Budapest, A photographers guide.

18th Jan 2019

The Hungarian Parliament

Photo of Budapest, A photographers guide. by Rob Moore

Sat on the banks of the Danube River is one of Europes oldest capital cities steeped in hundreds of years of history, yet with a very modern core. Before setting off I already knew a few shots that I intended to get, so here is my guide for getting those instagram worthy shots of this truly magical city.

Day 1
The parliament building, shot from the Buda bank of the Danube.

Arriving midway through Friday, after finding the hotel right on the river front, we decided to climb up to the top of the Buda castle district to scope out a vantage point over the entire city. Although the weather was slightly cloudy due to the time of year, you can still get an unrivalled panorama of the pest side of the city.

Chain Bridge from Buda castle.

Photo of Budapest, A photographers guide. by Rob Moore

When you have finished with the vista from the front, you have the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest History Museum and the Hungarian National Library to explore as well seeing the Palace, home to the Hungarian President. If you walk back through the ancient streets of the old town you will come across Trinity Square dominated by Mathias church, just behind this you will find yourself in Fishermans Bastion. This wonderfully reconstructed wall, built at the turn of the 20th century provides you with a more unique shot as you have a wonderful frame added to shots over the river, most importantly a view over to the parliament.

Looking out over Parliament from Fishermans Bastion.

Photo of Budapest, A photographers guide. by Rob Moore

The best time to capture a city like this is always at night time, my preference is to always try to get myself as close to the river bank as possible as to create a more dynamic picture using the reflections provided by the water. The most famous shot of Budapest is that of the Parliament building from the Buda embankment but just a short walk further along the river will bring to you to the Elizabeth Bridge. If you pass under the bridge and (carefully) cross the road to get on the bank side then you will be provided with an incredible opportunity for a more special shot, also probably my favourite reworking of a classic image.

Elizabeth Bridge and Parliament at night.

Photo of Budapest, A photographers guide. by Rob Moore
Day 2

Day two started with heading over the Chain bridge to the newer part of the city, Pest. This side of the city has a much more modern feel to it, as it was modelled around that of the streets of Paris and as such you do get a sense of that lifestyle as it also has the cafe and jazz bars that you would often associate with the French capital. The finest example of this style is to be found walking down Andrássy ut, which itself was built to mirror Champs Elysees. Before you do this walk you will find close to Erzsébet ter, St Stephen's Basilica, the largest church in Budapest.

The interior of St Stephen's Basilica.

Inside you will find a lavishly decorated baroque church, probably one of the best preserved examples of this style that I have witnessed. Make sure that you check out the mummified remains of St Stephens hand located near the entrance but easily missed if you don't realise its there. Once you've visited the Basilica, as well as the surrounding area for trendy restaurants and bars make your way up to the opposite end of Andrássy Ut where you will find yourself in Varosliget park, home to the world famous Szechenyi thermal swimming baths, Budapest zoo and Vajdahunyad Vara. At the beginning of the park you will pass through Heroes Square which is amazing at night, also significantly quieter from the normal tourist traffic.

Heroes Square at night.

Photo of Budapest, A photographers guide. by Rob Moore

Thanks to the very well run public transport getting around the city is extremely easy and inexpensive (for those who don't want to walk everywhere), the 24 hour and 48 hour passes cover all modes from the subway to the trams. Getting back to central Budapest from heroes square is a quick metro journey on the historic metro one, Europes second oldest underground rail line, that has been magnificently looked after to retain its original look even with the expansion of the city. Once back you can head back to St Stephen's Basilica to get another night shot (without as many tourists). Rather that stand in the middle of the square, walk a bit further down Zrinyi utca, for an image which shows more of the surrounding architecture without pulling focus from the main building.

St Steven's Basilica at night.

Photo of Budapest, A photographers guide. by Rob Moore
Day 3

Day 3 came with a surprise snow storm which lead to some very different feeling shots. With the change in weather a change in plans was made. Next to the Parliament building there is a very powerful monument presented to remember those slaughtered in the city during world war two. The monument is situated right on the bank and is a popular tourist draw so you need to be creative with your angle to be able to give justice to the story portrayed by this humbling reminder to one of the worst instances of humans capacity for evil.

Shoes on the Danube

Photo of Budapest, Hungary by Rob Moore

Walking away from Parliament back towards Chain bridge you will get a nice shot over to Buda, including the Castle, Chain Bridge and the Liberty Statue. This is a great shot at both day or night, again as it is such an expansive shot, it is affected by what weather you face.

The view of Buda from the Pest bank.

Photo of Budapest, A photographers guide. by Rob Moore

Scattered around the city, there is an eclectic mix of statues ranging from the older stone ones to the modern bronze ones. Many of the bronze statues have folklore attached to them, as it is said if you rub certain parts of certain statues you gain good luck in an area of your life. My favourite of the Bronze statues that is of Attila Jozsef, the Hungarian poet, His statue is unique in the sense that it is a very sombre celebration of the artist who's life ended prematurely at 32. He sits near by the Shoes on the Danube tribute, so is worth a few moments of reflection here, whilst you take in the views.

The Attila Jozsef Statue

Photo of Budapest, A photographers guide. by Rob Moore

Unfortunately due to the weather and timing I was unable to shoot a few extra locations, so I will leave you with the "money shot", back on the Buda embankment you will have the opportunity to pass directly in front of the Parliament building and if you allow yourself a little time and patience you can get that perfectly symmetrical shot, done so often, but if done well will always be satisfying to look back at.

The famous shot of the Hungarian Parliament.

Photo of Budapest, A photographers guide. by Rob Moore