Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe, with a proud culture and many interesting things to do and Landmarks. A good portion of the most famous landmarks in Hungary are monuments built in a baroque style typical of the imperial and prosperous Hapsburg era. Many of them are in Budapest, Hungary’s capital and biggest city.
Naturally, many travelers focus on Budapest, a fascinating city with iconic landmarks and some wonderful things to do. However, in this post, we will also explore some of the most famous monuments outside Budapest and natural landmarks like the Danube River that cross the whole country.
To compose a thorough list of iconic Hungarian Landmarks and provide the most complete and informative article, we have invited some fellow bloggers to pitch in with their favorite Landmarks in Hungary.
famous landmarks in Hungary – Budapest
The Hungarian Parliament is possibly the most famous Landmark in Hungary, the most photographed, and the most impressive to look at. Located on the city’s Pest side, on the Danube’s eastern bank, it was designed by Hungarian architect Imre Steindl in neo-Gothic style and opened in 1902.
Since its construction, the Parliament has been the biggest building in Hungary and, even today is one of the world’s biggest legislative buildings. It is 268 meters long, 123 meters wide, and has a maximum height of 96 meters, making it one of Budapest’s highest. It has a symmetrical main façade overlooking the Danube and a central dome. Besides the size, it’s also full of details like the coat of arms above the windows and the dozens of statues of famous Hungarians.
The interior is also awe-inspiring, with ten courtyards, 27 gates, 29 staircases, and almost 700 rooms. The famous part is probably the hendecagonal central hall with huge chambers adjoining the Lower and Upper houses. The holy crown of Hungary on display in the central hall is the final attraction of the parliament. It’s possible to have guided tours to the Parliament to learn more about these and other features.
Located on castle hill on the Buda side of the Danube, the Buda Castle is the old historical palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest. Initially completed in 1265, the castle was built to protect Budapest from the Mongols and Tartars. In the 18th century, the extensive Neo-Baroque palace was built to house the Royal family. It was heavily destroyed during WWII, but it was rebuilt to today’s shape after the war, housing now the Hungarian National Gallery and the History Museum.
This historic Hungarian landmark has been part of the Budapest World Heritage site since 1987, and it’s one of Budapest’s most striking views. The location and size make it highly visible from almost anywhere on Pest’s side. Don’t miss the wonderful Mace tower, built in the 13th century and home to some important conflicts during the centuries.
Also located on Castle Hill and next to Mattias Church, you’ll find the Fisherman’s Bastion, one of the best-known landmarks in Budapest. Built from 1895 to 1902 to the 1000th anniversary of Hungary, it may look like a defensive building, but it was designed to be a lovely panoramic terrace, offering some of the best views in Budapest. And all we can say is that it worked!
The Fisherman’s Bastion is also a very symbolic landmark. It was built using Neo-Romanesque and Gothic architectural details to take us to early medieval times (when Hungary was founded) and enhance Matthias Church’s beauty. The seven turrets may look like a Disney palace, but they symbolize the seven chieftains of the seven tribes who founded Hungary in 895.
Fisherman’s Bastion’s lower terraces are free to visit and open 24/7, while the upper terrace and tower can only be visited after purchasing a ticket. It may be a purely decorative monument with whitish walls, many windows, arches, arcades, and benches, but it’s surely one of Europe’s most captivating and romantic sites.
Szechenyi Bridge, Budapest
By Noel Morata from Travel Photo Discovery
One of the most noticeable landmarks you’ll see right away in Budapest is the famous Szechenyi Bridge that crosses the Buda (eastern side) to the Pest (western side) over the Danube River. Built in 1894, the Chain Bridge in Hungary’s capital city was the first permanent bridge to cross the Danube River in all of Hungary.
