1. House of Terror – This museum focuses on the crimes and atrocities committed by both Hungary’s fascist and Stalinist regimes in a permanent exhibition called Double Occupation. The tank in the central courtyard and reconstructed prison cells are jarring reminders of the horrors of that time period.
2. Basilica of St. Stephen – A beautiful Roman Catholic basilica which was built in 1905 (after 54 years of construction) in neoclassical style and is one of the tallest buildings in Budapest with its height at 96 meters. The basilica is dedicated to Stephen I, the first king of Hungary that ruled from 1000 to 1038 and is one of Hungary’s patron saints.
3. Shoes on the Danube Promenade – It honors the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank. Powerful memorial that you do not want to miss!
4. Hospital in the Rock – Part of the Castle Hill caves network, this cave was used extensively during the siege of Budapest during WWII. It contains original medical equipment as well as some 70 wax figures.
5. Orszaghaz, the Hungarian Parliament Building is the biggest building in Hungary and definitely one of the most impressive. It has 700 rooms, 27 gates, 29 staircases and according to the official site about 50 five story apartment buildings could fit into the parliament!
6. There is nothing like soaking in one of the many famous, natural vapor caves. There are several in the city, including Gellert, Rudas, Kiraly, Szechenyi, and Czaszar. You cannot leave the city without trying out at least one!
7. Spoon restaurant: If you like the idea of dining on the high waters but still remaining tethered to the bank (just in case), Spoon’s for you. It serves international fusion cuisine amid bright and breezy surrounds and the choices for vegetarians are great. You can’t beat the views of the castle and Chain Bridge.
8. Buda Castle – Budavar A true Royal Palace, Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill, next to the Baroque and 19th century houses and public buildings of the old Castle District. The Castle has 203 rooms and houses several museums, among them the Budapest Historical Museum and the National Gallery.
9. Grand Market Hall Nagyvasarcsarnok – This is one of Budapest’s biggest markets and one of my favorite spots in the city. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, you should visit this market, so you can see the many different Hungarian specialties for sale.
10. Margaret Island – What a beautiful escape from the city that is close by. Connected to the mainland from two bridges. With its big park, jogging track and water it is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.