Budapest is amazing. I’m not going to deny that I don’t like it. I do. I LOVE it. It’s one of my favourite European cities. I’m not surprised why it’s called Paris of the East. It’s just beautiful!
I’ve been to Budapest in January, when it’s not so crowdy and queues to the monuments are smaller.
There is one more advantage to see the capital of Hungary during Winter: days are shorter so you can enjoy this city when it’s nicely lit and all the buildings reflect in the Danube River. Trust me, you will not regret!
Below I give you the best viewpoints, where you can see all the monuments from. It’s not in any special order.
1. Gellért Hill
Well, I didn’t have the best weather to enjoy the panorama, because it was quite foggy and chilly, but I still liked it. Obviously this is the place where the most postcard photos are taken and I believe this is one of the most popular sights of Budapest.
Entrance to the top is quite exhausting because of the huge number of stairs, but we can make the life easier. The bus number 27 leaves from bus stop Sánc utca or Moricz Zsigmond körtér and it runs the Citadel (bus stops on both sides of the hill). Just get off at the stop Búsuló Juhász and just walk a little to the hill.
2. the Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion
From here you can see the Parliament, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and St. Stephen’s Basilica. You can enter the Fisherman’s Bastion (admission 600 HUF) to have a look from the top, but I didn’t check it as I was satisfied with the view from the walls (which is free).
To get the Castle Hill faster and easier, it is convenient to take a bus numer 16 (with the icon of the castle) on Szell Kalman ter (until 2013 it was still Moszkva tér, so if you have a map or guide updated before 2012 don’t be surprised that the names are different). And you can just get off by Matthias Church, behind which is the Fisherman’s Bastion. The stop is called Szentháromság tér (the third stop), but it does not really matter, because the castle hill is well marked and you shouldn’t get lost there.
3. Batthyány tér
This is undoubtedly the best place to see the Parliament in its whole stateliness. I recommend this spot especially at night. There’s even a perfect ledge where you can put the camera so the image will not be blurred. 🙂
Batthyány tér is easily accessible from anywhere, because it is one of the main stops in Budapest (the HEV rail, metro, buses and trams meet here).
4. The Margeret Bridge
This is view simply of the broad Danube River. From the center of the bridge you can see the Parliament, buildings on the hills and Széchenyi Chain Bridge. Also recommended to visit at night.
Access is as simple as to Batthyány tér, you just need to change or to walk a bit. The fastest connection would probably be the blue metro line to get to the station Nyugati pályaudvar to take the tram 4 or 6 and get off at the middle of the bridge at the stop Margitsziget (2 stops away).
5. Danube Promenade
From Promenade you can see whole Buda. Take a walk from the Parliament to the Chain Bridge. I recommend this one at night too, when the lights beautifully reflect in the waters of the Danube.
You can reach the Parliament by the red metro line, just get off at Kossuth Lajos tér.
6. St. Stephen’s Basilica
This is the only point in this list, which does not focus only on the buildings by Danube. From the top of the tower of St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István-Basilica) you can see brown roofs of Pest, all on one level, and the Parliament rising above them. Entrance to the dome costs 500 HUF.
The closest to Basilica are 2 metro stations: Arany János utca (blue line) and the Deák Ferenc tér (station where all the metro lines cross).
I’ve read that a nice view is also from the tower on Margaret Island, but I didn’t try it. It’s better in the Spring or Summer or early Autumn, when the park on Margit-sziget is green, the fountains are turned on and paths are dry and not like quicksand. I haven’t been there so I need to come back to Budapest (also to go to the sulphur baths!).
Have you ever been to Budapest? Would you like to see the city from those viewpoints? Or maybe you have already tried some others and would recommend it?