6 Amazing Museums in Budapest (Hungary)

Whether you like art or history, the museums in Budapest will not disappoint. From national galleries displaying the medieval history of the country to a museum dedicated to the horrors of fascism and communism, here are my top picks for the best museums to visit in Budapest.

Hungarian National Museum

Location: Múzeum krt. 14-16 | In the Palace District
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Sun 10:00 – 18:00
Website: mnm.hu/en

The Hungarian National Museum has a history that goes back over two hundred years, when in 1802, Count Ferenc Széchényi set up the notable National Széchényi Library.

One year later, the Count Széchényi’s wife would donate a mineral collection to the place, which would remove its status as a simple library and turn it into the Hungarian National Museum, a general history and natural history museum.

The current museum is a Neoclassical building, built between 1837–47 by the renowned architect Mihály Pollack, and is one of most beautiful museum buildings in Budapest.

The Hungarian National Museum currently holds six permanent exhibitions, most notably: the History of Hungary, which is divided into two parts; Between East and West, which shows the variety of people who inhabited their land; and the Coronation Mantle, which displays the garments of Hungarian kings used during their coronation.

The whole place is full of interesting things to see and is indeed a national treasure. The image above shows the famous sepulcher of György Apafi, the governor of the Küküllő county. This was the work of Elias Nicolai, who in 1635 moved to Transylvania from Upper Hungary. It is a classic piece of Hungarian Renaissance stone-carving and one of my favorite pieces in the museum.

Location: Inside Buda Castle
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Sun 10:00 – 18:00
Website: en.mng.hu/

It quickly becomes very clear to any visitor that the Royal Palace in the Buda Castle is one of the most magnificent royal residences in Europe. It dates back to the 14th century, to the reign of kings such as Matthias Corvinus. And what better place to host the Hungarian National Gallery than this magnificent palace?

When we talk about the Hungarian National Gallery, we are talking about the largest public collection documenting and presenting the evolution of arts in Hungary. Although it was earlier run as an independent institution, it moved in 1975 to the former building of the Royal Palace of Buda.

The Hungarian National Gallery currently holds six permanent exhibitions, most notably: Art in the 19th century, displaying pieces from the Age of Reforms to the Turn of the Century; Modern Times, about Hungarian Art Between 1896 and World War II​; and Shifts, showing Hungarian Art After 1945.

This museum is quite gigantic, so I would suggest you take a whole day for visiting the Buda Castle District and slowly take-in what all the museums here have to offer. Make sure to read all the commentary on the works of art you see, but feel free to direct yourself towards the sections of the museum that please you the most aesthetically or historically.

Budapest History Museum

Location: Szent György tér 2 | Inside Buda Castle
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Sun 10:00 – 18:00
Website: varmuzeum.hu/

Unlike other museums in the city, which are dedicated to the broader history of Hungary and the Hungarian people, this museum specialized in the history of the city of Budapest. The museum itself is located inside the castle, and its exhibitions are displayed in the restored halls of the medieval palace, the former castle chapel, as well as the Gothic hall.

Here you will learn how the Roman provincial center known as Aquincum successfully developed. Then, you will discover how the seat of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom thrived, and how it all perished during the wars and sieges done by the Ottomans. And finally, you will experience how Pest, Buda, and Óbuda unified and Budapest became one of the fastest-growing metropolises in Central Europe in the 1920s.

The Budapest History Museum currently holds four permanent exhibitions: Buda, the Center of the Royal Dignity, telling the history of the medieval royal palace and its royal court; the Hungarian-Anjou Coated Silk Carpentry; Budapest, Light & Shadow, telling the thousand-year history of the capital going through its highs and lows; as well as the exhibition displaying the Gothic Sculptures from the Royal Palace in Buda.

Similarly to the Hungarian National Gallery, this place is huge and requires a bit of time. So make sure to take a whole day to visit the Buda Castle district in order to patiently and successfully take in all the info it has to offer.

Panoptikum Labyrinth

Location: Úri u. 9 | Under the Castle Hill
Opening: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 19:00
Website: labirintus.eu/

Before becoming a museum in Budapest, the Panoptikum Labyrinth started as a natural cave system, half a million years ago. In the 13th century, its isolated components began to be connected by the inhabitants of surrounding villages.

It has been used ever since the Middle Ages for a variety of purposes: as a shelter, a patio, or a prison. By coming here, you will participate in underground time travel with the destinations ranging from the palaces of Sigismund of Luxemburg and Mathias I, going through mystical monuments from the time of the Turkish occupation of Hungary.

