Budapest is definitely up there with the most photogenic cities in Europe. In fact, I think one could make a pretty good case that it is the most photogenic city. There are few cities on the continent that have so many awesome photography locations.
I spent about a month based out of Budapest and I spent a significant time exploring around the city trying to find the best photo spots in Budapest. It was a bit of a mission, but it was so much fun making both the photos and exploring the city.
I hope this guide helps your photo adventures in Budapest.
The Chain Bridge
The local name for The Chain Bridge is Széchenyi Lánchíd.
And while I doubt you’ll be able to properly pronounce the local name, I’m confident you’ll be able to get a great photo of it.
There are lots of places to photograph The Chain Bridge. In fact, in this photo guide the bridge will actually be featured in images taken from all over the city. It’s just such an icon.
For simplicity, when I talk about this photo location I’m talking about being on the bridge itself. If you get your tripod onto the iron of the bridge – with a wide enough lens – you can get light trails of the cars, the bridge, and the parliament buildings in the background.
There are also some awesome lion stone carvings on the entrance to the bridge. They make for a pretty decent foreground to an image at blue hour as well.
Of course, you can also stand under and next to the bridge, but I don’t think the images have as much impact there.
The Budapest Parliament Buildings
I don’t think there are more beautiful parliament buildings in the world than the ones in Budapest.
Sat right along the Danube River, the parliament buildings are visible from so many places in Budapest. And, so many images from all over the city have the buildings featured somewhere in the frame.
In so many of the below photo locations in Budapest you’ll see the parliament buildings. So, let me instead give a different photo. Over near the Ronald Reagan monument, there’s actually a really cool perspective over a parking.
And, honestly, if you just get onto the edge of the river on the opposite side from the Parliament buildings you’ll get a great photo.
Central Market Hall
Not only is the Central Market Hall a great place to make some photos, it’s a good place to find some food.
It’s got a bit of a street market feel to it, so it kind of lends itself to more street photography. There are lots of market stalls, and interesting characters to take images of in here.
On the Buda side of the Danube River there are all sorts of awesome photo locations. One of those spots is Matthias Church.
From the outside, the tall spire of the church almost makes it a difficult photograph to make. It’s just too tall, and a wide angle lens isn’t just recommended, but essential. My image of the outside isn’t good. But it will at least give you a bit of an idea.
Inside the church there’s also this really awesome spiral staircase. A tour guide showed me this spot, and I think it just makes such a cool photo.
Buda Castle & Viewpoint
Over at Buda Castle you have some incredible views.
When the conditions are right, you can get fog over the Danube and it will lend to some spectacular moments.
I actually hiked up to Buda Castle one late morning just exploring and trying to find images to take in the fog. Then, out of nowhere the fog started to dissipate and it led to some fantastic photo moments.
The below three images were all taken from the same spot up at Buda Castle that morning.
This is another one of those viewpoint locations of Budapest that I kind of just stumbled upon.
I was looking for an angle that I could capture a photo of both the Chain Bridge and the parliament buildings in the frame. I kept climbing up these steps until I found myself just outside the Fisherman’s Castle.
The views from here are awesome for that classic Budapest image.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
If you go on a photo trip to Budapest, I highly recommend trying to go around the Christmas Markets. It’s such a fun time in the city, and there’s so much going on.
The whole pedestrian street leading up to St. Stephen’s Basilica turns into a massive market full of colour and fun. There’s even a skating rink!
St. Stephen’s is always a good photo spot. But, it’s especially good with the lights and energy of the Christmas Market.
Széchenyi Thermal Baths
Yes, I’m really recommending baths as a photo location.
On the outskirts of the Pest side of the city you’ll find Széchenyi Thermal Baths. And while you should definitely come here for a dip in the beautifully warm waters, they also make for a really interesting photo.
The waters steam in the cold air, and the architecture brims with beautiful light.
Where to Stay in Budapest
Budapest is a fairly big city, but it’s almost entirely walkable. It makes it fairly easy to get around to the various photography locations in the city.
And while a lot of the photo spots are on the Buda side of the river, you’ll be better off staying on the Pest side. Over here you have a higher density of population and better diversity of food and accommodation. It’s where the life of the city is.