Budapest is known for its amazing architecture, thermal baths and Danube River cruises. Read on and check out these fun facts about Budapest now!
Along the banks of the mighty River Danube sits the breathtaking European city of Budapest.
Established in 1883, Budapest marked the joining of three towns – Old Buda, Buda, and Pest – into one great city. It was also the co-capital of the powerful Austro-Hungarian empire until its collapse in the early 1900s.
Today, the city is rich with history, amazing architecture, and a killer nightlife. From famous composers to a mummified hand, there are so many fun facts about Budapest too. Trust us, this is a city that will really surprise you!
Budapest is one of the most visited cities in Europe with around 30 million tourists each year.
The Danube River splits the city in half, and the bridges that span the river make Budapest and its shores some of the most picturesque in all of Europe. Many of the main buildings, including the Hungarian Parliament, are built along the banks of the Danube and feature staircases leading down to the river’s edge.
Unique to Budapest is the geothermal activity that occurs underneath the city. Over 100 mineral springs are utilized for the world-famous Budapest thermal baths. This is where locals and tourists alike lounge in warm waters and relax after a busy day of work or sightseeing.
Are you ready to learn more about this fascinating city? Then keep on reading for some more Budapest facts that’ll make you say “wow!”
16 Fun Facts About Budapest, Hungary
1. A tale of three cities
Budapest originally formed in 1873 when the three cities of Old Buda, Buda, and Pest decided to amalgamate. This brought all three settlements from opposite sides of the river together as one city.
In present day, Buda is known as a more forested and suburban part of the city. Pest is known for the hustle and bustle and includes the business and nightlife districts. The Pest side of the city is where tourists tend to stay – there are more things to do on this side too!
2. A world-renowned music festival
The Sziget Music Festival is the event of the summer in Budapest. Thousands of party-goers set up tents on the forested Hajógyári Island on the Danube River and listen to some of the world’s biggest acts.
Over the years the festival has seen performances from the Chemical Brothers, Ed Sheeran, Post Malone and Prince to name just a few legends.
3. The most important river in Europe
You can’t travel to Budapest without noticing the mighty Danube River running through the center of the city. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe and snakes through 10 different countries.
Vienna, Linz, Belgrade and Bratislava are just some of the cities along its banks. Budapest is one of the most popular stops on the Danube River cruises which bring millions of tourists to the city each year.
4. The Paris of Eastern Europe
Known for its breathtaking fairy-tale architecture and numerous bridges across the river, Budapest has earned the nickname “The Paris of Eastern Europe”. When you come here it’s very easy to see why – it is such a stunning city.
There are 7 major bridges in Budapest spanning the Danube. These include the Chain bridge, and the Margaret Bridge, which is famous for having a sharp bend in its center.
5. The world-famous composers of Budapest
Being an epicentre for culture and art for centuries, Budapest has produced some of the most famous creatives in classical music history.
The famous composers Franz Liszt and Bela Bartok were both born in Hungary. This is the city where they first made a name for themselves. The city still holds on to its musical culture and often musicians in the street will be paying homage to these revered composers.
6. The most beautiful parliament in the world?
As the capital city of Hungary, Budapest is home to the Hungarian Parliament. Sitting on the eastern bank of the Danube, the building which opened in 1902 was designed by architect Imre Steindl in a neo-Gothic style.
It’s dramatic arches and sheer scale make it one of Budapest’s most popular tourist destinations. Its most impressive feature is the central hall which is built in the shape of a hexadecagon. That’s 16-sides! Arguably, this is could be the most beautiful parliament building in the world. We’ve been ourselves and it’s absolutely stunning.
7. A complicated language
This is definitely one of the most interesting facts about Budapest. The Hungarian language is notoriously tough to learn. Hungarian is most closely related to Finnish, which in geography terms makes no sense at all.
The origins of this unique language are famously a little murky. However, if you find yourself in Budapest, most people speak a small amount of English to help you get by. The Hungarians have a good sense of humor about their tongue-twisty language, so you will get extra points for giving it a try!
8. A world class zoo in the center of the city
The Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens is consistently ranked as one of the top 50 zoos in the world. Located in Varosliget Park in the city center, the zoo is one of the oldest ever, opening on August 9th, 1866. The zoo was destroyed in the Second World War in the Siege of Budapest, but was rebuilt in 1945.
9. Make sure to pack your swimsuit
The people of Budapest, and Hungarians in general, are crazy about swimming. The city of Budapest has dozens of public pool facilities to swim in.
Some of the most successful Olympic swimmers train at the national facility on Margaret Island in Budapest, including Budapest-born and 2020 Olympic butterfly champion Kristof Milak and three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu.
10. Rest and relaxation in the thermal baths
After doing a few laps in the pool, it’s time to soak away your troubles in Budapest’s famous thermal baths. With over 100 ancient springs bubbling up under the city of Budapest, the locals have tapped into the water source and designed an elaborate network of baths.
After a long walk through the city, many tourists come to relax their joints and absorb the spring water’s healing minerals and steam. There’s nothing quite like hitting the spas at the end of a long day sightseeing!
11. An eclectic train station used in movies
The Keleti Railway Station in Budapest was opened in 1884 and its unique architecture has attracted some big-time movie makers. The station is featured in both Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2001) and Black Widow (2021). Keleti translates to East, so-called for its location within the eastern section of Budapest.
12. Maybe you’re feeling a little Hungary?
With a unique food culture and hundreds of restaurants, Budapest is a food lover’s dream. Being along the Danube River, where fishing is an important industry, Budapest is known for its fisherman’s soup called halászlé.
But beware, this fish soup is loaded with spicy paprika! There is no better place to eat this dish than along the banks of the Danube in Budapest. Just make sure you are ready for the spicy kick. It is absolutely delicious though.
13. Take in an aria at the Opera Ball
1884 was a big year for grand openings in Budapest. Along with the Keleti Railway Station, the Hungarian State Opera also opened that same year. The opera house is home to the Budapest Opera Ball, a tradition dating back to 1886.
The ball consists of opera performances and the theatre is converted into a sweeping ballroom for the echelon of Budapest society to mingle and dance and give to charity.
14. Budapest’s darkest days
WWII brought death, destruction and starvation to the people of Budapest. Allied with Nazi Germany, Budapest was attacked by allied forces in The Siege of Budapest which occurred from October, 29th 1944 to February 13th 1945. In total during the siege, 38,000 Hungarians tragically lost their lives.
15. The flag of the city
In 2011, Budapest adopted a new municipal flag to represent the city. The flag includes 22 red and green triangles on a white background and the Budapest Coat of Arms.
The coat of arms consists of two castles representing Old Buda, Buda and Pest, the Danube River, a lion, a griffin, and the Holy Crown of Hungary.
16. ⅓ of the population of Hungary
Budapest is a huge city in Hungarian terms. Not only is it the centre for commerce, business, industry and culture, it also makes up 33% of the population of the entire country.
As of 2020, the population of the city is 1.8 million. This swells even higher when including the suburbs and surrounding countyside. The city really is a big place!