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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hungary's capital city, Budapest is one of the largest in the European Union, radiating 19th-century charm. Flanking two sides of the Danube, Budapest as we know it was created by the merging of Buda and Pest, two historic cities. From the spectacular Buda castle with its imposing Baroque architecture to the fairy-tale towers of Vajdahunyad Castle and the neoclassical dome of St. Stephen's Basilica, the city is alive with the legacy of the past. Renowned for its natural hot springs, the city is one of the best known spa towns in Europe and draws visitors who luxuriate in its therapeutic waters. From stately orchestras and operas to a dynamic nightlife scene, panoramic cruises and world-class dining, visitors have plenty to do once the sun sets on this historic city.
Essentially a cinema theater, Madach mozi also hosts numerous live music concerts and events. This theater screens several regional and international movies throughout the week and plays host to budding and established music artists, who give their performances here regularly. Luxurious seating and world class sound system makes this place the most preferred event venue in the region. Comprising of a hall (287 seats), a chamber (52 seats) and a bigger room that can accommodate about 82 people, this place has taken movie-watching to a completely different level.
The Városmajori Szabadtéri Színpad is located within the beautiful Városmajor park, a short walk from the bustling Széll Kálmán square. The venue, an open-air cinema turned stage, can host up to 800 guests. The stage is a summer venue open from June to August, and is the setting for the yearly Budapest Summer Festival. Every year the stage is the venue for concerts, dramas, comedies, dance and musicals. While the theatrical performances are largely in Hungarian, the array of musical concerts of all genres makes it a popular locale for locals and tourists alike.
Adam Clark was the British engineer who built the first permanent bridge, Lanc Hid or Chain Bridge, over the Danube in the 1840's. In his honour, the square (actually a fiendishly busy traffic roundabout) was permanently named after him. It stands at the end of the bridge on the Buda side, just before the tunnel (also built by Adam Clark) under the castle. This bridge - like all the bridges - was blown up by the retreating Germans during the Second World War, but has since been reconstructed, along with the others.
Lánchid utca is an ideal street to stroll along, as it offers many engaging sights of Budapest. Adjacent to both the Danube and the Budapest History Museum- Castle Museum, Lánchid utca affords many picture-perfect opportunities.
Alagút-tető, which translates literally to tunnel view, is just what the name suggests. A perfect location to catch stunning sights of the city, this is one of the few places in the city where one can take time off and visit, while you put aside the daily hassles and observe the city in its full glory. Perch yourself on one of the makeshift benches, bask in the beautiful city breeze and feast your eyes on the glorious sight of the river and the cityscape beyond it.