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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.