Budapest: The Vár

View from the Chain Bridge

During our week in Budapest we criss-crossed the Danube several times using four different bridges. On our first venture to the Buda side of the river, we walked across from Pest via the Chain Bridge (Lánchíd), the first permanent link between the two (inaugurated 1849).

On the other side, we decided to take the Sikló, a renovated 19th century funicular, up to the Vár (or Várhegy – Castle Hill). This turned out to be the only transport that we used all week other than our own two feet!

The funicular delivers you to the Royal Palace, home to the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. We decided to save these up for a rainy day – which never came so I can’t tell you anything about them. We just wandered around the outside, enjoying the views back across the river.

If Pest reminded me of Paris, Buda, or at least the Vár, felt much more Germanic. Enjoy the pretty streets.

Admire the details.

Feel moved by the Trinity Columns, erected in 1713 in thanksgiving for the abatement of a plague …

… and by the Mary Magdalene Tower, all that is left of a church wrecked in World War 2.

Above all, feel amazed that, despite this being early March, we could enjoy lunch outside in the sunshine!

Behind me in the picture above is Mátyás Church, officially dedicated to Our Lady but popularly named for Good King Mátyás. It’s not as old as it looks, being mainly a late 19th century recreation restored again after World War 2. Still, it’s very interesting and colourful inside and out.

Behind the church is Fisherman’s Bastion, probably the best place for views back across the Danube. It’s a fancy 19th century concoction that I’m sure no self-respecting fisherman would have anything to do with. The statue is King Stephen.

Having traversed the Vár we descended the other side of the hill and made our way back along the river bank to the Chain Bridge, taking in a last few sights on the way.

In my next Budapest post, I’ll return to the Pest side of the river.


  1. We spent our third day, a Monday, here on the Buda side. I loved the colorful tiles and the beautifully painted interior of Matthias Church and the views of the Danube and Parliament from Fisherman’s Bastion. We also headed with great enthusiasm for the Budapest History Museum only to find it was closed on Monday. We never made it back, sadly. We also stopped in at St. Anne’s, which I see you have pictured, because we heard it had a beautiful interior, but it was closed. Also, the funicular was closed, so we lazy people took a cart up to the church. I should have read all your posts BEFORE I went; I might have noticed more and focused our three days differently. You were smart to take 7 days to see Budapest. I told Mike we should always plan at least 5 days in a European city. We tried to do too much in 2 weeks; sadly Mike can only take off 2 weeks from work at a time. We could have easily left out Vienna, my least favorite, but it was on our way so it seemed a shame not to stop.

    Your pictures are all fabulous, Anabel! It’s nice to relive our holiday not only by looking at our own pictures, but also by reading your posts! 🙂


        • Not there either. I’m thinking of a European tour this summer before we crash out of the EU and become total pariahs (though we might get away with playing the Scottish card as we voted to remain.)


            • I hope so. I think there’s a lot of sympathy for us in Europe, also for N Ireland which also voted to remain and has the added complication of a land border with the EU in the shape of the Republic of Ireland. It’s a mess and our esteemed (not) UK govt doesn’t seem to have a clue what they are doing. As for where we might go, not decided yet – and the plans might totally change before next summer!


  2. What a wonderful time you had, and the weather is amazing! Loving seeing the city through your eyes, must really get my act together and explore more of Europe (and as you say soon!!)


  3. I hope I am still able to travel there after this mess here in America. The “details” are so beautiful and it is heartbreaking that war has taken so much away. By the looks of the photos I am happy there is still beautiful history that exists there. Keep sharing, you happen to be my National Geographic these days!


    • It is beautiful, but so much sadness to look back on from the fascist and communist eras. I hope you get there some day. We’re off to Canada this year, but I think we might concentrate on Europe next year before Brexit kicks in and makes us total pariahs. I think other countries have looked at what the US and UK have done and thought, no thanks! Most recently France rejecting Le Pen.

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  4. I love a city where you never have to get in a vehicle – it’s one of the reasons Paul and I love Key West. We ditch the car when we get there, and don’t get back in one until we’re leaving the island.


  5. So much WOW in this blog post Anabel. And seeing you both in the chilly but sunshiny March temps gave me a bit of location envy as I sweat my way through beautiful but extremely hot Thailand. Budapest has long been on my list but still several years off, so nice to celebrate it here with you!


  6. Like other readers have already mentioned, your pictures make me feel like I was on this trip with you. Lunch outside in March? I’m totally jealous!