This famous landmark is situated over significant areas of the Danube. On Buda at the entrance of the Castle Hill area, funicular and Buda Castle, and on the Pest side with Szechenyi square, the Gresham Palace, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. There are nice walkways on both sides of the river banks with views looking up to Buda Castle from the Pest side and views back to the Pest, better seen from above at Buda Castle and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
More commonly known as “the Chain Bridge,” it was one of the modern engineering marvels of its time, with beautiful ornamentations made with cast iron. There are walkways located on the bridge, and it is also lit up at night, which can be beautifully captured from both sides of the river and a nice walk in the evenings. Check out my post on visiting the Chain Bridge and taking the best places to photograph Budapest for more inspiration to visiting this fabulous city.
Heroes Square, Budapest
By Tegan and Alex from Why Not Walk Travel Guides
Heroes Square, or Hősök Tere in Hungarian, is one of Budapest’s most iconic squares. It features statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars or the heads of the seven Hungarian tribes that arrived in today’s Hungary at the end of the 9th century.
Construction on the square began in 1896 to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Magyars’ arrival, with statues and improvements added over the course of the next 50 years. There are also other statues of leaders important to Hungarian history, as well as the Memorial Stone and Millennium Monument. Many of the statues were carved by sculptor Zala György. Today, Heroes’ Square is a UNESCO World Heritage site and an important place to visit to get a feel for Hungarian history, from the Magyars to the years of Communist rule.
Heroes Square is a short walk from the popular Széchenyi thermal bath complex, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts, located in the square itself and is very conveniently located near the major artery of Andrássy Avenue.
Memento Park, Budapest
By Sam from My Flying Leap
For something a bit off the typical tourist path that feels slightly quirky given shifts in the political climate, check out Memento Park in Budapest. It’s an open-air museum filled with 42 statues and plaques from Hungary’s Communist period at the height of the Cold War.
It’s a bit outside the city center, but a bus and a shuttle will take you directly to it, or you can take a taxi. It’s worth the trip to wander the paths of this park, walking through history as seen in these boldly dramatic statues.
The statues were all moved from Budapest after the fall of Communism to this park. It opened in 1993, the second anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Hungary, to encourage people to think freely about dictatorship and democracy. It’s hard not to when surrounded by historical figures like Lenin, Marx, and Engels.
Witness Square is the one section viewable without paying the entrance fee. It has a statue called Stalin’s Boots, made after the original statue of Stalin was pulled down from its pedestal during the Hungarian Revolution.
There are also statues representing the Hungarian working class, evocative of the drama of the times. It’s a nice, small park to walk through to get an interesting history lesson about a time you may not know much about. Celebrate the end of the Soviet occupation along with the Hungarian people while you wander through this time in history.
Dohany Synagogue, Budapest
By Or from My Path in the World
One of the most amazing landmarks in Hungary and a must-have on your Budapest itinerary, the Dohány Street Synagogue (also known as the Great Synagogue) is the largest synagogue in Europe (and the second-largest in the world). Hungary was home to a thriving Jewish community for many years, and even today, the third-largest Jewish community in Europe lives in Hungary.
Built in the middle of the 19th century in the heart of Budapest’s Jewish Quarter by the Austrian architect Ludwig Förster, it certainly doesn’t have a classic synagogue look. Its exteriors are inspired by Moorish architecture, and the interior layout resembles a church or a cathedral more than a synagogue (it is also the only one with pipe organs). It was damaged in World War II by German aerial bombing and Budapest’s Siege, but it was renovated in the ’90s.
To learn more about this incredible landmark, you can book a Jewish heritage walking tour or purchase a ticket to tour the synagogue independently. You get access to the entire complex on your visit, including the Heroes’ Temple, the cemetery (it is the only synagogue with a cemetery), the Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial, and the Jewish Museum.
Mattias Church, Budapest
By Alice from Adventures of Alice
One of the most beautiful countries in Europe, Hungary has risen to fame as the perfect location for a weekend break in Europe. Packed with history, stunning buildings, and beautiful landmarks, a trip to Hungary will definitely not disappoint you. But one of the absolute must-visit landmarks in Hungary is Mattias Church in Buda.
