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Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 | 131 comments

Budapest: The Chain Bridge and Buda Castle

I remember my geography classes when I was in elementary school.  We used to learn the location of countries, capitals and notable features in a continent.

For exams, the teacher used to give us empty maps.  We had to identify the name of the countries.  I can’t forget about one particular exam where I was given a paper with Europe’s silhouette and a bunch of lines inside that form.  That time, we had to identify the major rivers on the continent.

Years ago, those rivers were abstract, almost non-existent beings to me.  As I grew up, they started to become part of my travel dreams.  Who wouldn’t love to take a look at the Seine, Thames or Tiber Rivers?

That is why during my visit to Budapest I had one thing I wanted to do before all other things: walk along the banks of the Danube River.

When we arrived to the city, we proceeded to our accommodation.  The attendant told us our apartment was located about half a mile (he said the distance in meters, of course) away from the hotel.  The walk kind of got me disoriented.

That is why the last thing I asked him was:  “Is the river towards this direction?”

“You got it.  Just walk straight,” he replied with a big smile.

Ok, so, it wasn’t a straight walk to the river.  We got distracted with the ruins pubs, the eclectic eateries of the Jewish Quarter, the big, open squares and the huge sausages sold around the city center.

But, I didn’t lose sight of my goal. It wasn’t that long before we made it to the river.

I took a deep breath when I saw the Danube.  It was the fulfillment of many years of wait.  The bridges, the boats, the glistening sun rays over the water’s surface.  On top of that, the Buda Castle was standing right in front of me.  All that combined was way more than I was expecting.

Danube River, Budapest, Hungary

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

We reached the river at the Elizabeth River altitude. My husband and I agreed to cross the river through the Chain Bridge and explore the castle.

We stopped many times along the way to take a look at the boats and cruises.  I guess we were getting ideas for our next trip.

Danube River, Budapest, Hungary

Danube River, Budapest, Hungary

Danube River, Budapest, Hungary

Danube River, Budapest, Hungary

The Chain Bridge has to be the most famous of the many bridges in Budapest.  It was the first permanent bridge across the Danube in Hungary and its construction bought the country a sense of advancement.

Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary

Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary

The bridge is known for its extensive cast iron work and for the lions guarding the span at both ends.  During the Siege of Budapest in 1945, the bridge was blown up.  It was rebuilt and reopened four years later.

Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary

Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary

I found the entire structure so elegant!

Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary

Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary

If you are not familiar with the city, Buda is the hilly side and Pest is the flat side.  Some ascending is needed in order to reach the monuments on the Buda side.  The Castle Hill Funicular, which is located across the Buda end of the Chain Bridge, takes passengers to the castle level.

I made the mistake of making the line without checking the ticket’s price.  I thought it was going to be a couple of florins.  I changed colors when I was charged several thousand florins.  I did the math later and it ended being around 10 Euros per person (I am ashamed to write that, I blame jet lag).  Take note and do not take the funicular if you want to save a good chunk of money! The stairs will do the trick.

Castle Hill Funicular, Budapest, Hungary

Castle Hill Funicular, Budapest, Hungary

There was no time to be sad about money when you have the imposing Buda Castle in front of you.  Well, you are going to get a structure which resembles a capitol building, so, forget about the turrets and fairy tale entrances.

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

The original palace of the Hungarian kings was completed in 1265.  Since the country has more than 1,000 years of history, the number of changes the castle has suffered are beyond the scope of this post.   In summary, the structure was badly damaged under the Turkish occupation, was rebuilt during the Habsburgs time and destroyed during World War II.  What we see today was rebuilt in the late 60s.

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

I am surprised we have a place to visit after the many invasions and occupations the country has gone through.

Without a doubt, the best asset of the Castle is its location.  The views from up there are simply gorgeous.  I get chills just by looking at the photos I took.  Most of the city is visible from the vantage point.

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

You can see the bridges, Margaret Island, St. Stephens Cathedral and the Parliament.

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

There viewing area is extensive.  You can walk around while taking in all the little details that make the city unique.

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Views from Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Do not forget to check the other side of the castle.  It is worth a look too. It features the Matthias Fountain and other sculptures.

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

After that, you can walk to other areas in Castle Hill or enter the Castle (the Budapest History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery and other exhibitions spaces are located inside).

