Budapest is a fantastic place, filled with incredibly architecture, but for us its beauty truly shines once the sun sets and the million lights of the city flare to life. The striking illumination of some of Budapest’s most impressive sites inspired us to put together a little photo gallery.
Here’s hoping you enjoy Budapest at night as much as we did.
The Chain Bridge, seen above with Buda Castle perched behind it, is a great location for a nighttime stroll in Budapest. It is pretty centrally located, affording great views of the waterfront up and down the Danube River. We sauntered (who doesn’t love a good saunter?) across the bridge almost nightly, and if you visit Budapest you should too.
Fun fact number #1: As Hungary’s capital, Budapest might seem like an old stately city, but it is actually a relatively new amalgamation of two distinct cities. In 1873 Buda on the western bank of the Danube and Pest on the opposite bank of the mighty river joined together to form, you guessed it, Budapest.
The Hungarian Parliament Building is probably the most iconic building in Budapest. This ginormous building is pretty awesome during the day but it’s absolutely stunning at night; an architectural gem burning brightly against the darkness. Certainly one of the must see buildings in Budapest at night.
Fun fact number #2: This is the third largest Parliament building in the world. Maybe one day that little tidbit of information will come in handy, who knows.
A time lapse at the mouth of the Chain Bridge.
Fun fact #3: Hungarians are pretty aggressive drivers. Standing here for a hour taking time lapse photos felt a bit like rolling the dice on the being alive thing. It was worth it though!
One of the four sleepless feline guardians of the Chain Bridge.
Fun fact #4: While lions started appearing on many coat-of-arms and heraldry in Europe during the Middle Ages, few Europeans had ever seen a real lion. To them the king of all beasts was as much a legend as a dragon or a griffin.
The Chain Bridge once again, with Matthias Church in the background. The church is a wonderful place to catch day and nighttime views of Pest.
Saint Stephen’s Basilica was completed in 1905. This Roman Catholic cathedral was named after the first king of Hungary.
Fun Fact #5: The king’s (mummified?) right hand is said to reside within the confines of the Basilica.
The backside of the Basilica is as impressive, if not more so, than the front.
Fun fact #6: We have never refereed to a building’s “backside” until just now.
A hot summer night in Erzsébet Square, with the Budapest Eye Ferris wheel in the background. The Eye isn’t a permanent fixture in the city, it’s a mobile Ferris wheel that tours around Europe all year round.
Fun fact #7: The first Ferris wheel was built in 1895 by George Washington Gale Ferris Junior, who had an unnecessary long name.
Erzsébet Square is a hot spot day and night. Its green lawns attract loungers during the day, and transforms into a huge hangout spot on warm nights. If you are in Budapest grab a bottle of wine (everyone is doing it!) and head to the square for some people watching in the evening.
Szimpla Kert Ruin Pub
Szimpla is the most famous of all the ruin pubs in Hungary. What is a ruin pub? Good question.
A bit over ten years ago a few industrious youngsters looking for a place to drink turned a derelict and abandoned lot into a bar, using a mish-mash of furniture and decorations to create a unique and vivid environment primed for libations. Since then the popularity of such places has risen, and more unused spaces have been re-purposed for the pursuit of revelry.
Out of all the ruin pubs we visited Szimpla was the one we preferred the most. Its eclectic style and multiple rooms, all with different “themes”, really did it for us. If you visit Budapest make damn sure you stop by Szimpla for a pint or three.
Szimpla not only hosts many musical acts almost nightly, but also has areas for projection screening of movies. Oh, and it has a restaurant too, so you can follow up your beer with a hamburger.
Randi, pictured above, contemplates life, love, and beer. All while twirling her hair. Such a deep thinker, this one.
One of the many different rooms in Szimpla, we loved the ambiance of this one in particular. How random, grungy, and fucking cool does this room look? You can even drink a beer here while playing foosball.
Fun fact #8: This statue cracked us up. Love the symbolism, and the reversing of that popular Shakespearean trope of Hamlet holding a skull.
Fun fact #9: Budget travelers and backpackers looking for a hostel in Budapest have plenty to choose from, including everything from rowdy establishments to ones with quite and relaxing settings. Having a lot of options is great, but we put together a list of the best hostels in Budapest to help you narrow down your choices.