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Top Rated Attractions in Budapest

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Buda Castle

Perched on the southern tip of Castle Hill, the sprawling Buda Castle was originally established by Béla IV in 1265. Over the centuries, the palatial castle has been repeatedly destroyed and reconstructed, most notably following the siege of 1686 between the Turks and allied Christian forces. The castle was laid to waste, only to be rebuilt soon after in the Baroque style. Ravaged once more by the World Wars, the castle that stands today is a modernized reconstruction of the 18th-century palace, the Medieval Wing an approximation of the Gothic period. A defining feature of the city skyline, and part of the Budapest World Heritage Site, the Buda Castle is the city's grande dame of historic architecture, its elegant dome and medieval fortifications overlooking the city below. A cultural icon of Budapest, the Buda Castle is now home to the Hungarian National Gallery, the Castle Museum, and the National Széchenyi Library. It is a symbol of the perseverance and unflagging spirit of the Hungarians; a phoenix rising from the rubble of a war-torn past.

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.

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.

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.

City Park

A sprawling park located in Budapest, City Park was formerly a swampy area and royal hunting ground. It was styled into the exquisite public park it is today, sometime between the 18th and 19th centuries. The park is dominated by the Vajdahunyad Castle - originally built for the 1896 millennium celebrations - which represents exemplars of Hungarian architecture. In summer, there is a lake for boating, which in winter is turned into a skating rink. It also houses the vibrant Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden, the serene and fascinating Szechenyi Baths and the historical Gundel Restaurant, which has been famously serving the Eastern European specialty palacsinta since it opened in 1910.

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