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Where to find the Best Views in Budapest

by Roberto
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Budapest is undoubtedly one of the finest of European cities. It’s architecture is a fine blend of secession, gothic and neo-classical. In terms of views, it benefits from being a hilly town with its sprawling Buda area built atop some. It’s these that make up a significant portion of this blog and provide some of the Budapest best photo spots. These are the best panoramic views in Budapest, and some of my best Budapest travel photography from my many travels there.

How to get to the Budapest best views

First of all it’s best to warn you. Good views come at a price, and that is usually a lot of walking, together with a significant amount of steps. Of course the hunt for that Budapest city view is just the tonic for the carb heavy Hungarian cuisine.

The trips between the views can be managed by the tram service to a certain extent and the underground is excellent for travelling between Gellert to Pest (M4) and Pest to Heroes Square (M3). To travel between Pest and Budapest Castle bus 16 is ideal.

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Budapest’s Best views and Photo Spots

  • Siklo Funicular
  • Fisherman’s Bastion
  • Matthias Church
  • Budapest Castle Walls
  • Gellert Hill
  • Banks of the Danube
  • Budapest’s Rooftop Bars
  • St Istvan’s Cathedral
  • Budapest Eye
  • Vajdahunyad Castle

I will start with the many vistas that the castle has to offer, which is also likely your first stop should you come to this city.

Siklo Funicular

This is the most stylish of ways to reach the castle. The funicular has connected the Danube (known locally as the Duna) with the Buda castle for over a century now. It’s elegant traditional carriage really channels that past era. Bear in mind queues can be huge here and the carriage can only hold a small number at a time. But when you do board, and the short ride uphill starts, you are in for one hell of a view.

At the top you will find the Sandor Royal Palace and it‘s here that the vista over Budapest is best, taking in the Danube, St Istvan’s Church and the old city of Pest. Paths run up and down the hillside you just travelled, and all provide a different aspect of the same.

Siklo Funicular Budapest
The funicular is one of Budapests best photo spots

Fisherman’s Bastion

From the funicular it’s a ten minute walk up into the castles main attraction. The Fisherman’s Bastion is not only one of the prettiest places in Budapest but it possesses possibly its best photo spots too. The Bastion built at the end of the 19th century is a series of stairs and balconies, built to replace the defunct town walls. Do pay in to the better parts and chill out in the bar with an ice cream or drink. It’s a great place to soak up the atmosphere and frame a few photos using the many curves and shapes of the bastion.

That view down to the Hungarian parliament building is the most iconic of all in Budapest.

This is the best view of Budapest parliament. And if you can’t get an instagramable shot on the steps of the Fisherman’s Bastion then you never will. But don’t worry you will, It’s photogenic gold.

Fisherman's Bastion
Best views in Budapest
Fisherman's Bastion

Matthias Church

The enigmatic church standing next to the Fisherman’s Bastion is the Matthias Church, named after Hungary’s first king. The “fairy-tale” like interior was one of the surprises, and I count it among the best of Budapest attractions. But we are here to talk views. A joint tower and church ticket can be purchased from the cash office. From here it’s a meager 197 steps to the lookout tower top and a glorious panorama. If you can coincide your climb with sunset as I did, better still, and watch the sun manoeuvre itself behind the Buda hills.

Best views in Budapest

Budapest Castle walls

Should you turn left at the Sandor Palace instead of right, then a lesser followed path over the walls of Budapest castle district awaits. The walls make great use of their high location, meandering in and out of the hill face and presenting an ever changing angle on the lands below. This is some of the older parts of the castle, and the walls will introduce you to many parts. Far below the Duna sits, the scene rendered ever more peaceful by glimpses of the Varkertbazar gardens offering up seasonal colours contrasting with classical fountains.

Castle walls of Budapest

Gellert Hill

The walk along the walls finally brings you back down to ground level and the foot of Gellert hill. But now the next problem of the most significant climb within the city awaits. Is it worth those tightened calves and leg aches the following morning? You better believe it is. There is the option to take bus 27, which travels right to the Citadella of Budapest at the top but I’m advocating the hike. Plus you get great views along the way. Keep an eye out for the Gellert and Rudas thermal bath on the way.

The top of Budapest hill is quite a historic place for tragic reasons. It is from here that Russian tanks fired down to into the city to quell an uprising in 1956, and the location of the fortress from which the Habsburgs controlled the city following a previous revolution in 1848. The Statue of Liberty now stands here holding a palm leaf above her head to commemorate independence from Germany.

