Last month, I was invited to experience Viking River Cruise's Romantic Danube cruise. The cruise departed from Budapest and spent 7 days sailing up the Danube, making stops in Vienna, Krems, Passau, Regensburg, and Nuremberg along the way. I loved exploring all that Budapest had to offer during my time there, but I know how hard it is to decide where to go when you only have a day somewhere. So, here's a few photo stops I recommend making in order to see the prettiest places Budapest has to offer.
1. Fisherman's Bastion
The Fisherman's Bastion is a photographer's dream. By 8am, it was already packed with tourists, so if you're trying to get the shot, then I recommend getting there right at sunrise to have it mostly to yourself. The added bonus is you'll get to see the sun rise over the city.
2. St. Stephen's Basilica
While the interior of the basilica is beautiful, I personally prefer the view from the top. You can take the stairs or the elevator to reach the roof, and once you're there it offers 360 degree panoramic views of the city. Pro-tip: to get good views of the basilica itself, I recommend checking out the nearby Aria Hotel's rooftop bar.
3. Gellért Hill
While you're up visiting the palace, take a moment to wander to the viewpoints along the river. If you get the angle just right, you can line up both the Chain Bridge and Parliament in one photo (though you'll need some zoom). It's a beautiful view of the whole city.
My favorite view of Parliament was when we sailed past on our way out of the city and got up close and personal with the river side of the building. It's some of the most stunning architecture you'll ever see. If you want an even more exciting way of viewing it up close from the water, check out Dunarama's private speed boat tours - they're quite the thrill!
5. Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar
Hands down, the coolest place I visited was the Szimpla Kert ruin pub. The ruin pub trend started in the early 2000's, and Szimpla Kert is the most well known one in Budapest. The bar is a huge building filled with different rooms and areas covered in graffiti, art, and weird items. It's a great place for a night out on the town or even to just go get a drink and meet some other travelers.
6. New York Café
While I can't recommend the food here (I found it both overpriced and poor quality), the New York Café is still quite the opulent building. Go for a coffee and dessert and take in the atmosphere.
7. Széchenyi Thermal Baths
There are several amazing thermal baths that you can visit during your time in Budapest, so it's pretty hard to just choose one. The Széchenyi Thermal Baths are arguably the most famous and photogenic, but they're also quite crowded. You'll probably want to spend a few hours there, so try to get there early when they open (as early as 6am!) so that you have a bit more space to enjoy the baths. If you have extra time, two other great baths to check out are the Rudas Baths and the Gellért Baths.
8. Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall consists of two floors: on the first floor, you can find locals buying produce and meats; on the second floor, you'll find all the Budapest souvenirs you could ever want, from leather bags to lace goods. Beyond the shopping, the hall has amazing architecture, so definitely don't miss this photo opp.
9. Chain Bridge
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the Danube, connecting the Buda and Pest sides of the cities. It's quite lovely to take a walk across around sunrise. You can watch the sunlight crawl across all of the beautiful buildings of Budapest, such as the nearby Buda Castle, and have the bridge mostly to yourself for some amazing photos.
Disclaimer: I was invited on the cruise as a guest of Viking River Cruises. As always, all opinions are my own.
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