Updated: Jul 6
Budapest is divided by the Danube river into two parts: Buda and Pest. Each side offers different sites to see and a different vibe. I am not going to go into great detail about each site, but here's a list of what I think is worth seeing :
Castle Hill is one of the most popular and must-see sites in Budapest includes Fisherman's Bastion, Saint Matthias Church, and the National Gallery. The views from the Fisherman's Bastion are breathtaking (and very instagrammable) and you can access the place for free. There is a section where you can pay to get a "better" view but quite honestly, I don't see the point.
Gellert Thermal Baths
Budapest is known for its mineral-rich thermal baths and there are many from which you can choose. I can't say which one is the best as we only went to the Gellert Baths but I can definitely recommend this place. The baths are located at the Gellert Hotel (big Budapest Hotel vibes btw) which in itself is a beautiful building, inside and out.
You pay upon arrival (around 20€ for the entire day) and have access to all the baths and saunas. You can pay extra to rent a bathrobe and slippers but you may as well just bring your own. We decided to treat ourselves and booked a 45mins refreshing massage for approximately 20€ (way cheaper than in France). You can't pre-book massages, so make sure to arrive at a time when they can fit you in. We arrived at around 10:45 am and the baths were practically empty (it was January though) and they booked us in for a message for 1:30 pm. The entire experience was one of the best I've ever had and it was definitely worth the money.
One of the most iconic buildings in Budapest, if not the most iconic, the Hungarian Parliament Building is another must-see. The architecture of this edifice is truly incredible. We didn't visit the inside, but I believe you can. I recommend going here just before sunset as the lighting is truly beautiful.
Saint Stephen's Basilica
Another beautiful monument. You can go to the top (3€ approx) and get an amazing view of the city. It's supposed to be beautiful at sunset.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery is located in the Buda Castle, high on the hill overlooking the Danube and the city of Pest. The castle itself is worth a visit, and its collection aims to showcase the pictorial, graphic, and sculptural output of Hungarian artists.
The entrance fee is 3200 HUF / adult (approx 8€). The staff is friendly and explains well all there is to see in the museum. It is compulsory and free to leave backpacks. All the staff speaks very good English.
The museum is divided into 3 floors with access to the dome, the highest point on Buda Hill. It is a museum that presents mainly Hungarian painters even if some international artists such as Delacroix, Courbet, and Monet are mixed in. One can find art from the Middle Ages to contemporary.
We visited many other sites such as the National Gallery, the Central Market Hall as well as Heroes' Square, and Vajdahunyad Castle. A walk along the Danube at sunset is also a lovely activity to do before heading out for drinks.