Buda and Pest – A Tale of Two Cities in Hungary

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on January 3, 2019.

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The capital city of Hungary is known to be one of the world's most beautiful cities. Cut in half with the Danube, the river takes a striking place in the make up of the city as well as being one of the natural highlights for visitors. 

Prior to the formation of the city now known as Budapest, the cities were actually separated by the river into their comparably and aptly named parts: Buda and Pest.

The segments of the city are not just separated by the river, but make up unique features in the city of Budapest based on the history from long ago. 

If Buda could be described as having sites relating back to years past, Pest would symbolize all things present and future in being the home of Hungary's Parliament and modern government. Those wanting to stay longer by renting one of the many apartments in Budapest might want to keep the following sights in mind when deciding on which half of the city to stay in during an extended stay.

Royal Ties in Buda

Buda and Pest

The most famous visiting spot in Buda (Western Budapest) is the district known as Castle Hill, home of the Royal Palace. 

Unlike many palaces in the world, which have enjoyed relative stability throughout the years, the Royal Palace of Buda has only seen unrest. 

Times of trouble for this particular palace includes a full destruction in the late 1600s after being built for 300 years, damage during rebellions in the 1800s, and partial destruction during WWII when being occupied by German soldiers.  

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Interestingly enough, the palace has never actually been occupied by the Royal Family and is now a historical relic of years past.

Buda and Pest

The nearby Fisherman's Bastion is not a royal monument but rather a monument dedicated to the fisherman who defended the city during the centuries of preceding wars. 

The wall of the city, as it is said, was protected in various segments by merchant classes as de facto troops with ingrained bonds of fellowship. 

Now the structure is one of the most beautiful monuments in the city visited for its design as well as amazing views of the Danube and neighboring Pest.

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If you have limited time in Budapest and can only pick one spot to visit, this is it.

Modern Government in Pest


The Parliament building of Pest is famous in its own right as it is the largest Parliament building in Europe and said to be just 1 meter wider and longer than England's own building of similar design. 

Going with its size is its beauty and is considered a master piece from all angles.

After appreciating the architectural brilliance of Budapest's Parliament, visitors are encouraged to go inside and see the Hungarian Crown Jewels which were last used in 1916 and only put on display in 1978 after a long chain of international possession to avoid theft during WWII.

Getting in to the actual hall, however, is a bit more difficult as tickets are sold for designated tour slots each day and often sell out prior to 11am.

The easiest way to get tickets is to line up infront of the security fence when the ticket office opens in the morning.  The only notation visitors have to go by is a small sign that says “Buy Tickets” where to begin the queue. 

Waiting is a leap of faith that someone will come and let you in, but rest assured tickets do go on sale and the line progresses at a snails pace. When returning the process is similar with the line beginning at the “With Tickets” sign and very little announcements to when tours actually begin. 

So when visiting Budapest's Parliament, it is best to be alert as to what is going on, as you might just get passed up in the process.

Budapest is a Stunning City

When visiting Budapest, getting into the historical separation of the old cities of Buda and Pest will yield a valauble perspective into the development of the city that we all know today. 

With the contrasts between the old palace and the new parliament, the difference between the two sides becomes incredibly striking. 

In having two unique sides to the story of Budapest, the old cities are a perfect place to spend some extra time in one of the many Budapest apartments, and really get to know the city.

For more things to do in Europe check out our articles on the Rila Moanstery in Bulgaria or even more on Budapest!

About Jeremy

Jeremy from Living the Dream

About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.

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