1. Szechenyi Thermal Bath (and others!)
The Szechenyi Baths must be at the top of everyone's to-do list in Budapest, and that's no different here. It was one of my favorite things that we did, somehow even with the big crowd. I just love a dip in a hot tub or a nice long bath, and this gave me both of those experiences in a gorgeous setting. If you are spending a few days in Budapest, I would recommend stopping by a couple of the other less famous baths as well: Rudas Baths or Gellert Baths. We weren't allowed to take photos there, but I say go for as many giant hot tub experiences as you can squeeze in!
2. Hungarian Parliament Building
I was totally blown away by the Hungarian Parliament Building. The architecture is incredible with so much detail, I couldn't imagine it would be even better inside. And then we went inside! We definitely made this building part of each day's itinerary while we were in town, going to different spots to get different views. My favorite view was from across the river, just off the subway stop at Batthyany Square. The view from Castle Hill isn't bad either.
3. Buda Castle Hill
Castle Hill is pretty to view from down below, but you also have to get to the top to see Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion, and the fantastic views of the city and the Parliament Building! There are also some really charming little streets up there filled with colorful buildings and doors that we stopped to snap some pictures with. A funicular will take you to the top, or you can climb the hill on your own, which we actually did (and which I am usually opposed to if there is an easier way) because there was such a long line for the funicular. I think my favorite thing up there was Matthias Church because of the amazing tiled rooftop. You will see these roofs all over the city and I LOVED them. They are so beautiful, and I haven't seen roofs like that anywhere else!
4. Hungarian State Opera House
Of course I understand that the Hungarian State Opera House is not for everyone (e.g., my husband, but I dragged him there anyways), but this was a trip highlight for me. Not only did they put on a glorious performance of Parsifal (and on Good Friday!), but this building is stunning, and I like that it is quite small in comparison to a lot of other opera houses. If you don't have the desire to sit through an opera, at least stop by and see the interior, but I can't recommend an opera enough!
5. Museum of Applied Arts
I have to confess that I don't even care what is inside of the Museum of Applied Arts (and it was closed when we went so we didn't even have to worry about it). For me, it is all about that roof! I mentioned the tiled roofs earlier, but this one was my very favorite, so go see this place, and pray it isn't covered in scaffolding!
The Boscolo is just a hotel owned by Marriot with a cafe inside, which sounds super boring until you go inside! The interior is glorious, and totally worth the sub-par food (but don't worry, there is PLENTY of delicious food to be had in Budapest, which I will elaborate on soon).
7. St. Stephen's Basilica
Another confession: after seeing so many cathedrals in Europe (especially in England, thank you to study abroad), I don't get too excited about most of them. But the interior of St. Stephen's Basilica is AMAZING. Go in!! And also, you can see St. Stephen's hand in here, which is kind of gross, kind of cool.
8. Gellert Hill
We took the easy way out and took a cab all the way to the top of Gellert Hill, which is the highest point you can get to for a view over the city. Sorry I am blocking half of it in the photo above.
Finally...make sure you spend lots of time walking around and looking up. Budapest is filled to the brim with incredible architecture and beautiful colors. It made me so happy to wander for hours before my feet started to hurt. A few more photos of things that I thought were pretty: