The Grand Budapest Hotel did not take place in Budapest, but Budapest does have grand buildings. One notices immediately that this city is much larger and more spread out than Prague, and because of that, the tourist throngs are thankfully thinner. It gave us the space to enjoy the architecture. Now, if the temps had been above freezing, and the wind had not been blowing, we could have slowed down even more.
Unfortunately, we did not have time to see the Opera House interior, but we did get to tour the Hungarian Parliament. This largest building in Hungary sits along the embankment of the Danube in all its Gothic Revival splendor. The brand-new Visitor Center offers a perfect place to wait for your tour to begin, especially given the lovely café.
Except for the crown jewels, everything the tour shows is allowed to be photographed. The interior is chock-full of gold and exquisite decoration.
H noticed these along the windows and correctly guessed that they were for holding cigars.
Probably the other most prominent landmark in Budapest is St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent István-Bazilika). We were fortunate to stay across the street from this beautiful cathedral.
The castle on the Buda side of the Danube (Buda and Pest merged in 1873 to become one city) dominates the hill overlooking the river. By castle, they mean an entire complex of buildings, including a palace, a church, public buildings and houses. Most prominent are the spires of the Matthias Church, destroyed more than once, most recently in WWII, and currently restored from 1950-70 and again from 2006-13.
The Fisherman’s Bastion, next to the Matthias Church reminded me of an elaborate sand castle with great views of the city.
The Museum of Fine Arts looks lovely all lit up at night,
As does the Heroes Square which pays homage to the founders, starting with the first King Stephen.