Mattias Church was actually my favorite location in the city and definitely not something you’d want to miss if you’re visiting Budapest. One of the capital’s most photographed spots, the church’s colorful, mosaiced roof tiles make it stand out the most.
Although Hungary is generally considered somewhere to visit if you’re traveling Europe on a budget, the church is actually one of the more expensive things to do in the city. The entrance fee is 1,600 HUF. Plus, unless you get there early, it will likely be pretty busy around the church as it’s a popular location with tourists. However, it’s well worth it!
The interior is insanely beautiful and detailed with ornate decorations, and there’s also a small museum inside, which is included in the entry fee. It’s also worth noting that the church is right next to the above-mentioned Fisherman’s Bastion, from which you can capture some of the best photographs of the city and across the Danube River.
St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest
By Antoine and Marielle from Offbeat Escapades
St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest and the third largest in all of Hungary. It is located at the heart of Pest, only a few minutes walk from the Parliament. If you come from elsewhere in Budapest, you can reach it by public transportation by taking the line M3 train and getting off at Arany Janos station.
It is completely free to enter the Basilica, which makes it one of the best things to do in Budapest on a budget. There is also a cupola at the top of the Church where you can take in the whole city’s view for a small fee.
The site of the Basilica used to be a theater in the 18th century until the citizens petitioned to build a Church in honor of St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary. Currently, it still houses his mummified right hand, the Szent Jobb (Holy Right Hand).
Today, St. Stephen’s Basilica stands as one of Hungary’s most significant human-made landmarks. The church features neoclassical architecture on its exterior, while the interiors hold 50 different types of marble created by various sculptors. The interior’s decoration is a sight to behold, with the array of marble columns and intricate floor designs. Natural light fills the Church’s domes with the windows etched in art and the ceilings adorned with golden leaves.
Szechenyi Thermal Baths, Budapest
The Szechenyi Thermal Baths are the most famous in Budapest and are the largest medicine baths in Europe. The famous pictures of people playing chess inside a hot thermal pool are taken in these thermal baths.
The complex has 18 pools, 15 indoor and three outdoor, and several saunas and steam baths. The temperature of the indoor pools varies between 18 to 38 °C. The water is supplied by two thermal springs containing several minerals with beneficial health properties. They are frequently used for their therapeutic benefits.
The Szechenyi Thermal Baths are easily reachable and are within walking distance from heroes square and Vajdahunyad Castle. We highly recommend spending an afternoon just relaxing in the hot thermal baths. They are delightful in winter, as the outdoor pools are hot while the atmosphere temperature is below 0º degrees. You feel so cozy inside the water.
Be aware that they can be quite crowded in Summer so you should book in advance a skip the line ticket.
Gellert Baths, Budapest
The Gellért Thermal Baths are the most beautiful thermal baths in Budapest. The bath complex was built in 1918 in the elegant Art Nouveau style. All the different thermal baths are decorated with stunning mosaic tiles. It has an impressive entrance hall with a gallery and a spectacular glass roof.
The complex includes several thermal baths with different temperatures, saunas, plunge pools, an effervescent swimming pool, and an open-air swimming pool that creates artificial waves every 30 min in Summer. The water of the thermal baths is supplied by Gellért Hill’s mineral hot springs. And contain several minerals that have medical indications. Plus the thermal bath, the Gellert bath also provides a wide range of health treatments, like massages.
The Gellért thermal baths are located on the Buda side and reachable by metro or tram. They can be overcrowded during Summer, so we recommend buying your ticket in advance, a skip-the-line-thicket or going to the thermal baths in the offseason.
Hungary Landmarks – Other Locations
Votive Church in Szeged
By Marie Moncrieff from A Life Without Borders
Szeged, Hungary’s third-largest city, is located on Hungary’s southern border, just under two hours’ drive from Budapest. A popular weekend destination, Szeged straddles the pretty Tisza River, boasting opulent Art Nouveau buildings and lovely parks and squares.