Undoubtedly, that tactical position, chosen by the Habsburgs and Russians is why we are here. It is definitely unparalleled as the best view in Budapest in my opinion and I’m confident you will be as wowed as I was. Encompassing six bridges of the Danube, from Liberty Bridge to Margaret Island, it is without a doubt made for panoramas. Gellert Hill is also tops for sunsets in the city, the one I witnessed was beyond dramatic. So again timing is key here and with no closing time of the park, it’s easy to judge. Just don’t leave it too late to come back down or you’ll be wandering down the hill in the dark.

Gellert Hill
Best Views in Budapest
My favourite Budapest panoramic view
Gellert Hill - Best views in Budapest

Banks of the Danube

If you did as I, then you’ll end up on the banks of the Danube, with night falling around. Which takes us to the next view bound to inspire, that over the banks of the Danube. Honestly it’s worth seeing in a myriad of ways, by day or night, from it’s bridges and also by a river cruise. The Parliament lit up at night and reflecting in the river is simply nothing short of perfect. Rarely will you come across a building so beautiful in Europe, so it’s not to be missed from all the best photo spots that Budapest offers. The many fine bridges crossing the Danube each give their own unique perspective, with the Chain Bridge in particular very luminous by night.

Hungarian Parliament Building
Chain Bridge Budapest

To the eastern banks of the Danube lies Pest, the second of three cities united to form the modern day city. Pest is a more “working” city than Buda and with that’s it’s a more lively place come night. That brings us to the next place to sample the city from an aerial perspective.

Budapest’s Rooftop Bars

Or places as it’s turns out. Budapest has a number of rooftop bars, all of which face towards Pest, and also cater for watching the sunset. Of course the difference here is that you can sit and enjoy the views over a cocktail, or a beer. The best of the Budapest rooftop bars include High Note Sky Bar and 360 Bar with their close proximity to St Istvan’s Cathedral. St Andrea Wine and Skybar is nestled on Vaci Utca, so it’s the perfect place to drop after some shopping.

My personal favourite is Intermezzo Bar. It is part of the Hotel President. It’s view of the roof of the Post Office Savings Bank clearly wins the day. When the designer of the roof was asked why he produced something so elaborate so high off the ground, he replied he designed it for the birds. Well now you too can share that view.

Best views in Budapest
Photo credit: Intermezzo Bar

St Istvan’s Cathedral

After that relaxing suggestion we are back to towers. St Istvan’s cathedral is only just over 100 years old and as it’s centerpiece, contains the hand of the first king of Hungary and saint from which the place of worship gets its name. On the other hand (sorry) it’s also an ideal place to get up high and witness the city. The dome can be climbed to the top and it’s only 364 steps to the top. Only! Be prepared for a different view here, with close proximity to its twin towers and also looking over the center of Pest.

St Istvan Cathedral Budapest

Ferris Wheel of Budapest

One of the features of Pest that can be clearly seen from the cathedral is the Budapest eye. And another of those aerial views. As with any cities eye, it’s a slow ride up over the rooftops to a height of 65 meters, and is also ranked as one of the highest in Europe. A ride on the eye costs 3000 ft, somewhere in the region of $10 or €9.

Best Views in Budapest
Budapest from Ferris wheel. credit https://oriaskerek.com/en/

Vajdahunyad Castle

In the area near Heroes Square there’s a wealth of attractions and is indeed a worthwhile trip from the city. As suggested earlier the metro is the most energy saving (yours) way to get there.

Within the area, Vajdahunyad Castle is the biggest attraction, which was only built in 1896, to celebrate the Hungarian millennia. It houses an agricultural museum, and isn’t a bad way to wile away an hour. Climbing up the Tower of the Apostles will bring you to my last recommended view in Budapest. The city park below and distant city are your perspective here, and it’s enhanced by an ice rink (if you visit in winter) and the dramatic roof of the castle.

Vajdahunyad Castle Budapest

Budapest is a city that has amazed me at times and a visit is only enhanced by be plethora of views that are offered within.

All those steps and views builds up an appetite. It’s a good thing Hungary and Budapest serves up a world class cuisine. Don’t worry if you don’t know your Langos from your Goulash. The best of Hungarian cuisine and where to eat it in Budapest is all revealed in my blog on the matter.

Perhaps you need a travel guide. Then my ultimate guide to Budapest covers the city in great detail, and the very best of Budapest Hungary.

Have you been to Budapest? What was your favourite view? What do you like about Budapest?

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Best views in Budapest
Best views in Budapest

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