Hungarian State Opera House (Magyar Állami Operaház)#14 in Best Things To Do in Budapest
Central Pest's Hungarian State Opera House has been an institution in Budapest since its opening in 1884. Featuring a neo-Renaissance style, the opera house holds more than 1,200 seats and has a reputation for its exceptional acoustics. But the building's main draw is its opulent architecture – inside and out. Marble columns, gilded vaulted ceilings, an enormous bronze chandelier, and murals and frescoes depicting Greek mythological scenes provide a romantic setting.
According to recent visitors, the opera house's exterior justifies a stop, even if you don't head inside for a guided tour. If you do decide to take a tour, keep in mind that the building is currently undergoing renovations. Some past travelers bemoaned not being able to see the auditorium during their visits.
Guided tours, which include a mini concert that consists of two arias, are offered in English at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. daily for 2,490 forints (about $10). If you have a Budapest Card, you'll receive a 20 percent discount on your tour ticket. The property is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., though exact hours for the gift shop and other on-site amenities may vary. Performances are currently unavailable while the opera house is being refurbished. To get to the building, take the metro's M1 line to the Opera station or the M3 line to Arany János utca station. Check out the Hungarian State Opera House website to learn more.
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#1 Fisherman's Bastion (Halászbástya)
Located in the historic district of Castle Hill, Fisherman's Bastion is a neo-Gothic terrace that looks like a structure taken straight out of a fairy tale. Designed and built in 1905 by Frigyes Schulek – the same architect who built the adjacent Matthias Church – Fisherman's Bastion is named after the medieval guild of fishermen who protected Budapest from invasion.
Visitors say Fisherman's Bastion's gleaming white structure provides panoramic views of the city: From here, you can snap some breathtaking pictures of the Danube River, Margaret Island and Pest. Also save time for exploring the sight's seven ornate turrets, which symbolize the tents of the seven Magyar leaders who settled the Carpathian Basin, ultimately leading to the existence of modern-day Hungary.
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