10 best viewpoints in budapest
It is great to look at Budapest from everywhere, be it on the ground or below it, on the water or high above. We curated 10 viewpoints in the city from where you may look down, but surely always look up to mesmerizing Budapest. The selection includes natural spots, lookouts, church spiers and hidden places. Let’s get on top of things in Budapest.
1. FERRIS WHEEL OF BUDAPEST
It is a truly uplifting experience to see the many sights of the city from the Ferris wheel. The Danube river, the Buda Castle and several iconic buildings on the Pest side, including the Basilica appear above the roofs. Discount with the Budapest Card.
2. ST. STEPHEN’S BASILICA
364 stairs lead up to the panoramic lookout of the second largest church in Hungary. If you are not up for a climb, take the elevator instead. Starting from Spring 2022, tickets will be needed to enter the church and you may purchase a combined ticket to the lookout and treasury as well. Discounts with the Budapest Card.
3. FISHERMAN’S BASTION
One of the gems of the Castle District may look medieval but it was in fact built at the end of the 19th century. The bastion is one of Budapest’s favorite Instagram spots from where you can take great shots of the Pest side of the Danube including the Parliament and Margaret Bridge. The lower level is free to the public, the upper level requires a ticket during the day from Spring to Autumn. Get your ticket opposite Matthias Church or at the vending machines. You can go to the upper level free of charge at night and all-day during winter. The Halászbástya Restaurant in one of the towers offers fabulous views (discount off food and drink with the Budapest Card).
4. THE TOWER OF MATTHIAS CHURCH
The interior of this iconic church with a 13th-century foundation, captivates all visitors. From the small windows of the tower of the coronation church you can get a glimpse of the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Danube. Matthias Church is a ticketed sight (free with Budapest Card Plus), and an additional ticket is required for the tower.
5. DOME OF THE ROYAL PALACE / NATIONAL GALLERY
The Buda Palace is proudly adorned above the Danube and is a signature sight of the city. A part of the building is used by the National Gallery where the most famous Hungarian paintings can be viewed. You can also visit the dome of the Palace, which is included in the price of the permanent exhibition (free with the Budapest Card).
6. STATUE OF MOTHER MARY / CASTLE GARDEN
From this small protrusion viewpoint, you will see the Buda Palace behind you, the Pest side in front of you and the perfectly manicured Castle Garden (Varkert Bazar) below you. On your right side, Gellert hill will be present with the statues of Archbishop Gellert and Lady Liberty on top of the hill. One of the best free viewpoints in the city.
7. BUDA CASTLE FUNICULAR UPPER STATION
You can walk up to the Castle District from the Buda side of the Chain Bridge or reach it in no time by the funicular, which is currently being renovated. (Free with Budapest Card Plus). The upper station of the funicular offers beautiful views of the Chain Bridge and Gresham Palace. A unique feature of this viewpoint is the miniature statue of “the rabbit with checkered ears” by artist Kolodko. The bunny is an all-time favorite character from a Hungarian animated children’s series from the 70s.
170 steps lead up to the tower of the Church of Mary Magdalene in the Buda Castle District. The 13th-century Gothic building was severely damaged during World War II. Only the tower was renovated. On top of the wonderful views of the Buda hills you can enjoy the sounds of the bell play. It will reopen in the spring of 2022. Free with the Budapest Card.
This used to be the most famous vantage point of the city for tour groups. Most people choose the lookout near the parking lot, but it is worth ascending a little more to the Statue of Liberty. From there you can spot the sights along the northern and southern parts of the Danube. The former prison on the top of Gellért Hill is currently being rebuilt to host exhibitions and an even better observation platform. Access is limited during the reconstruction and in a few years’ a brand-new cable car will enhance the experience.
10. GELLÉRT HILL / GARDEN OF PHILOSOPHERS
Gellért Hill grows out of the heart of the city. It is an excellent excursion spot for locals as there are playgrounds and lookout points along the hiking trails. Walking up from Gellért Square, snap your first panorama shots of Liberty Bridge from the viewpoint by the Church in the Rock. Further on, by the statue of St. Gellért, there is an excellent view of Elizabeth Bridge. Following the marked trails you will arrive at the Garden of the Philosophers. Take your time and admire the Buda Palace from here.