Book Ahead: Hungarian Parliament Building

On my first night in Budapest, I walked down the Danube to see the Parliament building all lit up. I’d seen photos on Instagram and it was just as beautiful, if not more beautiful, in person. I didn’t know whether I wanted to take a tour or not, but it seemed to be “the thing” to do in Budapest so on my second to last day I’d booked a ticket in the morning and went in the afternoon.

Pro-tip: Book your tickets ahead online because they sell out in advance. If the day you want to go is sold out, check early the next morning because they always put a handful of extra tickets on sale the day of!

The Hungarian Parliament Building is the largest building in Hungary, as well as the tallest (well, it’s as tall as St. Stephen’s, but you get it). In the late 19th century an international competition was held to determine an architect for the building as Budapest was a newly formed city uniting three smaller cities. Imre Steindl won that competition and completed the building in 1904 with 100,000 workers.

The tour took us through the hallways of the building, the National Assembly in the Lower House, and we got to see the Holy Crown of Hungary, too (no photos allowed though and it’s protected by two guards at all times).

The National Assembly – where their parliament meets.

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The Main Hall

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These were left in the window sills as a reminder of the time when you were allowed to smoke inside Parliament!

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Parliament on a snowy morning.

So was it the #1 thing I liked in Budapest? Nah, but it was certainly neat to learn more about the history of Budapest and Hungary. Check out their website to buy tickets ahead of time!

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