The city consists of two districts on either side of the river Danube, Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. They were two separate towns until 1872. Buda is older and more conservative than Pest. Castle Hill, in the Buda district is Budapest's old medieval city and is a busy tourist location.
One mile long its laden with old mansions, tunnels and cellars and of course the Royal Palace. There is also some excellent vantage points of the city here such as Fisherman's Bastion from which you can look across the river to the Parliament. By midday, Trinity square in the heart of the district is crammed with tourists, buskers and street vendors, so come early in the morning to visit the countless museums and galleries.
Pest on the other side of the river is busier and a trading centre. Most of the boulevards and archictecture here dates from the 19th century. Ferenciek tere is the areas centre. The Parizsi udvar overlooks it and is known for its Parisian arcade adorned with stained glass. The Ibusz office is also located here. Underneath these streets lies continental Europes first underground train system (1896), the Millennial Railway (metro line 1), which runs beneath Andrassy utca up to Heroes' Square.
District VII in Buda is Budapests Jewish quarter and contains an impressive synagogue and kosher shops. The best way to explore the city centre streets is by foot, however all sights are accessible by the cheap and efficient public transport system.
I, Clark Adam ter, Tram19, Budapest, Hungary
This is the easiest and most scenic way to get to the top of Castle Hill. It was originally built to provide cheap transport for clerks working in the Castle district. To get a ride on the nineteenth-century Siklo walk to Clark Adam ter at the Buda end of Chain Bridge.
I, Varhegy, Budapest, Hungary
Located on a former medieval fish market, the Fishermens Bastion is a rampart with gargoyle-lined cloisters and seven turrets representing Hungarys seven original tribes. It will give you spectacular views of the city across the river. Climbing it will cost you Ft100 but the view is well worth it.
I, Budavari palota, Budapest, Hungary
Fortifications were first built here after the thirteenth-century Mongol invasion. More luxurious palaces replaced these over the years. The building has been destroyed and rebuilt many times, most recently during WW II. Today the palace is a mixture of architectural styles. Grouped around two courtyards, the wings of the palace contain museums and portions of the medieval structures discovered in the course of excavation of Elisabeth bridge. It houses the Hungarian National Gallery, the Museum for the History of Budapest, the National Szechenyi Library and the Castle Theatre. So there is sure to be something of interest.
I, Buda Palace, wing E, Budapest, Hungary
This museum is located in the castle off the Lion Courtyard. Much of it is housed underground, in the marbled halls of the Renaissance palace. It is a great place to gain a better understanding of the city with the Two Thousand Years of Budapest exhibition.
VII, Dohany utca 2., Budapest, Hungary
This recently restored synagogue in Pest is magnificent. Inside you can gaze at the Byzantine-Moorish architecture. It is the worlds second largest synagogue seating 3000. Open: Sun-Fri 10am-3pm. Admission by donation. Pests Jewish quarter is found in the streets behind the synagogue. The adjoining Jewish museum has an excellent exhibit on Jewish life and customs and the Hungarian holocaust.
V, Szent Istvan ter 33, Budapest, Hungary
This is the largest church in Budapest and features neo-classical architecture. Inside take a look at the dome 96 metres above ground. One of its curious features is the mummified right hand of St. Stephen (1000-1038). In summer you can get a good view of the city from the top.
II, Fo utca. 8, Budapest, Hungary
In the Buda district of Watertown, this is one of the legendary Turkish baths dating back to the 16th century. A fascinating building with an octagonal pool, two thermal baths and a cool down pool. It is the perfect place to relax; though the sexes are segregated. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are designated womens days, and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are for men.
, Budapest, Hungary
You can descend to the island from Margaret bridge down the walkway. This is a magnificent park popular with the locals. It covers an area of 225 acres and you can stroll around it in two hours. The island is named after the daughter of King Bela IV who lived in a convent there. Today more than ten thousand different types of trees grow there, planted by the gardeners of the Habsburgs. Sights in the park include open-air pools, a tennis stadium, an open-air cinema and theatre, a small zoo, a rose garden, a Japanese garden, a statue garden and thermal baths. In the summer it is possible to hire bicycles and cycling around is very pleasant as private cars are banned.
Szobor Park, XXII, Balatoni ut, Budapest, Hungary
This is a unique outdoor museum displaying the politically incorrect statues from the Communist era. In 1993, 42 monuments were moved here from their positions in the city. The statues are blocky socialist works of characters such as Lenin, Marx and Engels and some are quite massive. On admission you are given a plan outlying layout, date, artist and former location.
V. Kossuth Lajos ter 12, Budapest, Hungary
This folk museum has a fascinating display of Hungarian rural life, folk customs and folk art. Each display is accompanied by English text. There are often contemporary photo exhibitions. Seasonal craft fairs are organised at Christmas and Easter with dance displays and craft demonstrations.