This old city is the capital of Hungary. Until 1873, Buda and Pest were two individual cities separated by the Danube River. Since the merge, Budapest is the biggest city in the country and one of the biggest in Europe with a population of 3.3 million.
Upon arrival in the city by plane, take a shuttle bus going downtown or a metro (fare is less than 2 euros). Arriving by bus in Budapest is not very convenient since the central bus station is far from the city centre so taking the metro is a much better option. I took the metro from Népliget station, which was on the red line No: 2.
Personally, I like staying in Buda where the old town and Buda Castle are located. Around the old town and out of the city walls, finding a reasonably priced hostel is easy (around 10-15 euro a night). If you want to be close to night events, clubs, and bars, stay at the Pest side of the city where cheaper accommodation and transportation networks are favorable.
I started my walking tour from the old town (Var it is called by the locals) located in Buda. I entered the town through the Porta di Vienna (Vienna Gate). At the right-hand side of the gate when you go through the entrance, an 18th-century structure of the National Archives of Hungary will welcome you.
Keep walking towards the right going to Nándor Street to get to the Museum of Military History another 18th-century treasure. While walking along the narrow streets of this old historical town, try to use a little imagination. The town is preserved as it has been since the olden days.
Fisherman’s Bastion (20th-century structure) is the most famous place in the old town. Its unique location (on the walls of the old town facing the river) offers the best view of the town which makes it touristy and crowded. The Matthias Church, the Main Square, the Statue of St Stephen and the Marcipán Museum are all situated in the same location. This place is one of the best places to take beautiful pictures.
Once you feel like you had enough of its beauty, continue to the old town towards the castle district on the east.
Walk via Tárnok Street and on the way; visit the Arany Sas Museum, Statue of Independence War and De la Motte. At the end of the street is the castle district where the famous Buda castle is sited. Numerous museums and impressive buildings are aligned next to each other.
On the left of the castle district is the Castle Hill Funicular Upper Station. You can take the funicular to get to the top. However, this route is busy and expensive along with missing the best parts of the old town.
The Funicular Station is facing a mid-sized square filled with vendors. On the east side of the square is an iron gate with a large bird statue on the edge called Turul, a mythical creature that represents power, strength, and nobility – an important symbol in Hungary. Through the gate is a spacious yard where the Fountain of the Fishing Children can be found.
Buda Castle is a complex of historical buildings and statues. There are free tours that you can join in too. Click on for free walking tour here.
From the south of castle hill, there is a pedestrian path that can take you down to the river. The river’s fantastic view makes the tour more pleasurable.
On the bottom of the path is the Zero Kilometre Stone that marks as a reference point from which all road distances to Budapest are measured in the country.
Few meters away is the famous chain bridge guarded by lion sculptures on both sides of the entrance. Built in 1849 by an English engineer William Tierney Clark, it was the first permanent bridge across Danube River.
Keep posted for the Day 2 – Walking Tour: Budapest, Hungary