This is by far one of my favorite things to see in the Buda Castle district. Although the place is now a tourist attraction, keep in mind that it is still an actual labyrinth. That means that although you will not get lost and starve to death, you might actually lose a couple of hours inside if you do not pay attention! But do not worry, it is really amusing, especially the places which are completely deprived of light. Make sure to bring a lot of friends for extra fun.

One of the things that led me to visit this place for the first time was the fact that it held the famous Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) as a prisoner. The story says that the Hungarian king marched against the Wallachians to free Dracula from Turkish captivity, but for some unknown reason, when he reached Transylvania, the king who had previously married one of his family members oof to Dracula, dragged him off to Buda and punished him with ten years of imprisonment. I think nowadays we know why.

Hospital in the Rock

Location: Lovas út 4/c | Inside the Castle District
Opening: Mon-Fri 12:00 – 18:00, Sat 10:00 – 19:00, Sun 10:00 – 18:00
Website: sziklakorhaz.eu/en/

As we already know, the Buda Castle hill hides a series of natural caves underneath it. Due to the threat of world war, Dr. Károly Szendy, the mayor of Budapest, ordered the construction of an emergency hospital and reinforced bomb shelter under Buda Castle, with the construction beginning in 1939 and finishing in 1944. Thus, the Hospital in the Rock was born.

This hospital/shelter is now a fascinating museum that tells a lot about the tragic story of Budapest over the last century. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures inside. But in return, you can get an original souvenir from this place: the actual gas masks stored within the hospital/shelter over time.

Your visit will be divided into two parts: first, a small film will give you historical context as to why the Hospital in the Rock exists, followed by a long guided tour across the whole complex. Keep in mind that the guided tour is mandatory as the place is huge and full of details you can very easily miss if not presented by a guide.

The guided tour is segmented by time period, addressing specific rooms and tools which were essential during the developments within these specific events. It covers the Second World War, the 1856 Revolution, the Cold War, and to finalize a presentation on the dangers of the nuclear threat.

House of Terror

Location: Andrássy út 60 | Near Hunyadi Square
Opening: Mon CLOSED, Tue-Sun 10:00 – 18:00
Website: terrorhaza.hu/en/

The House of Terror museum functions both as a museum and a memorial. After going through the two faces of totalitarian terror (fascism and communism), the Hungarian people decided to erect this monument to the memory of the victims of terror, as well as to present the horrible living conditions during the periods in which terror reigned supreme.

The building itself has a horrendous history: it was used both by the Arrow Cross Party (fascists) and the ÁVH (communist secret police). So be prepared, as what you will see inside here is not for the weak-hearted. The museum has a very heavy atmosphere (probably caused both by the aesthetic of the place combined with the ominous music which permeates the whole museum).

Photography inside this Budapest museum is not allowed under any circumstance. And to be honest with you, this is one of the few places in which I honestly did not feel the need to take any pictures, both out of interest and respect.

Different from many other museums, the exhibitions begin on the second floor, chronologically starting with the fascist regime of the Arrow Cross Party. Going one floor down to the first floor, you will experience the terror caused by the communist secret police known as ÁVH. On the ground floor, you will see a massive T-55 tank inside the building, with photos of the victims of terror as background. After that, you will then reach the basement, where all the torture and interrogations happened.

Best Restaurants In Budapest (Hungary)

Nothing better to experience the spirit of Hungary’s Capital than to try the local food, made with fresh ingredients in the best restaurants in town! Here is my personal list of the best restaurants in Budapest.

Hungarian Cuisine

Similarly to Austrian cuisine, the Hungarian one is mostly Central European. Drawing comparisons between the two is quite inevitable, as they were for a long time part of the same empire, the Austro-Hungarian, and therefore shared a lot of cultural traits.

Typical Hungarian food is rich in dairy, cheese, and meats (mostly simple meats such as beef, pork, and chicken), almost always served with bread. Also important to point is that here you will find some of the highest quality salamis and sausages in the whole of Europe and for quite inexpensive prices.

Meals are often divided into those which require side dishes, and those that do not. If a side dish is not formally required for a meal, Hungarians would find it a bit weird to order any. The most common side dishes being potatoes prepared in many different styles, as well as white rice or steamed vegetables.