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary

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Have you crossed the Chain Bridge or explored the Buda Castle?

Pin it for later?

Visit some of the best sights on the Buda side of Budapest. The Chain Bridge and the Buda Castle are must see spots (and oh so beautiful).

131 Comments

  1. What a beautiful place – must visit one day!

    • Agree! You have to visit one day. Promise the visit will be worth the effort.

  2. I have never been but i would really love to – looks like a beautiful place #citytripping

    • Oh! I think you would love the city. There are so many places to visit and the atmosphere is very lively. Plus, there are great views in many places.

  3. Isn’t the Chain Bridge just a babe!? It’s so stunning! I’d love to go back to Budapest when its not cold, gloomy and grey outside! #CityTripping

    • It is such a beautiful bridge! You are right! Gotta visit Budapest when the weather is a bit warmer.

    • Thanks a lot! I’ll keep on sharing!

    • Whoa! That was a long time ago. I imagine the city has changed a lot since your visit.

  4. nice photos of Budapest! I always associate it with winter even though I’ve visited in December and in September:) #city tripping
    Tanja recently posted..Sky Garden, LondonMy Profile

    • I am noticing people tend to associate the city with winter. I will have to visit in winter then.

  5. I can’t wait to get to Budapest – hoping for this spring!! Love your descriptions and photos, and I totally get the obsession with random rivers thing! I first set eyes on the Danube in Ulm, Germany, and sat there for hours on end. Love how geography classes get the win! 😀

    • I hope you can visit next spring. I think it is a city that deserves a visit. Since you live in Europe, it is easier for you. The Danube is very long and I still interested in discovering more of it.

  6. What an awesome trip and equally fantastic shots. Did you go in the summer time? I kinda favor fall for Europe so that the crowds have thinned out and the weather more pleasant, but I would like to hear from you. Thanks.

    Worth a Thousand Words

    • I went the last week of August and the last week of September. The days were wonderful but it was really hot. I guess it was hotter than expected because locals were complaining about the heat. There were a lot of visitors but I didn’t feel it was as bad as in other cities (Prague, Barcelona). So, I’ll say September is a good time to visit.

  7. What stunning photos, especially across the river. I only had a very short visit to Budapest years ago so am still hoping to get back there. My break keeps getting deferred though but your posts are tempting me #citytripping
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted..City Tripping #45My Profile

    • We were in the city 4 days. We could have spend more time. The views and the good food never gets old.

  8. Enjoyed reading about your walk to the Danube and crossing over Chain bridge to visit Buda castle. Places I hope to visit someday. Lovely photos!

    • Thanks a lot Ahila! I am rooting for you so you can visit one day.

  9. OHHH… I never knew that about Budapest! That it’s Buda + Pest where Buda is the hilly side and Pest is the flat side! And oh yeah.. The Danube River is going into my bucket list. I was wondering why there was no photo of the giant sausages – I would definitely have been distracted by them. #CityTripping
    Bumble Bee Mum recently posted..Phuket Trip with Kids – Our One-Week ItineraryMy Profile

    • Yes, it is two different cities. Buda is the old part and Pest the modern part. The sausages didn’t make the cut in here because I am going to prepare a post on everything we ate in the city.

  10. We spent several days in Budapest before boarding a river cruise along the Danube ending in Prague. Loved it!

    • Oh that is great! I would like to take a river cruise in the future.

  11. You have taken me back to my short visit to Budapest which I didn’t nearly see enough of the city. Wonderful photos. Love how you finally got to see the Danube – and looks like you got fabulous weather to boot! Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    • Thanks Elizabeth! The temperatures were high but the blue skies were amazing. I think we could have not asked for best weather.

  12. Beautiful photos! I was just in Budapest a couple of weeks ago, and I think you did a fabulous job capturing the essence of the experience there! Incidentally, we happened to stumble upon a random and rather sketchy-looking elevator at the base of Castle Hill. It cost like 0.50 Euros to use, so we figured we’d give it a go. It did the trick! But it looks like the funicular had much better ascending views!

    • I was there two weeks ago. Maybe we were there at the same time. I can’t believe your luck with the elevator. That is a great bargain.

  13. Oh yeah, I guess the length of the Danube is something they ask in geography classes around the world 😀 I haven’t seen it myself yet but it sure looks stunning!

