This majestic, 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer) avenue, flanked by neo-Renaissance palaces, is often referred to as Budapest’s Champs-Elysées. Cultural pearls such as the Opera House, Pest’s best theaters, and the Academy of Music are either on the avenue or just off it. The Millenary Underground, running under the entire length of the street, was the first such subterranean railway in continental Europe.
“In recent years Andrássy has become increasingly chic, attracting some of the world’s leading designer shops such as Louis Vuitton and a combination of fine cafés and restaurants, including old classics like Művész and Lukács, and new arrivals like Callas and Goa.”—Andreea Anca, style editor, Budapest Sun.
The (1) Postal Museum at No. 3 is located in a former seven-room apartment. The preserved furnishings reflect the wealth found in Budapest a century ago. A short walk brings you, at No. 22, to the imposing, neo-Renaissance (2) Opera House (www.opera.hu), which first opened its doors in 1884. Check inside for the time of the next guided tour.
Continuing along the avenue, you cross (3) Nagymező utca, Pest’s Broadway, and then soon reach (4) Liszt Ferenc tér with its plethora of cafés, bars, and restaurants. The packed terraces in the summer are places to relax, observe, and be seen.
Beyond the (5) Oktogon junction with the Great Boulevard, the walk brings you to the notorious No. 60 Andrássy út, the very name of which brings a shudder to Hungarians. The (6) House of Terror (www.terrorhaza.hu) here is a museum primarily devoted to Hungary’s Stalinist past. “Any visitor can get a good sense of what went on in the reign of terror around 1950.”—Kester Eddy, Budapest-based journalist.
The next junction, Kodály körönd, is named after the famous musicologist and composer, Zoltán Kodály, who lived for many years in one of the apartment blocks here. The (7) Kodály Memorial Museum (VI. Andrássy út 89; www.kodaly-inst.hu/museum/museum.htm) is based in his former apartment.
The avenue now becomes more open and large blocks give way to individual villas, one of which at No. 112 houses the (8) Kogart Gallery (www.kogart.hu), which offers 18th- to 21st-century Hungarian art. “An oasis for aesthetes looking for classical values in an elegant environment.”—Ilona Sármány-Parsons, art historian.
At the end of Andrássy út you reach (9) Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere), Budapest’s most impressive public space, with its many statues of national heroes. Flanking the square on the right stands the (10) Palace of Exhibitions (www.mucsarnok.hu), devoted to major, temporary shows of modern art and design
Across the square is the (11) Museum of Fine Arts (www.szepmuveszeti.hu), Hungary’s main collection of foreign works. “For eastern Europe, an unparalleled collection of Egyptology, works of antiquity, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch painting. Today it has a rejuvenating and modern spirit, with major temporary exhibitions from abroad.”—Erzsébet Marton, archaeologist.
Beyond Heroes’ Square lies the popular (12) City Park (Városliget), one of the lungs of Budapest. “[The park] remains true to its origins as a public park focused on healthy living for the general populace, though only vestiges of Heinrich Nebbien’s 1816 design concept are apparent today.”—Douglas Gillis, garden design consultant and historian.
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.