15 Amazing Places in Budapest Recommended by Locals
You could easily spend an entire month in Budapest just visiting the monuments, the parks, the museums, concert halls or the bars and restaurants. I will now introduce "only" 15 of the many favorite places of the locals.
15 Must See Places in Budapest According to Locals
- Bottomless Lake - Feneketlen tó
- Árpád Lookout Tower - Árpád Kilátó
- A Famous Writer's Garden - Jókai kert
- Óbuda Synagogue - Óbudai zsinagóga
- Medieval Dwelling House - Középkori üzletház a Tárnok utcában
- Tóth Árpád Promenade - Tóth Árpád sétány
- Castle Garden Kiosk & Castle Garden Bazaar - Várkioszk és Várkert Bazár
- Gül Baba's Tomb - Gül Baba türbéje
- Danube Promenade - Duna Korzó
- Leitner-Hecht Building - A Leitner-Hecht épület
- Academy of Music - Zeneakadémia
- Great Synagogue - A Dohány utcai zsinagóga
- Orczy Park - Az Orczy-kert
- National Theatre & Palace of Arts - A Nemzeti Színház és a MÜPA
- St. Ladislaus Catholic Church of Kőbánya - A kőbányai Szent László templom
The noisy city life can be forgotten sitting on a bench by the tranquil lake. The Bottomless or Feneketlen Lake was formed in 1877, when clay was removed from the site to supply a brick factory that was situated near Kosztolányi Dezső tér.
According to legends its name stems from the belief that the lake is incredibly deep, but this lake is not as deep as its name suggests. According to another legend, workers dug out the mud from an enormous pit until hot water emerged from deep down, and it happened so quickly that the workers left behind all their tools and their colleagues to escape...
Árpád Lookout Tower
The Gellert Hill, the János Hill or the Citadel are all well known and beloved spots, unlike the Árpád lookout, which is lesser known. On Látó-hegy (Seer Hill), the sturdy building made of rough stone was built in 1929 based on Lorant Friedrich’s architectural plans.
A Famous Writer's Garden
Mór Jókai was one of the greatest writers of Hungary in the 19th century. He had a passion for gardening, in 1853 bought the plot of land on the Sváb mountain including a quarry and a house. He planted diverse fruit trees, grapes and a lot more of different trees and plants. Mór Jókai died in 1904 and after his death the garden wasn’t in a good condition but a Hungarian national park started to plant diverse trees and plants again. Since 1975 the Jókai garden is a national protected area.
Opening hours: from 15th March to 31th October, at workdays from 8 am to 6 pm at weekends from 10:00 to 18:00.
Only a few knows that the Jewish community settled in Óbuda during the 14th century - but we know very little of the life of this community. Jews settled in Óbuda again from 1712 at a time when Jews were forbidden to live in Pest or Buda. Countess Zichy, a rich aristocrat invited them to live on his family property in Óbuda. A synagogue was constructed in 1737.The present building replaced it on the same site in 1820.
The "new" building was planned by architect Andras Landherr in Classical style, while the interior was created by Janos Maurer. It was considered one of the largest synagogues of its time in the Habsburg Empire, and was renovated in 1900, that is when it received its secession ornaments. By the end of the WWII a munch-reduced Jewish community was unable to afford the restoration of the building and it served as a television studio. In 2010 it was reopened as a synagogue.
Medieval Dwelling House
A medieval storied building, which stands out from the other buildings on Tárnok utca (Tárnok Street) with its colorful, painted 16th century facade. The street housed a great number of merchants from the beginning, so it is not a coincidence that it was referred to as “Merchants’ Street” or “Grocers’ Way” in the charters and the Buda Book of Rights.
The building, or at least the architecture of its facade, was probably build around 1520, which means that it was already there during the Ottoman Empire. What is utterly exciting about the history of the house, is the fact that it bore the house number 114 during the Ottomans as a research has revealed. The medieval numbers were painted on the wall in white.
If you take a closer look at the following gallery, you can see that the late medieval facade featured two serving windows, so the building must have housed two shops in the 15th century.
Tóth Árpád Promenade
This promenade (Tóth Árpád sétány) is a beautiful street in the Castle District, minutes away from Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. You find it on the western side of the Castle. From here you can take in a stunning panorama of Buda. The entire street is lined with cherry trees and chestnut trees that look unremarkable most of the year, especially in springtime.
Castle Garden Kiosk and Castle Garden Bazaar
Are you looking for the spectacular traces of the Golden Era in Europe? Just take a walk to Várkert Bazár or Castle Garden Bazaar. This place was designed by Miklós Ybl, the famous Hungarian architect in the 19th century. The spectacular building of Castle Garden Kiosk (or Várkert Kioszk) was once the Pump room for Castle Hill's water system. At the end of the 19th century they transformed it into a charming coffee house. The Bazaar streches along the foot of the Castle Hill, and it was built in 1882 and fully renovated between 2011 and 2014.
