The Beautiful Buildings of Budapest

If there’s one thing that struck me about Budapest the most, it’s the beauty of its buildings. They’re fraught with unimaginable detail and showcase an array of eclectic styles.

The various architectural forms provide tell-tale signs of Budapest’s rich and turbulent history, sitting at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, for centuries wandering tribes and invading armies have swept through Hungary and its capital city.

Invaded by the Romans, Mongols, Turkish, Germans and Russians; it’s easy to say Budapest has not had it easy. Yet moving forward, its these hints of the past that make the city so memorable and intriguing for visitors.

Although much of Budapest has been rebuilt after the Second World War in 1945 and again in 1956 after the Russians wielded more devastation, some buildings did survive while others were thoughtfully reconstructed.

There are few cities in the world where you can see Turkish buildings, mosques, baths, houses of Eastern characters appear harmoniously beside buildings of Gothic, Art Nouveau or Renaissance style. But maybe this shouldn’t be so surprising after we consider how Budapest has managed to shift and adapt to its political environment time and time again, especially when we consider the city used to be originally separate cities – Buda and Pest –  divided by the river only 150 years ago before they united.

Here are some of Budapest’s most beautiful buildings:

Parliament Building

Budapest Parliament - The most beautiful buildings in Budapest

Sitting picturesquely on the foot of the Danube River, I must have spent over two hours just marvelling at this building and watching people pass by. The Budapest Parliament is the third largest Parliament building in the world, with 691 rooms and a whooping 20 kilometres worth of stairs! Said to be inspired by London’s Westminister, it’s easy to see the resemblance only it manages to visually surpass its British counterpart by quite a stretch.

Beautiful buildings in Budapest - the Parliament building

If you have the time you could always book a guided tour of the Parliament, see this website for times and prices (ensure you select the English guided tour).

 

Saint Stephen’s Basilica

Beautiful buildings in Budapest - St Stephen's Basilica

I stayed just steps away from the Basilica and I recommend this location to anyone visiting Hungary’s capital. The construction of Budapest’s largest church was started by Jozsef Hild in 1851 and finished by Miklos Ybl in 1905. By the time of its completion, its original neo-classical style had been changed into Eclectic (Ybl was also responsible for the State Opera House, another impressive building in the city). Make sure you leave enough time to go inside the Basilica and head up to the top for panoramic views of the city, in a place so beautiful it’s only natural that it has inspired a few proposals over the years.

Interesting fact: The dome is the same height as the Parliament, but current legislation forbids anything higher so Budapest isn’t going to get its own version of the Empire State any time soon.

 

Museum of Applied Arts

Museum of Applied Arts - Beautiful buildings in Budapest

Housed in a marvellous Secessionist building, this museum is a feast for the eyes both inside and out. Built in 1896 by architect Ödön Lechner, who was given the nickname the ‘Hungarian Gaudi’. The most striking thing about this building is its startling green and gold roof made from Zsolnay tiles, a famous Hungarian manufacturer traditionally of porcelain, tiles and stoneware. The company also introduced the eosin glazing process and pyrogranite ceramics into their product range for more durability.

The Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest

Inside the Museum of Applied Arts - Beautiful buildings in Budapest

The interior doesn’t disappoint, in fact I prefer the interior design of the building more than the exhibitions!

 

Fishermen’s Bastion

Fisherman's Bastion - Beautiful buildings in Budapest

Sometimes there’s just no escaping the rain….

One of the most unique buildings of Budapest, the Fisherman’s Bastion was built in neo-Romanesque style by Frigyes Schulek between 1899 and 1905, as part of the ancient castle wall behind Matthias Church. In front of the bastion is an ornate equestrian monument of St Stephen by sculptor Alajos Stróbl.

Fisherman's Bastion - Most beautiful buildings in Budapest

Its lookout towers, terraces and passages are perfectly positioned for taking panoramic photographs of the Danube and Pest.

 

Matthias Church

The ornate exterior of Matthias Church - beautiful buildings in Budapest

Rebuilt a number of times after multiple invasions, Matthias church has had a tremulous history, even transforming into a mosque during the Turkish occupation. In its current state it was rebuilt in neo-Gothic style by Frigyes Schulek between 1874 and 1896, before he built the Fishermen’s Bastion.

Matthias Church - Most beautiful buildings in Budapest

From the tiled roof to the detailed architecture, and from the stained glass windows to its ornate interior, Matthias Church is easily one of the most beautiful and ornate buildings in Budapest.

 

Great Market Hall

Get food at the Great Market Hall in Budapest

A place where local food and architecture meet is always worthy of one’s attention. The metal roof structure that can be seen from inside is still in its original 19th century form, and the roof is covered with decorative Zsolnay tiles like you can find on Matthias Church and the Museum of Applied Arts.

