As mentioned regarding Buda in our earlier post, Budapest is made up of two sides – Buda & Pest. Where on one hand Buda is hilly, Pest is almost flat and is the business/commerce center with thriving night life. The best way to explore Pest is on foot, as things to see are close to each other.
Strolling the river front gives a beautiful view of hilly Buda. Make sure to see the Little Princess Statue and Girl with a Dog on Vigadó tér among the various other statues in the city.
Strolling in the city would take one to the below sites:
The first, foremost and the most famous thing in Budapest is it’s Parliament – build as a ‘Compromise‘ during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, it’s beautiful and one of the largest parliament building in the world! Visiting inside is a must do for all, and note that a tour has to be booked in advance to visit. It was such a shame that we missed this….Doh!!
Besides the parliament on the riverfront, is the memorial to honor the Jews killed during World War II called Shoe on the Danube Bank.
The another UNSECO World Heritage Site in Buda’pest’ (first one being Buda Castle in Buda) is Heroes’ Square (Hősök tere) which has Millennium Memorial – a iconic statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars with other important national leaders and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On left side of the Square is the Museum of Fine Arts and on the right side is Hall of Art, Műcsarnok. Few meters further from Heroes’ Square, in the city park, is Vajdahunyad vára – one of the romantic castles with a Transylvanian look to it. This castle blends a variety of styles from Roman, through Gothic and Renaissance to Baroque. Certainly, a not to be missed site. Also, the famous Szechenyi Spa Baths are very close from here.
Towards South of the city there is Central Market Hall (aka Great Market Hall) – a great place to indulge with the local life along with sightseeing. A great place to buy some local products in terms of anything from food to cloths to magnet souvenirs. In front of Central Market Hall is the Liberty Bridge (Szabadság híd) – less famous than Chain Bridge, however of equal importance to the city. Standing here one gets great view of the Liberty Statue on Gellert Hill.
St Stephen’s Basilica – named in the honor of Hungarian’s first king, this is a Roman Catholic church and is quite good.
Another experience not to be missed is Tram #2 ride – from Jászai Mari to atleast Fővám tér (Central Market Hall) or other way around – an old tram with some incredible views.
TIP: try to see the Buda side from river front during sunset, the views of sun setting behind Buda are just …….wow!
In the middle of Danube lies Margaret Island – around 2.5 kms long and 500 meters wide, mostly covered by landscape parks and has some medieval ruins, a small zoo, musical fountain to name few. It’s a paradise for joggers, and also great for strolling and spending some quality time from hustle and bustle of city. Great way is to walk to the island via Margit Bridge (either from Buda or Pest).
Public Transport Info:
Even though the city center is quite compact, sometimes there may be a need to take public transport especially in case the weather is not with you! So, for that:
To reach parliament or Central Market Hall tram 2 is the best option. To get to Heroes’ Square, take metro line 2 and to go Margaret Island take tram 4 or 6.
The people there (the Budapestians?) are quite soft spoken and ready to help at any time – so, don’t forget to have some nice and friendly conversation with locals 🙂