A walk in Budapest

Assuming you will fly to Budapest but will not spend any time there, or you will arrive by train for example from Prague but will get off at Vac, and will be as described in the previous post, following is just a suggestion on a possible day trip and a walk in Budapest you can do to see the key sites of the city. Needless to say, a single day trip is not going to give justice to any kind of in depth experience but you can at least get a good feel for the city which is better than not-having dropped in at all.

From Vac the most convenient way to get to downtown of Budapest is with a suburban train running every 10 to 15 minutes from Estergom to Nyugati railway station, also known as the West Station, the final station of the suburban line ending in north-central part of Pest.

Nyugati is a convenient starting point for a walk that will take you past several key landmarks to the Danube, then across the Szechenyi Chain Bridge to the west bank and uphill to the Buda Castle Hill and its Old Town dominant landmarks, the Matthias Church and the viewing platform of Fishermen”s Bastion, the best place in Budapest to savor the skyline of the city, most well-known for the finest views across the Danube at the impressive edifice of the Parliament. But being at the Buda Castle Hill also offers nice views in the opposite direction, toward the residential districts of Buda Hills, opportunity to stroll the pleasant alleys of the Old Town, visit the Royal Palace, and a number of good museums.

While on such a short visit you will have hardly enough time to sample all of Budapest”s history and cultural legacy of the Magyars, Romans, Mongols, Turks, Habsburgs or Communists, with some small detours you could see at least one representation of Budapest”s most diverse architectural styles, from the Roman period to baroque, neo-Classical as well as Art Nouveau eras.

From the Nyugati station walk south to Terez boulevard, a major city artery. Walk some 1000 yards until you reach Andrassy Way. Those with ample time could turn left here and walk along Andrassy all the way to the City Park first. Along this route you can see number of prominent attractions including the Museum of Fine Arts.

With less time or to keep the walk to some six miles total, turn right on Andrassy, walk past the neo-Renaissance Budapest Opera until you reach a large intersection where you will turn right. Some 400 feet on your left you will see the monumental neo-Classical structure of St. Stephen”s Basilica. In front of its front entrance starts a nice pedestrian zone, where a wide plaza in front of the church leads into Zrinji ucta, a narrow pedestrian street lined with cafes and restaurants that will bring you all the way to Roosevelt park on the bank of the Danube.

You can cross the park in front of the luxury Four Season”s Gresham Palace Hotel, a striking Art Nouveau landmark which is worth a close look.

Beyond the park you enter the Szechenyi Chain

Bridge, a mid-19 century structure and the first bridge to span the Danube and connect Buda with Pest, definitely one of city”s most recognized landmarks. Crossing the bridge allows for fine photos up the Danube looking north towards the neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance Parliament and the bridges beyond.

Once on the Buda side of the river you can opt for taking the funicular railway up to the Castle Hill or pick the slower option which is to walk up through the wooded hillside. Walking up allows for a bit better appreciation of the elevation of the castle town on your way to the actual and final destination of the whole walk, the neo-Gothic Matthias Church and the wonderful viewpoint at the Fisherman”s Bastion.

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