Budapest turned out to be one of my favorite European destinations, surprisingly so.
When I first jotted down a rough plan for a Euro trip, Budapest seemed to be an obvious choice for a stopover as I slow traveled from Slovakia to Slovenia. Little did I know this stopover would turn out so well and I would end up spending several days in this Instagram-worthy city, covering the best Budapest photo spots and finding my own personal favorites.
Taken aback by the magnificence and grandeur oozing off this stunning city, I felt completely in awe every time I stepped out onto the streets. From ruin bars to castle districts, insanely beautiful bridges to towering cathedrals – Budapest is a photographers dream.
Budapest is a MUST visit European destination – This city simply needs to be seen to be believed.
Table of Content
Insanely Beautiful Budapest Photo Spots for Influencers
After spending around a week in Budapest, I managed to see several top attractions. Here are some hand picked hot spots for photographers and Instagrammers but quite honestly, almost every nook and corner seemed extremely photo worthy to me. Be sure to carry some extra HD cards for your camera as I am sure you won’t be able to stop clicking.
Pro Tip – Buy a Budapest welcome card as soon as you arrive. This gives you free public transportation, free walking tours of Buda and pest, entry into 17 museums, 30+ attractions and upto 50% discounts on dining and shopping. I believe the Budapest welcome card had the best value for money out of all European city cards I tried on this trip.
Just to give you an idea of how much we banked with the card – It allowed us free entry to Lukacs thermal spa (where we ended up spending an entire day), the Palvolgyi cave tour, the Budapest Castle bus that takes you around the Castle Hill district, the Zugliget chairlift for stunning city views, Budatower and so much more. In fact, I felt I could not utilize the card to its fullest as there are so many freebies attached to it and so little time to use them.
Perfect for all Instagrammers and photographers who want to explore Budapest on a budget and see all the top attractions for free.
If you happen to be checking out the hashtags #Budapest on Instagram, the top results would usually have people climbing, sitting, laying or hanging on the edge / lamp posts of a green bridge. This is the renowned Liberty Bridge on the Danube that connects Buda with Pest. Needless to say this is the number one Instagram spot in Budapest.
Like other tourists, I totally enjoyed trying the usual angles – hanging from one of the lamp posts (guilty and maybe quite stupid), sitting on the bridge and even climbing to the top (or as close to the top as I dared to) while watching the pretty yellow trams go by. All incredible experiences and highly recommended.
There is absolutely no dearth of incredible Budapest photo spots, but this one takes the cake for me. Fisherman’s Bastion (Aka Halaszbastya) turned out to be my personal favorite Instagram spot. This incredible terrace on Castle hill with fairy tale towers was such an incredible sight.
In fact, I actually felt like I stepped into a storybook (think – Cinderella!?), as I posed around like a princess (which I may add, I truly failed at). However, I can totally imagine it to be a pure delight for an Instagrammer , fashion blogger or even for professional photographers.
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Since I covered the entire Castle District in one day, I didn’t get as much time to explore and shoot as I would’ve liked. I would suggest starting early and spending at least few days in / around the area to find your own spectacular spots. The different staircases, terraces, doors, towers will offer umpteen photo opportunities and the surrounding areas are delightful.
Tip – Use a GoPro or a wide angle camera/ lens to capture the vast insane beauty of this place.
The lovely Hungarian Parliament building is a favorite Budapest photo spot for many. This popular landmark on the banks of Danube makes for an excellent photo backdrop both during the day and when its all lit up at night.
Tip – Hop on board this Budapest cruise on the Danube if you would like to have a completely different angle for your pictures -as viewed from the water. Just sit pretty on the deck, sipping a glass of wine and the Parliament building will look absolutely wonderful as you cruise by.
Matthias church was the first building I saw when I entered the Buda Castle Hill district and I was gawking at it in pure wonder. How can something be so perfect, I caught myself thinking.
Striking white neo-gothic exteriors make it one of the finest churches in Europe. I have heard the interiors are just as glamorous but being short on time, I took a quick walk around and of course plenty of pictures.
Budatower in the castle hill gives you a birds-eye view of the entire city, making it a popular photo spot in Budapest. You must climb all the way up to the tower – mind you, the spiral staircase can make for pretty pics too.
Entry ticket is 1500 HUF or free with the Budapest card.
