City guide

Twenty minutes of sightseeing for the price of a chocolate bar

Twenty minutes of sightseeing for the price of a chocolate bar

What can you do in Budapest for 350 HUF, which lasts 20 minutes, and which you won’t forget? Before you think of something dirty, here’s the answer: a ride on tram 2!

Tram 2
  • 1055 Budapest, Jászai Mari tér
You don’t need to spend a fortune sightseeing around Budapest we’ll show you a great tour that you can do with just a single BKV ticket. The tour on tram number 2 will take about 20-40 minutes and it will show you some beautiful sites as you ride along one of the most beautiful tram lines in the world.

For just 350 HUF this is a great introduction to Budapest and it’ll show you the main sites along the Danube. Oh and did we mention that National Geographic chose it as the seventh most beautiful tram line in 2012?

Photo: László Balkányi
Before you depart you might want to drop into Drop Shop near Jászai Mari Square and visit one of Budapest’s best wine shops that way you’ll jump on the tram with a slightly more blushed face. Straight away you’ll see Olimpia Park‘s recently painted five Olympic rings – unlike its bigger sibling in Munich it doesn’t have a stadium or lake, but instead a nice playground and sports field.
Photo: László Balkányi
You can check out the reconstructed Kossuth Square as well as the grassy area around the parliament building. While there are some less-inspiring buildings they’ll disappear in the shadow of the beautiful parliament‘s shadow. The retro style building of metro line 2 also impairs the generally picturesque scene but fortunately the Danube soon appears and you’ll be able to take some great snaps. As you head along the riverside don’t miss the Matthias Church and the Buda Castle, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Four Seasons Hotel.
You’re heading towards the Chain Bridge, but before you can immerse yourself in  one of István Széchenyi’s greatest works, you’ll suddenly be in a dark tunnel. Fortunately, it only takes a few seconds and after the tunnel you’ll find the lion bridge behind you, although there’s still plenty of time to admire the view. Here you’ll find other sites including the quay and raqpart – a great summer outdoor club.
Photo: László Balkányi
At Vígadó Square, a temporary cordon will obscure what’s otherwise a grand meeting place with stunning old buildings.  As you arrive at Elizabeth Bridge, you might even spot Tünde Kiszel, a local TV ‘celebrity’ at Eötvös Square, (we know she lives nearby). Speaking of celebrities, a foreign airline has its offices at the Danube Promenade with a advertisment of Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi nearby. You could hop off and take a selfie with the two star athletes  like they do in the popular commercial.
You’ll have plenty of time to view Gellért Hill until you reach Fővám Square, where you dive into darkness once again. If you need to you can change to the metro line 4 here. After the tunnel you’ll have to be careful not to miss the Great Market Hall. Soon you’ll get to the Bálna building or the “whale” (you’ll see what we mean when you get there). Some say it’s Budapest’s Eiffel Tower but we’ll let you decide.
Photo: László Balkányi
As we get closer to Petőfi Bridge, you’ll notice the standards decrease in more than one way. Around the Zsil Street stop the grass is not as manicured as at Kossuth Square, not to mention the concrete basketball court. And at Boráros Square, the number of passengers often doubles so it’s nearly impossible to see the Danube House shopping centre through the window. But as compensation, you’ll catch a glimpse of ELTE‘s university buildings on the Buda side, and later towards Soroksári Street, you’ll find the Zwack building (think Unicum!!).
Photo: Bertalan Soós
If the 5th district has a Palace District, we could easily call the part around Haller Street the Office District, there are so many office buildings in this area you could forget you’re in Budapest! But you don’t have to travel far to reach the Palace of Arts and the National Theatre: the two buildings are most impressive at night with all their lights, but they’re impressive buildings even during the day. Our ends at the last stop: Közvágóhíd, where the Budapest Park opened recently. You could stop by its club or concert hall for a drink if you arrive after 5pm.
Photo: Zsuzsi Kozma