Visiting Budapest in 3 Days – Day 2

Budapeste - 111Saint Stephen’s Cathedral

2nd DAY

– Lipótvaros

Today we decided to stay in Pest and divide our time by three of the most important places of the city, the magical Svent István Bazilika (Saint Stephen’s Cathedral), the ostensible Magyar Állami Operahaz (Opera) and the imposing Országház (Parliament).

Therefore, and after a movie like breakfast (or maybe of a Brazilian telenovela…), with eveything we are entitled to, we head towards to another wonderful day.

Budapeste - 94We started by the Parliament, once we didn’t bought the ticket on the site we assumed it would be easier to get tickets in the morning, with a guided visit in a minimally understandable  language for us, namely English or Spanish (unfortunately these things rarely have Portuguese).

Budapeste - 96And fortunately we did so, because we realized most of the people there had already bought the tickets. Ideally you should buy it online, see the available schedules and book the ticket for the desired time and language, because these visits can only be done with a guide.

Budapeste - 98The price of the ticket was HUF 2000 each (around 6.5€), pay attention because EU residents have a more accessible price, requiring just the presentation of an identification document or passport.

The Parliament is one of Budapest’s most imposing buildings and one of its best “postcards”. Its haughtiness increases our curiosity to explore it. In a glimpse we understand its inspiration, the Parliament of the wonderful city of London (see the London Guide).

Budapeste - 101This one (for me) wins in the whiteness and purity of the color, giving it more life and harmony (but the London one wins with its Big Ben, obviously!).

The construction of the Parliament has origin in a neo-Gothic creation of Imre Steindl, who won the constestfor its construction, starting in 1885 and finishing only in 1904 (Steindl got blind before the end of it). In the meantime there was a pre-inauguration in 1896 to celebrate the thousandh birthday of the Magiars arrival to town.

 Budapeste - 97Effectively, the inspiration in the London Parliament is noticeable, namely in its slim, spiralized pineacles, but Steindl introduced something new, a central atrium, round and Baroque, and a dome; in the center of it is kept the most valuable national symbol, the Sacred Crown (which cross is slightly inclined, nobody knows exactly why!). Another interesting curiosity is the fact of it supposedly being offered by the Pope to King Stephen in the year of 1000. However, it is dated from the XII century!

Budapeste - 103Also, observe carefully the frescoes in the dome, they’re an authentic piece of art by Karóly Lotz.

Besides this place we visited some rooms, the imposing stairs and the House of Representatives.
The visit took nearly 45 minutes.

Budapeste - 107

Budapeste - 95 Néprajzi Múzeum

Those with a bit more time to spare, right in front of the Parliament, there’s the Néprajzi Múzeum, the Ethnography Museum with traditional costumes, craftwork, antique furniture, tools, rustic houses reconstructions and old movies’ excerpts and sound recordings. This museum, curiously, was built by the second runner to the parliament construction contest.

Budapeste - 93From here we head to the majestic neo-Renaissance building of the city, the Saint Stephen’s Basilica.

This sacred place had its fair share of problems during the construction. The first artist draw it in a neoclassical style but died before the end of the construction, after a while it colapsed, and the following artist, Miklós Ybl, also died, before its conclusion, that took place in 1906; and then suffered great dimension prejudice during World War II.

But, a troubled past, in nothing alters it current beauty.

Budapeste - 42mThe interior of the church is presented in the form of a Greek cross, with the floor in black and white marble.

From the altar we are observed by a beautiful statue of Saint Stephen, while the dome, with 96 meters of height, is full of mosaics by Károly Lotz.

Budapeste - 35But all of this is almost insignificant before the treasure we find in the interior of the basilica, the mummified right hand of Saint Stephen himself (or so they say! I have great difficulty believing these things!). The hand is kept in a case that lights up when we put a coin in the box next to it.

Budapeste - 36If you want a gorgeous view over the Danube and the city, don’t miss the climb to the Panoramic Tower, an exterior gallery around the dome, accessible by climbing 364 steps or taking the elevator.

Budapeste - 44Budapeste - 28
The entrance at the Basilica is free, you only pay to see the hand or climb to the tower.
Outside the church were some boys advertising a concert that would take place the next day, of classical music, we looked, gave it some thought and bought the tickets! I had missed that chance in Prague and Vienna, I wouldn’t miss it again in Budapest!

Budapeste - 113Concert at Saint Stephen’s Cathedral 

We realized that once a week is held an organ concert at the basilica, accompanied by the violin, trumpet, a tenor and a soprano, and an exquisite selection of the classical music greatest works. Don’t miss this oportunity, usually there’s publicity at the entrance of the church or you can search online for the concerts happening on the dates of your visit.

The ticket price was HUF 6500 each (nearly 21€).

 Budapeste - 48Budapest Opera

After visiting the basilica we headed to the Opera.
This is one of the most sumptuous buildings in Hungary.

We didn’t attend any opera (despite the prices being much more welcoming than in Vienna!) but the visit to its interior was worth it.

Budapeste - 51

Budapeste - 56 Budapeste - 55mThe ticket costs HUF 2990 (around 11.5€), but if you want to photograph you have to pay extra!

The construction of the opera has a quite interesting story, it was funded by Ferenc József, who ordered for it to be smaller than the one at Vienna, he just forgot to ask for it to be less beautiful, because Miklós Ybl was able to supplant it!

The neo-Renaissance building is astonishing and the interior marbles are of the same line of the ones at Saint Stephen’s Basilica.

Budapeste - 54

Budapeste - 61The main staircase allows an incredible admiration moment in those who have the privilege of observing it.

Place of culture, beauty and history that enhances the perfection of the city even more.

Next to the Opera you can also walk by the famous Andrássy avenue, where the best cafés in town are located, as well as the main luxury brands.

Budapeste - 45Andrássy Avenue

The day couldn’t have ended any better! We are headed to the hotel, it was a tiring day and tonight we’ll be in, enjoying some good snacks and wine at the InterContinental Budapest Lounge (see) with the best view of the city, the Castle, with its greatness and lighting that fills the night with life.

Tomorrow we’ll be there visiting it!

Where to Stay
InterContinental Budapest
Kempinski Hotel Corvinus

Versão Portuguesa

Text: Cíntia Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses with Sony A7S

– The pictures don’t always represent our first passage in some of the places or even the same day of the travel.

This article is the 2nd of 3 articles of our Budapest Guide (Day 1)

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