How to Visit the Hungarian Parliament Building: A Guide to Visiting the Parliament Building in Budapest, Including How to Buy Tickets, Restrictions on Tours, and What You’ll See (Including the Hungarian Crown). Also Includes the 6 Best Views of the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest.
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One of the most iconic buildings in the world, Budapest’s stately parliament stands sentry on the east bank of the Danube, delighting locals and visitors alike with its impressive views.
And while almost all visitors catch a glimpse of the parliament’s remarkable exterior during their time in Budapest, it’s also possible to visit the interior of the building, which is equally – although differently – beautiful.
If you’re coming to Budapest and planning to visit the Hungarian parliament building, this guide has all you need to know:
- Where is the Budapest Parliament Building
- How to Visit the Parliament Building in Budapest (and What You’ll See)
- How to Buy Tickets for the Parliament Building
- Tour Restrictions and Need to Know Info
- Is it Worth Visiting (our Personal Experience)
- Where to Get the Best Photos of the Budapest Parliament Building
Where is The Budapest Parliament Building?
The building sits on the east bank of the Danube, on the Pest side of the city, at Kossuth Lajos Square, which is north of the famous Chain Bridge, and south of Margaret Bridge. At the north end of Budapest’s 5th District, it’s in a tony, government-focused area of the city filled with wide boulevards and pretty cafés.
The Visitor’s Centre sits at the north end of the square, and is underground. Look for the wide set of stairs, and you’ll find the ticket office and the jumping off point for all tours entering the parliament building. The centre is open during the high season (April 1 to October 31) from Monday to Sunday, 8am to 6pm, and in low season (November 1 to March 31) from Monday to Sunday, 8am to 4pm.
How to Visit the Budapest Parliament Building (& What You’ll See)
Entrance to the Budapest Parliament building is by guided tour only, which makes sense: this is a working government building, so we can understand why they don’t want masses of unaccompanied people wandering around.
Tours last approximately 45 minutes, with the option to spend more time in the small museum at the end of the tour. If you’ve pre-booked your ticket, you need to arrive about 15 minutes in advance of your reservation. If you haven’t pre-booked your ticket, expect to wait up to one hour to purchase tickets, especially in high season.
Once the tour begins, you’ll visit a few different sections of the building. The highlights include the old Upper House Hall, a mirror image of the house the parliament currently sits in at the other end of the building, and the cupola room, which houses the Hungarian Crown Jewels and the Hungarian Holy Crown.
How to Buy Tickets to the Budapest Parliament
Unfortunately, entrance to the Hungarian Parliament building is not included in the Budapest Card, so if you want to go inside, you’ll have to pay.
As far as we know, private guides aren’t allowed to lead tours in the building, so you’re left with the choice of buying an online ticket in advance, or simply showing up and getting in line. In the off-season, the second option is a fairly safe bet, and you’re unlikely to have to wait too long. In high season, however, the line-ups/queues get a bit out of hand, and your best bet is to book online for a specific day and time slot.
If you choose to book online, note that prices are different for EU citizens (with valid ID) and non-EU citizens, so be sure to choose the correct ticket option at checkout. You also have your choice of tour language: English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.
If you do book online, you will need to print your ticket and bring a paper copy with you. Ideally, you’ll do this at home before you arrive in Hungary. If for some reason you need to print it in Budapest, there are multiple Copy Guru shops around the city where you can print the tickets from email or a USB thumb drive.
Interested in Visiting the Budapest Parliament Building?
Hungarian Parliament Tours: Restrictions and Further Info
Tours start from the visitors center in the north end of Kossuth Lajos tér. If you purchased a ticket online, you need to bring a printed, paper copy of it. A few more notes about the tour:
- You need to bring your passport or national ID card, which will be checked at security. If you’re from outside of the EU, bring your passport just to be safe.
- You’ll have to go through security before the tour begins. This includes a metal detector for yourself, and an X-ray scanner for any bags you have. Large bags won’t be allowed through, nor will weapons of any kind. This may sound obvious, but when I visited, the person in front of me had a large knife confiscated while going through security.
Tours can be abruptly cancelled due to government events, such as state visits, and are restricted to certain times of the day when parliament is in-session.
Is It Worth It?
I visited the Hungarian parliament building with my mom, and enjoyed the experience. We lucked out on timing, and got to see the changing of the guards ceremony in the Hungarian crown room, which was a nice added touch!
Even though I enjoyed it, I knew Geoff would have hated the experience. You do have the feeling of being herded somewhat, and the tour groups are large enough that you don’t get much in the way of individual attention, or the chance to ask questions.
Where to Get the Best Photos of Budapest Parliament
If you’re prefer to stick to the outside out the building, or if you want to combine your tour through the interior with some great views (and photo opportunities) of the exterior, we’ve put together our favorite views of Budapest’s parliament building below.
Margaret Bridge (Margit híd)
Walk or take tram #4 or #6 to the middle of Margaret Bridge (south side of the bridge). You can either climb up on the stone benches or look over the bridge railings for a great view.
West Bank of the Danube
If you cross the Margaret Bridge to the Buda side of the Danube and head south along the riverbank steps, you’ll get a lovely straight on view of the parliament, with the river in the foreground. This is particularly lovely in the spring and summer around sunset, when the sky often takes on rich blues, pinks and purples.
Fisherman’s Bastion and Buda Castle District
There are some great views of the Parliament framed through the arches of Fisherman’s Bastion, and from the Castle Gardens at Buda Castle.
Statue of Imre Nagy
There’s a tiny square to the southeast of Kossuth Lajos tér that has a bridge and a statue of Imre Nagy, a Hungarian communist politician who played a key role in the 1956 revolution. Standing on the bridge, you get a great view of the parliament, with the statue providing some nice framing. Especially beautiful in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom!
Government Buildings on Kossuth Lajos tér
There are some nice photos of the parliament buidling through the archways of the Ministry of Agrigulture (Földművelésügyi Minisztérium) and the small revolution memorial (Véres csütörtök emlékhely). Bonus points for waiting for the cheerful-looking Tram #2 to come into view before snapping a photo!
This is where most tourists get their best river view of the parliament, but it’s far from the best (the view from Margaret Bridge is much better). Still, if you’re short on time, the middle of the chain bridge isn’t a bad place to stop and gawk at how beautiful Budapest is!
Gellert Hill / The Citadel
From the top of Gellert Hill, you can get some nice, albeit very distant, views of the Parliament, with the Chain Bridge, river, and city landscape in view, as well. This is more of a gorgeous view of the city as a whole than a view of parliament specifically, but you do see the parliament in the view, and it adds a nice touch.
Your best bet is to book Budapest parliament tickets/tours in advance, to avoid having to wait in line for too long. As noted above, prices are different for EU citizens (with valid ID) and non-EU citizens, so be sure to choose the correct ticket option at checkout. You also have your choice of tour language: English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.