Buda Orientation Walk, Budapest (Self Guided)

The capital of Hungary Budapest is a relatively young city, resulted from an 1873 merger between Buda on the western bank of the Danube and Pest on the east. Set on a number of hills, Buda is the site of a grand Hapsburg palace with a detached, imperial air of old-time wealth. While in Buda, you can enjoy sweeping views of the opposite Pest, lying across the river, from the Fisherman's Bastion on Castle Hill or Gellért Hill to the south. Come on this walk and see these and other key attractions of this magnificent part of the Hungarian capital.
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Buda Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: Buda Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Hungary » Budapest (See other walking tours in Budapest)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 km
Author: kane
Gellert Thermal Baths

1) Gellert Thermal Baths (must see)

Gellert Bath is one of best-known thermal baths in Budapest that contributed to the image of Budapest as a wellness and spa center. It is famous for its sparkling bath and an open-air pool that offers artificial waves. Built in 1918, the main hall has a vaulted glass roof. The surrounding galleries are supported by Roman-style columns. The spa also offers a range of medical services. The spa is situated near Gellért Hill and the Szabadság Bridge.

Why You Should Visit:
Traditional Thai massage at a very reasonable price.

If you want to use the main pool you need a swimming cap, so either bring your own or rent on the spot.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-7:30pm
Gellert Hill

2) Gellert Hill (must see)

The 140-m high hill offers one of the best and most picturesque views of the city. The dolomite rock is named after a bishop who carried out his mission in bringing Christianity to Hungarians. In the 18th century, the hillsides of Gellért Hill were covered with vineyards. The Citadel was built after the 1848–49 Hungarian uprising by the ruling Habsburg Austrians, as it was a prime, strategic site for shelling both Buda and Pest in the event of a future revolt. The Citadel has been used also as a prison and shelter for the homeless. Gellért Hill also saw action in the Second World War and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, when Soviet tanks fired down into the city from the hill. Now an affluent residential area, a number of embassies and ambassadorial residences line the streets which wind up the hill.

Why You Should Visit:
Even if you only go up for the views, it is worth the climb.

There are several stalls selling food and drinks at the top if you're feeling a little peckish after your climb.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Varkert Casino (Verket Palace)

3) Varkert Casino (Verket Palace)

The Varkert Casino is listed as a World Heritage building. It was constructed in the late 19th century. This used to be a pump house that used to supply water to the Royal Palace. Located in Buda, this small casino is near to the Chain Bridge. Designed by Miklós Ybl, one of most famous Hungarian architects, the arched entrance and a fountain add to the grandeur of the building.
Buda Castle

4) Buda Castle (must see)

This famous Palace also goes by the names of Buda or Royal Castle, after the fact that it was built on Buda Hill. The building completely dominates the skyline of the city for much of Budapest.

This home to the royalty of Hungary is over 304 meters long and is a sight to see at night.

From a design standpoint, the castle is a mixture of architectural styles. This is due to the fact that it has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times across the history of the country. You can find elements of Gothic, Romantic, and Baroque styles.

The original Royal Residence was built in this spot somewhere around 1247. That building was destroyed and the current oldest part of the castle was constructed during the 14th Century by Prince Stephen, the Duke of Slavonia. (He was the younger brother of King Louis I of Hungary.)

Sadly, the estate rooms of the Royal Palace are no more. Instead, the massive complex now holds the National Library of Hungary, the Budapest History Museum, and the National Art Gallery of Hungary. In 1987, the castle was added to the World Heritage Sites.

Why You Should Visit:
Wonderful complex to walk around, and the views of River Danube and Pest on the other side are fantastic.

If you are not very mobile or less used to walking up steep hills consider taking the little carriage train over Chain Bridge which will take you up to the Castle itself.
Castle Hill

5) Castle Hill

Castle Hill in Buda is a magnificent mix between Castle and fortification. Here you can see numerous objects of value that worthy visiting such as the Royal Palace, Mary Magdalena Tower, Fisherman's bastion, the sculpture of the Tatul bird as well to have a rest in 2 of the most famous coffee houses around. The Baroque style dominates in the architecture of the palace and reveals all of its beauty in it.
Matthias Church

6) Matthias Church (must see)

This church is officially named the Church of Our Lady. It has been popularly named after King Matthias, who did much to change the architecture of the church and add to the beauty of the building. It is located in the Buda’s Castle District in Budapest.

According to history, it was founded in 1015. The original structure was built in Romanesque fashion. The current structure is Gothic in style and was changed during the 14th Century. It is considered the second largest church in medieval Buda, and the seventh largest in the country.

The church has been the scene of many royal coronations through the years; including Charles IV in 1916 (Charles was the last of the Habsburg kings.) The building was converted into a mosque during the years of the Turkish occupation of Hungary. That is how the ornate frescoes were whitewashed and removed. It was returned to a Christian church in 1686. During this time, some of the more Baroque architecture was added, as part of the church was damaged by cannon fire during the siege to remove the Turks.

In modern times, it has become the home for the Ecclesiastical Art Museum, which starts in the medieval crypt section, and goes up to St. Stephen Chapel. There are a lot of sacred relics and medieval stone art housed here, as well as a replica of the Hungarian Royal Crown.

Why You Should Visit:
Breathtaking architectural intricacies in both the outside tiling and the inside design; a great bonus for when you go to see the Castle and Fisherman's Bastion.

