golden budapest parliament

Everyone knows the struggle of trying to fit the most into a short trip: it is hard to cram a whole city into just an afternoon, especially if the main sights are scattered, like in Budapest. In the case of the Hungarian capital, exploring the city on foot might take more time than you have, but do not worry, various means of public transport will take you through the city for just 1 euro.

One of the most pleasant and cheapest ways to explore Budapest in the summertime is by taking a BKK boat ride, which only costs 750 forints (2.5 EUR), but if you have a monthly Budapest pass, it is free. These boats operate from the northern part of Budapest, from Római fürdő (Római beach), all the way to the South, to Kopaszi gát (Kopaszi dam). Both termination points are the perfect destinations in these warm days, but if you do not have two hours, you can cut your journey short.

A boat journey on the Danube is in itself a lasting memory, but if it is paired with the most beautiful sights of Budapest, it will become an unforgettable experience. Some of the sights that we would like to highlight are the Kopaszi dam, a lovely place to relax and enjoy the embrace of nature, or the duality of the ultramodern Palace of Arts next to the classical and elegant Hungarian National Theatre.

The National Theatre, the Ludwig Museum and the Palace of Arts

Once past the Petőfi Bridge, the strange, yet captivating Whale pops up on the Pest side of the city facing the eloquent building of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, followed by the Liberty Bridge, which is taken over by the people of Budapest on several weekends over the summer and fun picnics, parties are organised there. Make sure to look up and enjoy the sight of Gellért Hill, from where the view of the city is probably the best.

budapest bálna whale
The Whale at night

As you are nearing Széchenyi Chain Bridge, on the left, you will see the Castle Garden Bazaar, while on the right, the Pesti Vigadó, the second largest concert hall in Budapest, built in Moorish, Byzantine and Romanic style. On the Pest side of the Chain Bridge, you can spot the prime example of Budapest’s Art Nouveau architecture, the Gresham Palace, home to the Four Seasons Hotel. On the left side, the Buda Castle towers over you, telling you stories of its worn past.

pesti vigadó
The Vigadó at night

Between the Chain Bridge and Margaret Bridge, lies the most iconic sight of Budapest, the Gothic Parliament which Freddie Mercury wanted to buy (absolutely understandable). If you are still insatiable, go on with your journey, as the boat is nearing Margaret Island, a secluded place of serenity and peace in Budapest, where you can enjoy a breath of fresh air away from the busy noise of the city.

However, if you are in a hurry, you can always opt for a tram or bus ride along the Danube coast or across the city. Deemed to be one of the world’s most beautiful trams, tram 2 takes you on a journey along the Danube on the Pest side of the city. The tram ride from Jászai Mari tér to Közvágóhíd takes roughly 20 minutes and would only cost 350 forints (that is if you have not purchased a Budapest pass already).

This way you will get to see the main sights along the Danube (like the Gresham Palace or Gellért Hill from the previous listing), but also the back of the Parliament and Kossuth Lajos square. At the southern end of the tram line, you will find the Budapest Park, one of the biggest outdoor concert venues in Budapest, where you can check out a concert almost every day.

four seasons gresham palace
Gresham Palace
Photo: Daily News Hungary

You can get a full view of the Pest side of the city if you hop on tram 19 or 41 either at the Margit híd, Budai hídfő stop or at the Gellért tér metro station. This line will allow you to take a closer look at the Castle Garden Bazaar or the famous Gellért and Rudas Baths, among the many beautiful spots along the Danube. The view of Pest is astounding from here as well.

várkert bazár castle garden bazaar budapest
The Castle Garden Bazaar

To explore the inner city, we recommend taking bus 9 if you want to see Pest, or bus 16 if you want to check out the Castle District. If you hop on bus 9 at Margit híd, Budai hídfő H, you can catch a glimpse of Margaret Island, and right after it a magnificent view of the Danube (and of the other bridges), the Parliament, the Buda Castle and of the Gellért Hill spreads out before you.

On the Pest side, the bus takes you to Nyugati Railway Station, then it passes St Stephen’s Basilica (although it is only the back of it that you can see from this angle) and Deák Ferenc Square, where you can hop off and get on bus 16 If you carry on with your journey, you will soon get to Hotel Astoria and the National Museum of Hungary.

nyugati railway station
Nyugati Railway Station
Photo: Alpár Kató – Daily News Hungary

Bus 16 from Deák Ferenc Square will take you to Szentháromság tér, up in the Castle District, but before you arrive to the Buda Castle, you will cross the Chain Bridge and get to explore the narrow cobbled streets of the Buda Hill.

Chain Bridge, Budapest
The Chain Bridge

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Source: Daily News Hungary

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