Why visit: walks, architecture, Budapest Opera, cafés, people-watching, Liszt Ferenc Square
A Brief History of Andrássy Avenue
Andrássy Avenue, recognized as a World Heritage Site, was built to connect the city center with City Park (Városliget). Construction began in 1872, and the avenue was inaugurated in 1885. Its Eclectic Neo-Renaissance palaces and houses were built by the most distinguished architects of the time. Aristocrats, bankers, landowners and noble families moved in. The iconic avenue was named after Prime Minister Gyula Andrássy, a key advocate of the project.
At the time of its completion in 1885, Andrássy Avenue was considered a masterpiece of city planning and even public transport was prohibited to preserve its character. This brought about the idea to build a railroad beneath it. The Millennium Underground Railway, the first subway line in continental Europe, opened in 1896. The line transported people from the city center to Városliget, the main venue of the Millennium celebrations.
Since its inauguration, Andrássy Avenue has had many names: Andrássy Sugárút (Andrássy Avenue) at the time of its completion in 1885, Stalin after World War II, Hungarian Youth in 1956, People's Republic after 1956 and until 1989, and Andrássy út since 1989. No matter what the official name was, people in Budapest eventually always called their beloved street Andrássy Avenue. In recent years, Andrássy Avenue has become increasingly chic, attracting some of the world's leading designers. Not to mention, the many restaurants and cafés located along the avenue.
Andrássy Avenue has four distinct parts:
1. Elizabeth Square to Oktogon – mainly commercial buildings, shops, Opera House, Liszt Ferenc Square
2. Oktogon to Kodály körönd – a widened part with residential and office buildings, House of Terror Museum
3. Kodály körönd to Bajza utca – an even wider part with residential villas
4. Bajza utca to Heroes' Square – villas and palaces with gardens, some are used as embassies
Things to Do and See Around Andrássy Avenue
Andrássy Avenue is great for walks alongside the beautiful turn-of-the-century buildings or people watching in one of the many cafés. It's a long avenue, however the Millennium Underground Railway runs beneath it, should you feel tired. The State Opera House is one of the most famous tenants on Andrássy, but the avenue is also home to many upscale boutiques, including Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna, Burberry and Gucci, and to several other attractions.
The intersection of Andrássy Avenue and the Grand Boulevard (Nagykörút) is shaped like an octagon, hence its name: Oktogon. Like with many other places in Budapest, the Oktogon had different names in the past. From 1936–1945, it was known as Mussolini Square, and during the Communist era, for 40-some years, it was known as November 7 Square. Today Oktogon is a busy square, giving home to the world's largest Burger King. The Millennium Underground (M1) also stops at the Oktogon.
The best way to discover Andrássy Avenue is to take our Millennium Walking Tour.
Getting to Andrássy Avenue: Take the Millennium Underground Railway (M1), which runs underneath Andrássy Avenue