However, of all the things to do in Szeged, it’s the Votive Church, the city’s most iconic landmark and popular tourist attraction. Dominating the skyline, the Votive Church features twin spires reaching an impressive 91 meters. Also known as the Szeged Cathedral, the church is the fourth largest in Hungary, featuring a mix of Roman, Gothic, and Eastern Byzantine styles.
Designed by Frederick Schulek, the construction of the Votive Church began in 1913 but was not completed until 1930 due to the outbreak of World War I.
The church sits in the impressive Dom Square and contains five huge bells and one of the largest organs in Europe. It is, however, most famous for its intricate, colorful frescos, the most distinctive being the “Madonna in Fur of Szeged,” featuring the Madonna wearing traditional Hungarian folk clothing.
Szeged can be reached by train from Budapest’s Nyugati Station, which takes around two and a half hours, or is an easy one and a half hour’s drive from the capital.
By Krisztina Harsanyi from She Wanders Abroad
When people think about visiting Hungary, they almost always only think about Budapest. However, if you have more than 2 days in Budapest, exploring other parts of the country is worth exploring. For instance, you can easily visit Lillafüred, one of Hungary’s most beautiful landmarks, as a day trip from Budapest!
Chances are high that you haven’t even heard about Lillafüred before reading this article, as it is kind of a hidden gem only locals know about. Located in the Bükk mountains, Lillafüred is a part of Miskolc, the 4th biggest city in Hungary. You can easily get there by car or train within 2-3 hours from Budapest.
Once you get to Miskolc, you can either use public transportation to reach Lillafüred or, if you’re looking for a more fun way to get there, hop on the Lillafüred Forest Train! One of the biggest draws of Lillafüred is Lake Hámori, a beautiful lake surrounded by the forest. The lake is easy to walk around, and if weather permits, you can rent a wooden boat to see Lillafüred from the water.
Right by the lake, you find a beautiful, eclectic-style castle that now operates as a hotel, so if you want to stick around, you can book a room there. When in Lillafüred, you can’t miss the hanging gardens with the majestic waterfall, and you can also find some caves nearby if you’re feeling adventurous.
Sopron Firewatch Tower in Tűztorony
By Monique from Trip Anthropologist
Sopron is very close to the Austrian border and is a popular day trip from Vienna, only 75 kilometers away. Budapest is a bit further, lying 200 kilometers to the east.
A Sopron travel guide always begins with the ancient Roman city of Scarbantia, which lies below modern Sopron. Some of its walls and the Forum have been excavated in the center of town. But it is only one part of the Old Town, also known for its many Baroque and medieval buildings and wealthy houses.
Easily the most impressive of these, and the city’s main landmark, is the Firewatch Tower or Tűztorony. As the name suggests, watchmen climbed up the stairs to the balcony (the Tower is 58 meters high), so they could scan the surrounding forests for fires but also possible invasions.
Because the Firewatch Tower is in the heart of the Old Town, it has become a place of focus for important cultural festivals. The watchmen of the Tower were also singers and performed from the Tower balcony for town weddings. Today it is the center of light displays during annual celebrations.
Like everything in Sopron, Roman foundations are below the Tower and incorporate several architectural styles. A baroque crest on top of the Tower was installed in 1676.
By John from CarpeDiemEire
The Sódomb (which translates in English as Salt Hill) is a unique feature within Hungary. In fact, only two similar features exist in the world, at Yellowstone National Park and Pamukkale in Turkey.
The salt hill was formed naturally by a thermal spring that produces water between 65 and 68 degrees Celsius. As the thermal spring dripped down the countryside, it formed a travertine crust that continually grew. There are now a series of stunning terraces covering the landscape and some limestone curtains that look like small icebergs.
The Saliris Resort Spa Hotel utilizes the waters to create the perfect naturally heated pool at the foot of the terraces. It’s the only opportunity to sample those waters, though, as the terraces are closed off, but there is a walkway from which to sample their beauty, which is perhaps for the best considering the temperature of the water! It also protects the terraces from damage and preserves them for future generations.
