Budapest Parliament

The Third Largest In Europe

The commanding building of the Hungarian Parliament stretches between Chain Bridge and Margaret Bridge on the Pest bank of the Danube.

It draws your attention from almost every riverside point. The Gellért Hill and the Castle Hill on the opposite bank offer the best panorama of this huge edifice.

The Hungarian Parliament building is splendid from the inside too.

You can visit it on organised tours only, except on some national holidays when it is open to the public.

Learn about the most important facts, brief history and architecture of this magnificent building!

The Parliament illuminated at nightQuick Links: Getting to the Parliament –  Guided ToursOnline TicketsVisitor CenterOpening HoursMuseums, ExhibitionsMap of ParliamentIn Numbers Best of Budapest ParliamentHistory and ArchitectureNearby AttractionsRestaurants, Cafes

Organised Guided Tour – Online Tickets

Dates:

April-October: every day (except Mondays, holidays, special events) at 9.30 and at 13.15

November-March: every day at 13.15 (except Mondays)

Highly Recommended Since you Won’t Have to Queue for 30-60 minutes for a ticket.

A perfect way to visit the Parliament building and the Holy Crown of Hungary, is to go on an organised guided tour.

First, the group will take a walk around the impressive building dominating the renewed Kossuth tér on the Pest side of the Danube.

After seeing and learning about the Parliament from the outside, an interior tour will guide you through the famous rooms, including the Holy Crown of Hungary in the cupola hall (taking photos is not allowed there due to security reasons, other parts of the building can be photographed), and sights (session room, the magnificent staircase) of the building.

the imposing grand staircase insideGuiding is available in the following languages: English, German, Spanish, Italian, French.

Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Parliament Tour-Details

Note: prepare to stand in queue for at least 30-60 minutes in high season (My son and I were standing there for 1 hour in April 2014.)

Time and date: English-language guided tours: every day at 10:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00

Ticket Prices:

The Holy Crown of Hungary
The Holy Crown is displayed in a glass cabinet
  • for EU citizens: 26 EUR, non-EU citizens: 39 EUR
  • Students (ages 6-24) EU citizens: 13  EUR, non-EU citizens (ages 6-24): 19.5 EUR
  • children under 6: free

Pick-up is included in the price.

Buy Your Ticket Online

Buying Tickets Offline – Ticket Office in the Visitor Center:

crown of Hungary placed on black velvetIf you don’t want to buy your ticket online you can get tickets at the ticket office in the new Visitor Center at the north side of the Parliament building at the end of Balasssi Bálint Street.

Prepare for queuing: as quoted form the institution’s official website: “Please note that purchasing tickets on the spot might take a considerable amount of time”

Opening Hours (Parliament and Ticket office):

map of Kossuth square and the Parliament
Click to enlarge map!
  • 01. April – 31. October: Mon-Fri: 8.00-18.00, Sat-Sun: 8.00-16.00
  • 01. November – 31. March: Mon-Sun: 8.00-16.00
Note: The Parliament is closed to visitors on Hungarian national and bank holidays: 01. January, 15. March, Easter Sunday and Monday, 01. May, 20. August, 23. October, 01. November, 24-26. December

After a walk around the building you will be visiting the interior of the Parliament where your guide will show you the most famous rooms, and parts of the building telling historical facts and stories.

Guiding is available in English, German, Spanish, Italian, and French.

show More on visiting the Parliament.

Getting There

Hungarian Parliament Building standing on the Danube bank in PestAddress: Kossuth Lajos tér, district V.

Since the building is centrally located in Pest city centre, right on the bank of the Danube, you have several options to get there:

  • M2 (red) metro line has a station at Kossuth Lajos tér,
  • tram No. 2 also has a stop here,
  • bus No 15,
  • trolleys No 70, 78
TIP: You can also conveniently access Kossuth Square by walk if you explore the must-see sights in district V., stroll along the riverside you’ll inevitably end up there.

orange-coloured hand pointing to the right Find out more about public transport in Budapest.

TIP: If you want to stay in a hotel near the Parliament building then read review of the Hotel Parliament and other downtown Budapest hotels.

