Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest

Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest (must see)

Set at the heart of Pest, on Andrassy Avenue, the Hungarian State Opera was officially opened to the public in 1884. Designed by Miklós Ybl, a key figure of 19th-century Hungarian architecture, this grand and elegant edifice represents a blend of Baroque, Renaissance and Revival styles and took nearly a decade to build, skillfully planted into the ensemble of affluent mansions nearby.

Although nowhere near the world's major concert halls in terms of size, the Hungarian Opera House is definitely one of the most beautiful. Flanking the building's main entrance, inside the niches, are the statues of Ferenc Erkel, author of the Hungarian National Anthem, and Ferenc Liszt, the most acclaimed Hungarian composer and reputedly one of the best pianists of his time. On the balustrade, surrounding the roof, are the 16 statues of Europe's greatest composers, such as Beethoven, Mozart, Verdi, Bizet, Puccini and Tchaikovsky. On the inside, the building is just as grand as it is on the outside, replete with marble columns and staircases, vaulted ceilings and lavish gold plating, complete with a rich chandelier weighing several tons(!), and ornate frescoes depicting scenes from the Greek mythology, not to mention the wealth of finest oil paintings and sculptures to be found in Budapest added to the decoration.

The acoustics here are said to be among the best in the world, ranked #3 in Europe after La Scala in Milan and Palais Garnier in Paris.

If you can't get a ticket or if opera isn't one of your things yet, consider taking a guided tour, run three times a day, to get a sense of what the high-society life in Budapest was like back in its heyday in the late 19th century. The tour will take you to the private balconies, smoking room, royal private staircase, and the bar area lavishly clad in crystal and Croatian marble.

Otherwise, if you're an opera fan, try to book yourself a ticket – if lucky, you just might succeed. The tickets are surprisingly not as pricey as you may think, but still, be prepared to dress up to the nines as it is a rather glamorous affair, after all.

Tip:
Combine with the nearby Mai Manó House of Photography, if only to have a look at the building from the outside.

Editor's note:
The building is being renovated until 2020, therefore Opera House performances temporarily take place at the Erkel Theatre. However, the Opera Shop and certain parts of the building can be visited even during renovation.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Budapest, Hungary within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Hungarian State Opera House on Map

Sight Name: Hungarian State Opera House
Sight Location: Budapest, Hungary
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Budapest, Hungary

Create Your Own Walk in Budapest

Create Your Own Walk in Budapest

Creating your own self-guided walk in Budapest is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It will definitely be a pity to leave Budapest without exploring local specialty shops and bringing home something authentically Hungarian. A large number of Budapest specialty shops are found on Váci street, a pedestrian thoroughfare extending for more than 15 blocks. Follow this self guided walk to search for souvenirs, unique to Budapest, that you might like as a memento of your visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Pest Introduction Walk

Pest Introduction Walk

Separated from its western neighbor Buda by the magnificent river Danube, the eastern part of Bupadest, formally known as Pest, takes up almost two thirds of the Hungarian capital. Unlike hilly Buda, Pest is predominantly a flat plain with a pretty buzzing and bourgeois setting. It houses some truly magnificent architectural sights, including the Hungarian Parliament itself. In part, this is...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Andrassy Avenue Walking Tour

Andrassy Avenue Walking Tour

Dating back to 1870 and recognized as a World Heritage site, Andrássy Avenue is a long, wide boulevard that connects Budapest's downtown with the City Park. The entire stretch is lined with cafés, restaurants, luxury shops as well as cultural institutions, villas and palaces, all making for an eclectic mix of the new and old. Take this self guided walk to explore Budapest's most famous...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Buda Introduction Walk

Buda Introduction Walk

The Hungarian capital Budapest is a relatively young city, emerged only in the late 19th century as a result of the merger of two neighboring towns - Buda on the western bank of the Danube and Pest on the eastern bank. Set on the hills, Buda represents a historic part of the city and is a home to the grand Hapsburg palace which still breathes the imperial air of old-time wealth. While in Buda -...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Ruin Pubs Tour

Ruin Pubs Tour

A truly unique attraction to the city of Budapest, ruin pubs are thriving modern establishments located inside old abandoned buildings, the inherent dereliction of their architecture adding a certain character and appeal. Inside the spots found on this self-guided tour, guests are treated to an assortment of entertainment opportunities, including, hot DJ sets, live musical acts, film screenings,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Jewish Quarter Walking Tour

Budapest's Jewish Quarter is a neighborhood filled with contradictions. Despite being the smallest, this district has the highest population density. As well as being home to a conservative Orthodox Jewish community, it's an eclectic mix of hedonistic nightlife. Of all of the city's neighborhoods, it is the Jewish Quarter that tends to leave the biggest impression on visitors, so...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


15 Must Buy Hungarian Things in Budapest

15 Must Buy Hungarian Things in Budapest

Other than the standalone language and catchy Czardas tune, there's a lot more to memorize Hungary by. Here are some of the things you might want to carry from Budapest to your family and friends back...