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Top Rated Attractions in Budapest

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Bartók Béla National Concert Hall

The Bartók National Concert Hall, located in the Palace of Arts, opened in 2005. The state of the art decor and excellent sound system make it a favorite among locals and touring theatre companies. The BNCH is also home to the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra and Budapest Festival Orchestra, which explains the flurry of activities year-round. Past performers include Zoltan Kocsis, Greek violinist Leondas Kavakos and pianist András Schiff.

Budapest Operetta Theatre

Operetta, concerts, and rock opera; the newly renovated Budapest Operetta Theatre features an ecclectic mix of live musical events. Also, for fans of drama, the Theatre puts on Shakespeare plays and other classic performances. Old fashioned box seats, ceiling design, and architecture juxtapose modern lighting and stage technology, creating a uniquely stylized experience.

Széchenyi Baths

Although bathing culture has roots as far back as the Roman Empire, the thriving Hungarian tradition began to take shape when the country was under Ottoman rule in the 16th and 17th centuries. More than just a preeminently popular spot for both locals and tourists in the nation's capital, the Széchenyi Baths also comprise the largest thermal bath complex in all of Europe. Its 15 indoor baths and three large outdoor pools are fed by two hot springs whose waters have medicinal value, particularly in the way of joint health. Upon arrival, visitors can seek healing advice from a qualified team, relax with a massage or rejuvenating therapy, enjoy activities in the open-air pool, and so much more.

Hungarian National Gallery

Housed within the Royal Buda Castle, on Szent György tér, the National Gallery is a not-to-be-missed attraction for art lovers and enthusiasts. Established in 1957, the prestigious gallery is home to almost the entire history of Hungarian art; thus chronicling the progress of fine arts in the country. Some of the artworks housed here date as far back as 10th Century! Some of the masterpieces featured in this glorious institution includes Woman Dressed in Polka Dots Robe by József Rippl-Rónai and Mihály Munkácsy's Christ before Pontius Pilate. Open all week, except Mondays, the Hungarian National Gallery or Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, as it is locally called, is open to general population between 10a and 6p.

Hungarian Parliament Building

The Parliament Building was constructed at a time when Hungary was three times the size it is now, prior to its defeat at the culmination of World War I. The neo-Gothic building is a palatial affair with 691 rooms, 10 courtyards and 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) worth of stairs; it is Budapest's tallest building and one of Hungary's largest structures. Construction began in 1885 upon the designs of architect, Imre Steindl, and would take 17 years to bring to fruition; a majestic Gothic Revival building with Renaissance and Baroque elements enmeshed in its intricate design. A lavish dome is the centerpiece of the facade, framed by delicate spires and graceful arches, while the interiors are richly ornamented, illuminated by sparkling chandeliers. The inspiration for this building is said to have been the Palace of Westminster in London. Today, the government is housed in only a small portion of the building and is home to the Hungarian Crown Jewels. Like so much along the Pest bank of the Danube, the best views are to be had from across the river. Guided tours are available when parliament is not in session.

Museum of Applied Arts

This spectacular building (designed by Lechner) caused much controversy when it opened. Today it is generally considered a masterpiece, although it has been considerably toned down over the years. Lovers of architecture and interior design simply must visit. The displays inside are almost all temporary but there is a permanent exhibition of Hungarian arts and crafts. It is worth noting that this was only the third such museum in the world (the first being in London, the second in Vienna).

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