With more than thousand years of history and with a fantastic riverside, Budapest is one of the most photogenic city in Europe.
In this post I collected all those sweet and beautiful photography locations you should visit in Budapest. I ordered them by importance, so if you have only a few hours, I suggest you start with the first ones.
From Buda Castle
You can get up to Buda Castle on many paths. One I recommend starts at Clark Adam Square, right next to the Funicular’s starting point. On this picture, it’s at the bottom right:
Although it is tempting to go with the Funicular, but it gets up too fast. Sure, it’s much easier 🙂 I recommend to walk.
If you move up and up, you can cross the rails of Funicular. And from these bridges you’ll have a great sight on Chain Bridge and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
This is an excellent spot to play with long exposures at night, so that you’ll have circular lighttrails in the foreground:
If you decide to ascend on foot, the road beautifully winds up, surrounded by the medieval walls of the Castle:
Once you are up, you’ll probably get to Oroszlános-udvar. (I say probably, because you can choose from many small paths along the way).
Behind yourself you’ll have the central part of Buda Castle:
And looking towards the Chain Bridge:
From here you should start walking northern direction, and you’ll soon be at:
Buda Castle – Fishermens’ Bastion
Again, from here you have the same panorama as above, but the arches and towers can give a very nice framing to anything.
There’s plenty of opportunity to play with the towers, stairs and arches. So go unleash your creativity! 🙂
Chain Bridge, from Pest side
Okay, the Chain Bridge looks great from every angle.
But if you’re shooting it from Pest, you’ll be able to compose Buda Castle into the picture.
You’ll discover lots of great angles as you walk around the bridge: the lions, the garden, the pillars, car’s light trails and so on…
Walking up to Gellért-hill is a must for anyone who wants to see an epic panorama of Budapest. There are several paths on the hill, and all go upwards, to the peak, which is called Citadella.
One of the best place to start climbing up is from Elizabeth Bridge. There’s a waterfall, and as you move up (and start to sweat :)) you get to a place where the Statue of Bishop Gellért stands.
If you continue from here, you’ll have good views on Elizabeth Bridge. Be prepared that the trees are really working against the photographer here 🙂
Gellért-hill – Looking north
Once you got to Citadella, and look north, you see the city in its full glory.
I suggest you go on foot, but this area is also easily accessible by car, there’s a big parking lot nearby. Just find a spot, from where the trees do not interfere with the view, and there you go!
You can see the whole Buda Castle area, the Chain Bridge, Margaret Bridge, Parliament, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the giant wheel at Deák Square.
The best time to go there is at Blue Hour, after sunset, or in late afternoon in sunlight.
Gellért-hill – Looking south
The other side of Gellért-hill is gorgeous too. There are two points from where you can see Liberty Bridge without any trees disturbing.
Descending from the top in the southern direction, you’ll see terraces from which a spectacular view unfolds.
There is another good spot, which is just next to the entrance of the Rock Chapel.
Again the best time to take pictures here is in the Blue Hour or around sunrise. If you go there by night, you’ll be able to capture great light trails of the trams and cars.
Opposite of Parliament
The Parliament of Hungary is really huge, 265 meters wide, and faces directly the Danube. So on the other side of the Danube (the Buda side), there’s a spot from where you stand exactly at the center line of the building.
The best time to take pictures is in the morning, around sunrise. In the evening Blue Hour there are too many boats cruising. so it’s almost impossible to have a long exposure shot without any boat interfering the shot.
It’s also a good idea to visit the inside of the Parliament. It’s monumental and wildly decorated. Architect fans will love it:
Also, the Holy Crown of Hungary is exhibited here. Click here for opening hours.
St Stephen’s Basilica
The biggest church of Budapest, the neo-classical St Stephen’s Basilica got its name from King Stephen I. who established the Hungarian Kingdom in the year of 1001. It looks epic from every angle. Be prepared that there’ll be many tourists around.
Also make sure you go up to the terrace, till then check out this fantastic 360 degree panorama!
This is one of tourist hot-spots of Budapest. I wouldn’t want to dive deep into the history, you can read it on wikipedia.
In short: on the centre of the square is a statue complex which commemorates the birth of the hungarian nation. And on the sides of the square are two museums: Museum of Fine Arts, and the Palace of Arts.
In most of the time you will find world-class exhibitions here.
(Note: Museum of Fine Arts is closed till 2018 because of reconstruction works)
Personally, I never understood what’s so special in this place. Probably, because it’s not something really historical. But anyway, it can look great on a photo, so don’t let yourself be influenced by a local! 🙂
GPS coordinates for this spot: 47°30’52.5″N 19°04’37.9″E (click to see on Google Maps)
The Square itself is nothing compared to the sights beneath it! I already mentioned the two museums. There’s also Városliget, a great park behind it, Vajdahunyad Castle, and the Budapest Zoo (kids love it), and the popular Széchenyi thermal bath.
There’s also the first ever underground railway in continental Europe, the Földalatti (M1) line.
Behind Heroes’ Square: Vajdahunyad Castle
GPS coordinates for this spot: 47°30’56.7″N 19°04’53.5″E (click to see on Google Maps)
Behind Heroes’ Square: Széchenyi Bath
If you go inside that door, a beautiful entrance hall welcomes you. To go besides that you’ll have to buy tickets.
GPS coordinates for this spot: 47°31’04.9″N 19°04’57.7″E (click to see on Google Maps)
From Hármashatár-hill: view on the city
This is absolutely not a touristy part of the city: even the people of Budapest don’t really come here. Mainly because there’s no direct transportation to the top of the hill. So you can only get there by car or on foot.
But the sight is really worth it. You can have a wonderful view on the whole city!
I am so in love with this spot, that I used to ride my mountain bike around here 3 times week. And took a lot of pictures and timelapses from here.
There’s also a restaurant on the top, I highly recommend taking a dinner there.
A view to the northern part of Budapest, and Pilis mountains:
As the eastern horizon is totally undisturbed, you can watch the sunrises perfectly from here:
I shot this entire timelapse video from the peak of Hármashatár-hill:
Great timelapse movies about Budapest
My timelapse video first, featuring a few of the mentioned scenes. Enjoy! 🙂
Not a 100% timelapse, but I really love how Kotsas Petsas managed to capture the athmosphere of the city:
After all this, are you ready for a little fun game?
Quiz about Budapest with lots of images. How do you measure up?
My friend, Miroslav Petrasko’s great guide on top photography spots in Budapest
For german speakers: Anita Brechbühl’s guide of photography locations in Budapest with her epic images
Most people coming to Budapest also visits Prague. If you are one of them, I recommend you taking Johnny’s Prague Photo Tours.