Budapest Parliament as seen from Buda

Parliament Museum – 4 Exhibitions

entrance to the Parliament Visitor Centre and the Tisza Istvan Memorial
Entrance to the Visitor Centre and the Tisza Istvan Memorial

Four new museums with unique exhibitions await visitors mostly in the northern area of the Parliament building.

They seem quite dry and boring at first recommended primarily for history buffs and for those who are really into quirky facts, but the displays are attractive and professionally arranged with lots of hands-on, modern tools for an enhanced experience.

If you have time to spare or if it’s raining then do a quick round even if you’re with kids; they will enjoy browsing information on the touchscreen monitors and the other visual presentations.

1. The 1000 Year History of Hungarian Legislation – NEW – Reopened After 66 Years

Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday: 8.00-15.45
Tickets:

an interior from the Reform era (mid-19. century)An new museum introducing the history of the National Assembly opened on 06. March 2015. in the Visitor Center.

Originally the exhibition showcasing the history of Hungarian legislation first opened in 1929 in the building’s northern wing and the displays encompassed the collections of the Deák room in the Hungarian National Museum, as well as political pamphlets and posters.

By the 1930s it was the city’s 3rd most popular museum after the National Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. Many displayed items disappeared during World War II and the museum closed in 1942 with the hope of reopening after the war.

The communist party leaders, however put an end to this optimistic plan and terminated the museum in 1949, moving the collection to the National Museum.

The new permanent exhibition in the Visitor Centre called the 1000-year History of Hungarian Legislation is a a rich, creatively arranged display that nicely complements a visit to the Parlament.

2. History of the Construction in the No. XV. Courtyard

No. XV. is the only interior courtyard of the Parliament sunken beneath the northern main courtyard and covered with glass ceiling that houses an exhibition.

It used to gave home to a photo exhibition about the recent reconstruction and a new mock-up of the Parliament building that is still on display.

Two curiosities of the current exhibit are the red star that adorned the top of during in the Communist years and one of the copper soldiers that also functioned as lightning rods.

You can get an insight into the building’s secrets on 10 modern monitors that display the behind-the-scene story in thematic order.

The three projectors placed in the back of the room show Budapest’s major places of interests.

3. Lapidarium – Stone Collection

statues, gargoyles in the LapidariumThe collection of stones is exhibited in a former ventilation tunnel lying parallel with the 1956 Memorial & Exhibition located at the southern side of Kossuth Square.

Here you can view carvings and blocks of stonework from the facade replaced during the reconstruction.

Old and new photos showing the history of the building works in chronological order are also on display. Stone gargoyles depicting various animals and monsters greet visitors in the rotund.

4. 1956 Memorial & Exhibition

The southern ventilation tunnel under the square that used to cool the Parliament building on hot days gives home to the memorial to those who died in the bloodbath on 25. October 1956.

The 350 sqm exhibition area consists of two distinct parts that complement each other. One is a complex display about the mindless masscare that took place on Kossuth Square on 25. October on 1956.

The other, the rotund of remembrance is a place for grieving, remembering and show respect to the victims of the revolution.

The Parliament in Numbers

the dome from insideThe building is 268 m long and 118 m wide across the centre. It occupies 18.000 square metres on the surface and 473.000 cubic metres of space.

About 50 five-story apartment blocks could fit into the Parliament, just to give you an idea about its vastness.

Budapest Parliament is the third largest parliament in the world. Today it seems too big for such a small country, but at the time of its construction Hungary formed part of the Habsburg Empire, that stretched from the Tatra Mountains to the Adriatic.

The Parliament has 691 rooms. The length of all the stairs together measures about 20 kilometers. The most impressive is the grand staircase.

The building contains spacious halls. The central dome’s height reaches 96 m.

The building has 27 entrance gates. 90 statues and the coats-of-arms of various cities adorn the exterior. There are 152 statues and pictures of national fauna. The decorations needed about 40 kg 22-23 karat gold.

