Discover Budapest’s all famous landmarks and the historic Jewish quarter with its popular ruin bars
Discover Budapest’s great monuments, elegant 19-century architecture, amazing panoramic views and explore the Jewish quarter home to Europe’s largest Synagogue and the popular ruin bars.
Budapest’s historic Jewish quarter was once home of one of Europe’s largest Jewish communities that was turned into a gloomy ghetto in 1944. Nowadays this area is also famous for its dozens of ruin bars started here around the Millennium. We start our Grand Tour by exploring the Jewish quarter on a 1,5-hour walking tour. During this tour you will see synagogues, including the Dohany Street Synagogue the largest one in Europe, memorials, historic buildings, you will learn about the Hungarian Jewish history and you will also have the chance to have a look inside a popular ruin bar. After the tour, we visit Heroes square – the largest square of Budapest – and the Millennium Monument commemorating the 1000 year anniversary of the arrival of the Magyars tribes. We also take a short tour in the neighboring City Park, home of the Zoo, Szechenyi Thermal Bath, and Vajdahunyad Castle. Then we drive along the World Heritage Andrassy Avenue often referred to as Budapest Champs Elysee, where you will see the Opera House and beautiful 19th-century palaces. We stop at the imposing Saint Stephen’s Basilica and the magnificent Hungarian Parliament building, the two tallest and largest buildings of Hungary. Then we visit the Shoes on the Danube bank holocaust memorial located on the riverbank near the Hungarian Parliament building. We cross the river Danube over to Buda and start exploring the historic Buda Castle. During the tour along the cobblestone streets, we stop at the iconic Matthias church and the Fisherman’s Bastion, where you will enjoy a spectacular view. If we have time we may add an additional stop at the Royal Palace, where you may see the changing of the guards. At last, we drive to the top of Gellert hill, where you will see the Citadel and the Liberty Statue and you will enjoy the fabulous view of Budapest.
- Explore the historic Jewish quarter with Europe’s largest synagogue and the popular ruin bars on a 1,5-hour walking tour.
- Visit Heroes Square and the Millenial Monument
- Take a tour in the City Park home of the Zoo, the Szechenyi Thermal Bath, and Vajdahunyad Castle
- Drive along the World Heritage Andrassy Avenue and view the Opera House
- View the imposing Saint Stephen’s Basilica
- View the magnificent Hungarian Parliament building
- Visit the Shoes on the Danube Bank Memorial
- Explore the historic Buda Castle, view Matthias Church, the Fisherman's Bastion and the Royal Palace
- Explore Gellert Hill view the Citadel, the Liberty statue and enjoy the fabulous view of Budapest
Tour duration: 6 hours
Driving distance: 25 km
Difficulty level: medium
Tour type: private tour
Guide: private English speaking guide
MAR-NOV at 10 AM
Check-in 15 min before departure time
Budapest Scooter Tour office 1053 Budapest Vámház körút 10 (the office is inside the courtyard of the building)
Great Market Hall
The spectacular Great Market Hall is a good source of Hungarian products. You can also make it a pit-stop for a quick bite of traditional Hungarian food when touring the city. Shop with the locals for sausages, meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and pastries. Fancy bottles of Tokaji, a variety of paprika and handicrafts are also available.
Originally named after Emperor Franz Joseph today called Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd) was built between 1894 and 1896. Opened in the year of the Millennium and was officially completed when Emperor Franz Joseph inserted the last silver rivet into its iron structure. The top of each of the bridge’s pillars is decorated with a 'Turul' bird, the mythical bird of Hungary.
One special feature of the Jewish quarter in Budapest was its labyrinth of interconnected buildings that linked distant streets through a chain of internal courtyards. Buildings were constructed so as to allow pedestrians access through their courtyards, shortening the distances between important destinations such as the synagogue. Later, shops also opened in the courtyards. The largest and most beautiful of these buildings is the Gozsdu courtyard.
Here, at the edge of the old Jewish quarter stands a fascinating building. The enormous brick building with its vaulted arches encircles the square known as Madách tér, continuing inwards on both sides. It is claimed that the giant arch of this mammoth building was originally intended to be the gateway to another grand avenue, which would have run parallel to Andrássy út and the neighboring Király street. However, this avenue was never constructed. The plans were ready and approved by 2nd of June 1914 and that did not prove to be the best of timings. Only a month and a half later the First World War got underway, and the plans for Elizabeth Avenue were locked away for the next 15 years. Then, as some of the neighbouring buildings were demolished, great plans were drawn again. This time, things looked much more promising. In 1937 the avenue’s grand opening, this enormous brick building was erected, and more construction work was to follow. But fate intervened once again, in the form of another world war. And this war brought heavy destruction with it, after which reconstruction was needed much more than a new avenue. Though the plans remained in effect for more than a decade, nothing actually was done to move the project forward. Finally, in 1957, new city plans were drawn and this time the plans for this other grand avenue were left out. Today only the grand opening remains as a worthy memento of the great plans.
Rumbach street Synagogue
The synagogue was designed by Otto Wagner a leading architect of the Viennese Secession. It was built in Moorish style and known also as the Small Synagogue.
