10 Best Things to Do in Buda: Explore the Lesser-Known Side
Buda, the hilly and historic side of Budapest, is often overshadowed by its more popular counterpart, Pest.
However, Buda has a lot to offer to travelers who want to experience the city’s rich history, stunning views, and vibrant cultural scene.
In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best things to do in Buda, from must-see landmarks to hidden gems that only a seasoned traveler would know.
1. Visit Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion
Buda Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-see landmark in Budapest.
Built-in the 13th century and expanded over the centuries, the castle complex includes the Royal Palace, the Matthias Church, and the Fisherman’s Bastion.
The latter, a neo-Gothic terrace with panoramic views of the city, is a popular spot for photos and a great place to take in the beauty of Budapest from above.
2. Take a Stroll in the Castle District
The Castle District, also known as the Buda Castle Quarter, is a charming neighborhood with cobbled streets, colorful houses, and cozy cafes.
Take a leisurely stroll through the district and explore the hidden corners, such as the tiny houses of the Tóth Árpád Lane and the romantic Lovers’ Lane.
Don’t forget to stop by the Castle Garden Bazaar, a beautiful complex of restored historic buildings that now houses shops, restaurants, and cultural events.
3. Admire the Views from Gellért Hill
Gellért Hill, named after Saint Gellért, is a 235-meter-high hill that offers some of the best views of Budapest.
Climb to the top of the hill and admire the panoramic vistas of the city, including the Danube River, the Parliament building, and the Buda Castle.
You can also visit the Gellért Hill Cave, a natural cave that has served as a chapel and a hermitage over the centuries.
4. Relax in the Thermal Baths
Budapest is famous for its thermal baths, and Buda has some of the best.
The Gellért Baths, located at the foot of Gellért Hill, are a popular choice for their Art Nouveau architecture, outdoor pools, and various spa treatments.
The Rudas Baths, built in the 16th century, are another favorite for their Ottoman-style architecture and stunning views of the city from the rooftop pool.
5. Discover the Cave System under Buda
Buda is built on a limestone plateau that hides a vast network of caves and tunnels. The Pálvölgyi Cave, located in the western part of Buda, is one of the longest and most spectacular caves in Budapest.
Join a guided tour to explore the labyrinthine passages, underground lakes, and unique rock formations of the cave. For a more adventurous experience, try caving, a sport that involves exploring the unlit and unmapped parts of the cave system.
6. Visit the Buda Hills Nature Reserve
The Buda Hills Nature Reserve, located on the outskirts of Buda, is a peaceful oasis of greenery and wildlife.
The reserve covers 2,500 hectares of forests, meadows, and ponds, and is home to over 500 species of plants and animals.
Hike or bike on the numerous trails, visit the lookout towers for stunning views or have a picnic in one of the scenic spots.
7. Explore the Ruin Bars of Buda
Budapest is known for its ruin bars, quirky bars that are built in abandoned buildings and decorated with vintage furniture, street art, and other eclectic items.
While most ruined bars are located in Pest, Buda has its own share of hidden gems. The Szatyor Bar, located in the basement of an old apartment building, is a cozy and quirky spot with an eclectic decor and a friendly atmosphere.
The Kőleves Kert, set in a lush garden, is another popular spot for its live music, craft beers, and delicious food.
8. Visit the Citadel
The Citadel, a fortress built in the mid-19th century on top of Gellért Hill, is a symbol of Hungary’s turbulent history.
The fortress was originally built by the Austrians to suppress the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and later served as a military base for the Nazis and the Soviets.
Today, the Citadel is a popular tourist attraction for its stunning views and its role in the city’s history.
9. Take a Wine Tasting Tour in Buda
Buda is home to some of Hungary’s finest vineyards and wineries.
Take a wine-tasting tour and discover the unique flavors of Hungarian wines, such as the full-bodied reds of the Villány region or the sweet Tokaji wines.
Some of the best wineries in Buda include the Béres Winery, the Kertész Winery, and the Szászi Winery.
10. Attend a Cultural Event
Buda has a vibrant cultural scene with numerous festivals, concerts, and exhibitions throughout the year.
Some of the most popular events include the Budapest Wine Festival, the Budapest International Documentary Festival, and the Budapest Folk Fest.
Check the calendar of events and attend a performance at the Budapest Opera House or the Palace of Arts, or visit one of the city’s many galleries and museums.
In conclusion, Buda may not have the glitz and glamour of Pest, but it has a charm and a character that make it a must-visit destination in Budapest.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or a culture vulture, Buda has something to offer to everyone.
So, pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to explore the best of Buda.