Buda and Pest comprise Budapest. Each side straddles the Danube neatly, affording one another the little distance that allows for totally different atmospheres: Pest is urban, busy and far more like London than hilly, historic Buda. As our hotel was in Pest, on our fourth day in the city, we decided to spend a little time up in the hills getting to know Buda.
Getting four members of my family down Kiraly Utca without incident proved harder than expected – the shops that flank the little street are eminently appealing and while we women gushed over the coffee and craft shops, the male contingent wanted to look at music shops and schnapps vendors.
That hurdle navigated, we walked across the Chain Bridge and braved the steep (read: terrifying) funicular journey up to Buda, after which we were rewarded by the sheer splendour of the view at the top of Castle Hill; the Danube stretched out below us and the houses of Parliament glittered in the sun as a large sculpture of a mythical turul bird sat like a silent sentry behind us.
Once up there, we strolled around the streets and were struck by the huge difference between Buda and Pest – they felt like two different cities, not two parts of the whole. Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion were our favourites of all the tourist sights. After a glass of chilled wine at the bar on the lookout terrace on the latter, we ate some Hungarian cheese gnocchi at Speiz Restaurant before beginning the long descent on foot back to Pest.
KIRALY UTCA /
CROSSING THE CHAIN BRIDGE + FUNICULAR TO BUDA /
CASTLE HILL /
MATTHIAS CHURCH + FISHERMAN’S BASTION /