I’m not going to lie to you reader-friends, my Budapest coverage is all over the place. Yesterday, I shared with you the pictures from our nighttime cruise and today, I’m going to talk about the Buda side of Budapest. These two things are chronologically not in order, but they aren’t far off. The reason I’m mentioning this is because there might be a wee bit of repetition between the two posts (and subsequently, tomorrow’s post). So, without further ado, Budapest: Exploring Buda!
We arrived in Budapest via train and made our way from Budapest Keleti station to our AirBnB. Our first ½ day in Budapest was spent wandering, eating and figuring out how best to see this sprawling city. We settled on a Hop on Hop off tour (which also included our nighttime Danube Rive Cruise) and then prepared for a huge day of sightseeing.
Thankfully, we opted to do all of our sightseeing on our first full day, because later that night we were notified that our flights had been rerouted and changed, subsequently taking away an entire day of exploring. Unfortunate, but not unexpected as we were flying with Brussels Airlines just three days after the terrorist attacks.
Budapest is a city divided into two parts thanks to the Danube River: Buda to the west and Pest to the east.
Buda is home to many of Budapest’s most historic sites, including Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and the Citadella, all of which are located on a hill. All three of us were excited to see these sights but less keen to make the trek up the mountain to them. Apparently this is what happens when you turn 30; four days of 20,000+ steps was all we were good for.
So, happily fed, we boarded the bus and after a few stops on the Pest side, were on our way to Buda Castle.
Buda Castle is the historical castle and palace complex of the Hungarian kings in Budapest and it was first completed in 1265 (source). Buda Castle is located on the southern tip of Castle Hill and can be reached either on foot, via vehicle or by using the Castle Hill Funicular. Unfortunately for us, the funicular wasn’t in service during our visit, which further reinforced our decision to take the bus.
Buda Castle lies above the Danube and offers some of the most spectacular views of Pest, including the Hungarian Parliament building.
From Buda Castle, we set out on foot to Fisherman’s Bastion. Fisherman’s Bastion is a neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque terrace that sits on the Buda bank of the Danube. With many towers and walking paths, Fisherman’s Bastion is a must-visit for tourists as it is a fantastic spot to see the bird’s eye view of Pest, including the Hungarian Parliament Building.
Located in the heart of the Castle district (and directly behind Fisherman’s Bastion) is Matthias Church. Dating back to 1015, Matthias Church is famous for its unique tiles roof: a diamond pattern of red and orange tiles that captivates passersby.
We weren’t able to spend much time at Matthias Church, as the bus was about to make it’s hourly stop, so after snapping a few pictures and admiring the roof we were on our way to the next stop: the Citadella.
As per Wikipedia: “The Citadella is the fortification located upon the top of Gellért Hill in Budapest, Hungary. Citadella is the Hungarian word for citadel, a kind of fortress. The word is exclusively used by other languages to refer to the Gellért Hill citadel which occupies a place which held strategic important in Budapest’s military history.”
Sitting high atop Gellért Hill, the Citadella can be seen from almost any point in Budapest. The moment we saw it sitting high above the city, we knew we had to visit it. From the top, there is a panoramic view of the entire city, its eight bridges and practically every point of interest. Visiting the Citadella gave us an even greater appreciation for the size and scale of Budapest; it’s massive!
We spent around 30 minutes exploring the Citadella, taking in the view as well as the open-air displays that can be found around the grounds.
From the Citadella, it was back on the bus and back down the hill. After a quick cruise along the Danube, we crossed back over the bridge to the Pest side, which will be the focus of tomorrow’s post.
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