Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest

Hungarian State Opera House, Budapest (must see)

Set at the heart of Pest, on Andrassy Street, 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.

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.

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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: Pest Orientation Walk   Walking Tour on Andrassy Utca  

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

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It would be a pity to leave Budapest without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Budapest, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 km
Walking Tour Around Margaret Island

Walking Tour Around Margaret Island

Margaret Island on the river Danube is a popular recreational area. Stretching for around 2.5 km, this place was declared a public park in 1908. Beautiful landscaped parks, ancient ruins and various sports facilities dot the island. The island can be accessed by the Margaret Bridge on the south and the Arpad Bridge in the north. This is a quiet place to laze around and enjoy your day. Vehicular...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km
Ruin Pubs Tour

Ruin Pubs Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Jewish Heritage Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Pest Orientation Walk

Pest Orientation 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
Walking Tour on Andrassy Utca

Walking Tour on Andrassy Utca

Andrassy Avenue, recognized as a World Heritage site in 2002, is a fine boulevard in the city that dates back to 1870. The entire stretch is lined with cafés, restaurants, luxury shops and cultural institutions. The long, wide road that connects Downtown and City Park is lined with trees and renovated villas and palaces. At the City Park end is the Heroes Square where the most important national...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km

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