8 Most Beautiful Places to See in Budapest
When we arrived in Budapest we were very excited because it had been a place we kept hearing people talk about and we could easily see why. Budapest is one of the most beautiful European cities we have visited. It is also very walkable, and it was easy for us to wander from place to place. Our jaws dropped around every corner. There was always a beautiful building or piece of architecture to see. Here are the can’t miss most beautiful places in Budapest plus some extra tips for families with kids!
ST. STEPHEN’S BASILICA
Our apartment was just a couple blocks from this beautiful basilica. It was our first stop after the playground! It is the third largest church building in Hungary and houses the right hand of King Stephen, the first king of Hungary. One thing you will quickly see about Budapest is its amazing architecture, and this church is a perfect example.
Sidenote: you can find a cute gelato shop just around the corner to the right when looking at the basilica. They make rose-shaped gelato cones. Perfect treat in winter or summer can also be used as bribery for good behavior while touring the inside of the basilica!
CHAIN BRIDGE/SZECHENYI BRIDGE
Did you know Budapest is actually two cities, Buda and Pest? Each lies on a different side of the Danube River. Szechenyi Bridge spans the river connecting the two sides. It is as much an engineering achievement as a design one. This bridge is seriously gorgeous and we loved walking across it and gazing down at the ice chunks floating down the Danube. The pedestrian path was wide enough for us to push our double stroller without difficulty. Allow yourself plenty of time because you’ll want to stop and take pictures from the bridge as well as of the bridge!
CASTLE HILL FUNICULAR
When you cross the bridge to the Buda side, you’ll reach the Castle Hill Funicular. Ride this funicular up the hill to Buda Castle. It saves you a walk and gives you a panoramic view out over the bridge, river, and city.
Adult One Way: $4.20
Adult Round Trip: $6.30
Child Age 3-14 One Way: $2.44
Child Age 3-14 Roundtrip: $3.84
After arriving at Buda Castle, you’ll be struck by the beauty of the building and statues and your jaw will drop taking in the view! The castle was the home of the Hungarian Kings, originally built in 1265, though most of the building you see was built between 1749-1769. Buda Castle now houses the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. If you’re in need of some warm indoor time, popping in here to get out of the cold would be a good idea. Our kids were handling the cold alright and happy to run around outside on the grounds so we skipped the museums.
A short walk from Buda Castle will lead you to Matthias Church. This is another shining example of Budapest’s stunning architecture. The colorfully tiled roof is a standout and will be something you won’t soon forget. This church was the site of many coronations including King Charles IV in 1916 who was the last Hapsburg king. There are a few restaurants nearby where you can snack on some Hungarian goulash (a dish that should not be missed) or warm up with a hot drink.
You can’t miss the gorgeous white terrace behind Matthias Church. It’s one of Budapest’s most picturesque spots. It overlooks the Danube river to the Hungarian Parliament Building. You can also find a Starbucks here and a little cafe to get drinks. If you’re looking for a great spot for family photos, this is it! But you will have to get there extremely early to avoid other people in your photos. From here you can decide to go down the stairs and walk down to river level or head back to the funicular to take you down. We walked down (even with the stroller) and were rewarded with another terrific spot for family photos in Budapest.
The Hungarian Parliament building is stunning! Can you see why we think Budapest rivals any other European city’s beauty? Everywhere you look is gorgeous architecture! You should make an effort to see the Parliament building in the day and again at night when it is all lit up. There’s really nothing quite like it!
SHOES ON THE DANUBE MEMORIAL
Near the Parliament building is a sobering memorial that everyone should see. This is the spot where Jews during the 1930s-40s were brought, told to remove their shoes and jewelry, then shot by SS officers. Their bodies would fall into the Danube to be carried away. Notice the size of the shoes as children were also murdered in this way. I found this memorial to be particularly stirring, I think because of the personal nature of seeing replicas of people’s shoes. It is awful to think about, but something that should not be forgotten.
OTHER BUDAPEST ATTRACTIONS
One of Budapest’s most notable stops is Szechenyi Baths. Trust me, I would’ve loved to go here! So why didn’t we? Through the information I could find online it sounded like it might not be a good place to bring our very young children. I know people have brought their kids there but ours were only 1.5 and 3 at the time. Our son was not yet potty trained and they do not allow swimming diapers/nappies in the baths. So that was pretty much a deal breaker for us. However, if your children are out of that stage, I think you would be fine so long as your kids can be respectful. It is not supposed to be treated like a water park. People go there to relax so I imagine the environment is a bit more calm and quiet. If you’ve been here with kids I’d love to hear about it, please comment below!
I did not know about this cafe when we went but I saw a few bloggers visit recently with their children and it looked very fun. A new twist on the cat cafe, where a variety of animals are brought to your table to feed and hold. I imagine most kids would really get a kick out of this, so check it out if you get the chance!
MORE BUDAPEST TIPS
HOW WE GOT THERE
We took the train from Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof to Budapest Keleti. We neglected to reserve seats for our children because they were of the age where they were free. However, we didn’t realize that we would be assigned seats in a cabin with 4 other people. It was too cramped and awkward for us to try and keep the kids quiet, so we left and sat in the dining car for most of the 2 hour and 40 minute ride. We bought tickets through the OBB website. I prefer to buy train tickets directly versus going through a third party.
WHERE WE STAYED
We booked this cute apartment through Booking.com. The owner’s mother is the one who met us and dealt with the check-in. The apartment was perfectly sized for us (2 adults, 2 children ages 1.5 and 3). The apartment was centrally located, easy to walk to markets and restaurants, and even had a playground right outside.
Here’s a link to $20 off your booking with Booking.com!
HOW TO KEEP KIDS HAPPY IN WINTER
Layers, layers, layers! We dressed both children in thermal bottoms or tights underneath a second pair of fleece-lined leggings or pants. We also had them wearing wool socks under their boots, thermal layers under sweaters on top, coats, gloves, and hats. In addition to dressing warm, we took snack/hot chocolate breaks liberally! If the kids are getting cranky, time to pop in somewhere and get a treat!
That’s it! The Most Beautiful Spots in Budapest with kids in winter! What do you think? Have you been to Budapest before? Tell me in the comments!