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Cycling is finally catching on in Budapest – cyclist numbers have risen sharply and cycle lanes are more or less fast, but appearing. There are also good routes out of town, such as along the Buda bank of the Danube to Szentendre and on up towards Slovakia.

Cycling is finally catching on in Budapest – cyclist numbers have risen sharply and cycle lanes are more or less fast, but appearing. It isn’t easy riding: car drivers are only beginning to be aware of cyclists and you also have to contend with sunken tram-lines and bumpy cobbles and bad air pollution.

Bikes are banned from the major thoroughfares and the cycle routes are still patchy – they don’t link up to form a network yet. However, there are also good routes out of town, such as along the Buda bank of the Danube to Szentendre and on up towards Slovakia.

Tourinform has free cycling maps of Budapest. Bicycles can be carried on HÉV trains and the Cogwheel Railway for the price of a single ticket, but not on buses or trams.

MOL BUBI

Budapest’s public bicycle system was launched on the 8th of September 2014, following the example of London, Barcelona, New York and other large cities around the world. The municipal council made the decision to build the system in 2008: the deadline for the handover was missed again and again, but the results justified the long wait. In the first month following the launch over 120 thousand bikes were checked out, thousands bought passes at one of the 76 bike stations. Currently 1100 bicycles are available to locals and tourists to reach the districts further from downtown.

MOL BUBI
MOL BUBI

If you’re hard-pressed for time, you might appreciate a two- to three-hour city bus tour. These generally take you past the Parliament, along Andrássy út, across to the Várhegy and up to Gellért-hegy for panoramic photo opportunities.

If you’re hard-pressed for time, you might appreciate a two- to three-hour city bus tour. These generally take you past the Parliament, along Andrássy út, across to the Várhegy and up to Gellért-hegy for panoramic photo opportunities. Of the many on offer, Ibusz runs three-hour trips for 8200Ft, and some more for as an addon to visit to the Parliament building; tickets are sold at V, Ferenciek tere 10, in the centre (or online www.ibusz.hu).

Hop On Hop Off bus in Budapest
Hop On Hop Off bus in Budapest

 

Most of Budapest’s backstreets and historic quarters are eminently suited to walking, and this is much the best way to appreciate their character. Traffic is restricted in downtown Pest and around the Vár (castle) in Buda, and fairly light in the residential backstreets off the main boulevards, which are the nicest areas to wander around.

Segway tours
Segway tours

 

For a range of walking tours, including some which take in less obvious attractions such as Communist Budapest or the city’s bars, try the Discover Hungary offices – prices from 4000Ft for three and a half hour tours (www.absolutetours.com). The same office handles bike tours (www.yellowzebrabikes.com), while other tour offices the strange-looking two-wheel segways.

Amphibious Bus Tour Budapest

River Ride coach
River Ride coach

 

You shall not miss out on this special experience, if you ever come to the Hungarian capital! This flaming yellow bus looks like a little bit weird sightseeing bus on the roads, and when you see it splashing on water, you quickly start to call the police, ambulance or fire service. And a bit later, you still can not believe your eyes, because instead of sinking the bus just floats forward easily.

Address: 1051 Budapest V. district, Széchenyi István tér 7-8.
Internet: http://riverride.hu/

The church was consecrated in 1926. During World War II it functioned as a military hospital for the Nazi army...

Name: Cave Church
Category: Religious buildings
Location: 1114 Budapest, Szent Gellért rakpart 1.
Internet: http://www.sziklatemplom.hu

Cave Church
Cave Church


 

Good to know about the Cave Church

  • Pauline monks built this remarkable church inside Gellért Hill after a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France. The church was consecrated in 1926
  • During World War II it functioned as a military hospital for the Nazi army In an attempt to curb the power of the Catholic Church the secret police raided the church in 1951. The prior was murdered; the monks were imprisoned After the raid the church was sealed.
  • After the fall of communism the monks regained the temple and reopened it in 1989
  • They continue to use it for religious functions
  • The cave is also called St. Ivan's Cave after a hermit who had lived here and healed the sick with the area's thermal water. The same water supplies now the Gellért Bath

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The Cave Church on the map

 

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Cave Hospital is an underground complex beneath Buda Castle. The place served as a military hospital in WWII and as a nuclear shelter during the Cold War.

Name: Cave Hospital
Category: Museums & Art
Location: 1012 Budapest, Lovas út 4/c
Phone: +36 70 7 01 01 01
Internet: http://www.sziklakorhaz.eu

Description

Cave Hospital
Cave Hospital

 

Good to know about the Cave Hospital

  • Cave Hospital is an underground complex beneath Buda Castle
  • The place served as a military hospital in WWII and as a nuclear shelter during the Cold War Originally it used to be a wine cellar; later, in the Turkish times, it became a hiding place for treasures and women from the harem
  • The complex occupies 2000 sq m (6,560 sq ft); it was designed for 300 patients and 40 doctors and nurses worked here in shifts
  • In the last days of the WWII Budapest siege, more than 600 patients were squeezed in these windowless rooms filled with smell of blood, sweat and urine
  • The museum opened in 2008; it contains the original medical instruments and close to 70 wax figures
  • The guided tours are rich with anectodes and stories that make visiting the museum a great experience

Tip: The museum can only be visisted on guided tours, which depart on the hour. Please note that it is not allowed to take photos inside the museum.



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While peace and quiet is harder to find in Pest than it is in leafy Buda, you don’t have to trek out to City Park or Margaret Island to experience what is known as "park life" as a secluded spot is often never more than a few corners away.

The cute park at Honvéd tér with its trimmed lawn and neat flowerbeds is tucked away close to the busy Pest thoroughfare of Szent István körút but is totally peaceful, bar the sounds of kids playing. There’s also concrete ping-pong tables with iron nets that may be an unglamorous hangover from Communism but they can stand all weather and make for a good game.

Honvéd tér
Honvéd tér

 

You’ll run into English speakers here and also on the playgrounds of Szabadság tér. Although Szabadság tér, literally Freedom Square, may be synonymous with the violence after the riots of 2006 and repression in the form of the Soviet War Memorial, this big open space, surrounded by colossal buildings that serve to block out the bustle, is a superbly relaxing place and you can contemplate the awesome aspect of the city’s biggerthan- thou architecture.

Freedom Square
Freedom Square

 

Still on the Pest side, Károly kert also belies its central location close to hectic Astoria, transcending metropolitan modernity and transporting you back to Budapest’s early 20thcentury heyday.

Károly kert
Károly kert

 

Step through the wrought-iron gate and feel at the center of a living bastion of old-world charm.