Budapest as any other city you visit has its must-see spots (the ones that you put as checked in your "typical tourist" travel list). Let's face it, no matter if we want it or not, it is simply a duty of a cultural matter to visit the most important sights of the city you travel to. Here I made the list of a few places in Budapest I consider to be "a must do" when traveling to the beautiful capital of Hungary. Of course, there is much more to discover here, but as for me these ones were at the top of my list.
Those who come to Budapest for the first time should definitely visit one of the most beautiful and iconic for Hungarians landmarks of the city - Heroes' Square. Created to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Magyar conquest of Hungary in 1895, Budapest's Heroes' Square is the largest and most impressive square of the city. Located at the entrance to the City Park, flanked by two important buildings the Museum of Fine Arts on the left and the Hall of Art on the right, the Heroes' Square stands in honor and memory of the great leaders in Hungary's history. The focal point of the Millenium Monument is a marble Corinthian column with a statue of Archangel Gabriel on the top. The seven chieftains who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary can be seen around the base of the monument.
On the above picture you can see the Kunsthalle (Hall of Art in English) also called the Palace of Art, located on Heroes' Square. This impressive building is an exhibition hall that hosts temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, featuring the works of local and international artists. Following the concept of the German Kunsthalles, the Neo-Renaissance building was erected in the 19th century, for the Millennium Celebrations. One of Kunsthalle's missions is to portray the latest trends in visual arts by exposing young talents, beside well-established artists.
Another significant museum which is facing the Kunsthalle, is the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts. The monumental classical building houses works of such reknown masters as Raphael, Titian, El Greco, Goya, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Dürer and Rubens. The Museum also includes a collection of sculptures as well as artifacts from the Middle Ages, the Antiquity, and Egypt.
The Budapest City Park
City Park is the largest park in Budapest. Established in the first decades of the 19th century the City Park of Budapest became the first public park in the world. In 1896 the Millennium Celebrations took place here, leaving many attractions behind. The Budapest Zoo, the Amusement Park, the Municipal Circus, the Museum of Transport, the legendary Gundel Restaurant and the famous Széchenyi Baths are also located within City Park.
The impressive Vajdahunyad Castle, in spite of its medieval appearance, was built over 100 years ago for the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian State in 1896 for the Millennial Exhibition. It is actually a replica of a Transylvanian castle of that name, and was built to show the various architectural styles found in Hungary, and has Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque parts. The castle is surrounded by an artificial lake that is used for boating in the summer and turns into an impressive ice skating rink in the winter. The history of the City Park Ice Rink goes back to the 19th century, when skating was considered a favorite winter pass time by the elite.
New York Cafe
It has seen it all: change of political systems and tremendous historic transformations, famous painters and actors, writers and editors, members of nobility and eminent people. Stepping foot in the New York Café means taking a step back in time and plunging into the atmosphere and the charm of the Belle Époque. Nowadays it still remains a popular place that maintains its original splendour and sophistication, pleasing the curious eyes of tourists and indulging the longing for beauty of the locals. It is not by chance that at the turn of the 20th century the New York Café was considered the most beautiful and the most beloved coffee house in Budapest.