Budapest is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in the world. It is photogenic for many reasons. Number one being the many different styles of architecture you can find.
You’ll also see that Eastern European je ne sais quoi seeping through. Read on to learn more about the city and find out the 10 Best Photography Spots in Budapest.
Where Is Budapest?
Budapest isn’t the Capital of Romania, as many would believe. The jewel of the Danube and the Paris of the East is actually the Capital of Hungary. It houses around 3.3 Million people on two sides of the same river, splitting it into Buda and Pest.
The settlement of this great city started before the 9th century. Since then, it has been the home of many influences. These range from conflicting cultural and architectural occupations.
Much of the city was rebuilt after World War II, especially the bridges. Many buildings came from the Soviet occupation that came after. You’ll still find the Socialist Classicism
The entire history of the city comes through its loose eclectic styles. This is the city where you’ll find Ottoman style bathhouses. On top of these, Art Deco buildings, and a Gothic Revival Parliament.
Budapest serves as a central hub in Eastern Europe. The country borders with seven others, making it a great place for excursions. Two hours in any direction, and you’ll find a different language, culture, and currency.
Why Is Budapest Photogenic?
Budapest is well known for many reasons. Apart from the rich history, you’ll find an interesting language and fascinating culture. There are many visual delights that Budapest offers. Not to mention those turning points that put this city on the map.
One of the things that made this city important was the Line 1 underground line. It was the first underground train line of mainland Europe. Of course, England had the first underground. But the Millenium Underground Railway wasn’t far behind.
The Parliament building is the biggest building in Budapest. It opened in 1902 after designed by Imre Steindl in a Neo-gothic style. It is the third biggest parliament building in the world after Romania and London.
For religious buildings, Budapest houses the biggest synagogue in Europe. It is not only beautiful. It signifies how important the Jewish religion and community is in the capital.
St. Stephan’s Basilica is another religious building that people flock to. From both far and wide. It is as high as the Budapest Parliament building at 86 meters high. This is one of the most photogenic buildings to capture in Budapest.
Eiffel (as in the man behind the Tower in Paris) used Budapest as a playground for architectural designs. This helped in making this city attractive for images and cementing memories.
Specifically, Budapest is a UNESCO world heritage site. Along the Danube, the Castle district and Andrassy Avenue especially. On top of these, you’ll find 80 natural thermal springs. Some are beautifully designed and a joy to visit.
All in all, it is one of the most beautiful cities, with Eastern European magic and one that is too often overlooked.
Best Photography Spots in Budapest
10. Széchenyi Thermal Baths
The Széchenyi Thermal Baths are one of 80 thermal baths you can find in Budapest. This is one of the most photographed bathhouses due to its size. Its architectural style and its popularity make for great shots.
It is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. The water comes from two thermal springs, and the temperature runs between 74 °C and 77 °C.
As a Budapest location, it’s a large space to capture. Most photographers stick to the outside pools, which are better to visit in the summer. You’ll find atmospherical scenes due to the rising steam in the strong sun.
9. Széchenyi Chain Bridge
I know, I know. Széchenyi was a very important Hungarian politician, political theorist, and writer.
As Budapest locations go, this is one of the most famous. It crosses the Danube in front of the Four Seasons Gresham Palace and links Clark Adam Ter to Széchenyi Ter. It is one of the best places to cross when visiting the Buda Castle on foot.
Built in 1949, this bridge holds a high stature in Europe. It is to Budapest what the Brooklyn Bridge is for New York. AIt is one of the best Budapest photography locations. Here you get a cast-iron structure with four lion statues on each corner.
8. Gellért Hill
If you’re looking for panoramic views of the capital city, you won’t find them on the Pest side. This is unless you visit a rooftop bar. On the Buda side, you can keep your feet firmly on the ground. This is while standing in one of the best photography spots in Budapest.
This hill stands 235 m (771 ft) tall, and its size means it sits in two different districts. The name comes from Saint Gerard, the first Bishop of Csanád who was thrown off the hill. On one side of the hill is a statue commemorating his life.
At the bottom of this hill, you’ll find Gellért Baths, another beautiful thermal spa inside Hotel Gellért. On the top of the hill you’ll find the Citadella. On top of this fortress, the Liberty Statue – a 14-meter tall bronze woman holding a palm leaf.
Not only is this a great place to capture the sunset, but it offers an almost 360 panoramic view of the entire city. This is where you need to come to for the Budapest Skyline and wide cityscape shots.
It’s even better to come after the sun drops to capture Budapest at night.
7. Danube Promenade & Skyline
The Danube is the heart of the city of Budapest. This river cuts the capital city into its respective halves, Buda and Pest. This is the place to go to get great images of both sides.
From the Buda side, you’ll find one of the best places to capture the Hungarian Parliament. Behind it, the retreating skyline. Along the Buda promenade, you get to see the Várkert Bazaar. This is a recently renovated neo-Renaissance arcade of boutiques.
You’ll also get to see the Turkish style bathhouse Rudas Baths up close. Capturing both promenades makes this one of the best photography locations in Budapest.
The Pest side offers great views of Gellert Hill and the Citadella. Not to mention Buda Castle with the number 2 tram in the foreground. The universities located on the riverside also offer beautiful architecture.
