Budapest is thriving city of culture, architecture and beauty, with an extensive history and many contrasting elements. It is one of largest cities in the European Union, so there is certainly no shortage of things to see and experience. Part of the reason why it is so large is down to the glistening Danube River that divides the city into two halves. Until 1873, Budapest actually consisted of two different cities: Buda and Pest, with former being located on the west bank of the Danube and the latter on the east.
Buda will take you on a journey of ancient history, with royal palaces and Ottoman spas; whilst Pest is more cosmopolitan and features many museums and art nouveau buildings. Prior to 1849, no permanent bridge existed along the Danube. Today, there are seven renowned bridges that have collectively brought the two cities together. We take a look at five bridges to keep an eye open for whilst in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest.
Chain Bridge (Széchenyi lánchíd)
The first permanent bridge to span the Danube was the Chain Bridge, which became largest suspension bridge in the world at the time and a modern engineering wonder. Three years after the bridge opened, four stone lions were placed at the edges of the bridge. The Chain Bridge was heavily bombed during World War II, leaving only the towers and surrounding stone lions remaining. It was rebuilt in 1949 and is remains one of the most stunning and most photographed bridges in the world.
Margaret Bridge (Margit híd)
Easily distinguishable by its 35-degree angle, the Margaret Bridge not only provides a method of crossing the Danube but also allows people to visit the southern tip of Margaret Island. The island is a popular recreational area, covered in landscape parks and medieval ruins. Perfect for a picnic on a warm afternoon.
Árpád Bridge (Árpád híd)
Also linked to Margaret Island, via the northern tip, is the Árpád Bridge – the longest bridge in Hungary, spanning 928 metres. It was erected in 1950, on the site of an old bridge, which had been built by Romans to connect Acquincum with a settlement in Pest.
Petőfi Bridge (Petőfi híd)
The second southernmost bridge in Budapest was built between 1933-1937 and, like many of the other bridges within the city, was rebuilt after the Second World War. Although this may look like a standard bridge, it’s worth crossing just to get the views of Budapest to the north.
Rákóczi Bridge (Rákóczi híd)
Rákóczi Bridge is named after the Hungarian leader, Francis II Rakoczi, and is the most modern of all bridges in Budapest. This steel girder bridge opened in 1995 and carries pedestrians and cars from Buda to the new Hungarian National Theatre and the Palace of Arts in Pest. It features fantastic lighting, where mirrors reflect the beam of the upward facing floodlights.
If you would like to explore everything the wonderful city of Budapest has to offer, we can offer hotels to suit all tastes and desires. Alternatively, why not embark on a luxury Danube River cruise and experience Budapest as well as many other cities such as Vienna, Regensburg and Bratislava. Or why not combine the two with pre or post hotel stay in Budapest to compliment your river cruise? Call for more details or use our online contact form.