Budapest is probably one of the European cities with the highest number of monuments and heritage sites to visit (Easily on par with Paris, London or Rome). What has surprised us most in this city is that the whole city center presents an incredible harmony between historical beauty, modern functionality and architectural elegance, making any tour a contemplative and highly satisfying task for any visitor.
Then, after visiting the Buda margin (see the first part here), in this post we get to know the main attractions of the Pest bank. As in everything in this city, different banks also have different personalities! In fact, it was only in 1873 that the two zones joined together as one city.
Thus, contrasting with Buda, Pest is busier and the margin that concentrates the political and economic center of the city, thus being also younger and more dynamic than Buda.
Let us then go to our route for Pest:
Budapest – Pest area
Shoes in the danube margin memorial
Hungary is a country that in its history went through periods of many difficulties and suffering. As we have already seen with the Statue of Liberty, the Hungarians and the city of Budapest do not forget those who left in the hands of war and extremist ideas. The shoe memorial on the bank of the Danube is one such example.
Created in memory of the 3,500 people killed during World War II, 800 of them of Jewish religion, this also serves as a memorial to more than 20,000 Hungarian Jews who were sent to concentration camps in Germany and Poland. What we feel next to this place is indescribable, above all by the simplicity that reminds us of acts of such an atrocious nature.
It is an attraction full of symbolism, historical and human weight that we advise all who visit Budapest.
Országgyűlés (Hungary Parliament)
When we ask someone if they would like to visit Budapest, almost always the positive response comes accompanied by a reference to this monument and its not for less. The Budapest Parliament is without a doubt the high point of any visit to the city and certainly one of the most beautiful and impressive monuments in Europe.
This large building, also known as “Budapest Parliament” is the Hungarian political seat, functioning as the national assembly of this country. Planned in the 19th century, it was only inaugurated in 1904, with more than 40 million bricks being used in its construction, by the hands of 100,000 workers and engineers.
When we arrived at this monument, we were immediately fixed on the class and imposition it conveys. Indeed, seing it close, it seems even greater than in any photo or guide that we had seen and immediately we noticed the architectonic wealth of this and the artistic care that was taken in the planning and constructing the parliament. The queue for the visit to the interior was extensive, even though it was still early, so we recommend booking the ticket online (Here).
The interior of this monument is still richer and more impressive than its exterior, so we strongly advise you to visit the Hungarian Parliament.
Szabadság tér (Liberty square)
This was one of the crossing points of our itinerary essentially for a reason: It is one of the few squares of Budapest that maintains the same layout and facade of the surrounding buildings since it was built. In addition, it is also one of the best places to see buildings in Art Noveau in the city.
In the center of the square can also find the monument to the Red Army, one of the few references built to the times under the control of the Soviets that still stands.
(New York Kávéház) New York Cafe
Why a coffee in our route? Simply for being one of the most beautiful we have seen since we traveled! Opened in 1894, it has always been the main meeting point and conviviality of the Hungarian aristocracy. All the wealth and elegance that marked this place in the nineteenth century, remains today and is no wonder that is considered one of the most beautiful cafes in the world.
We did not want to fail visiting this place and take a short break to eat a cake. We were aware that the price would be quite high, but we still think it was totally worth it. The main room takes us to travel to the 19th century and to any luxurious palace. We highlight the works in the ceiling and the view that is in the first floor, with the room agitated under striking crystal lamps and walls in gilded carving.
Right in the center of Budapest lies the Erzsébet Square, which is in fact a fantastic garden and leisure space in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. We took a short break here, where we rested on the well-tended lawn surrounded by large springs of water.
Something that surprised us was the calendar of festivals taking place in this square! During almost the whole year it is possible to enjoy musical shows, art exhibitions and various workshops. When we explored this outdoor cultural gallery, there was a fair of books and writing workshops simultaneously.
Szent István-bazilika (St.Stephen Basilica)
In the heart of Pest, we found a monument that was a complete surprise to us. We did not have the basilica in our route, however, we quickly fell in love with this building built in the early twentieth century. Above all, the height of it, being one of the tallest buildings in Budapest.
Then the architecture in neoclassical style and the towers of the bells, highly worked. The interior is quite rich and worthy of a closer look, especially the central dome. However, the highlight of the visit to this basilica lies in the magnificent 360 ° view that it offers to the whole city! The ticket for the panorama costs approximately € 5, but can only be bought on the spot.
Nagyvásárcsarnok (Central Market)
One of our passions when we travel is to visit the markets or local fairs. Indeed, it is here that we usually find some of the traditional gastronomic and practical brands that characterize a country, and above all, see different products and different ways of presenting, preserving and selling some of the ingredients we already know.
We can already say that the Budapest market is one of our favorites! Even before entering, we were already impressed by the opulent looking building and colored pattern tiles that easily bare into view. The interior is wide and all the support is made in a metallic structure with simple lines.
The top floor has some of the best places to try Hungarian gastronomy at affordable prices and we can say that the quality of these food stands is quite good, so do not hesitate to comfort the stomach here.
Be sure to carefully observe the exposed products, the varied meats, spices and traditional Hungarian dishes. Admission is free and the market is open Monday through Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visit this place and get lost among the markets in Magiar and different smells and tastes that we are accustomed to find.
Hősök tere/Vajdahunyad vára (Heroes Square/Vajdahunyad Castle)
This is certainly one of the most beautiful areas of the city and combines in the same block several monuments and the largest park in the city. At the end of the famous Andrassy Avenue is Heroes Square, with its imposing central statue symbolizing the 7 tribal chiefs who came together to form Hungary.
The whole surrounding of the square exudes history and a unique architectural beauty, being the museum of art and the palace of the arts in the sides and the arches in classic style as background. It is also here that the monument to the soldier mystery is found. Entering the park Varosliget, in all directions we find attractions and statues. It is also here that the zoo of the city is located.
Right in the center of the park is Vajdahunyad Castle. This fortress in Baroque and Gothic style is surrounded by water and with a global appearance that we generally associate with the castles we see in the movies. In fact this castle was only built in 1896, and therefore is very different from the medieval castles we are accustomed to in Portugal.
A very strong point to invite to visit the castle is that it is totally free! We ended up spending over 1 hour exploring this monument and even discovered the famous statue of Anonimus.
What to eat in Budapest
The visit to this magnificent city is not complete without proving those that are the main Hungarian gastronomic references: Goulash soup, a soup rich in well-seasoned meat, which has an intense and somewhat spicy taste. You can not fail to taste Paprikahendl as well.
This was undoubtedly one of our favorite trips in recent years, with Budapest being a truly fantastic city with an incredible historical and heritage wealth that did not leave us indifferent. We also emphasize the sympathy of all who received us and the incredible degree of organization and functionality that we have seen in this city.