Visit Fisherman’s Bastion
One of the most iconic attractions and our personal favorite stop, Fisherman’s Bastion should be at the top of any “must see” list when visiting Budapest. Set high on the hill on the Buda side of the city, the site offers gorgeous city views especially of the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Danube River. Given its picturesque views and popularity, there are always crowds. Come at sunrise if you would like to snap a few pictures without hordes of other tourists.
Walk across the Szechenyi Chain Bridge
Officially opening in 1849, this bridge was the first permanent structure across the Danube connecting the two sides of Budapest: Buda and Pest. At the time of its construction, the bridge was regarded as one of the modern world’s engineering wonders and became a symbol of advancement for Eastern Europe.
Take a stroll across the bridge to take in the river views and appreciate the history the bridge represents.
Visit the Ruin Bars in the Jewish Quarter
After WWII, the Jewish population had drastically decreased and buildings in the quarter fell into disrepair. In the early 2000s, an idea was born to turn a ruined building into a bar where people could socialize over cheap drinks.
Szimpla Kert was the first bar of its kind with an eclectic design and open bar space. Since it’s opening, a revitalization has occurred in the quarter with more ruin bars and restaurants opening. Try Mazel Tov for a delicious lunch.
The sprawling castle complex located beside Fisherman’s Bastion offers sweeping city views, two museums, a garden and several cafes. Come to tour the castle museums or simply enjoy the grounds.
Climb to the top of Gellert Hill
For some of the best panoramic views of Budapest, climb to the top of Gellert Hill. It is a climb to reach the top with a constant incline and mulitple flights of stairs. The changing fall leaves made for a scenic walk to the top.
At the top, there were several food trucks selling beer and home made lemonade as well as light snacks. Souvenir stands also lined the street if you would like to purchase a momento.
Central Market Hall
The two story market has something for everyone: food markets, souvenirs and traditional Hungarian dish sampling. The first floor of the hall features local food vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and cheese, fresh seafood and bread and pastries. The second floor of the hall is a maze of souvenir vendors selling every trinket you could imagine! Split on both floors are food stands selling Hungarian specialities: goulash, chicken paprikash, spatzle and sausage. All hot and ready to eat!
Dessert at New York Cafe
Having heard so much about this beautiful restaurant, we stopped by New York Cafe for lunch. Even though both our meals were delicious, it was expensive. We would recommend going just for dessert or afternoon tea. The dessert menu was quite extensive: cheesecake, apple pie, hot chocolate, tiramisu, sponge cake, ice cream sundaes, strudels, tarts, macarons and the list goes on!
Visit the Shoes on the Danube Memorial
Pay tribute to those lost at the moving memorial, Shoes on the Danube, near the Hungarian Parliament Building. During WWII, the Arrow Cross Militiamen killed thousands of Jewish people along the banks of the Danube River and the period specific shoes stand to represent and memorialize those lives lost.
A popular past time in Budapest, there are several thermal baths in the city. Szechenyi Thermal Bath located in Heroes’ Square is the oldest and largest. We had hoped to buy a visitors pass and receive a tour of the property, but unfortunately, tours were not being offered the day we visited.
Hungarian Parliament Building
The architecture is truly stunning, making the Hungarian Parliament Building an icon. We walked the grounds getting a closer look at the architectural details and made our way back across the river to snap a few pictures across the river in front of the magnificent building. Tours are offered on the inside but you must make tour reservations in advance.
Try a few Hungarian Dishes
A few local dishes to try include goulash (tomato based stew with beef and potatoes), Chicken Paprikash, nokedli (often called spatzle as well, an egg noodle) and Halaszle (fish soup). And don’t forget a chimney cone or Kurtoskalacs for dessert!