Frommer's Favorite Experiences in Budapest
The Best Photographic Viewpoints in the City: If you want to start at the highest point, you will have to go to János-Hegy (John Hill) where the tower is 529m (1,736 ft) high. On a clear day, you might just see the Tatra Mountains. The best way to get there is the chairlift. The next highest vista is the Citadella (Citadel) on Gellért Hill. The bus only gets you so far, and then you hike up the rest, but it is worth the effort. This is where you'll find the Lady of Liberty statue viewable from the Pest side. Castle Hill is of course an excellent viewpoint for photographs from both the front of the castle and Fisherman's Bastion. The best view though is from behind the President of Hungary's office buildings. Margit Hid (Margaret Bridge), the side across from the island, has a breathtaking view of the river from where the bridge elbows.
Architecture Not to Be Missed: Many people don't bother to look up at the top of buildings, missing much. Aside from the historic listings, Posta Takarékpénzter on Hold utca across from where Perczel Mór utca comes into it is one of my favorite buildings in the city; it is now part of the National Bank. Move around so the trees don't obstruct your view. Párizsi udvar in the Art Nouveau style, where Kigyo utca meets Ferenciek tere, is sumptuous both outside and inside. The building has been sold, so it may not last forever. See it while you can. Walk in the courtyard and look at the ceiling. On the korut, near Blaha Lujza, is the New York Palace built in eclectic style with an emphasis on Italian renaissance and baroque. For something more modern, don't pass up the Lehel tér market at the Blue metro stop by the same name. It looks like a beached boat.
Riding the Trams: With your transit pass in hand, tour the city and orient yourself from the windows of the city's many trams. Hop on a tram and ride it to the end of the line, get out, and take it back again. This is also an inexpensive hop-on, hop-off way to sightsee, checking out things that catch your eye along the way. Tram no. 4 or 6 will take you along the large ring road. Tram no. 2 at night provides a view of Parliament, and Castle Hill all lit up, but parts of the line are under construction. Look for details on public transportation in other parts of the book where they are covered indepth.
Packing a Picnic for an Outing: Any day when pleasant weather is in the forecast, people flock to one of the parks or Margaret Island to enjoy the fresh air and one another's company. Families stroll along with their young children while young lovers enjoy each other's company, and the older folks reminisce about the old and better times. A quick and easy way to pack a picnic is to pick ready-made gourmet sandwiches.
Taking a Walk in the Buda Hills: It's hard to believe that such a large expanse of hilly forest is right here within the capital city. There are hiking trails aplenty; every Budapest native has a favorite -- ask around.
Strolling through the Jewish District: Budapest still has a large Jewish population. Pest's historic Jewish neighborhood is disappearing at a sorrowfully rapid rate due to modernization, commercialization, and new construction. Run-down historic areas that once resonated with the magic and tragedy of the past have been bulldozed into oblivion.
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