Gül Baba's Tomb
Gül Baba was a 16th century Turkish holy man, a Dervish or Turkish monk. The 'Father of Roses' died in Buda in 1541 a couple of weeks later the Ottoman army conquered Buda. His memorial is the northernmost Islamic holy place to be subsidised by the Turkish government, and the neighbourhood is still called Rose Hill (Rózsadomb).
The octagonal building – Gül Baba's Tomb or Gül Baba Türbéje – houses the last resting-place of the Ottoman Dervish. The shrine is often visited by Islamic pilgrims.
The tomb is surrounded by a garden on the southern side. As you approach from Mecset Street, near the Buda foot of Margaret Bridge, you soon notice the staircase leading up to the site. Through the entrance, you are greeted by stepped terracing filled with lavenders, magnolias and roses.
On the opposite bank of the river, between Chain Bridge (Lánchíd) and Elizabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd) in the second half of the 19th century they built a row of hotels with a promenade called Korzó in front. The walk had terraced cafés and restaurants overlooking the Danube river and it was a popular place to have a café, a walk or a chat. Today's Duna Korzó or Danube Promenade is lined with hotels, terraced bars, cafés and restaurants.
Since 1900 it has been possible to travel along by tram. According to National Geographic, this is the 7th spectacular tram line in the world, offering the best view of the cityscape along the Danube, a World Heritage Site.
The famous bronze statuette of the Little Princess sitting on the rail at Vigado Square (Vigadó tér) was made by Laszlo Marton in 1990.
This three-story eclectic listed house, planned by Pál Schusbek in 1868 is a real specialty in Budapest close to St. Stephen's Basilica.
Its facade was rebuilt in Art Nouveau style in 1907 and was decorated with Eosin glazed Zsolnay ceramics. It is very exciting to see the difference with Classical and Art Nouveau patterns.
Academy of Music
The institution is a world-famous conservatoire as well as a concert hall. The late Eclectic and Art Nouveau building was completed in 1907 to the plans of Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giegerl. The main entrance is guarded by the statue of Ferenc Liszt seated high above, while the facade is decorated with reliefs by Ede Telcs. The Academy has two modernized concert halls.
The interior is richly ornamented with frescoes, stained glass windows and mosaics. The renovation of the building won the Europa Nostra Award in 2013.
At the edge of Budapest's Jewish District stands the largest working synagogue of Europe and the second largest of the world: the Great Synagogue. This building with the Heroes’ Temple, the graveyard, the Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish Museum is unique.
The sublime synagogue was planned by the Viennese architect, Ludwig Förster. It was built between 1854 and 1859 in Romantic style with elements of the Moorish Revival, of yellow and red bricks, with ceramic decorations on the facade.
The Jewish cemetery, which can be found in the yard of the synagogue, is of special interest. Originally it was an area covered in grass. Jews usually don’t locate cemeteries next to synagogues. This one had to be created in order to bury the people who died in the sealed ghetto from starvation, cold or the cruel deeds of the Nazis. And, since Jewish religion prohibits the exhumation of the dead, the cemetery was left here.
In the nearby park stands the movingly beautiful memorial of the Hungarian Jewish martyrs, the internationally renowned willow. Its construction was funded by the Emanuel Foundation, founded by Tony Curtis. The memorial forms a weeping willow with the names of the martyrs engraved on its leaves.
This Garden is one of the largest public green spaces in the inner districts of Budapest. Orczy Park is located in the 8th district near Fűvészkert, the big botanical garden.
The history of the park goes back to the late 18th century, but plenty of political and managing events have repeatedly changed the profile. It used to be home to the largest greenhouse in Budapest, as well as a favorite nature exploration site.
Orczy Park is a place where people coming with their kids can have fun, too. There are two playgrounds, numerous sports fields, an open-air sports park, an adventure park, a boating lake, and a cafe with a terrace.
National Theatre and Palace of Arts
The new National Theatre or Nemzeti Színház of the Hungarians was built in 2002 in southern Pest as part of a new cultural district. It is surrounded by a garden in the shape of a boat, entertaining visitors with open-air-plays and other summer activities.
The other building, MÜPA (Művészetek Palotája) or Place of Arts is a multifunctional establishment of music, theatre and visual art built in 2005. MÜPA includes the Bartók Béla National Concert Hall featuring excellent acoustics and hosting great concerts and Ludwig Museum.
MÜPA - Palace of Art
St. Ladislaus Catholic Church of Kőbánya
During the centuries Budapest's District X was actively worked to extract building stone for the city's constructions. The distric's name, Kőbánya means Stone Quarry. There were also clay-mining pits for the brick industry.
The centre of Kőbánya has a magnificent Catholic parish church built between 1891 and 1897 in Art Nouveau style dedicated to the Hungarian knight-king, St. Ladislaus or Szt. László. It was designed by Ödön Lechner, a brilliant Hungarian architect of Art Nouveau. His statue with a model of the church has been erected outside. The church has a tall bell-tower and the church's roof is covered in patented colorful Zsolnay eozenic porcelain tiles which were designed by Ignatz Openheimer.