The city of Budapest is split (no, not Split, that’s another popular European city) straight down the middle by the famous Danube River, known as the Duna in Hungarian. the west side of the city is call Buda, and the east side is called Pest, thus coming together to form the name Budapest. It is most likely that if you ever visit Budapest, you will find your accommodation and spend most of your time in Pest. It is the younger, livelier side of the city, where you can find Parliament, the famous ruin bars, the best places to eat and the popular Szechenyi thermal baths. When I and my friends went, we of course stayed in Pest, but we weren’t far from the river and the Liberty Bridge, meaning that Buda was an easy tram ride away.
One of our afternoons we spent exploring some of Buda, more particularly the beautiful Buda Castle, situated on Castle Hill. It’s one of the main tourist attractions in Budapest, and understandably so because the whole of Castle Hill is so beautiful.
To get there, we took the tram to the bottom of the hill and a bus to the top. When we got there, we found there was a little folk festival going on, so we played some traditional Hungarian games and watched a little dance and some news reporters doing their thing in the middle of the square. We went off in search of a nice place to sit down and have some coffee after that, and came across a place called PestBuda. I had a café affogato for the first time and enjoyed it, though not as much as I had expected.
The little streets on the top of Castle Hill are quaint, and away from the main attraction of Buda Castle they are very quiet. We wandered along past the Museum of Military History, stopping for an impromptu photoshoot on the canons outside, then along the path at the back of Castle Hill, looking over Buda as we walked. At the end of the path we got to the National Gallery, then turned back and walked to the square that we arrived to in the first place. Here, Jasmin and Barbara took the chance to partake in some folk dancing, before we walked down through the cathedral and on to the bottom of the hill. The steps down the hill give you an amazing view over the Danube, all the way down to the parliament building.
Castle Hill is very clearly a pricier area of Budapest to stay in, and it was apparent that Buda is the calmer, quieter, more sophisticated half of the city. I can imagine older couples owning or renting a holiday townhouse in Buda, and celebrities and famous people walking the streets of Castle Hill and staying in one of the many fancy hotels we spotted during our ramblings. It’s an area rich in history, especially considering the castle was first completed in 1265, and is even a part of the Budapest World Heritage site, declared in 1987.
To get to Buda Castle and Castle Hill, you can take the tram 47, 48 or 49 to the Buda side of Liberty Bridge (Széchenyi lánchíd) and then take the Castle funicular to the top of the hill, or catch the number 16 bus to the top of the hill, which drops you in front of Matthias Church (Mátyás-templom). It’s ideal to visit on a free afternoon when you want a more relaxed few hours compared to the hustle and bustle of Pest, and is almost totally free except for the transport costs.
Read more about my trip to Budapest!
Budapest is the Buda-Best!
Budapest Great Market Hall | Nagyvásárcsarnok
Széchenyi Thermal Baths | Széchenyi-gyógyfürdő
Ráday Street | Ráday Utca
Budapest’s Ruin Pubs
Gozsdu Courtyard | Gozsdu Udvar