09 Dec Sightseeing for one Euro?
Some tourists have the intention to do the proper guide book tours, see everything, make themselves busy all the time when they visit a city. As a side effect, sometimes they end up on sightseeing buses or other boring and most of the time overpriced tours. But there’s another way if you come to Budapest, a hip way of easy sightseeing, with the most stunning view – for less than a Euro. Would you believe that?
There’s an old tram line, number 2 from Jászai Mari Square to the southern city, parallel with the river bank on the Pest side. You only need a single ticket for around 1 Euro, just hop on. This rout is about 25 minutes without jumping off. With several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this is what you’ll see.
Just after the first stop, you’ll pass by the recently finished Olimpia Park, then roll towards Kossuth Square. The tram goes around the square, have a look to the left after the first corner, there’s the Museum of Ethnography, formerly the Palace of Justice, and on the right hand side the Parliament, built in 1885 in neo-gothic style by the famous architect Imre Steindl. Day or night, this enormous building with its snow white arches is stunning.
Hungarian Parliament – photo: wikipedia.hu
The tram turns toward the Danube again. Sit on the right side to get the full view of the Castle Hill, some buildings from the 13th century. First you’ll see the neo-gothic Mathias Church and Fisherman’s Tower, both built by Frigyes Schulek. As you roll towards Chain Bridge, the UNESCO heritage Buda-Castle Funicular crawls up to the Palace, what gives place to the National Gallery. As you pass by the Chain Bridge, look left, you’ll see the hall of the Academy of Science and the gorgeous art nouveau Gresham Palace (Four Seasons Hotel).
Castle Hill – photo: owl.hu
The next stop is on the Danube Promenade, a peaceful and beautiful prom on the upper embankment. The best to see here is a concert hall called Pesti Vigadó, built by Mihály Pollock in 1829, with a small square in front of it. As you pass by the modern Erzsébet Bridge, you’ll see Citadella with the Liberty statue on the Buda side, a fortress built by the Habsburg Dinasty.
Pesti Vigadó – photo: wikipedia.hu
As you reach the funny-green Liberty Bride, the tram goes underground, but there’s the famous Market Hall and on the Buda side, the art nouveau Gellért Spa and Hotel, one of the oldest spas in Budapest. Don’t worry, the tram rolls back up to the embankment, so you’ll see the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, founded in 1782.
Gellért spa and Hotel – photo: gellertfurdo.hu
On the Pest side, you’ll pass Bálna, means whale, refer to the shape of the glass building. It gives place to interesting shops, nice cafés and restaurants and also gallery for contemporary art.
Bálna – photo: budapest.hu
At the end of the rout, what is just a couple of stops away, you’ll find the new National Theatre and right next to it, the Palace of Arts, called MüPa. It is actually a 10.000 square metre concert hall, built in 2005, give place to Ludwig Museum, the most impressive contemporary art museum of the country, National Concert Hall for mainly classical music, and Festival Theatre.
The concert hall has one of the largest pipe organ in Europe, what features over 6500 different wooden, tin and reed pipes.
Palace of Arts (Müpa) – photo: hirado.hu
This brief guide might sounds though, but you just need to take a seat, relax and enjoy the view and the ride. Oh, and don’t forget to buy a ticket for return.