Here is how to see the city by foot, sink in History and Beauty.
Budapest by Foot Day 1:
Start by the Danube Promenade by the little princess statue. “I modeled it after my own daughter – says László Marton in his studio (2007) – she was maybe six years old and playing in the garden. She dressed as a princess: laid a bathrobe on her shoulders and put a crown on her head. I managed to capture this moment and immediately felt that this was a successful work of art. Years later, the capital requested a statue from me. I immediately thought of the “Little Princess” and luckily we managed to find the place where the statue feels good.”. You will have a beautiful view of the Buda Castle and the Danube.
Then walk towards the Vorosmarty Square and the Lion Fountain. That Square is at the end of the Parisian Arcade. Built in the early 20th Century, the Parisian Arcade was once an ornate and lavish shopping center and it hasn’t changed; you can found all the stores there. It’s a great meeting point for shopping or to grab a coffee.
P.S: Indeed, in that square, you will found the famous Gerbeau Café. That café is a must go to grab a coffee or to have dinner. What a beautiful and romantic setting that place is. Next to it, there is a pastry place called Cafe Dorortya; try one of their Hungarian pastries Malnas Turotorta or Dobos Torta.
Next stop, St Stephen’s Basilica. It is named in honor of Stephen, the first King of Hungary. No need to climb stairs, you can just get elevator tickets and go up by the bells to have a 360 view of the city. From the top, you can see the small streets of Pest that will take you to the Chain Bridge.
Before getting to the bridge, go towards the Hungarian Parliament Building, one of Europe’s oldest legislative buildings. If you want to go inside, you need to book a tour one day ahead. The outside of it is breathtaking. You will have a chance to see it again from the Chain Bridge and the Castle.
Take the Bridge now. Szechenyi Chain Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in Europe, and the first permanent bridge to connect Buda and Pest.
Welcome to Buda. Take the Funicular and found yourself in the Castle District Area. Visit the Royal Palace which is the historical castle of the Hungarian kings in Budapest, the Matthias Church and the Fisherman Bastion. You need tickets for the Church and the Fisherman Bastion. You have to go inside of the Church, all the walls are covered by decorations. The Bastion takes its name from the guild of fishermen that was responsible for defending this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages and its terrace offers the most spectacular panoramic view of the Danube and the city.
P.S: In the alleys from the Palace to the Church, you will see the sign for the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth of Buda Castle is situated in a complex of caves and cellars underneath the Buda Castle district. The Labyrinth has four circled mini-labyrinths and even a cafe and a restaurant.
Once done, you can walk down to the city. There is nothing to do on the Buda side which is the old part of the town. Come back to the Pest side for dinner and drinks.
Budapest by Foot Day 2:
Start your day at the Gellért Hill. The Walk to the top, start with the visit to the Gellért Hill cave with its Church inside of the Mountain. Then you can continue for 20 minutes and you will get to the Liberty Statue a symbol of the city. The Citadel that was once behind there is not anymore.
P.S.: Budapest is famous for is thermal paths and one of the best one is Gellért Fürdő (Gellért Spa & Bath). I also suggest Rudas that was just renovated. It has a covered pool but you can go on the roof and have a great view of Gellert Hill. You can rent everything there from the towel, to shower cap. They offer massage services. Just know they don’t accept euros but only Florin and credit cards.
For Lunch head to the Great Market. You can buy all of your souvenirs on the 1st floor and have traditional food for lunch. Have a Langos, which is fried bread with cream cheese and anything else you want on it.
Continue your walk towards the National Museum and the Great Synagogue. Then you can walk or take a metro to the Hungarian State Opera House and tour the inside that ends with a special mini-opera show. Not too far from there, you will pass by the House of Terror. The building is a museum functioning as a memorial to the victims of both Fascism and Communism. Take the metro to Heroes Square, located at the end of Budapest’s main shopping street, Andrássy Avenue. Heroes Square is a UNESCO World Heritage site memorable for its statues that represents the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important national leaders. Finally, go to the Vajdahunyad Castle and garden.
P.S: During the summer and fall, you can boat leisurely on the lake, while in winter it becomes an ice skating ring. The Castle is open from 10 am to 5pm and it’s free.
For more info and pics check out my full article on Budapest https://leilaspassport.com/2015/09/21/budapest/