What to eat in Budapest

Just like Vienna, Budapest is rich in big and fancy coffee houses that attracted artists from all over the continent. Make sure to visit at least one early in the morning to experience the elaborate menus and beautiful architecture these places have to offer.

As the main meal of the day, be it lunch or dinner, make sure to try the traditional Hungarian Goulash, the national dish. Another popular pick is the Csirkepaprikás (chicken paprikash), which is a chicken stew with a lot of sweet paprika, and a specific sour cream called tejföl. A personal favorite of mine, though, is the Csülök, or pork knuckle.

For a dessert or snack, you should definitely try the local Kürtőskalács. Many people mistake it for Prague’s Trdelník, but the Hungarian version of this delicious pastry is the real deal, as well as a must-try when visiting Budapest. Another option for a sweet snack would be the Gundel Palacsinta (crêpe) filled with nuts and chocolate sauce.

Where to eat in Budapest

Coffee & Breakfast

Centrál Coffee House

Location: Károlyi utca 9 | Near Károlyi Garden
Opening: Mon-Sun 08:00 – 00:00
Reservation: centralkavehaz.hu/en/

The Centrál Coffee House opened its doors in 1887 and quickly became the meeting point for elite Hungarian writers, poets, composers, and scientists throughout the centuries.

Despite taking a large hit during World War II, just like the rest of the city, this lovely coffee house reopened as a canteen for students as well as a night-time club. But in 2000, it reopened its doors as the classical coffee house, with its current mission of reviving the golden era of Hungarian gastronomy.

The ambiance of the Centrál Coffee House is very calm and classy. Early in the morning, they already have some very soft live music playing in the background, and the service couldn’t be more polite.

The space, in general, is very open and bright, with wooden and golden furniture, as well as plants everywhere. It makes for a very peaceful beginning of the day, perfect for getting into the mood for exploring the city.

Although this place is both a coffee house and a restaurant, I mostly come here for their breakfasts. It’s one of the few places in town that serve quality imperial era breakfasts, very similar to the ones in Vienna.

If you come here, make sure to order their “Perfect Day” breakfast, which is only served between 9:30 and 11:30. It comes with eggs benedict, 6 gourmet canapés, a mini cake selection, muesli, yogurt, pastry, honey, jam, butter, freshly squeezed orange juice, a warm drink (either hot coffee, tea, or hot chocolate), and a glass of prosecco.

But if you are not so hungry, you can also go for a “Centrál 1887 Granola“, which comes with Greek yogurt, honey, cottage cheese, jam, and fresh fruits. That’s the one in the picture above.

Lunch & Dinner

Fakanál Étterem

Location: Vámház krt. 1-3 | Inside the Great Market Hall
Opening: Mon 09:00 – 17:00, Tue-Fri 09:00 – 18:00,
Sat 09:00 – 15:00, Sun CLOSED
Reservation: fakanaletterem.hu/

Located inside what is known to be the most beautiful market hall in all of Europe, the Fakanál Étterem restaurant offers hearty Hungarian home food at its best. They are proud to offer home-made flavors made from fresh ingredients from the market, just as if they had come from the local grandmother’s or mother’s stove.

The place is even cozier than you can imagine, quite unexpected for a crowded city market. It is very spacious, and the decoration makes you feel like you are dining in a cute little Hungarian village. Definitely one of the coziest restaurants in Budapest.

Here you can order either through a menu, or serve yourself on their buffet. The latter being my preference, as they tend to be cheaper, and not a bit less delicious. You will be surprised by the quality you will get for so cheap.

My favorite go for the Fakanál Étterem is the Csülök pékné módra, a classic Hungarian pork knuckle baked together with potatoes. I cannot stress enough how delicious this dish is.

Apparently, the fresh seasoning and vegetables gathered from the market hall do make a difference in taste, and it is something you have to experience for yourself. Together with a local unfiltered beer, this hearty dish will surely satisfy.

VakVarjú Étterem Pest

Location: Paulay Ede u. 7. | Near St. Stephen’s Basilica
Opening: Mon-Sun 11:30 – 00:00
Reservation: pest.vakvarju.com/

VakVarjú (The Blind Crow) is a popular dining option among locals, and for those reasons, the restaurant has many branches across Budapest. My favorite one being the one right at the center of Pest.

Their gastronomy is based on the reimagining of classic Hungarian dishes with a modern touch, while still keeping in touch with tradition. And to be honest, they are quite successful at it.