Dohany street Synagogue
Dohany Street Synagogue is among the most beautiful in the world. This monumental building, built in the Moorish style, is the largest functioning synagogue in Europe, and the second-largest in the world after the Temple Emanu-El in New York. It was designed by the renowned Viennese architect Ludwig Förster
The memorial tree stands in the cemetery garden behind the Great Synagogue, where approximately 2,000 Jewish martyrs are buried. It stands as a reminder to all that, in December 1944, this was the location of the Budapest ghetto, into which 70,000 people were crowded, robbed of their possessions and their rights. The weeping willow, which is the work of sculptor Imre Varga, was erected by the Emmanuel Foundation in memory of the Jews who died in the ghetto, or who were deported or murdered. Each leaf of the tree bears the name of a victim.
In the past Klauzál tér was the bustling center of the Jewish Quarter. Even today, a kosher butchery and a kosher wine shop operate in the square, which only opens on Friday mornings, making it possible to procure everything necessary for observing the Sabbath. However, the history of Klauzál tér is overshadowed by its role as the site of the Budapest ghetto during the Second World War. To this day, the former walled ghetto quarter bears the scars of those dark times. Over the past decades, life has returned even to this part of the city. Today the square contains a children’s playground, and on Saturday afternoon there is a market, while there is a growing number of restaurants and nightspots, which are proving to be popular.
The Klauzal square market hall in the square is the little brother of the one at Fővám tér, at the foot of Liberty Bridge. It was built at the turn of the century, together with the rest of Budapest’s market halls, in an attempt to put an end to street traders and disorderly city-center markets.
The once imposing structure with three hundred retail outlets was renovated in 1987 and then in 2015. The building is accessible through the main entrances at Klauzál Square and Akácfa Street, and customers can go to the brand new mezzanine level by stairs, escalator or elevator. In addition to farmers’ tables and display cabinets, numerous catering units, fine bakeries, as well as traditional artisans and suppliers will await.
Kazinczy street Synagoge
The Kazinczy street synagogue is the most important place of worship for Budapest’s orthodox Jewish community. Its street frontage is an outstanding monument to late Hungarian art-nouveau architecture. Of all the synagogues of the Pest Jewish community, which separated into several branches in 1868, this was the last to be constructed, in 1913. It was designed by the Löffler brothers.
Szimpla Kert "ruin bar"
Szimpla Kert - Simple Garden is the most well-known example of a peculiar Budapest formation, alternative bars created in the inner courtyards of atmospheric out of use buildings. Here, besides simply enjoying a drink or two, it is also possible to attend concerts or even watch films in its outdoor movie theatre. Since the millennium similar bars have opened in the courtyards of derelict and abandoned apartment buildings all over the neighborhood. Known as “ruin bars,” they tend to have a short lifespan, and only operate until the fate of the building has been decided and the bulldozers roll in, leaving the organizers to seek a new venue. Today, these bars in the Jewish quarter represent a special and constantly changing, feature of Budapest’s nightlife.
Getto wall memorial
The Getto wall memorial was opened in 2014. It stands on Dohany street where the former ghetto wall lined in 1944.
New York Café
This historical building is one of the most renowned art Nuovo style cafes with beautiful decor.
St Elisabeth Church
The neogothic church standing on Rózsák tere - (Square of Roses) - takes its name from the legend connected with St. Elisabeth.
Heroes’ Square is the largest and most impressive square in the city. The Millennium Monument standing in the middle of the square was erected in 1896 to commemorate the 1000-year-old history of Magyars. The Museum of Fine Arts is located on the north side of the square. The Kunsthalle (Hall of Art), an exhibition hall for the contemporary arts, is on the south side.
City Park & Vajdahunyad Castle
City Park provides a great escape from the bustle of the city. The 1896 Millennium Celebrations took place here, leaving many attractions behind.
The castle was built to show the various architectural styles of Hungary and has Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque parts. There is a boating lake next to the castle, which is turned into an ice skating rink in the winter.
Although it may look like a Baroque palace, Széchenyi Baths (Széchenyi fürdő) is the largest medicinal bath and one of the largest public baths in Europe. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the healing waters, or to take a few laps in the swimming pool. The Széchenyi is a favorite for both locals and tourists alike.
Andrassy Avenue & The Millenium Underground
This elegant avenue, recognized as a World Heritage Site, is often referred to as Budapest's Champs-Elysées. It is also called cultural avenue, as the Opera House, Pest's best theaters, the Academy of Music, and many museums are either on the avenue or just off of it. Andrássy Avenue is great for walks alongside the beautiful turn-of-the-century buildings or people-watching in one of the many cafés.
The first subway line in mainland Europe, the Millennium Underground in Budapest, opened in 1896. The line is still in use and it runs along Andrássy Avenue. In 2002 the Millennium Underground was added to the World Heritage Sites.
Hungarian State Opera House
The State Opera House, considered to be among the best in the world. It was built in the 1880s and stands as one of the most prestigious musical institutions in Europe.