Best of Budapest Parliament

  • beautiful interior, gilded columnsThe Hungarian Coronation Regalia is the most prized treasure; it includes the Holy Crown, the orb, the sceptre and a Renaissance sword.
  • Other notable attractions are the numbered cigar-holders that line the window sills outside the debate chambers.
    Smoking politicians left their cigars in the holders when they went in to vote. When they returned they could easily find their cigars, if they remembered the number of the holder.
  • the impressive Grand Staircase sweeping from the main entrance to the Dome Hall
  • the imposing Dome Hall and 16 statues of Hungarian leaders in it
  • Hunters’ Hall is one of the fascinating rooms surrounding the Dome Hall from the Danube side, stunning frescoes adorn its wall
  • beautiful painted glass windows by Miksa Róth

Paintings in one of the rooms

History

In the Reform Era (second half of the 19. century) the idea of a “House of a Motherland” became more and more popular.

Constructions began in 1884 and lasted for two decades. The building  opened in 1902, although it should have been finished by 1896 for the Millennium to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Hungary’s foundation.

the Parliament and Kossuth Square in the 1940-sLeaders of the country chose the Pest bank of the Danube as location, to counterweight the Royal Palace rising high on the other side of the river.

The architect, Imre Steindl got his inspirations for the design from London’s Houses of Parliament.

After World War II the diet became single-chambered, and the government uses only a small portion of the building today.

In the communist regime a red star perched on the top of the dome that was removed in 1990.

Mátyás Szűrös declared the Hungarian Republic from the balcony facing Kossuth Lajos tér on 23rd October in 1989. The Hungarian Parliament has 386 members that are elected every 4 year.

Architecture

Budapest Parliament represents one of the city’s many architectural masterpieces. Its neo-Gothic main style and the river-side location make it very similar to London’s Houses of Parliament.

The architect, Imre Steindl mixed medieval features with national and his own style. The result is an eclectic classic.

the cupola
a red carpeted staircase

The Dome

the dome of the Parliament-eastern sideA Renaissance dome crowns a neo-Gothic facade that lies on a Baroque base ground. The main cupola is decorated with statues of Hungarian kings.

Fierce turul birds guard the main entrance. The interior decor is mainly neo-Gothic.

Statues on Kossuth Square

Most of the statues in Kossuth tér park have been renewed with some new ones erected during the complex reconstruction project in previous years.

The bronze equestrian statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II. (1676 – 1735) stands on the southern side of the park.

It had been planned to erect by the 200th anniversary of the death of Rákóczi but the work was only finished in 1937. The statue was renewed during the recent renovation of Kossuth tér.

The Kossuth Memorial – Statue of Lajos Kossuth (1802-1896), Governor of Hungary’s first independent government during the 1848-1849 Revolution and War of Independence. The other 8 figures – 4 to the left 4 to righ of Kossuth – are from the Batthyány-government.

The current memorial, inaugurated in March 2015, is the replica of the original one created by János Horvay and erected in 1927. The original memorial was demolished in the Communist regime in 1951 becuse it was deemed too melancholic and pessimist.

Statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II.
Statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II.
Memorial of Lajos Kossuth
Memorial of Lajos Kossuth
Statue of Count Gyula Andrássy, former prime minitser, southern side

The 6,5 m high bronze equestrian statue of Count Gyula Andrássy (1823-1890, prime minister of Hungary between 1867-71) on the southern side of the Parliament is a replica of the original one by György Zala erected in 1904.

The new memorial was inaugurated in May 2015.

Other Attractions Nearby

Due to the central location of the parliament you will find a couple of sights and attractions in its vicinity.

Museum of Ethnography (Néprajzi Múzeum)

Hungarian Ethnography Museum exteriorAddress: Kossuth Lajos tér 12., V. district, behind the Parliament building
Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 10.00-18.00
Tickets: Combined ticket for permanent and temporary exhibitions: 1 400 HUF, students (aged between 6 and 26), pensioners (aged between 62-70): 700 HUF
Website

The elegant Neo-renaissance palace opposite the Parliament houses the Hungarian Ethnography Museum. It is one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

It boasts a rich collection of Hungarian folk artifacts (cc. 200 000) , photos, manuscripts, and recordings of folk music. The museum regularly houses temporary exhibitions on interesting themes.

orange-coloured hand pointing to the right You’ll find other Budapest Museums on this page.

Statue of Imre Nagy, Vértanúk tere

Statue of Imre Nagy on a wooden bridge
Statue of Nagy Imre – prime minister during the 1956 revolution for independence

Imre Nagy’s Hungary’s prime minister’s during the 1956 October 23rd revolution, statue stands on a small bridge facing the Parliament Building on Vértanúk tere.

