You are thinking of Budapest as grey and boring place where there is nothing much to see and to photograph? Well, you picked up the perfect article to make you change your mind. Budapest, Hungary’s capital and biggest city, is ready to surprise you with its enchanting corners and marvellous cityscapes.
If you are wondering what spots are the most photogenic in this capital, this article will suit your tastes perfectly. There are many places I visited in Budapest and it was very hard to decide which ones are the best but here my personal list:
Fishermen’s Bastion and Buda Castle
Both Fishermen’s Bastion and Buda Castle are located on the western part of Budapest. In order to reach you have to walk uphill for a while passing through posh school complexes buzzing with students until you will come across this white and big construction.
First thought was that it was the entrance to a Disneyland Park because it was so brightly white and cartoonesque that reminded me of the Disney Castle they use as logo.
The truth is a bit different as it was built in the 19-20th century in neo-gothic and neo-romanesque style. The seven towers that make up the bastion represent the seven magyar tribes that descended to the Pannonian Plain and laid the foundations for the state of Hungary.
Why fishermen? There is no sea here in Budapest but there is the Danube, one of the most important and longest rivers in Europe flowing through countless capitals and european cities. The name originated from the fact that the bastion during middle-age was protected by the fishermen’s guild.
What to photograph here? Well, everything! The bastion itself is an art masterpiece that can be photographed from every angle. Go up to the bar that has an open terrace where you will be able to take some photos of the surrounding landscape.
Then play with the arches that make up the bastion, it is the best way to take nice photos there. Just unleash your creativity 😉 The church is another super photogenic landmark, especially its colourful roofs, similar to the one of Vienna main cathedral.
The church had a very long history of destruction and reconstruction. The original church was founded by the first catholic king of Hungary, St. Stephen, in the 11th century and then destroyed by the Mongols. It was rebuilt in the 14th century in Gothic style, survived through Turkish occupation but damaged by Germans and Soviets, who used it as camp. It is said that it treasures the right hand of king St. Stephen.
Just 10 minutes away you will find the beautiful and imposing Buda castle, which was used by Hungarian royal family in the past. It is built on the hill overlooking the southern part of Budapest gifting you with an unrivalled view.
The gate leading to the castle garden and its main entrance are the most photogenic spots of the complex along with the view over the city.
The citadel is a military construction built on the top of Gellert Hill, in the southern part of Budapest. It was commissioned by the Austrian Empire after the Hungarian revolution, which took place in 1948, to keep in better control the city.
After the establishment of an Empire ruled by both Austrian and Hungarians, the latter wanted it to be destroyed but to no avail because Austrian troops did not leave the place until the end of the century.
During soviet rules, Hungarians tried to revolt against the puppet government, which had been formed in the country, but were stopped by the soviet army that occupied the citadel and bombed Budapest.
Now the place is not used as military base anymore but it became a tourist attraction and the reason is clear. Once you reach the top, you will awarded with a breathtaking view over the whole city of Budapest that can compete only with the view from Buda castle.
How To Reach:
Take blue metro line to Moricz Zsigmond Korter station and then just out of the metro station you can find the bus number 27. Once you get off the bus, follow the signs and after 10 minutes walking, you will reach the Citadella.
As many other European cities, Budapest, as well, had a Jewish Quarter where all the Hungarian Jews lived. The quarter became a ghetto during the Second World War because Hungary was Germany’s ally and had a nazi regime, as I said in my previous article.
Jews were imprisoned inside this small portion of land and many of them starved to death as no food or any other kinds of supplies were allowed in.
Nowadays the area still exists and it is home to many discos and pubs where young people go. I really do not know if Jews are still living there or not but I did see many synagogues scattered around.
The Jewish Quarter has a unique aura: there are many crumbling houses and a weird atmosphere. There are not many people around and it is mainly quiet and deserted. You can come across many graffitis, pubs buzzing with young people having a drink, holy places like synagogues and typical kosher restaurants.
When I visited there, I decided to follow a walking tour I found online so that I could see the main landmarks and streets of the surrounding area and it was totally worth it. Besides the great synagogue and three other minor ones, I discovered a very cute antique market.
It was located in a passageway in a neighbourhood and it mainly sold old stuff like vinyls, old camera and books. It was really lively, buzzing with people, unlike the rest of the Quarter.
The best spots to take photos are, of course, this cute antique market, the moorish style synagogues and the decadent and crumbling houses that make up the Jewish Quarter and create this aura of mystery.
How To Reach:
To reach the Jewish Quarter you must use the red metro line and either get off at Astoria metro station or at Blaha Lujza Ter. If you are interested in following the tour I posted here, you’d better stop at Astoria, which is just 5 minutes away from the Great Synagogue, the perfect place to start your tour.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
The construction started at the end of the 19th century and finished in 1905 so the church is pretty new. The style is neoclassical as you can tell from the columns and its strictness.
It is possible to climb up to the top of the church by paying a 2 euros ticket (of course, you must use HUF). You can either walk up or use the lift – I would suggest to use the lift because it is faster and less tiring.
The visit to its top is totally worth it! Once reached the top, the view up there is unrivalled. You can see every corner of the city: from the Buda castle to the suburbs of Budapest. You can unleash your creativity and try to take photos of the cityscape framed with the beautiful church bell towers.
Only by looking around you, you can get great ideas on how to take photos. Also the interior of the dome is quite photogenic so give it a try too.
How To Reach:
Use the blue line and get off at Arany János utca.
If you have been infatuated with the beautiful architecture of the Hungarian parliament and you cannot get enough, you must absolutely visit this place.
It is the perfect spot to take a photo of the parliament as it is located just in front of it, on the other side of the Danube.
Make sure to visit this square also at night because the night view of the parliament is something magical. Walking along the Danube and the bright light that illuminate the building create a romantic atmosphere.
Of course, you can also play with the cars darting on the street with a long exposure mode on your camera and use as background the lighted up Parliament.
How To Reach:
Take the red line and get out at Batthyany Ter metro station.
Bonus Place: Metro
Do not underestimate Budapest metro, it is one of the most photogenic places in the whole city.
It is home to the oldest metro on the continent, just second to the London one. There is also a perfectly-maintained soviet metro trains, which were built in the 70s.
I really loved the atmosphere of the soviet metro. The light was softened and the surroundings very old creating a mysterious atmosphere. A perfection summary on how I felt can be found in the 2003 produced hungarian movie called Kontroll. I highly suggest you to have a look, it is totally worth it.
Besides the oldest metro on the continent and the soviet metro, you can find a totally new line, which is the blue one. It is an architecture paradise, as my boyfriend defined it.