Set on the Danube River, Budapest is actually a dual city. The twin cities of Buda, to the west of the river, and Pest, located to the east, joined together in 1873 via large bridges to establish what we’re all familiar with today, the grand city of Budapest. And what a wonderful decision that was!
It’s often said that Buda is the more quiet and serene of the two sides, with Pest being livelier and more action packed. But despite their notable differences, it should be mentioned that it’s essential to explore both sides, with one not being more or less important than the other! In fact, what makes this city so special is how seamlessly the Hungarians have managed to blend history and modernity.
Home to all things regal, the side of Buda is, as previously mentioned, the quieter and calmer of the two cities. Here you’ll find charming cobblestone streets where the city’s strong history is evident and architecture that spans beautifully across many eras, seeing influence mainly from Baroque, Neoclassical and Gothic styles.
When discovering Buda, most people explore the famed Castle District, Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion, whilst also basking in the incredible view of the Hungarian Parliament building the side of Buda boasts. Beautiful attractions aside, simply walking through the many windy streets of Buda is an excellent thing to do, where it’s residential feel will give you insight into how many locals live day-to-day.
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On the other hand, Pest is where the capital comes alive. Home to the city’s restaurant and café scene, you’ll definitely find plenty of delicious places to indulge and refuel in between discovering the quirks of the city. Pest’s main, and perhaps most touristy street, Váci Utca, is where you’ll find many eateries and shops, and although it is targeted toward the traveller market, it is worth visiting at least once!
This side of the river isn’t all modern however, with Pest’s architecture and sights also reflecting the city’s long history. While Buda is home to some of Budapest’s most famous attractions, overall the side of Pest actually has more of them. From St Stephen’s Basilica, the Central Market Hall, and the Szechenyi Baths to the Parliament Building, there’s simply just so much to explore in Pest.
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If Budapest is now on your bucket-list, we don't blame you! With deep history and stunning architecture all found within a bustling city, there's so much to see. Explore Budapest with us on our 19-day Eastern Europe small group tour.