Szabadság tér – (Liberty Square)

Szabadság tér is just a short walk south east of the Parliament building. Some great buildings of architectural value flank this pleasant green spot. The statue of former US president, Ronald Reagan guards the end of the square.

Accommodation TIP: There’s a very nice hotel at the southern side of the park, the IberoStar Grand Hotel Budapest, a 5-star boutique hotel with a great resturant.

Szabadsag Ter in Summer, a Fountain
An Interactive Fountain on Szabadság Square
Russian war memorial

bronze statue of Ronald Reagan on Szabadsag ter
Statue of Ronald Reagan: walking from the Parliament building towards the Embassy of the USA

Falk Miksa Street – An Avenue for Art Lovers

Falk Miksa Street in autumnFalk Miksa utca is a charming street starting at the northern part of the Parliament and taking you to Szt. István körút on Grand Boulevard.

Almost every other building houses an Antique Shop or Gallery, so if you want to pick up some great Art deco, baroque or modern artwork at affordable price.

The street has a new attraction, a Columbo statue (according to an urban legend Peter Falk was a great-grandson of Miksa Falk – a 19. century Hungarian writer and politician, chief editor of the German Pester Lloyd newspaper) was added in late 2013.

Here are some of the best antique shops and galleries in the street:

Virág Judit Gallery & Auction House

Address: Falk Miksa u. 30, V. district

Website: Virág Judit Gallery

Kieselbach Gallery & Auction House

Address: Szent István körút 5.

For serious art collectors: rare paintings, graphics, mostly late 19-early 20. century.

MissionArt Gallery

Address: Falk Miksa u. 30, V. district

Mainly Hungarian paintings form the late 19. – early 20. century: Nagybánya School,

Where to Eat in the Area

Terraced cafes in a street near the Parliament

The neighbourhood, being in the herat of Budapest, is packed with restaurants and cafes with terraces where you can enjoy a good meal or just drink in pleasant weather.

I highy recommend two new cafes (Elysée and Liberté)  that both wish to bring back some of the city’s once-grand cafe culture.

New: Szamos Cafe, Cake Shop & Chocolate Museum

Address: Kossuth tér 10., district V.
Opening hours: Cafe: Mon-Fri: 7.30-19.00, Sat-Sun: 9.00-19.00 Museum: Mon-Sun: 10.00-18.00
Admission to the museum: 980 HUF – incl. tasting of a marzipan and a chocolate bonbon
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The newly opened Szamos Cafe (June 2016) is a modern, urban cafe, cake shop and  and Chocolate Museum right at Kossuth tér in place of the former Parlament Cafe.

It’s part of the Szamos chain, a family owned group of confectioneries and cafes at several places in the capital and other Hungarian towns.

the galloping horse inl drawing at the stair sinside Szamso TodayThey’re known for their traditional local cakes (Eszterházy torte, Dobos torte, Pozsonyi crescents) pastries and chocolate bonbons made according to family recipes.

I wouldn’t say they have the best Hungarian cakes in town, because I think there are places that offer way better (Daubner, Asztalka, Édes Sári, Porcukor, Gerbeaud, Auguszt) but this new shop – geared more toward tourists – has a vibrant, youthful vibe making it a pleasant place to take a rest after all the walking and sightseeing.

In the spirit of their new  slogen “More than sweet” , besides the sweets  you can have breakfast, brunch or a light dinner at Szamos Cafe.

selection of cakes, pastries behind a glass counter The cafe has a fresh, trendy interior: on the wall next to the staircase leading up to the gallery you can see a bold, extravagant ink drawing: a galloping horse by Hanna Kürthy artist.

The gallery is for those who prefer the more traditional atmosphere of other Szamos shops.

Here you can eat a la carte at elegantly set tables, (the ground floor is self service). ideal for a leisurely afternoon tea or business meeting.

The upper level is dedicated to the Chocolate Museum: an exhibition of around 1500 pieces related to chocolate manufacturing and the confectionery trade, collected by the family members for several decades.

A terrace is of course a must in this part of downtown.

