Budapest is my kind of city – beautiful architecture, a river dividing the city, bridges, castles, spiked rooftops and it visually comes alive as the sun goes down. My interests in traveling are to wander, observe and take photos. I’m not interested by the deep history & facts of a place but I do appreciate what the sights hint about in regards to the history and culture of the place.
I was in Budapest just short of 48 hours and know I’d like to go back to see & experience more of this city. But having 1 1/2 days was plenty to see many of the main sights and enjoy the Christmas Market. For me the key thing was that I had two nights to soak in the spectacular glistening city, illuminated bridges and buildings lining the river banks.
You’ll best see my exploration of Budapest in my Photo Tour below. In summary, I started at the Liberty Bridge on the Pest side, took a tram across to the Buda side (no need to take the tram, walking is easy enough). Once across the bridge on the Buda side, you could take the tram 19 or 41 to get to the Chain Bridge, funicular, Castle Hill but I chose to walk – I had the time, why not! I got to see Gellert Hill on the way as I walked along the river. Once I made it to the Chain Bridge and saw the funicular. I could have walked up to the Castle Hill area, but I love funiculars and chose to enjoy the brief & scenic ride….and give my feet a little break.
I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw once I was at the top of the hill – it’s not just the Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church, there is an entire town & community up in this area. A nice way to mix it up with some sights and also some shops & restaurants. Once you’re up on the hill, it’s relatively foolproof – just walk and explore the sights. The Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church were the highlights for me, in addition to the killer view of the Parliament building, river and bridges below. I spent a bit of time up there as I arrived late afternoon and wanted to also experience the view once the sun set. Luckily, I found that there was a little cafe-bar at the top of the Bastion where I could sit and enjoy a glass of wine as I waited for the sun to set.
It was mid-December when I was there and had good fortune with the weather, but it did start to get cold after a while. I had taken a zillion photos by now and knew it was time to head back down and across the river to the Christmas Market and my apartment.
Quick Facts: Buda is on the west side of the Danube River (Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, Church). Pest is on the east side of the river: Parliament Building. Hungary/Budapest’s currency is the Hungarian Forint ( when I was there Dec 2014 248HF=1 US dollar). Budapest has a great and inexpensive public transportation system including clean metros, trams & busses
Here’s an overview about the sights I saw and recommend.
Construction started: 1839. Total length: 375 meters. Opened: November 20, 1849. Width: 15 m
Buda Castle (Hungarian: Budavári Palota) is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, and was first completed in 1265. In the past, it has been called Royal Palace and Royal Castle. Buda Castle was built on the southern tip of Castle Hill, bounded on the north by what is known as the Castle District. Easy access by the Castle Hill Funicular.
For more information about Budapest go to the the tourist bureau website.