Budapest – Walking in Buda

I could feel an instant change in surroundings as I crossed over to Buda from Pest. Buda side is decidedly greener, quieter and more laid back. It has more of a historic feel to it and most importantly, gives brilliant views of the city (Pest side) that I crave for when in any European city.

Exploring Buda side

Spending a day in Buda actually makes for a great walk starting with crossing over Chain bridge, then on to Castle Hill, continuing along the Danube to Gellért hill and back to centre of Pest. At the end of the day the pedometer told us that we had walked close to 20 km automatically justifying all the beer that was had in Pest.

Chain Bridge Budapest
Crossing over to Buda on Chain bridge

Whereas Pest is flat, Buda sits at an elevation with two important hills – Castle Hill and Gellért hill. Castle hill is where most buildings of historic significance are located and some of the main ones are Buda castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias church.

On crossing Chain bridge, there are two ways to reach Castle hill, via a funicular or a walk. Surprisingly there was a long queue for the 5 min funicular ride when a mere 15 min walk takes you to the top, so just use your two feet.

Buda castle

– where the Hungarian kings lived long ago. Today it houses a few museums.

Buda castle
Buda castle

Fisherman’s bastion

– A Gothic style terrace which gives views of the Hungarian Parliament. There is a fee to access a part of the terrace which is quite silly as the other part is free and the views are equally good.

Fisherman's bastion

Fisherman's Bastion
Fisherman’s Bastion as seen from the staircase

Fisherman's Bastion

Matthias church

– A Gothic style church with a beautiful ceramic tiled roof.

Matthias Church
Matthias church
Matthias Church
Its beautiful tiled roof

There are some amazing views of Hungarian Parliament and Chain bridge from Fisherman’s bastion. Also, from the back side of the Buda castle, Buda can be seen sprawling for miles. Castle hill has many cobbled streets and alleys, and walking along it felt like it is a city unto itself. There are boutique stores, art galleries, plenty of museums, restaurants, cafes, a hotel and even a post office.

Hungarian Parliament
Hungarian Parliament as seen from Castle Hill

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Castle Hill Budapest
I was quite faacinated by these gates for some reason!

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All that walking for four hours was the perfect excuse for a coffee break at Cafe Ruszwurm and their melt-in-your-mouth cream cake and dobos torta.

With all that sugar in our system, we made our way down the staircase at Fisherman’s bastion to Chain bridge and further on to Gellért Hill, the other hill of Budapest.

Gellért Hill lies along the Danube to the south of Castle Hill and is worth hiking to its top for the best panoramic views of Pest from this side of the city. Gellért hill takes its name from Bishop Gellért who was thrown from this hill. The hill has historically been strategic as it is a vantage point to control both Buda and Pest.

There is always the option of taking the tram or bus to Gellért Hill from Chain bridge, but I’d say skip that and do the 35 min walk to the base of Gellèrt Hill as the Danube promenade is lovely. From the base it takes another 25 min to the top mostly because you’d be stopping to take in the views along the way. There are two ways to get to the top, we just took the one which kept us to the left of the hill which allowed us to view Pest side along most of the way

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Chain bridge and Elisabeth bridge

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Gellert Hill Budapest
Bishop Gellèrt
Gellert Hill Budapest
Budapest’s Statue of Liberty on top of the hill erected to commemorate liberation from Nazi rule
Liberty Bridge Budapest
Liberty bridge which was our way back to Pest
Gellert Hill Budapest
Gellèrt Hill with the Statue of Liberty visible from almost everywhere

Do add a day in Buda to your Budapest itinerary. As much as I enjoyed every minute of my stay in Pest, Buda did give a very different perspective of the city and showed how a city can retain two very distinct characters.

More on Budapest:

Chilling in Pest

Why you need to visit Budapest

9 Comments

  1. Ahhh this gives me such a feeling of nostalgia! I went on a mother-daughter trip last year and one of the places we visited was Budapest. Such a beautiful city – every where you look has a story to tell! Thank you for sharing about your adventures.

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