Hungarian Parliament

Another Danube-side icon, the Hungarian Parliament dominates the Pest side of the river with its neo-gothic spires, gargoyles and a dome that peaks at 97 metres. Tour the building, see it from a boat or simply look over from Buda. If you take a guided tour, climb the golden staircase, and ogle the crown jewels that once belonged to Hungary’s first king (plus the rooms where the Hungarian government now meet.

Buda Castle

Crowning the capital atop Castle Hill, Buda Castle presents an architectural melting pot, with Renaissance ruins around the foundations, a grand Habsburg-era neoclassical façade, and a stark communist-style interior. The palace is divided into three museums: The Hungarian National Gallery, the Budapest History Museum and the National Széchényi Library. You could easily spend the whole day just mooching around these three. But make sure to bring a camera – the views over the river and cobbled courtyards are quite something.

 Dohány Street Synagogue

It’s hard to miss this neo-oriental building, topped as it is with two gold-dappled onion-dome turrets. Inside, the synagogue dazzles with its rare rose window, lavish gold leaf detailing and carved wood features. A poignant graveyard marks where some 2,000 Jews were killed during the Holocaust, alongside a weeping willow sculpture that bears the name of the victims on each of its leaves. Europe’s largest synagogue definitely merits a visit, but you can only go in with a guide.

St Stephen’s Basilica

This domed basilica is Budapest’s most photographed monument and its tallest building at 97 metres (tied with the Hungarian Parliament). Go inside for the spectacular frescoes and the mummified hand of Hungary’s canonised first king. Make sure you head to the viewing platform for 360-degree views over the city. For a truly magical experience, check out an organ concert.