Egerszalok is only 5 kilometers away from the city of Eger and is the perfect day trip from what is possibly Hungary’s most beautiful city.
The Danube River
By Iris Veldwijk from Mind of a Hitchhiker
One of the most international rivers in the world also flows through Hungary. In the olden days, the Danube marked the outer border of the Roman Empire. Today, the Danube (Hungarian: Duna) forms the border with Slovakia in the northwest at a quiet floodplain area rich in birds.
Next, the river meanders eastward, carrying cargo and cruise ships and a few Danube paddlers to the city of Esztergom with its stunning basilica and Visegrád with its imposing citadel – both tentative UNESCO sites. From then on, the Danube turns south into Hungary’s interior, where the river forks to make the river island Szentendre, where Budapest relaxes on the weekends.
This magnificent river’s most famous and accessible stretch flows through Hungary’s capital in its famous parliament building. The calm and hip Margaret Island is one of the best places to enjoy the river.
After several famous bridges, the Danube leaves Budapest southward to Hungary’s plains and industrial hubs, such as the steelworks of Dunaújváros and the nuclear power plant of Paks. In between, there are smaller farming and fishing towns where you can try halászlé—a fish soup that’s one of Europe’s spiciest native dishes. Beyond Mohács, the Danube leaves for Croatia and Serbia at the Duna-Dráva National Park.
The Danube River is the most defining natural landmark in Hungary, and it can be reached from almost anywhere in Hungary. Though the country is landlocked, this river serves and supports Hungary’s wildlife, food supply, culture, and economy as an international waterway to the Black Sea.
By Džangir Kolar from Dr Jam Travels
Lake Balaton is located 80 kilometers southwest of the capital city – Budapest. It is the biggest lake in central Europe, 104 kilometers long and almost 600 square kilometers of surface. The lake’s bottom is sandy and making its water opaque.
The lake is all that remained from the Pannonian Sea that changed into plains in the Tertiary period. While the country doesn’t have access to the sea, it is also known as the Hungarian Sea. So it is a trendy place for summer holidays among locals. Besides swimming, other popular activities are sailing on a boat, renting a SUP, or cycling.
You can find many different accommodations on the long coast, but camping beside a lake in one of many camps can add to the experience. The biggest town on the lake is Keszthely (Castle) on the west tip of the lake. The main attraction to visit here is the Baroque Festetics Palace, built in the same place as the castle that gave name to this town. Balatonfüred is a place worth visiting, with many spas on the north shore. You can enjoy tasty and spicy local cuisine and good wine wherever you stop.
Hortobágy National Park
By Diana Lesko from The Globetrotting Detective
Hortobágy National Park, also known as the Hungarian Puszta, is Hungary’s largest and oldest National Park. It’s basically a vast steppe. Hortobágy is an important Hungarian heritage with rich folklore and cultural history and was announced as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
It’s situated in the Eastern part of Hungary, about 40 km from Debrecen. The best way to get here is from Debrecen, Hungary’s second-biggest city. From Debrecen, you can get there quickly with a local bus in less than an hour. However, the best way is to join a tour from Debrecen.
If you go there, you can experience traditional pastoral life. To explore this vast sheer, you will be shown around on a horse wagon. You can meet traditional Hungarian horse riders and Hungarian cowboys who will entertain you with a spectacular horse riding show during the tour.
Part of the journey is visiting traditional Hungarian animals such as the grey cows, Racka sheep, water buffalos, and the Mangalitza pigs. You can see how they have been kept for centuries. Moreover, you can witness how the shepherds lead their wagon with six oxen.
The most iconic man-made structure on this grassland is the Nine-Hold Bridge and the T-Shaped sweep wells next to the shepherd museum.
You should close your day by feasting on a traditional Hungarian meal, such as Gulyas, in a csárda, a traditional Hungarian countryside restaurant. And don’t forget to start your meal with a delicious traditional Hungarian fruit spirit, pálinka, just like Hungarians.
* Cover photo by borgdrone via Depositphotos
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