6. Heroes Square & Andrássy út
Heroes Square (Hősök tere) is a famous photography spot in Budapest. Located at the end of Andrássy út, and at the start of the city park (Városliget).
This boulevard had its name changed three times in one decade. Andrássy út became Sztálin út (“Stalin Street”) during the Soviet occupation in 1950. It changed to Magyar Ifjúság útja (Avenue of Hungarian Youth) During the 1956 uprising.
In 1957, the governing government reviewed the name and changed it to Népköztársaság út (People’s Republic Street). The former name of Andrássy returned in 1990. The fall of the Iron Curtain signaled the end of the communist era.
The square itself sits between two huge art museums, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Műcsarnok.
You’ll find many opportunities to capture this major square. It is a meeting place and famous for bringing people together. They are political events, music concerts, rallies and the site for one of the world’s largest human peace symbol.
Without all the human interaction, this is an area that houses many statues and monuments. Firstly, the center of the square is the Millenium Monument. This is a blend of three parts. The column, the Archangel top-piece and the Seven original chieftains at the bottom.
Semi-circling the back of the square are two colonnades. These statue complexes represent Labour, Wealth, War, Knowledge, Glory and Peace.
5. St. Stephen’s Square and Basilica
Another of the top photography spots in Budapest is St. Stephen’s Basilica. The surrounding square is also photogenic. Here, you can capture the Church head-on. Or even scale the 364 stairs for a 360° panoramic view of Budapest from its dome.
Named after the first King of Hungary who reigned from 975–1038 AD. In fact, the King’s right hand is on show in the reliquary inside.
The Basilica follows the Neo-classical style of architecture. It is only the third-largest church in Hungary, albeit being the most important.
There are many angles and perspectives to capture this delight. Due to its design and art housed inside, it serves as one of the best indoor photography locations in Budapest. It also provides great images of Budapest at night.
The square in front of the Basilica is a great meeting point and should be your first port of call. Here, you’ll find a photogenic obelisk with accompanying fountain.
4. Views from Gellért-Hill
Gellért-Hill is a great photography spot to capture, but it is even better to use it as a vantage point. It is 235 m (771 ft) high and feels like it after walking up all those stairs.
It overlooks the Danube and most of the bridges found in the Capital. You’ll see the Basilica, the Parliament, the Budapest eye, including the Budapest skyline.
The Citadella on top of the hill provides a few statues that you can use to place into the foreground of your images.
From here, you get an almost panoramic 360° viewpoint, and great all year round. During the colder seasons, you’ll see ice flows coming down the river. Fog also restricts the view after the bridge hits the Pest side.
3. Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion
The Church (Mátyás-templom) and the Bastion (Halászbástya) are next to each other. You’ll find them in the Buda Castle district on the Buda side.
This Roman Catholic church was built in the Romanesque style. but, after over 1000 years, not of it remains. What you will see is a Neo-gothic style that was restored in the late 19th century.
The Fisherman’s Bastion is a fortress wall that points towards the Danube below. Built in the neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style between the years 1895 and 1902.
Here, you’ll find seven towers. Each one represents one of the seven Magyar tribes that first settled here. There is also a bronze statue of Stephen I of Hungary riding a horse, surrounded by stone carvings that represent episodes from his life.
There are crevices, arches, and one amazing viewpoint from the lookout terrace.
Personally, this is one of the best photography spots in Budapest for me. I could spend hours capturing the exterior of the church and every element of the Bastion. For you, you’ll capture some of the best travel photography possible.
2. Buda Castle
The Buda castle offers many photographic opportunities. They will help your travel photography and showing Budapest off in a great light. This palace complex was first completed in the mid-13th century. Most of what you’ll see came from before 1770.
Named the Royal Palace or Royal Castle. It contains the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. It has a great viewpoint of Clark Adam ter, Chain Bridge and the Funicular.
There is a statue of a legendary Turul bird, a sacred bird of the Magyars. It spreads its wings above Budapest, giving you a great foreground with shots of the city in the background.
From here, there are many great ways to capture Budapest. At nighttime, you can capture many great scenes. The Chain Bridge and the Parliament in one portrait orientated shot, for example. This is where a telephoto lens would come in very handy.
1. Budapest Parliament
The Hungarian Parliament Building (Országház) is, for me one of the best photography spots in Budapest. It is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen in my travels, and it’s one of the most important.
Not only is the exterior easy to capture. But it is also one of the best indoor photography locations in Budapest. It is the largest building in Hungary. And the third biggest parliament building in the world.
The neo-gothic revival style of the building is somewhat common in Budapest. You’ll find the same architecture trend in other buildings. The Fishermans’ Bastion, Mattias’ Church, the Paris Court and Ministry of Finance.
You’ll notice that the building is symmetrical, inside as it is on the outside. This is handy, as one side is for all political communication, while the other is for tours.
Inside there are 10 courtyards, 27 gates, 29 staircases, and 691 rooms. Each is as photogenic as the last. 242 sculptures adorn the walls, displaying kings, rulers, leaders and military figures.
The frescoes, stained glass windows, and ornaments, such as gold cigar holders, make this a great place to photograph.
Budapest is also a great for finding cool abandoned buildings near the city.