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Winter Programs in Budapest

Updated on August 25, 2019
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Budapest has a magical effect on anyone who gives it a chance. This spectacular place is the city of spas, culture, art, and the also the city of contrasts with the traces of different epochs of history and architecture. Budapest offers a wide range of events, exciting programs and fantastic places throughout the winter months too.

Take A Long Walk In Castle Hill

Many sightseeing trip begins with the old Buda town, Várhegy or Castle Hill with the Royal Palace on the top. The ancient city of Buda rises majestically on the east bank of the Danube River, perched atop a hill and commanding views over the vast plain amid wich te neighbouring Pest stands. Here you find the roots of the Hungarian capital.

This hill is about 50-60 meters high, and it has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. The Hungarian royal court moved here during the reign of king Béla IV in 1247 and the area is the most important site throughout the Medieval period and during the decades of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Castle Hill's peaceful, narrow, romantic streets are full of magnificent buildings and fascinating museums. The completely rebuilt Royal Palace stands exactly on the site where Buda Castle was built in the 13th century. This palace houses the Hungarian National Gallery's fascinating collection of Hungarian artworks from Gothic altars to Romantic paintings. You can spend here a whole day with your loved one!

Behind the Gallery is the Hunyadi courtyard which was named after the amazing Art Nouveau Mátyás-kút from 1904 which is shows the great Renaissaince king of Hungary.

On Dísz square under no. 18 you find the Pharmacy Museum, Buda’s first pharmacy from 1681. this small, entertaining museum contains a mock-up of an alchemist’s laboratory, with dried bats and stuffed crocodiles suspended from the ceiling, a small ‘spice rack’ used by 17th-century travellers for their daily fixes of curative herbs, curiously shaped glassware and a blackened mummy head.

Amongst the attractions of Castle Hill is the unusual Museum of Telephony. Installed in a delightful garden, the most outstanding exhibit in this museum is a telephone exchange dating to 1881 and which still operates.

I love so much Kapisztrán square which was named after the intrepid grey friar, who fought in the battle against the Ottomans in Janos Hunyady's Army.Later he was canonised as a saint for his virtues. On the square you can see the ruins of the once mighty Maria Magdalene Church. The tower with its Baroque top is almost intact. The church was built in the 13th century and it was destroyed by the Ottoman troops, the WWII siege and later Communist dictator Matyas Rakosi.

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Castle Hill District

Relax and Enjoy a Turkish Bath

In the City of Spas there are several hot springs and the bathing culture is so old that the Romans have been enjoying the warm spring waters. When the Ottoman armies successfully captured the Royal Palace of Buda in 1541, the Turks started to build a series of baths along the Danube. The city has now three Turkish baths: Király, Rudas and Veli Bej.

Bath culture during the Ottomans were based on Turkish traditions where Hamam is more than a spa: it is an important place for social gathering and ritual cleaning too, place of bathing, relaxing and healing.

The oldest thermal bath in Budapest is Király. The central octogonal edifice was built on the riverbank by the Turks from 1565 to 1567. Its original facade is still visible, the wings in Classical style were added at the beginning of the 19th century. The original Turkish room is famous for the beams of differently coloured light shooting through the openings in the dom.

Rudas is probably the most popular medieval Turkish bath in Budapest, built between 1566 and 1578 near some springs. After many renovation this building is amazing combination of old and new. And Rudas Bath were used as a location for the opening scene of the 1988 movie Red Heat starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Belushi!

Veli bej, the third one is a beautiful place and is tucked away in the corner of Budai Irgalmasrendi Hospital bath - is in the same building as Hotel Csaszar Budapest. Veli Bej was erected in 1574, its central cupola is surrounded by 4 smaller domed buildings. The building survived the recapture of Buda. In 1806 he bath became the property of the Ordo Hospitalarius, that expanded on the original edifices. During the reconstruction lead by József Hild in 1841-48 the bath was enlarged and its name was changed to Kaiser Bad - in Hungarian: Csaszar. It’s less known among the tourists than the other Turkish baths of the city, so you can peacefully enjoy the pools with different temperatures.

Veli Bej Bath

Veli Bej Bath Budapest
Veli Bej Bath Budapest | Source

Visit in the House of Parliament

Hungary's largest and Budapest's highest building was put up between 1885 and 1904 according the plans of Imre Steindl, who inspired by the Houses of Parliament in London and Medieval Gothic churches had a mind an ecletctic edifice which, apart from the typical Gothic, also represents the forms and characteristics of other ages.

All the parts of this building were made by Hungarian masters using Hungarian materials. Only the 6-metre-tall granit columns of the central staircase hall come from Sweden. The Parliament Building was decorated by the greatest hungarian masters, as a result of which it is adorned by more than 200 statues, stunning frescos, stained glass windows and glass mosaics. It has 13 elevators, over 200 offices and the red carpet running along the corridors is nearly 3 km long. It was Europe's first air-conditioned building, it had the most modern heating and ventilation system of that age.

You can see here the Holy Crown, the symbol of Hungary's statehood, a 16-angled Dome Hall and interesting exhibition.

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Take A Coffee At Lotz Hall

Sip soul-warming coffee amid ornate settings surrounded by Renaissance-style artworks at Lotz Hall, a classic café inside Budapest’s elegant Alexandra Bookstore on Andrássy Avenue, where the sophisticated artworks of German-Hungarian painter Károly Lotz evoke Greek mythological themes. This is an excellent rainy-day or snowy-day destination.

Lotz Hall&Café Budapest

Discover The Hungarian National Liqueur

Do you know when the first Unicum was made? And how improvisation is connected to that?

Unicum, the famous Hungarian thick medicinal-tasting aperitif made from 40 herbs and spices, is as bitter as a loser’s tears and a popular drink in Hungary. Unicum drunk as a digestif and apéritif. To delve into its history, head for the small Zwack Museum and Visitors’ Centre on Dandár Street, find out about the mysteries surrounding the Unicum and the Zwack Family on a 1-hour guided tour complete with tasting. The visit starts with a video, the museum has an enormous collection of 17,000 miniatures from across the globe and you can buy the Hungarian national liqueur from the adjacent shop.

Zwack Unicum Museum & Tour

Academy of Music Offers Artistic Experience

Don't miss the Liszt Academy of Music on Liszt Ferenc Square! This building was designed by Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl, took threee years to build and was completed in 1907. The Neo-Renaissaince façade is dominated by a statue of Liszt (sculpted by Alajos Stróbl). The inside of the building, which is built in Art Nouveau, is richly decorated with frescoes, Zsolnay ceramics, and several statues (among them that of Béla Bartók and Frédéric Chopin), and its concert hall is considered the most beautiful of its kind in Budapest The stunning Main Hall is 25 metres-long, 23 metres-wide and 16 metres-high. It has 977 removable seats, super-silent air-conditioning and you can hear every noises.

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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      15 months ago from UK

      We have the guide book ready to visit. Unfortunately our plans did not work out, but we will get to Budapest eventually. It looks like a beautiful and historic city.

    • mrfosterbudapest profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr Foster 

      15 months ago from Budapest

      Dear Liz, thank you so much for following me and thank you for the comments and your feedback! Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, I would recommend that you visit us. :) Warm regards, Mr. Foster

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      17 months ago from UK

      Budapest is on my list of places to visit. This is a very well-illustrated and interesting article.

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