Tip – If you are short on time, you can also cover all popular attractions on a 4 hour guided sightseeing tour.
Chain bridge, much like Liberty, makes for incredible Instagram worthy photos to boast of. If you are a teeny bit adventurous, try riding below it whilst standing through the sun roof of a car (like I did). We did a few rounds to get some good shots and videos. Totally worth it and highly recommended.
Check out this GoPro video I took while posing from the sunroof of my friend Nick’s car –
And then the Instagram shot I clipped from the video –
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Hősök tere, popularly known as Heroes’ Square is a common gathering ground for locals and tourists. Featuring statues of Hungarian leaders, the Millennium monument and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, it is one of the top attractions in Budapest.
Tip – Visit both during the day and night as the lighting is unique at both times and makes for interesting shots.
Varosliget City park
Varosliget is the most popular public park in Budapest. Sprawling across 302 acres, this city park has several museums, a castle, zoo, thermal bath, a pond, anonymous statue, several restaurants, playgrounds and more.
Even if you have a full day at Varosliget, it is simply not enough to wander around and photograph everything. I would recommend entering from Heroes’ Square so that you see the fantastic castle first. Next check out the various statues and buildings which make for some of the best Budapest photo spots.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Considered one of the world’s top ten most photographed buildings, the St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Hungary. To give you an idea of how vast it is, the church can host over 8500 people at the same time.
It hosts one of the most important national treasures of Hungary – a mummified version of St Stephen’s right hand.
As usual, I didn’t really go inside or enjoy the views from the cupola, however, I took some shots from outside and surely enjoyed it both at night and during the day.
Budapest is fondly known as Europe’s spa capital with over 120+ thermal baths scattered all around.
My friends and I choose the Lukacs thermal spa as it is included in the Budapest Welcome card. The spa was everything we hoped for and more with several indoor and outdoor warm/ cool pools, jacuzzis, water aerobics, wave pools and more. You can easily spend 3-5 hours frolicking around. The fact that there are plenty of thermal baths to choose from in Budapest, makes it harder to zero in on one.
If you want to go with the popular choice, Széchenyi Thermal Bath is everyone’s favorite. Széchenyi also hosts wicked night parties so it’s a must try when you are in Budapest. Buy the discounted skip the line pass here to avoid long queues.
Watch this video to help you make a more informed decision picking the best bath and tips on what to expect –
Tip – Carry a GoPro or a waterproof camera.
If you seek panoramic views of Buda from top of Janos Hill, take this round trip chair lift amidst lush greenery and towering trees. For photographers, the hikes around the area plus the views of Buda make for exceptional shots with a green tinge.
Finding the starting point of the chairlift was quite challenging. You need to get off at the last stop of bus 291 and then walk from there for a good 20 mins.
Cost – 1000 HUF or free with the Budapest card 🙂
Ruin bars are the sole reason to visit Budapest for most party goers. For me, it was surely one of the top reasons as well, but it was quite a task to pick the best ruin bar in Budapest.
Undoubtedly, Szimpla Kert is the crowd favorite and it was just a 5 min walk from our couchsurfing host’s house. So, it was an obvious choice for us and we visited more than once. However, it was packed to the brim both times we were there and even though it was awe-inspiring, there was barely any space to walk (let alone take pictures).
The mismatched furniture, rustic decor, artsy nooks and corners of the ruin bars in Budapest, make for a never ending supply of photo opportunities.
Tip – Go to the ruin bars during the day for photo opportunities as nights are packed to the brim and the low lights won’t help either.
Located in the popular Erzsébet Square, this 65 m Ferris wheel is quite an eye popper.
It looks spectacular in the white lights at night, so my two cents would be to pop over in the evening for those stunning shots.
Special thanks to my Couchsurfing host Nick Rodgers for making this post possible as we drove around town in his cute car, pressed for time. He encouraged me and claimed it was “Still” possible even though I had the idea for this post on the very last day.
Big thanks also to our first Couchsurfing host in Budapest – Peter, who introduced us to the nightlife and all the popular spots in town.
These wonderful people hosted us with an open heart and showed us true Hungarian hospitality. That’s one reason I still have faith in Couchsurfing and the goodness of people.
So, with all these kick ass Budapest photo spots to choose from, which is your favorite? Tell me in comments below 🙂