Top 8 Photo Spots To Photograph Budapest In the evening

Budapest is my favorite city in our Europe trip. Perhaps it’s because I spent several evenings out alone to photograph the city. It was a rare chance I’ve had over the past 4 years, and I treasured every moment.

All of these photo spots are pretty easy to get to. Just be mindful that most are popular so you will see crowd. That’s another reason photograph the city at night time is a better choice sometimes.

Hungarian Parliament Building and the Chain Bridge are probably the best known landmarks in Budapest. Many of my following photo spots offer different angles of these two major landmarks.

1 - Buda Castle

You can see both the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Chain Bridge. Golden hour before sunset is the best time to capture the golden glow on the landmarks.

The following image was captured on my first trip to Buda Castle with my family. We haven’t stayed long into the late evening. I have used 10-stop filter for this long exposure.

Hungarian Parliament Building in Sunset. ISO100, 31mm, f/11, 77sec

Hungarian Parliament Building in Sunset. ISO100, 31mm, f/11, 77sec

Below image was captured at similar location, but much later in the evening, when I was out alone a few days later.

Hungarian Parliament Building after sunset. ISO100, 29mm, f/16, 25sec

Hungarian Parliament Building after sunset. ISO100, 29mm, f/16, 25sec

This time around, I took the time to try different zoom ranges, directions and compositions. There are tons of options.

 
Chain Bridge and Hungarian Parliament Building from Buda Castle, ISO100, 130mm, f/25, 96sec

Chain Bridge and Hungarian Parliament Building from Buda Castle, ISO100, 130mm, f/25, 96sec

 
Elizabeth Bridge from Buda Castle, ISO100, 55mm, f/16, 72sec

Elizabeth Bridge from Buda Castle, ISO100, 55mm, f/16, 72sec

Danube River and Pest Night View from Buda Castle, ISO100, 70mm, f/13, 69sec

Danube River and Pest Night View from Buda Castle, ISO100, 70mm, f/13, 69sec

Example of my set up on Buda Castle

Example of my set up on Buda Castle

You can certainly photograph the castle itself.

Buda Castle, ISO100, 16mm, f/16, 30sec

Buda Castle, ISO100, 16mm, f/16, 30sec

I’m not sure if this always happens in the summer, but one evening, there was a huge crowd dancing in front of the castle. If you are a street photographer that might give you unique photo opportunities. But if you want a cleaner view of the landscape, you might have to wait till late. (See our travel video for more details)

2 - Fisherman’s Bastion

Similar to Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion is popular tourist spot. You can hardly find anywhere to set up tripod in the evening, as people gather at the place to watch the panoramic view across the Danube.

Nevertheless, you sure can enjoy your photo time by walking around the Matthias Church.

Fisherman’s Bastion is a bit closer to Hungarian Parliament Building than Buda Castle, so you can also try a closeup shot.

 
Hungarian Parliament Building in sunset. ISO400, 200mm, f/25, 6sec

Hungarian Parliament Building in sunset. ISO400, 200mm, f/25, 6sec

 

3 - Gellért Hill

Gellért Hill took a bit more effort for us. As we had to walk up the hill with our two little guys in a stroller and a baby carrier, in addition to carrying my camera gear (see what’s in my camera bag on a typical landscape trip). It was a longer walk, but the view is worthwhile.

It’s further away from the Chain Bridge and Hungarian Parliament Building, compared to the first two places, but if offers a view from higher up.

 
Hungarian Parliament Building and Chain Bridge from Gellért Hill

Hungarian Parliament Building and Chain Bridge from Gellért Hill

 

4 - Danube River Bank Across Hungarian Parliament Building

This is one of my personal styles to photograph architecture. I like to capture symmetry whenever I have a chance. So apparently I’m not going to miss out the opportunity for the symmetry view of the Hungarian Parliament Building.

You’ll find its beauty from this full front view across the Danube. Please make sure you cover yourself with 3 layers of bug spray, or you’ll be attacked miserably by bugs of different sizes like I was. I didn’t stay long enough for apparent reasons, but I got the shot I wanted.

In addition to photograph the building, you can play around long exposure by capturing the traces of different kinds of boats and ships along the river.

 
Hungarian Parliament Building seen across Danube River, ISO100, 26mm, f/16, 25sec

Hungarian Parliament Building seen across Danube River, ISO100, 26mm, f/16, 25sec

 

5 - At the foot of Chain Bridge

I took the following photo on the Buda side, and I liked the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in the background.

Chain Bridge, ISO100, 35mm, f/16, 10sec

Chain Bridge, ISO100, 35mm, f/16, 10sec

I also tried on the Pest side but there was a restaurant bar right at the foot of the bridge, so space was very limited.

I had to walk all the way down to the river bank (again without bug spray - a big lesson learned!). And you could enjoy the full front view of the Buda Castle.

Bear in mind Danube River is very busy. Just make sure there’s no large boat stopping right in front of you when you do long exposure. Yep, I sure encountered one and had to redo my shot.

Buda Castle. ISO100, 35mm, f/13, 20sec

Buda Castle. ISO100, 35mm, f/13, 20sec

6 - At the end of Chain Bridge

There’s a small area at the end of the Chain Bridge on the Pest side, where you can photograph light trail with the bridge in the background.

When I walked back from Buda side after a long evening of night photography, it was well after 10pm. Traffic was thin. I made a few attempts but very few cars, buses passed through my scene. Try your luck. It could be fun!

Chain Bridge and light trail. ISO100, 20mm, f/18, 46sec

Chain Bridge and light trail. ISO100, 20mm, f/18, 46sec

7 - Városliget (City Park)

This is Heroes’ Square at the entrance of the Budapest City Park (Városliget).

You see I was trying out my symmetric style again. You can certainly photograph this during the day, but the well lit architecture in dark blue sky always seems to look more magical to me. Plus, there’s likely fewer or no people when you do night photography so your photos look cleaner. (Check out night photography tips).

Heroes’ Square. ISO100, 22mm, f/13, 15sec

Heroes’ Square. ISO100, 22mm, f/13, 15sec

 

We walked past the Vajdahunyad Castle in the City Park in an evening walk.

I’m sure there are many angles to photograph architecture. One of my other personal favorite angles is to look around and see water reflection - another form of symmetry. It always adds a bit soft feel to the strong-lined architecture, sort of a ying-yang balance. (See some of my composition tips)

ISO100, 19mm, f/16, 20sec

ISO100, 19mm, f/16, 20sec

 

8 - St. Stephen’s Basilica

We walked passed St. Stephen’s Basilica many times. It was always crowded, especially during the day.

Like most urban scenes, it quieted down later in the evening, and thus offered me better chance to do “symmetrical architecture” photography, once again.

 
ISO100, 23mm, f/14, 20sec

ISO100, 23mm, f/14, 20sec

 

We have stayed in Budapest for 8 nights. There are tons of photo opportunities in this beautiful city. It’s very easy to walk around, and very safe.

Check out our Budapest travel video below.

 

 

More Travel Stories…