Located in the heart of Europe, Budapest is a photographer’s dream. This stunning city is a cultural and architectural smorgasbord with layers of history, atmospheric streets, and a variety of local traditions.
Its cosmopolitan past and present is reflected in its fabulous historical and contemporary architecture, making it a perfect stand-in for cities such as Paris or London – at any point in time from classical times through to 2023 and beyond. It’s also home to stunning natural environments, including amazing forests, lakes (including the famous Balaton), mountains and even desert.
With its countless shooting locations, Hungary is becoming an increasingly popular destination for film and photography productions. This is largely due to its exceptional infrastructure, affordable locations and highly competent English-speaking cast and crew – coupled with a 30% tax rebate introduced in 2003 to stimulate local film productions.
Easily accessible from all over the world, Budapest has an international airport and a high-speed rail link to most European capitals. It is also an EU member, meaning that shoots involving crew members from multiple EU countries can benefit from easier visa procedures and travel arrangements.
One of the best places to start when shooting in Budapest is Gellert Hill, a large flat-topped hill on the edge of the city that offers spectacular views. It’s especially photogenic at twilight, when you can get shots of the Budapest skyline with the Chain Bridge and Parliament in the foreground.
The Fishermen’s Bastion is another good vantage point for photography. It juts out over the river and features an equestrian statue of St Stephen, with the Matthias Church and the yellow Baroque tower of the Taban church behind it. The cathedral’s blue tiled roof is also fantastic to photograph, and it’s worth going inside for a closer look at the interior architecture.
Other iconic landmarks include the neoclassical Hungarian National Theatre on Stefania ut, which is a handsome creamy mustard-coloured Art Nouveau building designed by architect Odon Lechner. The city’s parliament is another striking structure, and its somber Shoes on the Danube Bank monument is a reminder of the atrocities committed by the Arrow Cross (fascist Hungarians who worked in cooperation with the Nazis during WWII) when Jews were lined up along the bank, asked to remove their shoes, and shot.
The Hungarian National Gallery has an extraordinary collection of paintings, sculptures and prints by some of the country’s most celebrated artists, including Gustav Klimt, Miklós Krzysztof, Béla Bartók and dön Rózsa. The museum’s modern wing, which opened in 2015, contains some of the finest collections of 20th-century Hungarian art. The building’s elegant soaring interior is also a photographer’s delight. The acoustics are superb, and the space has a sense of drama that sets it apart from many other museums in the city. shooting Budapest