Where the natural might of the River Danube meets the cultural splendour of this proud nation
Holidays to Budapest
From the country’s historic inner-city areas to its dramatic scenery, Hungary holidays have enough to satisfy any traveller. As the morning light breaks across the River Danube and gives way to panoramic views over the magnificently preserved capital city, Budapest, you’ll feel humbled by the relationship between culture and nature at the heart of Europe.
Budapest is actually two cities: Buda, dominated by the Castle Hill Palace complex high above the river; and Pest, the bustling and more cosmopolitan centre of trade. From the 14th to the 16th centuries Buda was the dominant city, before a royal settlement caused several castles to be built, and a formal union between Buda and Pest, on opposite sides of the Danube, took place in 1867.
Our Budapest holidays incorporate many interesting tours that take you up close to some of the country’s most impressive architecture. With medieval townhouses, Art Nouveau bath houses and Baroque churches piercing the skyline, Hungary is a melting pot of architectural styles.
Our trips to Budapest let you delve into the history and culture of the Hungarian capital, enjoying delicious Magyar cuisine along the way. You’ll have plenty of free time to explore the beautiful buildings that line the Danube, such as the Parliament building, and visit some of the city’s most significant sites. At the House of Terror Museum, you can learn about Budapest’s Communist past and the 1956 Revolution.
One of the best ways to explore is by bike and our cycling holidays to Budapest steer you along the river, which bisects the heart of the city. Be sure to experience the famous thermal baths or visit the magnificent dome of St Stephan’s Basilica for uninterrupted views over the city.
Visit the Parliament Building: One of the most iconic and striking pieces of architecture to see on trips to Budapest is the Hungarian Parliament Building. Dating back to 1904, and built in Gothic Revival style, it is one of the largest buildings in the country. For the best perspective and photographs, head across the Margrid bridge to see its majestic façade in all its unabashed glory. Its architecture is seriously impressive and has earned it UNESCO status as part of the Banks of the Danube.
Take a Dip in the Gellert Baths: Featuring an open-air pool, a turquoise swimming pool, a Finnish sauna and various other plunge pools, Gellert Baths is the grandest in the city. Take some time out from the hustle and bustle of the city streets to experience the thermal spas or indulge in a luxurious spa treatment. The original building dates back to 1912 when it was first built in the style of Art Nouveau, and it has since been renovated in 2008 to its former glory. In the 15th century the thermal spring waters were discovered, and you’ll find eight separate pools scattered throughout the palace which you can enjoy during Budapest holidays.
Visit Heroes’ Square: Step back in time as you walk around the famous Heroes’ Square, where the epic monument depicting the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars stands. You can find the square at the of Andrassy Avenue and a large column with a statue of Archangel Gabriel at its centre. It was believed that the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars led the Hungarian people to the Carpathian Basin from Central Asia. This is a wonderful slice of Hungary’s history that is always worth a visit on trips to Budapest. Either side of the square you’ll also find art galleries housed inside the beautiful buildings.
Walk along the Danube Promenade: No holidays to Hungary are complete without a stroll along the Danube promenade which winds along the river from the Elizabeth Bridge to the Chain Bridge. It’s a great way to explore many of the most fascinating sights in Budapest, and you can stop off at one of the restaurants or cafes along the way. Here you can tuck into some of the local delicacies, such as Hungarian goulash or drummer cake or simply enjoy a spot of people watching and soak up the cultural atmosphere. Continue along the walkway to the statue of the Little Princess, inspired by the daughter of the artist, Laszlo Marton.
Visit the Fisherman’s Bastion: Arguably the most impressive sight on holidays to Budapest, the Fisherman’s Bastion is a decorative fortification built in 1895. Although it was never used as a castle, its lookout towers boast the most fabulous views of the city. At night, its neo-Gothic style turrets and balconies are beautifully lit, making it a standout landmark on the river. The seven towers of the Bastion represent the Magyar tribes that guided the people to the Carpathian Basin.
One of our range of Hungary tours, our iconic Prague to Budapest Ride takes you from the cobbled streets and 14th-century bridges of Prague through four countries to Budapest. On the way you’ll pass world-class architectural masterpieces, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and sleepy hamlets where life has remained almost unchanged for generations.
“Central and Eastern Europe: the new kids from the Eastern bloc are undeniably amongst the coolest travel destinations on the planet right now. After many years of isolation, these countries have arrived fashionably late to the party and are making up for lost time – chic, trendy cities with ruined underground bars, fantastically quiet back roads leading through scenery few tourists get to see, and some of the finest up-and-coming vineyards out there.”
Exodus Expert Georgina Lawrence – read more from our experts here