The architecture in Budapest is the most striking collection that I have ever seen. Around every corner a new piece would catch my eye causing me to stop and gaze up, trying to capture its looming presence in a photograph.
It felt as though each building had been individually thought out with careful consideration, from its towering rooftop to its detailed doorstep and neighbouring statue.
Of course the crisp winter leaves and eerie grey sky only made them more extraordinary, the green and brown marble standing out against the splits of sunshine through the clouds.
Walking around hand in hand (gloves on tight), I felt as though I’d stepped back in time to a romantic post-war era.
In my last post I described my favourite day in Budapest, spent exploring the Varosliget City Park, home to the Vajdahunyad Castle. This magnificent assortment of intricately detailed buildings is almost solely responsible for the moment I fell for Budapest.
Carrying on my love affair with the city’s grand structures, I’ve compiled a list of the buildings that well and truly stole my heart.
Hungarian Parliament Building
Perhaps my second favourite of Budapest’s collection, the Hungarian Parliament Building is a remarkable piece of art. Its construction began in 1885 but it wasn’t completed until nineteen years later during which the architect sadly went blind.
The largest in Hungary and the tallest in Budapest, the structure stands out against the Danube River, a treasured landmark in the city’s skyline.
Its interiors are also worth a visit during a Parliament guided tour, if not only to witness the grand gold staircase or stare out upon its neighbouring buildings through the glass windows.
Whilst being up close is a magnificent view, the Parliament is even more magical at night. Lit up in golden colours, its detailed structure is enjoyed from a river cruise against the light of the moon.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Budapest’s second tallest building is the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica. Built in the early 1900s, it was constructed as the result of a community fundraiser to remove the site of a former theatre that hosted animal fights a century prior.
Its two symmetrical towers contain six bells whilst the interiors are home to some of Budapest’s most exceptional musical performances. Whilst looking round the church we were witness to a children’s Christmas concert that echoed beautiful innocent voices around the towering ceilings.
Unlike the other buildings in my list, Szimpla Kert rocks a more modern take on design. The famous ruin bar of Budapest is unlike any other place I’ve enjoyed a glass of wine! Spread over two floors and an outdoor terrace, various rooms with scribbled walls are a casual atmosphere for a few drinks and giggle over the bizarre collection of garage sale furnishings.
This crazy yet lovable warehouse appealed to my East London gal side, a bit hipster but none-the-less non-pretentious.
Hungarian State Opera House
I’m a sucker for an opera house and couldn’t resist a peek inside Budapest’s own. With painted ceilings and grand festive décor it was exactly as I’d hoped, even if I didn’t get to sneak into the main concert room!
Along the Buda side of the Danube is the Fisherman’s Bastion, a terrace of towers built to look out over the river whilst protecting the guild of fishermen that protected the city.
Now an UNESCO World Heritage site, its panoramic views look out over the Parliament building, Charles Bridge and their neighbours from various pointed towers. Surrounding Fisherman’s Bastion are various other points atop Castle Hill including the Matthias Church.
A unique, fascinating building, the church is the most colourful in Budapest with a warm tiled roof constructed in mesmerising patterns. Its interiors are equally welcoming, drenched in light and delicate décor.
I couldn’t make this list without reflecting on my favourite building in Budapest, the Vajahunyad Castle. Located in the Varosliget City Park, its unique collection of buildings is very much worth a visit. As described in my last post, I couldn’t help feeling as though I’d stepped into Disney’s Beauty and the Beast whilst entering its gated tower.
As my last post about Budapest I’m genuinely sad it’s all now officially over! The Hungarian capital is definitely one of my favourite places I’ve been to yet and somewhere I’d love to experience in every season.
What are your favourite buildings? I’d love to know where else in the world will meet my architecture fantasies!