Right upon arrival you will notice the homely atmosphere. The place is very well lit, by either large windows during the day or modern chandeliers during the night. Here you will also find a variety of different tables and seats to choose from, whatever makes you more comfortable.

This Budapest restaurant also has live music during the evenings, which adds to the whole atmosphere. Apart from that, it is important to note that they have a kid’s corner with a lot of toys, so if you bring children, they can have some fun on their own as well.

What better place than VakVarjú, to experience the classic Hungarian Goulash soup with a freshly baked dough on top. It makes for a great appetizer, before ordering a Beef tenderloin with mustard seeded cream cheese, fried onions, sweet potato cream, and sugar snap peas, or Soft pork tenderloin with porcini Paprikash, smoked bacon greaves, and sheep’s cheesy Kaiserschmarren.

Bárkert Bistro

Location: Ybl Miklós tér 6 | Near Buda Castle
Opening: Mon-Sun 11:30 – 00:00
Reservation: barkert.hu/en/

Bárkert Bistro is located in the Várkert Bazár, a neo-renaissance building dreamt up by architect Miklós Ybl, Hungary’s most influential architect during his career, around the end of the 19th century.

After 130 years of history, this place has managed to maintain is popularity and elegance, attracting many people from all over the world. They are known for what they call ‘fusion cuisine‘, a pairing of fine traditional Hungarian food with characteristic international flavors.

This lovely Budapest restaurant tends more towards the elegant side than the cozy one. But the comfort they promise, they deliver. They have a really spacious interior, accompanied by a panoramic terrace overlooking the Danube river.

Service here will be of utmost quality as they pride themselves on their skilled waiters and state-of-the-art technical equipment.

When visiting the Bárkert Bistro, make sure to order a Friss lecsó (Fresh Hungarian ratatouille) as a starter; followed by either a duck leg with polenta and marinated baby vegetables, or an Angus Rib-eye steak, served with smoked paprika-gorgonzola sauce, and Chérie potato. They also serve vegan food, so if that is your pick, make sure to order their wild mushroom pappardelle.

They also have the ‘menu of the day’ option, which offers simpler food, but nonetheless as delicious. That was my pick last time I visited this place, when I ordered chicken breast coated with breadcrumbs served together with potato purée.

Regős Vendéglő

Location: Szófia u. 33 | Near Terror Museum
Opening: Mon-Sun 12:00 – 22:00
Reservation: regosvendeglo.hu/en/

Regős Vendéglő is a small family-owned restaurant, run by Péter Regős. As much as 80% of their clients are locals who work in the neighboring office buildings, which means their menu reflects the taste and wishes of fellow local Hungarians, making this restaurant a true hidden gem in Budapest.

With its exposed brick walls and comfy wooden furniture, the interior gives a very strong underground vibe. Regős Vendéglő makes for a perfect pick for a casual lunch with friends outside of the crowded city center.

Not only their food is very hearty and delicious but is also much less expensive than its alternatives downtown. Also important to note, is that if you manage to get there between 12:00 and 15:00, you can get a 3-course lunch menu for only 2000 Ft.

If you go for the 3-course lunch menu, I would suggest starting with a bean soup ‘Jókai’ style; followed by chicken breast with mushroom cream sauce and rice; finished by a delicious cherry strudel as dessert. I can guarantee you will not find this amount of flavor for this price anywhere in town, making this one of my top picks for the best restaurants in Budapest.

Sweets & Desserts

Molnár’s Kürtőskalács

Location: Váci u. 31 | Near Elisabeth Bridge
Opening: Sun-Thu 10:00 – 20:00, Fri-Sat10:00 – 21:00
Reservation: kurtoskalacs.com/

Molnár’s Kürtőskalács is famous across the city as the best place to eat this delicious treat made out of chopped walnuts glued to the hot and sticky caramel layer of melted sugar, know as Kürtőskalács.

Located in the heart of the inner district of Budapest, it is the perfect place to have a nice dessert or snack while exploring the city.

This place is not very fancy, but do not get fooled, as the food here is delicious. Due to local laws, they are not allowed to prepare Kürtőskalács in its traditional way, since it would involve a large fireplace which can be hazardous indoors. But they managed to come up with a substitute that cooks it just as good.

Keep also in mind that there are not many seats to compensate for the popularity of this snack. If you come here, especially during the evening, the place will be packed. But no worries, most locals just come to pick them up to eat them somewhere else, by the river or in a park, for example.

