Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve had the pleasure of exploring. That Parliament building is stunning enough on its own, but when you get to see a panorama of the city’s unique mixture of different architectures it’s just breathtaking. As I tend to do in Europe, (see my guide to towers in Prague) I made a point of seeking out all the viewpoints I could find during my three day stay: here’s your guide to the best views of Budapest!
You can see the hill itself from almost any point in Budapest: that alone tells you it’s going to have a pretty epic view of the city. Walking up this hill was killer – I genuinely thought I was going to have a heart attack, and the lack of other tourists as I struggled through the wooded area made me think I was going to be kidnapped. Struggle aside, once you’re at the top you get a sweeping vista down the Danube along with the hill’s own statues and monuments. I did feel like you were a bit too high up to see any real detail in the city, and it has a poor angle on Parliament (yes I’m obsessed), so if you’re not in the mood for exercise you might give Gellert Hill a pass.
We walked by this ferris wheel in Erzsebet Square on our first night and did a double take, having had no idea that it existed. After a quick Google, we learned that it was brought to Budapest from Plymouth, England and while I don’t think it’s permanent it will be there at least for the summer! We considered going up at least four times on our way by, but for some reason never did. When Anna headed to Rome on our last day, I had a few hours to myself and decided to go on up. I got several pitying looks from the attendants, an unavoidable part of solo travel, but I also got a private cabin! One ticket includes 4 or 5 rotations, and while it’s hard to get good pictures through the glass the view provides a unique perspective on the city and especially the Basilica.
Cost: 2,400 HUF
St. Stephen’s Basilica
I have never been happier to see an elevator in a building – this was still the early days of travelling and my feet were adjusting to the fact that I was going to force them to wear the same leather sandals, all day every day. I loved the view from the top of this gorgeous Basilica! Most of the best views are from the other side of the Danube, so this one provides a different perspective on the city and allows you to see Castle Hill. I also enjoyed a lovely rest sitting on the basilica stairs and catching up with my journal! Make sure to head into the basilica itself; it’s free and quite beautiful.
The very first thing my sister and I did in Budapest was clamber up Castle Hill to Fisherman’s Bastion. The structure itself is quirky and gorgeous, as is the very unique church in the same area. We arrived at the ideal time, just before sunset, which allowed us to get incredible dayitime, sunset, and nighttime views. There’s a restaurant on the ramparts where you can sit and have a glass of the cheapest wine on offer like we did, or perhaps if you’re not so broke you could get an actual meal. We spent several hours here as I photographed every possible angle of the amazing view. In my eyes, this place is a must-see: don’t leave Budapest without visiting Fisherman’s Bastion!
Castle Hill is an area you’re likely to visit on your trip to Budapest; an area perfect for wandering and learning some history. Obviously, since it’s a hill, the whole thing has a good view, but we especially enjoyed wandering the ramparts! As usual, I forced my sister into a photoshoot, and saw that her skills were finally starting to improve – I love this candid of myself!
While we were on Castle Hill, we went into the Budapest History Museum since admission was included in our Budapest Card. Nothing gets me interested in history like the chance to wander a castle and pretend I live there.
Last but certainly not least, one of the most memorable ways to see Budapest is on a river cruise. I wrote a whole post about our experience!
My sister and I received Budapest cards free, but this in no way influences my writing.