Café Biarritz

terrace of the Biarritz restaurantAddress: Kossuth tér 18. 1055, district V.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 9.00-22.00
Tel: +36 1 311 4413
Website

One of the best restaurants in the city center. The seasonal menu offers Mediterranean-style grill food, fresh salads, there is also weekly menu.

The wine dinners are great opportunities to taste the best of Hungarian wines.

Elysée Bistro & Cafe

Address: Kossuth tér 13-15., district V.

The terrace of Elysée Bistro
The terrace of Elysée Bistro

Elyséee was one of the several grand coffee houses operating at Kossuth square during the 1920-30s. After the war and during the communist era these places either closed up or went to decline.

The new Elysée opened in 2015 just across the Parliament with contemporary Hungarian and French cuisine, coffee and breakfast dishes.

There’s a 2-course daily menu for 1 890 HUF, a weekly changing menu of seasonal dishes (prices around 1 500-4 200 HUF), as well as á la carte delicacies: some really good local fare: goulash soup ( 1 550 HUF), or veal stew (4 280 HUF). Desserts are splendid too.

The cafe has modern yet warm interior and the large terrace is just perfect for sitting around while nursing a cup of coffee.

Prices are not cheap but this expected in the neighbourhood.

Liberté Cafe

Address: Aulich utca 8., district V.
Open: Mon-Sun: 8.00-24.00

Liberté, that opened in December 2015, aims to revive the classic coffee house atmosphere Budapest was famous for at the beginning of the 20th century.

Don’t expect smoke-filled, dark grand coffee house interior though: Liberté is spacious, airy and the decor is ’70s America style with lots of white, brown and black.

The result is laid-back, elegant, cosy.

The name comes from the previous cafe’s name that operated here: Szabadság Kávéház (szabadság is liberté in French) a famous historic place that was the haunt of such literary geniuses like Endre Ady.

Liberté has an excellent location: just a short walk from Kossuth Square and right next to Szabadság Square, and just a couple of minutes from Nyugati Train Station on Grand Boulevard/Nagykörút.

It is a very pleasant breakfast place in the morning that turns into restaurant/bistro for lunch and dinner. Coffee is very good – not the run of the mill black drink you get in most cafes but made from freshly roasted, high-quality beans.

teh ground floor of Liberté cafe photographed from the galleryCoffee enthusiasts will find flat white (740 HUF), and even filter coffee (Hario V60, 770 HUF) on the menu or specialties like espresso tonic (a shot of espresso with tonic water) or espresso Fentimans (made with Fentimans tonic).

There’s also a brunch served between 10.00 and 16.00. The cuisine is international with a touch of Hungarian influence thrown in here and there.

Breakfast choice is ample: both the health conscious and those who like to have more substantial first meal will find something.

Desserts are worth a try too: French and American delicacies (Strawberry cheese cake, chocolate chip cookie, mille feuille, tiramisu, Sacher torte, various tarts

Prices: coffee drinks: 470 – 990 HUF, breakfast: 470 – 2 500 HUF, main dishes: 3 000 – 6000 HUF, desserts: 800 – 1 500 HUF.

Café Picard

Cafe PicardAddress: Falk Miksa u. 10., district V.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 7.30-22.00, Sat-Sun: closed
Tel: +36 473 0939

Quiet café with warm atmosphere. Great variety of sandwiches and salads.

You can choose what to put inside your sandwich.
orange-coloured hand pointing to the right See more cafe recommendations.

Culinaris Gourmet Food Store and Restaurant

Culinaris Gourmet Food Store and RestaurantAddress: Balassi Bálint u. 7, Budapest 1055, district V., a short walk north of the Parliament building

Opening hours: restaurant: Mon-Sat: 8.00-15.00, Sunday: 10.00-15.00, store: Mon-Fri: 9.00-20.00, Sunday: 10.00-18.00

A great place to have breakfast or a light lunch made from fresh, seasonal ingredients.

The store has all sorts of food stuff from all over the world (dairy and bakery products, spices, chocolates and sweets, beverages, meat products etc.).

orange-coloured hand pointing to the right See also our page about Best Restaurants in Budapest, or our recommendation of Hungarian Restaurants in Budapest.

Other Must-See Sights & Attractions: Buda CastleSt. Stephen’s BasilicaDohány Street SynagogueHeroes’ SquareNew York Palace Budapest

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