    • Well, I didn’t grow up in Europe but I guess you guys learn more about these kind of things there.

  14. Your beautiful photos brought back many memories for me. We were on a Danube cruise and were told, on the last night, to stand on the forward deck, or to stay up late and watch out the large, front windows of the ship. It was magic…seeing the castle on one side and the parliament buildings on the other, all lit up and beautiful. Then we sailed under the chain bridge, which was also brightly lit.
    It felt like a dream that night, and I’m glad we stayed up late.
    Touring Budapest the next day was wonderful, but nothing can ever match that magical feeling as we passed under the chain bridge.
    Kay L. Davies recently posted..Not abused, just disappointedMy Profile

    • I am glad you got to experience that beautiful moment. The city is pretty any time of the day. On our last night there, we took a last look at the lit up castle and bridge. We were thankful for all the things we got to experience there.

  15. Buda Castle (and the surrounding area) is one of my favorite places in Budapest. I vaguely remember the funicular being expensive but can’t recall if we used it to go up or walked!

    What I like in Budapest that both sides of the river have beautiful views to the other side. The river plays an important role in the geography of the city (while in Vienna the river is far away from the center.

    • Anna, agree with your description. In Budapest, it is like the river is always with you. In Vienna, I even forgot the river was close since it does not cross the area were the main attractions are.

  16. I am so happy for you that you experienced your travel wish to see the Danube River! Your photos of the riverboats and Budapest scenery are gorgeous. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes
    Lisa (Travel Loving Family) recently posted..Countdown to Costa BarcelonaMy Profile

    • Thanks Lisa! Proof that dreams come true! Now, I am setting my eyes on other rivers ;0)

  17. Wow it looks so amazing and such great photos, Budapest has been on my travel wish list forever I so want to go. Its sad when you think of the trauma and drama a city has seen over the years and wars. I often think that about the East End of London, thank you so much for linking up #MondayEscapes xxx
    Sarah Christie recently posted..Family Holidays and How They Are ChangingMy Profile

    • Sarah, this visit to Budapest got me thinking a lot. It was hard to wrap my head around all the centuries Hungary experienced under the control of other empires or countries. There was a lot of devastation and suffering during those years. I am happy to see a city and country that keeps fighting to live a pacific life.

  18. Great tour. Your photos and words pushed Budapest even higher up my ‘must see’ list. Just wanted to mention that on my Surface, your left had bar with FB, twitter and such cuts into your copy and photos – and comment section. So to read your post you have to scroll it up to the top where about five lines show up. Maybe it is just on the small computer.

    • Jackie, thanks for your comment and for pointing out the situation with how the post looks in your computer. I am not sure why this happens but I know the site is aching for a makeover. Thanks for reading despite the issue. Hope this is resolved soon.

    • Awesome! That is the way to do it. We took a day trip to the Danube Bend and returned to the city by boat.

  19. A Viking river cruise is on my bucket list. Now , you can cross the Danube off. Lucky you!

    • It is on my list too. There are so many river in Europe! It is difficult to choose where to go. I still want to see more of the Danube. Cannot cross it yet!

  20. Budapest is so beautiful, isn’t it…

    • It is and I am glad I visited.

    • I’ll cross my fingers too! I really hope you can make it.

    • Jessica, you have to go! It is one of those places that leave you speechless. There are so many vistas! You never get tired of seeing the river.

  21. Budapest is one of my favorite EU cities. On our first trip there my husband ran a marathon–it was an exceptionally hot day and the bulk of the race followed the Danube, out and back across the bridge, finishing near the Schk…baths. I have many of the same pictures you took.

    • It was really hot when we visited. So, I cannot imagine your husband doing a marathon under that weather! I am glad it is a city you enjoyed.

    • Oh, let me tell you this is the perfect place for your husband if h likes political history. There is a lot to learn about the country and about Europe in the city. I am still trying to absorb everything.

  22. Thank you for bringing this wonderful city to us. It is so picturesque. I have heard so much about Budapest and have always longed to visit. Maybe one day!

    • Well, I hope you can visit one day. I only have good things to say about the city ;0)

    • Lyn, I think the funicular is worth the price if you are super tired. I went to Castle Hill straight from my red eye flight from Los Angeles. That is why I headed to that funicular without taking into consideration nothing else.

