margaret Island

Margaret Island, Margitsziget, is a public park on an island (of course) in the middle of the Danube River. You can rent a bike or other vehicle, run on the perimeter track, or visit historic ruins, botanic gardens, or a zoo. Did you see my video of the musical water fountain? This gorgeous massive tree is in the middle of Margaret Island.

5. Great Market Hall

8 Great Budapest Sights
things to do in Budapest: Central Market Hall

The Great Market Hall in Budapest is a gathering place for residents to buy fresh food and other household items. For visitors, it is a wonderful place to mingle with locals, eat some Hungarian food, buy some souvenirs, and just people watch. make sure you go down to the lower level to visit the fish market; it smells like fish and pickles.

6. Shoes on the Danube Memorial

8 Great Budapest Sights
Budapest sight: Shoes on the Danube memorial

Between Chain Bridge and the Parliament Building is a solemn memorial to Jewish residents of Budapest in the 1940s. They were ordered to line up along the Danube River, remove their shoes, and were then murdered by militia gunfire.

7. Evening Danube River Cruise

8 Great Budapest Sights
Budapest Parliament Building at night

Be sure to take a boat ride at night because Budapest looks glorious after sunset.

8. Budapest Quirkiness

Budapest has its fair share of quirkiness and I cannot possibly cover it all in this article. Here are a few quirky Budapest sights.

8 Great Budapest Sights
things to do in Budapest: Szimpla Kert ruin bar

See the two glasses of beer on the table? My wife and I sat in this dilapidated car one afternoon. This place, Szimpla Kert, is one of the first Ruin Bars of Budapest and has fun, kitschy decor all around.

Budapest Sights
Budapest sights: Old German car, Trabant

Remnants and relics of Hungary’s relatively recent Communist past are somewhat celebrated around Budapest. This East German made vehicle is permanently parked on the main street on the Buda side.

Budapest Sights
active filming location in Budapest

While walking around the Buda side, we stumbled upon this filming location. We watched for a few minutes but did not stay long enough to see any actual action.

colorful music street art of eyes in Budapest by Heszt
places to visit in Budapest: Budapest mosaic art

I found the above coolness along Dob Utca in the Jewish district of Budapest. It is surely one of the most Instagrammable spots in Budapest.

Budapest Sights
St. Stephen hand, things to see in Budapest

Certainly not a great photo—sorry—perhaps you can see that there is a hand in there? This is said to be the right hand of St. Stephen, the first Hungarian King—though not everyone is a believer.

Can you believe I wrote an entire post without mentioning food? What is your favorite food from Budapest?

Have you been to Budapest? What were some of your favorite Budapest sights?

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26 thoughts on “8 Great Budapest Sights”

  1. Went to Budapest as part of my honeymoon. Had a good time, great sights and a visit down to the countryside birthplace of my family. Love the lights at night!

  2. I’ve been to Budapest 3 times and love it! I don’t have a favorite food but I do have a favorite restaurant – Divin Porcello behind the Marriott near the Danube. And I have a favorite hotel – Aria Budapest. Also the baths are fascinating. Did you take a bath when you were in Budapest, Charles? 🙂

    • I only showered in Budapest. 😀 I know. I know, you meant did I visit one of the famous baths. Not on this visit.

      My favorite dish, based on my wife and I ordering it every single meal, has to be the Hungarian cucumber salad.

  3. Great photos of different aspects of Budapest. I’d like to visit someday. The shoe memorial is quite moving.

  4. I enjoyed revisiting Budapest with you. I never made it to Margaret Island. It is on my to-do list. Looks like you never made it to the thermal baths–that should be on your to-do list,

  5. Budapest looks so interesting and those points of interest, especially the ruin bar, intrigue me! I have yet to go to eastern Europe. It is lined up already!

  6. Charles, you definitely have the eye for the camera! Each one of your photos brings out a new facet of Budapest, a city we love and can’t wait to return to. Thanks for a great posting!

  7. Budapest is so amazing that after my first visit in March of 2013, I quickly made plans to go back that December. Now I’m craving another visit. You hit on a lot of my favorite places. I still need to go to a ruin bar, however. Next time….

  8. Last time I was in Budapest was back in 1983! I don’t remember much except the general uniformity in shop signs, etc. Looks like it’s changed! I love the look of that ruin café (Is that a thing?) and your shot of the market.

  9. Great article! I love how you managed to write a whole article without mentioning food but I wrote an article solely about food and not mentioning any of the awesome places to visit! Budapest is one of my favourite cities in Europe, I would love to go back and stay for a few weeks to explore it properly.

  10. We were in Budapest for such a short time but I’m glad to see we saw most of your highlights. I guess we’ll need to plan another to catch the rest!

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