Budapest is perfect place for anybody looking to soak up a little culture and history on a weekend away. If you’re out and about and have a little extra time on your stag do, why not do some sightseeing? Here are some of the city’s must-see sights.
Got to try Palinka and Unicum
Wherever you go in Budapest you’ll spot a bottle of Unicum on the shelf. Reputed to have medicinal properties, this herbal liqueur certainly tastes like medicine the first time you drink it, but after a few it does go down a little easier. It’s like a slightly stronger Jagermeister (but don’t ask for it with Red Bull).
A bit more palatable, Palinka is the local brandy which is available in lots of different flavours. It’s strength varies massively between 40 to 80% and chances are on a night out in Budapest you’ll sample a few different flavours.
Now The Attractions
The Hungarian Parliament building is the shining centrepiece of the River Danube and the country’s largest, stretching for 268 metres. The distinctive neo-Gothic architecture was only recently built in the 20th century, inspired by Britain’s own parliament. The towering spires and domed roof are a real sight to behold and is home to the Holy Crown, the royal sceptre and 88 statues of rulers telling the story of Hungary’s history.
St Stephen's Basilica
The Basilica of St Stephen is an incredible and imposing display of neoclassical architecture. As Budapest’s most important place of Christian worship, it’s home to the mummified holy right hand of King St Stephen. Head inside for even more impressive sights, with beautiful interiors decorated by famous artists, stunning mosaics and vibrant stained glass windows. The building also features two large bell towers and a dome observation deck.
Must-see Castle Hill (known as the Var) is the incredible plateau towering over the Danube. Within the walls are two distinct areas: the Old Town with its cobbled streets and beautiful buildings, and the Royal Palace. Check out Fisherman’s Bastion, a pretty terrace that looks out onto the city for brilliant views. Hidden below is a network of natural caves formed by thermal springs and man-made passageways.
Fisherman’s Bastion is a picturesque terrace overlooking the city, with panoramic views of the Danube and Pest. The white-stoned neo-Gothic architecture and ornate spired towers make it look like a castle straight from the pages of a fairytale. Take a stroll along and you’ll discover some of the best views in Budapest - especially since it was actually designed for its viewing platforms, rather than defence.
Citadella & Liberty Monument
Sat atop Gellert Hill, the Citadella offers one of the best views of the city, especially at night when it’s all lit up. It’s a fortress with a long and complicated history worth exploring, despite never seeing a battle. Nearby you’ll find the Liberty Statue, a woman standing tall on a pedestal holding a palm leaf. It can be seen from all over the city, a reminder of independence and freedom.
Heroes’ Square is Budapest’s largest square and one of the most visited sites in the city. At its centre is the impressive Millenary Monument, a tall pillar topped by the statue of Archangel Gabriel holding the holy crown and double-cross. This was built to commemorate the Magyars, the tribes of old. At the base, there are statues of the seven chieftains who led the Magyar tribes to Hungary, with kings either side.
The River Danube both divides and connects the hilly area of Buda with the flat Pest, which were once two separate cities. A cruise along the river offers fantastic views of the city, from the Parliament Building to Buda Castle. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe and actually originates in Germany and runs through ten countries including Austria, Croatia, Bulgaria and, of course, Hungary.
Unique to the city, Budapest’s ruin bars began to pop up in the early 2000s. Set in derelict buildings, these abandoned sites were given new life and transformed into some of the coolest drinking spots in the city. They’re still a big hit today with art, eclectic furniture and a quirky vibe, and the oldest, Szimpla, has become an iconic part of the city’s recent history.
The biggest medicinal baths complex in Europe is a quirky venue for celebrating special events. With 3 outdoor grand pools and 15 indoor ones, it’s one of the city’s top attractions. There are an additional 10 saunas and steam cabins, and a range of health and beauty treatments. The Baths are also close to Budapest’s main tourist sites.
Many of Budapest’s incredible sights are an unmissable part of the city’s skyline, so these are just a handful of the best attractions for you to check out on your stag do. There’s much more to see and do, so be sure to take a look at our Budapest stag do ideas for inspiration. Whatever you end up choosing, buzzing Budapest won’t disappoint.