When you take a peek at the district map of Budapest, you’ll feel like as if you were looking at an odd-shaped patchwork. Since the city’s texture was sewed from different materials, and is constantly changing, touring around the 23 districts of Budapest is an exciting urban adventure. Follow our lead through the cobblestone streets of the First District!
Laidback and aristocratic, sprinkled with history. The narrow alleys of Víziváros resemble a Mediterranean village, though you won’t come across tomato fields or goats. Buda Castle is characterized by a plethora of monuments and panoramic views on the city’s both sides. Tabán, adjacent to Elisabeth Bridge and Naphegy, used to be a bohemian snug flooded with artists during the 19th and early 20th century, but was demolished in 1930, and now serves as a park.
The seven towers of The Fisherman’s Bastion represent the seven Hungarian tribes who set foot in the Carpathian Basin in 896, and also provide a great cityscape view. Nearby Matthias Church is a richly ornamented, thousand-year-old wonder of gothic architecture. Tóth Árpád Promenade, swirling along the south-western side of Buda Castle, opens a panorama on the hills of Buda, and is quite popular among romantic strollers.
The Garden of Philosophy, located in the vicinity of Gellért Hill, is a monument consisting of eight sculptures divided into two groups. The first group of iconic philosophers – forming a circle around a fountain – symbolizes the countless cultures of our planet, while the second group emphasizes the significance of spiritual development.
The Hospital in the Rock Museum has nothing to do with a collection of rehabbing rock stars. It is a labyrinth of interconnected caves and cellars beneath Buda Castle that used to house a hospital and a nuclear bunker during WW II. You can purchase creepy souvenirs at the gift shop such as gas masks and military stretchers. To release your inner child, and to get away from the hustle and bustle, find your way to the swings hidden in the tiny park next to the Gate of Vienna. Taking a seat atop the Chain Bridge Tunnel is also advisable, it is a splendid spot to gaze at the illuminated cityscape.
Buda Castle’s restaurants would outnumber a Turkish army, so you have to be careful which one you choose. In case you’re looking for a fancy atmosphere, you’ll feel at home at Arany Kaviár. The name (“Golden Caviar”) says it all. This restaurant would easily impress Napoleon with its elegant interior and Russian-French fusion dishes. For authentic Hungarian flavors, head over to Alabárdos Restaurant. Park your horse outside, then dine with a knight!
If you have a knack for traditional sweets, old school desserts are aplenty at the oldest family-owned confectionery, Ruszwurm. Batthyány Square’s Nagyi Palacsintázója (“Granny’s Pancakes”) , a rich source of sweet and salty pancakes, puts the icing on the cake.
Rudas Bath was built during the Ottoman rule of Hungary. This state-of-the-art complex has been operating since the 16th century, and offers an eye-pleasing scene for swimming and chilling. Due to an old tradition, there are separate days for men and women during the weekdays. Weekends are open for both genders, and are saved for night-time bathing. Oxygen Wellness Naphegy is a five-star fitness center, where you can kick back like Brad and Angelina when they dump all of their 200 kids. Illustrious surroundings, pools, jacuzzis, and a poster-worthy panorama conjures a luxurious vibe.
Housed by a merchant’s former residence, Buda Castle Fashion Hotel is a one-of-a-kind mixture of innovation and tradition. The former attribute is summoned by the contemporary vibe, and the latter by the historic location.
Multi-award winning Lánchíd 19 Design Hotel, named after mesmerizing Chain Bridge, is also an intersection of past and present providing a unique atmosphere, 45 differently designed rooms, a restaurant, a bar, and jacuzzi-equipped panorama suites.