City guide

Víziváros

Photo : Balkányi László / We Love Budapest
Víziváros, Budavári sikló, 0 km kő, turista

An atmospheric old quarter that spreads up from the Buda riverbank, Víziváros (‘Water City’) has a unique air, its many houses with entrances below street level. Víziváros was busy in Roman times, its street names hinting at the former occupations here: Halász (‘Fishermen’s’) utca, Ponty (‘carp’) utca, Pala (‘slate’) utca. The Turks built the Király Baths so that they could still bathe should Castle Hill immediately above ever be besieged. The narrow main street of Fő utca, parallel to the river, contains old-school eateries such as the Lánchíd Söröző and Ildikó konyhája, frequented by Hungarian regulars and tourists staying at nearby hotels, the Novotel and recently opened Clark. With its Beefbar restaurant and Leo cocktail bar, the Hotel Clark has changed the dynamic of the rond-point here, Clark Ádám tér, named after the Scottish engineer who completed the adjoining Chain Bridge. The house where he lived with his Hungarian wife and family stands nearby, alongside the recently renovated and reopened Várkert Bazár. The Chain Bridge, due to close in 2019 for major renovation, leads to the Tunnel beneath Castle Hill. Back on Clark Ádám tér, the Zero Kilometre Stone is the landmark from which all distances from Budapest are measures. Nearby, queues form at the lower terminus for the funicular to the Castle District, a journey of a couple of minutes or a steep climb up a weaving pathway and staircase.