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Top Rated Attractions in Budapest

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St. Stephen's Basilica

The resplendent St. Stephen's Basilica took several decades to be completely built, and is dedicated to the first king of Hungary, Saint Stephen I. The right hand of St Stephen is one of the sacred relics housed in this magnificent neoclassical basilica. Designed as a Greek cross, its intricate interior is adorned with ornate chapels, sculptural elements and frescoes. The observation deck at the central dome is an added attraction in the church. Flanked by two towers that dominate the city's skyline along with a central dome, St. Stephen's Basilica is among the most revered sites in Hungary.

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.

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.

Hungarian State Opera House

Constructed under the supervision of architect Miklos Ybl in 1884, the Opera House of Budapest is a work of art in itself, and is as impressive as the operas staged here. The building, with a horse-shoe structure, has elements of neo-Renaissance architecture coupled with hints of Baroque motifs. It is beautifully decked with artwork and paintings of famous Hungarian artists like Bertalan Székely and Károly Lotz. It can accommodate 1261 people and is known to have one of the best sound systems in the area. A tour of the premises can be undertaken, which can be booked on phone.

Margaret Island

The green lung of the city, this teardrop-shaped isle on the Danube River is a picture of idyll, loved by romantics, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in equal measure. During the medieval times, it was a royal hunting ground for rabbits and was known as Rabbit Island. It took its present name after King Bela IV sent his daughter, later known as Saint Margaret, to the nunnery he founded on the island. Linked by its namesake bridge, this once-religious hub now thrives as a beauteous island sliced by lush gardens, parks, a water tower, thermal pools and ancient ruins.

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