Hungarian State Opera House
Located on the historic Andrássy Avenue, the Hungarian State Opera House is widely viewed as one of the world’s most beautiful. The building has played host to world-class operatic performances as well as ballets, concerts and more; for anyone not wanting to catch a show, guided tours of the building take place on a daily basis, with the option to add on a ‘mini-concert’, the building will remain open for tours, and the Opera Shop and Café will also stay in business.
Castle Hill is a kilometre-long limestone plateau towering 170m above the Danube, it contains some of Budapest’s most important medieval monuments and museums and is a Unesco World Heritage it is a 28km-long network of caves formed by thermal springs, the walled area consists of two distinct parts: the Old Town to the north, where commoners once lived, and the royal palace to the south, the original site of the castle built by Béla IV in the 13th century and reserved for the nobility.
The former Royal Palace has been razed and rebuilt at least half a dozen times over the past seven centuries. Béla IV established a royal residence here in the mid-13th century, and subsequent kings added to the complex. The palace was levelled in the battle to drive out the Turks in 1686; the Habsburgs rebuilt it but spent very little time here. The Royal Palace now contains the Hungarian National Gallery, the Castle Museum, and the National Széchenyi Library.
Budapest’s stunning Great Synagogue is the world’s largest Jewish house of worship outside New York City, built in 1859, the synagogue has both Romantic and Moorish architectural elements, inside, the Hungarian Jewish Museum & Archives contains objects relating to both religious and everyday life, on the synagogue’s north side, the Holocaust Tree of Life Memorial presides over the mass graves of those murdered by the Nazis.
The Chain Bridge
The first permanent bridge to connect Buda and Pest, the Chain Bridge is known for its historical significance and beautiful architecture. A footpath allows pedestrians to walk across the suspension bridge, enjoying views over the Danube, while stone lions at either end are one of the monument’s defining features. It’s worth noting that the Chain Bridge is set to be closed between mid to late 2017 – 2019 due to renovations.
Basilica of St Stephen
Budapest’s neoclassical cathedral is the most sacred Catholic church in all of Hungary and contains its most revered relic: the mummified right hand of the church’s patron, King St Stephen, it was built over half a century to 1905, much of the interruption during construction had to do with a fiasco in 1868 when the dome collapsed during a storm, and the structure had to be demolished and then rebuilt from the ground up, the view from the dome is phenomenal.
The Eclectic-style Parliament, designed by Imre Steindl and completed in 1902, has 691 sumptuously decorated rooms. You’ll get to see several of these and other features on a guided tour of the North Wing: the Golden Staircase; the Dome Hall, where the Crown of St Stephen, the nation’s most important national icon, is on display; the Grand Staircase and its wonderful landing; Loge Hall; and Congress Hall, where the House of Lords of the one-time bicameral assembly sat until 1944.