(First published on We Love Budapest, 10 February 2015)
Buda Castle Funicular and Castle Bus
The funicular is a great way to get to and from the Buda Castle. It starts at Clark Ádám Square at the foot of the Chain Bridge and goes up every 5 – 10 minutes from 7.30am to 10pm. A single adult ticket is 1 100 HUF while a return is 1 700 HUF. For children it’s 650 HUF or 1 100 HUF return. Another alternative to get to the Castle is by taking the mini Castle Bus. This bus (number 16) goes from Elizabeth Square to Széll Kálmán Square via the Buda Castle.
Tram number 2
Budapest’s Danube banks are UNESCO World Heritage listed, and a great way to see this area is by taking a ride on tram number 2. Hop on at Jászai Mari Square (near the Pest side of Margaret Bridge), soon you’ll pass the Hungarian Parliament building, and catch a great view of the Buda Castle, Chain Bridge and other historic buildings along both the Buda and Pest banks. You’ll also pass Elizabeth Bridge and Liberty Bridge, and see Gellért Hill across the river. Along the way you’ll pass the polarising Whale Building (we love it) before seeing the Palace of Arts and National Theatre too. You can read our full guide to the tram 2 route here.
This scenic 1 040m long chairlift connectsZugliget to János Hill, where you can take walks in nature or have a picnic. The peaceful 15-minute ride glides over forests, and the panorama is beautiful. A single ticket is 900 HUF, return is 1 400 HUF. Check before you head off as the Chairlift can close for maintenance or bad weather. Generally the opening hours are February 10am – 4pm, March 10am – 5pm, April 10am – 6pm and May to August 10am – 7pm. Take bus number 291 at Nyugati Railway Station to get to the chairlift station at Zugliget.
BKK tickets are valid for the Cogwheel Railway, which runs from Városmajor Park to Széchenyi Hill. Use it to explore the Buda Hills and spots like Normafa. Get to the Városmajor Park Cogwheel Park station by taking two stops of tram number 59 from Széll Kálmán Square.
The Children’s Railway is also great fun – not just for children, of course! The line is 11 kilometres long and runs through the Buda Hills. Children aged 10 to 14 control the traffic and other services, although of course the engines are driven by adults. The railway operates throughout the year (except on Mondays during September through April). Trains run from 9am – 5pm in winter and until 7pm in summer. Adult tickets are 600 HUF one way or 1 200 HUF return.
Budapest's Mol Bubi share bike system is a great way to get around the city, but you can also take a cycle further afield and see new parts of Budapest and its surroundings on a rental bike. There are places where you can rent a bike for a whole day or even several days, such as Budapestbike, Yellow Zebra Bikes, Bikebase Budapest (also sells secondhand bikes), Hi-Bike, DYNAMOBIKE and Lemon Bike. Each place offers different deals but you can probably rent a bike for the day for between 2 000 HUF and 4 000 HUF.