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Frequently heralded as the most beautiful city in Europe, Budapest has plenty to offer expats and locals alike throughout the year. As the city has such a rich and complex history, much of what expats can see and do in Budapest is bound to fascinate those eager to learn more about its past.
The scenery of Budapest in itself can be considered an attraction, and expats can enjoy roaming the city on foot to soak up its sights and sounds. Whether keen to learn about the city's communist past or explore its cultural heritage, expats in Budapest will be spoilt for choice.
Below are some of the best attractions in Budapest for expats to explore.
Recommended attractions in Budapest
The Hungarian Parliament Building
The Hungarian Parliament Building is perhaps the most famous and most striking building in Budapest. Located on the Pest side of the river, stunning views of the building can be enjoyed from the opposite bank. Expats who book in advance can join one of the frequent tours, where they can see the inner workings of the Hungarian parliament and inspect the crown jewels of the first king of Hungary.
Expats can take the world's second-oldest underground line to Heroes’ Square where they can view statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important Hungarian leaders. This is an ideal trip for art lovers, as Heroes' Square is ensconced between the Museum of Fine Art on one side and the Hall of Arts on the other.
St Stephen’s Basilica
This impressive basilica is over a century old and is, along with the Hungarian Parliament Building, the tallest building in Budapest. Here visitors can view the revered Holy Right (St Stephen's mummified right hand). At certain times of year, the basilica's dome can be accessed, which offers gorgeous panoramic views of the city.
Hungarian State Opera House
This historic opera house is halfway along the tree-lined Andrassy Avenue. One of the most beautiful opera houses in Europe, the Hungarian State Opera House is also known for its excellent acoustics, so it's well worth attending any of the various performances staged here.
A climb up to the Citadella on top of Gellért Hill allows expats the opportunity to see the magnificent Liberation Monument and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Budapest.
The Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter, in the 7th district, houses delectable eateries and pubs. A walk along Falk Miksa Street offers expats a chance to browse numerous art galleries and antique stores. The Great Synagogue in Dohány Street is not to be missed, as it is the second-largest synagogue in the world and is an extraordinarily beautiful building.
For a trip back in time, expats can visit the communist statues in Memento Park. These eerie figures of Lenin, Marx, Engels and others are frozen reminders of Hungary’s Soviet past.
Hungarian National Museum
Expats keen on brushing up on and discovering the depth and colour of Hungary’s vast history should make sure to visit the National Museum. The museum itself is a token of historical interest, as it was founded in 1802 and played a pivotal role in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.
►For an overview of transport options available in the city, see Getting Around in Budapest
"Dive right in! Take a basic Hungarian language course right away. Go to as many expat and mixed gatherings as possible to meet as many people as possible during your first six months. Remember – it’s not your country, so you have to adjust to their rules and customs. Walk the city to learn where everything is. Talk to people. Inhale your new life every day and savour the experience. Budapest is still one of the most fun, exciting and vibrant cities in Europe, so take advantage of your time here."
Read more about American expat Gary's experiences in Budapest.
Are you an expat living in Budapest?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Budapest. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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