You can get here by a small electric minibus (prices from 6 euro) or by funicular from Clark Adam Square to the Castle Hill (same price).
If you're reasonably fit and don't mind heights, make sure to go up to the viewing platform for a 360 degrees of Budapest.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm; Sat: 9am-1pm; Sun: 1pm-5pm
Fisherman's Bastion

7) Fisherman's Bastion (must see)

Directly adjacent to the Matthias Church is the Fisherman’s Bastion. It is historically a place that was protected from harm by the local fisherman’s guild that had been assigned by the King to defend the city walls in this area. Today, it is better known for its beauty and its lovely view of the city from the Pest side of town.

The structure was built in 1895 and finished completely in 1902. There are seven towers on the building, which symbolize the tents of the leaders that first lead the Hungarian people to their home at the end of the 9th Century. The location is neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque in style.

Entrance to the Bastion is free during the months from November through February each year. The Bastion is located at Szentharomsag Ter, and you can take the Metro to the stop at Moszkva Ter. From there you can hop on the castle bus. This location was recently featured as a pit stop for the people participating in the popular game show called the “Amazing Race.”

Why You Should Visit:
Perfect view of the Danube, Chain Bridge and Pest side of the city. Great for taking pictures.

Have a walk around the area, as there are lots of other nice things to see.
They charge you to go up the higher places, but if you go to a café up near the top, it's free.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-11pm

Walking Tours in Budapest, Hungary

Create Your Own Walk in Budapest

Create Your Own Walk in Budapest

Creating your own self-guided walk in Budapest is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Jewish Heritage Walking Tour

Jewish Heritage Walking Tour

Over the centuries, the Jews of Budapest were many times expelled from the city and had to rebuild their homes and lives after it. Therefore, it is amazing to see how much they have re-created and many of it is still preserved even after the WWII and the communist regime. This tour covers some of the most important sites that provide an insight into the history and culture of the Jewish population...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
City Park Area Leisure Walk

City Park Area Leisure Walk

When in Budapest, do not fail to make it to the famous baths. The thermal springs, besides providing a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, are also claimed to have curative powers for muscular ailments. With the locals, it is a favorite way to socialize and a hot soak in the waters is often combined with a relaxing massage afterwards. The baths are open from 6am to 7pm every day. Besides the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Ruin Pubs Tour

Ruin Pubs Tour

A truly unique attraction to the city of Budapest, ruin pubs are thriving modern establishments that are located inside old abandoned buildings. The antiquity inherent in their architecture adds a certain character to these pubs. Inside the spots found on the Budapest Ruin Pubs Tour guests are treated to an assortment of entertainment opportunities, including hot DJ sets, live musical acts, film...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Budapest without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Budapest, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.0 km
Nightlife Tour

Nightlife Tour

A major city that attracts a lot of visitors each year, Budapest offers a healthy selection of hot bars and clubs where guests are encouraged to party all night long. The diversity of the venues found on the Budapest Nightlife Tour is notable, including decadent nightclubs with heart-thumping live DJs spinning the latest house and techno, hip and artsy crowds relaxing with a cocktail to jazz and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Walking Tour Around Margaret Island

Walking Tour Around Margaret Island

Margaret Island on the river Danube is a popular recreational area. Stretching for around 2.5 km, this place was declared a public park in 1908. Beautiful landscaped parks, ancient ruins and various sports facilities dot the island. The island can be accessed by the Margaret Bridge on the south and the Arpad Bridge in the north. This is a quiet place to laze around and enjoy your day. Vehicular...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

15 Must Buy Hungarian Things in Budapest

15 Must Buy Hungarian Things in Budapest

Other than the standalone language and catchy Czardas tune, there's a lot more to memorize Hungary by. Here are some of the things you might want to carry from Budapest to your family and friends back...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Budapest for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Budapest has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money getting around Budapest and visiting the city's multiple highlights, you may want to resort to the Budapest Card.

Among other conveniences, this card allows its bearer to explore Budapest's top attractions, tours, and restaurants either completely free or with great discounts. The card provides 24-, 48-, 72-, 96- or 120-hour passes to these locations, plus free ride on public transportation, thus putting Budapest at your fingertips!

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few Budapest hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Carat Boutique Hotel, Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Budapest, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Budapest typically costs somewhere between US$20+ and US$90+ per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker bus or cruise boat to enjoy sightseeing of Budapest in comfort from either land or water, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able to get on and off at any of the stops along the four interconnecting bus routes (your ticket is valid for all four) or the Danube riverbanks as often as you like.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Budapest – this usually lasts up to 2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the Hungarian capital. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have by walking.

- Pedal your way around Budapest on a 3-hour bike tour visiting the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Acquaint yourself up-close with the wonders of Budapest on a 3-hour walking tour of the UNESCO-listed and other heritage sites of the Hungarian capital, plus many more unexpected gems of this magical city.

- Awaken your taste buds to the highlights of Hungarian gastronomy on a 4-hour guided gourmet food tour of Budapest to sample some of the tastiest treats of the famously hearty Hungarian cuisine the city has to offer. Apart from feasting on its gastronomic treasures, with each bite you will also learn about the culinary culture of Budapest.

- Explore the centuries-long fascinating and complicated history of the Hungarian Jews. Take a guided Jewish heritage walk in Budapest to visit the historic Jewish quarters, memorials and synagogues of the city, home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Budapest, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like the Etyek wine region, the Danube Bend, or Pecs. For as little as circa US$80+ to US$140 per person you will get a chance to savor some of Hungary’s delicious wines and learn some tricks of the local winemaking trade, visit the beautiful cities along the Danube Bend, travel to the old Hungarian capital Esztergom, get a chance to enjoy Mediterranean atmosphere amid the land-locked country, see the remnants of Turkish presence in Hungary, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up straight from your hotel in Budapest and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned minibus or private vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.