At Molnár’s Kürtőskalács you will find a wide variety of granulated toppings for your Kürtőskalács, my favorites being chocolate and walnut. There is also the option of getting it either cut in half, or as a bowl with ice-cream inside. I recommend getting both to try them out and see how you prefer eating it.

Budapest’s Thermal Baths: Perfect Places To Relax In Hungary’s Capital

Budapest rests on top of a fault line, and its thermal baths are naturally fed by over a hundred hot springs. Some of the thermal baths built over these springs date back to the 16th century.

If you are going to Budapest, visiting a Thermal Spring is a must if you wish to fully experience the vibe of the city. Apart from having the most relaxing time of your life, of course.

A Look Inside the Thermal Baths

The layout of most of Budapest’s baths is similar: a series of indoor thermal pools where temperatures range from warm to hot, steam rooms, saunas, ice-cold plunge pools and rooms for massage. Some have outdoor pools with fountains, sprays and whirlpools, and pools for swimming laps. However, each spa has its own atrractions, such as the Saturday night “sparties” at Széchenyi, the wine tub at Gellért, the drinking hall at Lukács and the rooftop hot tub at Rudas.

The Thermal Bath’s General Rules

A couple of things are necessary to have when visiting any of the thermal baths in Budapest, and those are:

  1. Swimwear (no one wants to see you swimming in your underwear)
  2. Towel (for obvious reasons)
  3. Flip-Flops (the floor can get really slippery inside)

Although most thermal baths rent or sell these accessories, it is best to bring your own if you can. Swimming caps must be worn by those swimming in the lap pools.

Upon entering, you get a watch-shaped electronic bracelet that serves as a key to a locker or cabin where you can leave your belongings. Staff will be around to assist you if needed. Most baths offer a full range of treatments including massages, so always specify at the entrance what services you need. Admission charges will vary accordingly.

Before plunging into the warm waters, always take a shower, and if you have long hair, you should tie it back. Be sure to keep the noise down inside the pools, as these are usually places where people go to relax and escape from the rest of the world. Signs specify the temperature of each pool, and sometimes advise on how much time to spend inside.

Yeah, these pools are not your common backyard ones! Remaining inside the pool for long periods of time can mess with the functioning of the internal organs and cause a bad case of dizziness and nausea, something that I myself experienced for being so stubborn.

Choosing a Thermal Bath

Széchenyi Baths – Széchenyi is the largest spa complex in Europe, and probably Budapest’s most popular baths. The outdoor section is stunning, but it gets quite busy. Iconic “sparties” take place here on some Saturday nights.

Gellért Baths – With stained-glass windows and colourful porcelain tiles adorning the walls, Gellért Baths is a masterpiece of art nouveau architecture. It’s certainly one of the most stunning historic spas in the Hungarian capital, making bathing feel like a royal ritual.

Rudas Baths – Rudas has been in operation since the Turkish conquest of Hungary in the 16th century. Its biggest attraction is a rooftop hot tub providing a pretty view of the Pest skyline. Rudas is the only bath that still holds same-sex days on weekdays.

Lukács Baths – Lukács is a real medical mecca proven by the marble memorial plaques installed in the bath’s park, giving thanks in various languages to the institution and its medical staff for healing. It’s also enormous, and houses a drinking hall offering the same water that supplies the baths – coming from a newer well – rich in calcium, hydrogen-carbonate, sulphate, chloride as well as sodium and fluoride ions.

Amazing Things To Do In Budapest, Hungary

Walk Inside The Great Market Hall

The Great Market Hall in Budapest was built in 1897 and is the most beautiful and largest of all Budapest market halls. It is also known as the Central Market not only given its central geographic location within the city, but also due to the sheer volume of trade happening there daily.

There is plenty to see in the three floors of this amazing market, such as little souvenirs, fruits, vegetables, meats, bags, clothing, etc. Apart from those, you can check out the top floor for delicious traditional Hungarian food.

Get Lost At The Panoptikum Labyrinth

It is said that the King Matthias Corvinus marched towards Wallachia to free Vlad Tepes (Dracula) from Turkish captivity. But for some unknown reason, the king who previously intended to save Vlad and even had married one of his family members to him, saw something so terrible that he dragged Vlad to Buda and imprisioned him inside his labyrinth for 10 years.

The labyrinth under the Buda Castle is open until today, now serving as a sort of Museum displaying statues of the monarchs of Hungary. But if you go deep enough, you will find long passages which are entirely without light, and the old prisions where Vlad Tepes was left to rot. Just take into consideration that getting lost here for a couple of hours might be an actual possibility.