    • Thanks Lyndall. Special is a good way to describe the city based on all the wonderful sights it has.

  23. You hit the nail right in the head with this post, Ruth. I love Budapest and one of the spots I always make sure to visit is Lánchid (Chain Bridge). I have a love affair with this city, so much so that after seeing it for the first time 10 years ago I convinced my husband we should buy an apartment there.

    • I have to say I am so jealous. Budapest has so much to offer. Plus, it is the perfect base to discover the rest of central and eastern Europe. I am sure I will visit again in the future.

  24. Another place with exquisite scenery & architecture! What a great dream to have come to fruition. Your photos are beautiful.

    • Oh, thanks a lot! I am still stoked about my visit to Budapest.

  25. I love visiting the castle, the views are just spectacular and your pictures capture it beautifully. I also love the chain bridge especially when it is lit up at night. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • In my opinion, these are the first stops a person has to make in Budapest. Anyway, the castle is going to stand out when you have a river view.

  26. David and I once stayed with one of our sons at the Intercontinental in Budapest. If you think the funicular was expensive you should have seen the parking charges. However we got upgraded to a room overlooking the Chain Bridge and it was just magical. I am never going back to Budapest because I can’t imagine it would ever be as good as it was for those few days.
    Lyn aka TheTravellingLindfields recently posted..Rottnest Island: A guide to quokkas, cycling and beaches.My Profile

    • Ok, I am sure having a room with a view of the Chain Bridge must feel amazing. We had views of the castle in Cesky Kumlov and that felt like the ultimate dream.

    • Wow, I am seeing the city is warmer than I thought. It was in the mid nineties when I visited and was looking for the shade as a mad woman.

  27. Hello Ruth,
    Very wonderful pictures. So great to see this report of pictures.
    The shot with the bridge are very nice.

    Kind regards,
    Marco

    • Thanks Marco. I appreciate the time you took to stop by and comment.

    • That is great! Hope you can visit soon.

  28. I guess one day I will make it to Budapest too – it seems to be high on the travel radar right now! €10 for one funicular ticket sounds like a) daylight robbery, or b) a tourist trap. Well, that’s what you find in popular tourist destinations…
    Juergen | dare2go recently posted..Brasilia: a Futuristic City in the PresentMy Profile

    • Yes, the funicular ride was a tad high but even experienced travelers are going to fall for something sometimes.

  29. Isn’t Budapest just such a gorgeous city? I love seeing it by boat, and we loved taking the funicular as well. As always I love your photos!

    • Thanks Corinne! I love seeing the city by boat too. Well, I think that is why I enjoy cities by rivers so much.

    • Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration! See you next week!

  30. Ah, beautiful photos here Ruth, the Danube is truly stunning, the colour of the water looks so blue! I can see why you were so taken with it once you saw it, I would have been the same! I love the architecture here and the array of colours, it looks so inviting. Another one to add to the travel list! Thank you for the lovely comment on my gemstone post as well! – Tasha

    • The color of the water is one of the things I enjoyed about the river. It looks very blue in my photos because they were taken when the sun was going down. At other times, the water has a lovely greenish hue.

  31. Sweet idea, Ruth ~ that of planning one’s travels around the world’s rivers. Surrounding your beautiful Danube is some of the most storied and romantic scenery. Thanks for showing it to us, reminding me how I want to see Budapest!

    • Melodie, you got the idea. All the cities I visited during this trip were located next to a river. That is one of the reasons why I loved this trip so much.

    • Thanks Sallie!

  32. Like you, learning about many countries etc at school made me want to see them. I always think of music when I think of the Danube.

    • Paula, I think those classes were start of my love for travel. I have enjoyed history and geography for as long as I can think.

  33. Lovely! We are living in Budapest now. =)

    • Betty, you are killing me in here. I would love to use Budapest as a base to explore Central and Eastern Europe.

  34. I think I would be much more willing to pay the high price for the funicular if I was already at the end of a long day of sightseeing whereas I’d just hike up if it was my first stop of the morning. The view from up there is fantastic. So, was the Danube River the color blue? I think the boat with the top deck full of umbrella covered tables looks like a nice place to relax on a summer day.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..In Shambles on Britain’s Most Picturesque StreetMy Profile

    • Michele, I think the color changes depending on the area and on the time of the day. Most times, I saw it as a greenish / turquoise river. But, it is so long that I do not know how it looks on other areas.

