Just as Paris has the Champs-Élysées and London has The Mall, Budapest has its own famous tree-lined boulevard, Andrássy Avenue. Stretching over 2.5km from the historic Heroes’ Square to St. Stephen’s Basilica via the Hungarian State Opera House, this picturesque avenue encompasses world-class museums, innovative art galleries, classical monuments and award-winning architecture. In fact, it’s so important that it’s been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the road – located a stone’s throw from Corinthia Hotel Budapest – may be long, if planned correctly it’s possible to visit many of Andrássy Avenue’s highlights in one day. To make things a little easier, we’ve created this sequential guide to the best things to see along the way.
Andrássy Avenue begins in the bucolic surroundings of City Park (Városliget in Hungarian). Kick-start your day with a stroll around 300 acres of gardens, lakes, museums and castles, setting aside some time to stop by the romantic lakeside Vajdahunyad Castle. On your way out, walk through Heroes’ Square, where the giant towering Millennium Monument commemorates the 1,000-year history of the Magyars.
As you head down Andrássy Avenue you’ll come across a number of charming squares. The first, Kodály Körönd, is a circle of real estate heaven, with imposing palatial townhouses surrounding a small park. The next is Oktogan, which features equally impressive architecture and multi-coloured buildings. The third, Liszt Ferenc Square, comes along at the perfect time for a coffee break and is, conveniently, full of cafés and restaurants.
Once suitably restored, venture into the nearby theatre district in Pest, also known as Budapest’s Broadway. There are a number of excellent theatres in the area, including the Budapest Operetta and Musical Theatre, which specialises in Hungarian operas and contemporary musicals.
Many of the side streets surrounding Andrássy Avenue are filled with art galleries. An essential stop for creative minds is the House of Hungarian Photographers (Mai Manó House). Here, works by the greatest established and up-and-coming Hungarian photographers are presented in the beautifully restored residence of late Imperial and Royal Court photographer, Mai Manó.he cold at bay.
Continue down Andrássy Avenue and you’ll come across the grand Hungarian State Opera House. The exterior of the striking neo-Renaissance building is a sight in itself, while inside it’s even more elaborate. With a busy programme of operas, musicals, dances and dramas, there’s always plenty going on. Time your visit to take in a matinee or book evening tickets and return for a night of top quality entertainment.
End your tour on a high at St Stephen’s Basilica, the largest church in Budapest. The magnificent Neoclassical Roman Catholic church is dedicated to Hungary’s first king, St Stephen, and houses some of the country’s most sacred treasures and artefacts. If you’re lucky, you may even catch one of the organists playing the 200-year-old organ, which features over 6,500 pipes.