The Castle District, is Budapest’s number one visitor attraction and my favorite. Three palaces have been built on this site with the first appearing during the 13th century. The Royal Palace was completely burned out during World War II and has been restored. In addition to the Palace and Museums listed below, take a long walk through this ancient quarter and visit: the Matthias Church; old Baroque City Hall of Buda, former Neogothic building of the Ministry of Finance; the Hilton Hotel …View image…because it integrated some ancient monastery walls; Ruszwurm Confectionery in operation since 1827; the House of Hungarian Wines where you can try some of the 70 to 80 wines there for a small admission fee (Hungary produces over 450 different wines), and so many more ancient monuments and old houses. When you are too pooped to move, sit in a cafe or restaurant, have coffee, get an ice cream and people-watch
Mathias Church is the best known and most spectacular Catholic Church in Budapest. It dates from different periods, and was built between the 13th-15th centuries. Many frescoes and stained glass windows, King Bela III and his wife, Anne of Chatillon are buried within, and three other kings were crowned here.
- The museums on Castle Hill, two of which are the Budapest History Museum and Hungarian National Gallery (Art).
- Dohany utca, The Great Synagogue and Jewish Museum, the world’s second largest synagogue. “Synagogue” is actually a Hebrew derivative of the Greek word for the place of gathering, a place of religious and educational purposes. Construction was started on Dohany utca in 1854, it can hold 3,000 people and is an impressive moorish-style building with two high towers. The museum has a collection of ritual objects and another room chronicles the Hungarian Holocaust. The ornate inside was nothing like any synogogue we’d ever been in – with its incredible chandeliers, wood, ceramic tiled floors and tiered women’s balconies. Really something to see.
- A stoll down Andrassy Boulevard on the Pest side. This gorgeous boulevard has also been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It’s lined with trees, beautiful apartment buildings, lot of cafes and bars, restaurants and terraces.
- And then there was Vaci utca, the main shopping and pedestrian walking street of Budapest, also on the Pest side. Along with Vaci utca, the other shopping streets ran parallel to this street and the Danube. Folk craft shops, designer clothes, anything and everything you could possibly want to buy…with high prices to match. The Kempinski, Four Seasons, Sofitel, Hotel Inter-Continental, Marriott were also found in this vicinity…naturally. We spent quite a bit of time Vaci utca eating ice cream, window-shopping, sitting in the sun and doing more people-watching. Always busy…always interesting…day and night.
Check the Budapest Tourism Office and Hungarian Tourist Bureau websites for brochures and information. Note: Profuse thanks to the Budapest Tourism office for allowing me to use many of these photographs.