St. Stephen's Basilica
It took more than 50 years to build the Basilica, the largest church in Budapest. The building commenced in 1851 and the inauguration ceremony took place in 1906. The patron saint of the church is St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary. Visit the dome's observation deck for a beautiful panoramic view of Budapest.
The Parlament, a magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture, is just over 100 years old. It's the third-largest Parliament building in the world and is also home to the Hungarian Crown Jewels. Guided tours are available in different languages.
Shoes on the Danube bank memorial
A walking path runs from near the Parliament to the Chain Bridge right on the bank of the Danube. Here, near the water, you find a pile of abandoned shoes, apparently in no particular, yet somehow still ominous arrangement. The shoes are all made of bronze, and their owners will never come back for them. This memorial, so effective in its simplicity, serves the memory of those Budapest Jews – many of them innocent children, women, and elderly – who were mercilessly shot into the Danube by the thugs of the fascist Arrow Cross Party in the fall of 1944. Before they were shot, the executors made them remove their shoes, a valuable item to be had at the time.
Chain Bridge was the first bridge to permanently connect Buda and Pest. At the time of its completion, Chain Bridge was considered to be one of the wonders of the world. Chief engineer Adam Clark completed the span in 1849. Crossing the bridge is just a short walk and no matter which direction you go, the view is beautiful.
This World Heritage Site is the oldest neighborhood in the city. Its unique atmosphere with beautiful ancient buildings such as the Mathias Church, The Fishermen's Bastion, The Royal Palace, silent courtyards, twisted, narrow cobblestone streets, and superb views make it the most important architectural heritage and a top destination of Budapest.
The 700-year-old Matthias Church was the scene of several coronations, including that of Charles IV in 1916, the last Habsburg king. It was also the site for the great Hungarian King Matthias' two weddings, hence its name. The eastern gate of the church was built in the 13th century. Today, Matthias Church remains one of the city's most prominent buildings.
Fisherman's Bastion is one of the most fascinating sights on Castle Hill. Although fishermen from Watertown (Víziváros) reputedly defended this part of the city during the Middle Ages, Fishermen’s Bastion was built in the 1890s and it’s purely decorative. Today, it's a favorite lookout.
The Royal Palace
The first royal residence on Castle Hill was built in the 13th century, after the Mongolian invasion. Construction continued in the 15th century, following the marriage of King Matthias Corvinus and Beatrix of Naples in 1476. Many Italian artists and craftsmen accompanied the new queen, bringing the Renaissance style to Buda. The palace was completely destroyed when liberating Buda from the Turks. In the 18th century, a Baroque palace was built, which is identical to the core structure of the present-day palace. During the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the palace gave a home to lavish ceremonies symbolizing peace between the dynasty and the nation.
Gellert Hill (Gellért-hegy) offers some of the best panoramic views of Budapest. The hill was named after bishop Gellért (Gerald), who was thrown to death from the hill by pagans in the fight against Christianity in 1046.
At the top of the hill is the Citadel (Citadella), a fortress built by the Habsburgs after defeating Hungary's War of Independence in 1849. It was a prime, strategic site for shelling both Buda and Pest in the event of a future rebellion.
Statue of Liberty (Szabadság Szobor) - Budapest's Statue of Liberty stands on top of the hill, and she can be seen from all parts of the city. The statue was erected in 1947 during the Communist era. As Liberty had already become a symbol of the city, she was not removed unlike other Communist icons, such as the Red Army soldier who used to stand at her feet, allowing us to see her in her original surroundings.
Probably the most elegant bridge in Budapest was named in honor of Queen Elisabeth, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph. The original suspension bridge was built at the end of the 19th century, but the damage sustained in World War II left the bridge beyond repair. Using the old pillars, a new bridge was built in the 1960s.
The Hungarian National Museum
The Hungarian National Museum (Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum) is the oldest public museum in Hungary. The museum's present building was built between 1837 and 1847, and it stands as a great example of Neo-Classicist architecture. Founded 200 years ago, the museum is dedicated to the history of Hungary and today it remains a symbol of Hungary's national identity. The permanent exhibition includes furniture, textiles, weapons, metalwork, and ceramics. One of the most valuable items is the Coronation Mantle (the Crown Jewels are on display in Budapest's Parlament).
Budapest Scooter Tour
All our tours start and finish at Budapest Scooter Tour office at 1053 Budapest Vámház körút 10. The office is inside the courtyard of the building
50 cc scooter with safety helmet
3-rd party liability insurrance
English speaking tour guide
Radio with a headset
Services indicated in the tour programme
Meals, drinks, admission tickets are nt included only if explicitly specified in the tour programme
Valid Photo ID (EU citizens only) or passport (Non EU citizens)
Valid driver's licence
50cc: Car or Moped licence
125cc: Motorcycle licence EU A1 or international equivalent
50 cc scooters are only for 1 person, it is forbidden to carry a passenger
The tour participant drives the scooter at his/her own risk. The driver is liable for damages caused to the scooter at his/her fault up to maxiumum HUF 150.000/ EUR 500. Damage is calculated according to the price list available at the office.