Great Market food hall Budapest

Tip: Great Market Hall is located near Liberty Bridge (you can’t miss it), if you walk across you’ll have easy access to Gellért Hill where the Citadel resides at the top.

 

Szechenyi Baths

Szechenyi baths - most beautiful buildings in Budapest

© Szechenyibath.hu

Regrettably I didn’t visit these baths during my trip since I’d forgotten to pack a costume. However, I’ve been told by enough friends that I shouldn’t have missed this attraction, so I’m urging you not to as well. This brightly painted yellow building of Neo-Baroque design is rich in water metaphors, aqua motifs, statues related to water mythologies and water gods and goddesses. After a long day of sightseeing dipping yourself in Europe’s largest medicinal baths is perhaps the best way to unwind. Next time I’m in Budapest I won’t miss this place I assure you…

For opening times and address visit their website here.

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The beautiful buildings of Budapest - travel guide

Which is your favourite building in Budapest?



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'The Beautiful Buildings of Budapest' have 14 comments

  1. September 1, 2016 @ 8:23 am Matt

    I remember seeing the Parliament building for the first time and I did exactly what you did, I simply sat and stared for hours.

    I didn’t see the Museum of Applied Arts which is a shame because the detail in this building is extraordinary. Great list Shing!

    Reply

    • September 1, 2016 @ 12:22 pm Shing Yoong

      The Budapest Parliament building certainly has a way of stopping you in your tracks, eh Matt? I can’t wait to see it again….

      Reply

  2. September 1, 2016 @ 10:40 am Eddie Hewitt

    Shing, you continue to surpass yourself in your excellent reviews and photographs. I really enjoyed your write-up, and it definitely makes me want to go to Budapest. The architecture is amazing, truly eclectic as you say. I particularly like the Museum of Applied Arts. I think I could spend hours gazing at the buildings and the people too. I also like the way you set up the review with the historical context, and how this led to such variety of styles. Thanks for sharing your experiences and appreciation of this amazing city.

    Reply

    • September 10, 2016 @ 7:03 pm Shing Yoong

      Gazing at the buildings and the people is a pleasurable way to enjoy Budapest Eddie. I’m pleased you also found the historical context interesting, it certainly made me appreciate the eclecticism of the city even more. I hope you visit in the near future!

      Reply

  3. September 2, 2016 @ 2:54 pm ALOZADE

    Good posts, beautiful blog.

    Reply

  4. September 10, 2016 @ 5:19 pm Cara

    Having always wanted to visit Budapest; this article explains why; such beautiful architecture.Straddling the Danube River, with the Buda Hills to the west and the Great Plain to the east, Budapest is a gem of a city.Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. A funicular runs up Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town, where the Budapest History Museum traces city life from Roman times onward. Trinity Square is home to 13th-century Matthias Church and the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion, which offer sweeping views.

    Reply

    • September 12, 2016 @ 2:36 pm Shing Yoong

      I think you summed up the allure of Budapest rather well there Cara!

      Reply

  5. September 18, 2016 @ 6:21 am Miroslav Hristoff

    When I look at pictures from places like Budapest, Prague, or some other Central European city, town or village I always think to myself that after there are places people have turned into a fairytale or something like that. It is somehow unreal. Thaks for the photos 🙂

    Reply

    • September 18, 2016 @ 8:50 pm Shing Yoong

      There really are some places that have a fairy-tale quality, aren’t there? There’s so much wonder in this world to be had and seen!

      Reply

  6. October 31, 2016 @ 8:00 pm Feetoutofbed

    I’ve recently been to Budapest, in August, and we arrived late evening… When I opened the huge window of a huge ancient building, I saw St. Stephen’s Basilica.. right in front of me, all in lights.. So majestic… I was amazed. Most of all that it was so huge and so near from a second floor.. 🙂

    Reply

  7. November 15, 2016 @ 5:02 am Taj mahal tour

    such a wonderful buildings we cant image how it was constructed beautiful architectural design, thanks for sharing such a nice post high quality images that tells about the structure and intricacy of the places.

    Reply

  8. December 5, 2016 @ 2:18 pm Frank

    We spent 2 months in Budapest in summer of 2015 and another month in February. It actually took us a little while to fall in love with Budapest, it’s gritty, spread out, and honestly not as beautiful as Prague for example (a place many people compare it to). But it has other things: lots of culture, good food, great ruin bars and some incredible cafes. The people are friendly and open. We love the Hungarians.

    Favorite buildings in Budapest? There are a bunch of unbelievable buildings around Freedom Square, some in quite bad state. But incredible. Have you seen the interior of the Alexandra bookstore cafe on Andrasy? beautiful. That’s just off the top of my head.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    Reply

  9. January 11, 2017 @ 10:10 am AlicevstheWorld

    All of these places look beautiful, the architecture is simply breathtaking!

    Reply


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