On our first full day in Budapest it was time to get out and see both Buda and Pest. Yeah, just like Minneapolis-St.Paul, Budapest is actually two cities on either side of the Danube that they eventually combined with one name.
Whenever we travel to a big city for the first time, we like to take one of those double decker bus tours. They give you a chance to see parts of the place that you would otherwise never even know about, plus they are filled with interesting facts about the history of the city. Fortunate for us we got a prime spot on the top, but under the partial roof so I didn’t need to worry about sunburn – my wife doesn’t have that problem! The tour was a reasonable $32/person for a 48 hour hop-on, hop-off pass.
After the tour, we had a good idea where to go afterward – to see the Buda Castle of course! The best news is that it is a pleasant walk of about a mile from our hotel. The Ritz is only about 4 blocks from the Danube. Most other major chain hotels are located right along the Danube so this guide will work if you are staying at the Marriott, Sofitel, etc. on the Pest side of the Danube. From the building shown, to the left is the Four Seasons and across the street to the right is the Sofitel. From any of the hotels, you will reach this square by the river. Take a right and you can walk across the Danube on the Chain Bridge.
The bridge was a nice walk, but fairly crowded for the narrow walkway. Kind of hard to stop and take photos except at several vantage points built into the bridge. The Chain Bridge was built in the 1800’s but destroyed during World War Two and then re-built in the 1950s.
Coming to the other side of the bridge, you can see Buda Castle on the ridge overlooking the Danube. You can take the long road around to get to the top, but have more fun taking the Funicular!
The Funicular is only about $3 and cheaper if you buy the round trip. Although it was also reconstructed after the war, but it really feels like it was built in the 1800’s and you can picture people riding this as a “modern wonder”.
Now we reached the plaza at the top of the hill with Buda Castle to our left and Government offices to the right. We didn’t tour the castle, but just touring the grounds overlooking the Danube was really spectacular.
I know this post is getting a little long so I will cut it here and continue adventures on Castle Hill tomorrow…