  35. Great post! The views from the Castle are simply amazing! <3 Thanks for sharing #FlyAwayFriday

    • Thanks to you for stopping by!

  36. Wow it’s like you went back in time! Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you so much for joining #FlyAwayFriday, see you in 2 weeks!

    • You know, that is a great way to describe the experience.

  37. I haven’t been, but I want to go. The views from the castle are amazing and a great way to get the lay of the land. #WeekendWanderlust

    • No doubt this is one of the best places to appreciate the city.

  38. Oh, I’d love to visit Hungary one day. Definitely on our list!

    • It is a good country to add to your bucket list!

  39. Hi Ruth! Your post brings back a lot of great memories from my time in Budapest. The day I walked over the Chain Bridge one side of it was closed, and one of the Hard Movies with Bruce Willis was being filmed. I didn’t see Bruce, but the filming did add some excitement. It was extremely hot when I was there. In fact, on one of the days Budapest registered the highest temperature in the world. It was hard to believe that it could get that hot there! I did take a 2 hour cruise on the Danube and it was lovely. It was also a great way to cool down a bit from the heat. Thanks for co-hosting this week. #TPThursday

    • That is a cool story Nancie! I have to ask my husband which of the movies have scenes in Budapest (he is a fan). I was in Paris when they were filming The Da Vinci Code.

  40. holy cow! fascinating post, Ruth. I love the architecture and the castles. History is also my jam so any place involving alot of history can keep me entertained for days.

    • Carrie, countries in Eastern Europe have a lengthy history. You will be amazed by everything that is there to learn.

    • That is my favorite part of the bridge!

    • I wanted to visit Budapest for more than 10 years. That is why it felt so great to finally lay eyes in the city and on the river.

    • You are right. At that time, the places I learned about seemed so foreign. In some ways, I can’t believe I have been to some places I learned about when I was a kid.

  41. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on the float cabin construction. Sound like making a teardrop trailer would be tricky, but then I’m not very handy with tools. Not like our friend John who built our cabin and many other things. I’ve never been to Europe, but I see online they have many canal boats much like our floating cabin. – Margy

    • That is true, the canal boats are gorgeous! There are sites with instructions on how to built a teardrop. I guess people who know about carpentry find easy instructions to build things.

  42. Beautiful place! Very nice photos!

  43. Wow! Very beautiful! Did you listen the music of Die Donauwellen. Thanks for sharing.

    • No, I have not listen to that music but I am going to search for it. Thanks for the suggestion.

  44. Wow! Those views are incredible and so are your photos! I must say, I’d ride the funicular despite the cost. I love funicular railways! I haven’t been to Budapest but we rode one in Prague.

    I related so much to your story of the Danube. I felt the same – I went from caring little to caring a lot. I have seen it twice – in Novi Sad, Serbia and it is one of my favourites! On our last day in Novi Sad last time, we had breakfast on a riverside cafe on the Danube, or Dunav as they call it.
    Mandy recently posted..24 Hours in Tankerton, WhitstableMy Profile

    • Wow! I love your story. It would be great to visit the part of the river in Serbia. I am sure having breakfast next to the river is an experience.

  45. Hello, gorgeous tour of this beautiful city. The views of the river and castle are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your visit. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

    • Thanks Eileen. Glad you liked the city.

  46. Lovely photos of that beautiful city

    • I am happy you enjoyed the photos!

  47. GORGEOUS!!! We’re going to Budapest over Christmas and I’m so excited to go visit!! It looks so beautiful! Can’t wait to see more of your Budapest posts to get inspo! Thanks for sharing on FlyAwayFriday and can’t wait to read your next post!!

    • I am sure you are going to enjoy Budapest! Keep tuned ’cause I have a lot of post coming about the city.

  48. I really enjoyed this virtual tour of Budapest. Your photos really bring this city to life and it’s so beautiful. This has been on my travel wish list for a long time now. Those views are stunning. Really need to make it there soon.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Fun at Linnanmäki Amusement Park HelsinkiMy Profile

    • Mary, hope you can go there one day. I am sure it is a city you are going to enjoy.

  49. I visited Budapest a few times but I’m not impressed this city. However, your photos are very nice.

    • Have you been recently? What you didn’t like?

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