Two Parts of One Intriguing City

Kent E. St. John, senior travel editor for, demonstrates that Budapest offers something for everyone in his article Downtime in Budapest: Teahouses, baths and Baroque.

“Budapest started out as two separate and differing cities, Buda and Pest. What one doesn’t offer the other will. Numerous bridges span the mighty Danube River that once separated the two cities. Majestic Buda with its hilltop National Palace transports travelers back to the Baroque days. Pest is busy, with treasures from the turn of the century. Both have modern touches tucked in.

The hills of Buda offer a step back in time and cobblestone streets to wander. Varhegy, or Castle Hill, is Buda’s most prominent feature. It is a mile long plateau filled with bastions, mansions and palaces. It can also be filled with tourists so try to make at least one pass late evening when you can share the area with residents. My favorite site on the hill is the Matyas Church, with its diamond-patterned roof and toothy spires. The interior is overwhelming with painted leafs and motifs.

Often classical concerts are performed in the main chapel. The impressive Fisherman’s Bastion, a bright white rampart, studded with cloisters and turrets make it a great place to view Pest across the Danube. For a unique site head to the Labyrinth of Buda Castle. Caves formed by hot springs provided shelter for 10,000 people during the battle of Budapest in WWII.

As I sat at our hotel room at the Artotel on the Buda side of the Danube, and gazed at the Parliament building on the Pest side it was very clear to me…Budapest is an intriguing city and one that holds its secrets tight, the pleasure is in finding your own Buda or Pest. Better yet scour Budapest for a trip that fits you. It’s there.”