Discover The Secrets Of The Gellért Hill

The Gellért Hill gets its name from the legend about the death of St. Gerard. The bishop was assassinated by pagans during a huge rebellion in 1046. He was put in a barrel and rolled down into the deep from the top of the hill, the poor fella.

During the 19th century, after the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Habsburgs built there a Citadella due to the stretegic position of the hill refferent to both Buda and Pest. The Hill would also see battle during World War II and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Nowadays, you can find there the famous mineral springs, a gorgeous crystal cave and the lovely church on the hillside.

Take A Break And Relax At The Gellért Baths

The Gellért Baths are located within an Art Noveau building which dates back a whole century. It opened in 1918 offering medicinal water treatments using the same deep underground springs that the Knights of St. John used in the 12th century to feel the invigorating powers of such mineral rich waters.

You can buy a one-time ticket for the baths, and there is no time limit to it, but if you leave the spa, you have to buy another ticket to return. In the same building you have a massage parlour where you can have a relaxing massage before leaving the place, to get you ready to explore more of the city.

Taste The Amazing Hungarian Street Food

Hungarians are specialists at meat dishes, and going to Budapest without trying some kolbász (a spicy sausage made with paprika) or hurka (blood pudding with rice) is definitely a nope.

You can find stands selling delicious traditional Hungarian small and fast dishes throughout the whole city, but my suggestion would be to get it inside the Great Market Hall, which will protect you from both the sun, rain or snow, depending on the season in which you visit the city.

Explore The St. Stephen’s Basilica

During the 18th century, the place where the Basilica now stands was occupied by the Hetz-Theater, where animal fights took place. That was until a wealthy inhabitant named János Zitterbarth decided to build a temporary church there.

What Mr. Zitterbarth did not expect was that the Lipótváros Parish, which formed in the church, would gather over a thousand believers until the beginning of the new century. There believers raised money for the building of a newer and bigger church in homage to St. Stephen, the King of Hungary who became a saint. You can still see his ‘incorruptible’ hand in the reliquary inside the Basilica.

Reflect By The Shoes At The Danube Bank

The horror of fascism is not limited to Germany and Italy. In 1945-45, a militia associated to the Fascist Party of Hungary (also known as Arrow Cross) kidnapped three thousand and five hundred enemies of the party from their homes and workplaces, asked them to remove their shoes before the Danube and shot them into the river, as for it their bodies to be carried away by the flow.

In 2005, film director Can Togay in association with sculptor Gjula Pauer, created a monument to their memory, displaying the shoes left behind by the victims. It serves also as a reminder of the dangers of extremist ideologies.

Stroll Across The Liberty Bridge

The districts of Buda and Pest are connected by many bridges, but few are as elegant as the Liberty Bridge. It is the shortest bridge in Budapest’s center. Initially built as part of the Millennium World Exhibition at the end of the 19th century, the bridge features art nouveau design, mythological sculptures and the country’s coat of arms adorned on its side.

The bridge was inaugurated in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph; the last silver rivet on the Pest abutment was inserted into the iron structure by the Emperor himself, and the bridge was originally named after him.

Gaze At The Hungarian Parliament Building

Budapest was united from three cities in 1873, namely Buda, Óbuda, and Pest. Seven years later the Diet resolved to establish a new, representative parliament building, expressing the sovereignty of the nation. And then the Parliament Building was born. Construction from the winning plan was started in 1885, and the building was inaugurated on the 1000th anniversary of the country in 1896.

About 100,000 people were involved in construction, during which 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40 kilograms of gold were used. During the People’s Republic of Hungary a red star perched on the top of the dome, but it was removed in 1990 after the fall of communism. Mátyás Szűrös declared the Hungarian Republic from the balcony facing Kossuth Lajos Square on 23 October 1989.

Buy Some Hungarian Souvenirs

When it comes to souvenirs, Budapest is rich in embroideries and the patterns originating from it can be put in virtually anything, from dinner plates to bottle openers. But there is something else that I find really special here.

Chess is a big thing in Budapest, with boards installed even inside the mineral baths. The city has even a famous chess move named after it, the ‘Budapest Gambit’. For that reason, everywhere you look for souvenirs in the city, you will find richly adourned chess tables with hand-crafted pieces, inspired by the most different motifs: traditional Hungarian patterns, medieval knights, etc. Those can be quite expensive, but definitely worth the investment.