I love city tours. Sit somewhere comfortable, listen to more or less interesting anecdotes and get an overview of the city.
Some of these city tours are unfortunately rather expensive. And sometimes it is not possible to drive up to the sightseeing spots due to pedestrianised areas or other traffic restrictions.
We have gotten into the habit of screening the maps of the local public transport system before we depart. Sometimes there are interesting routes for cheap fares that offer good views of the points of interest for tourists.
In Budapest we found the tram number 2 to be an interesting route like that. It took us all the way along the Danube banks.
Tram in Budapest – Line 2
We didn’t stay on from beginning to end of the line. Just a few meters from our hotel, at Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge) was a stop of the tram line 2. A tip: Sit on the side facing the Danube, these are the seats with the nicest view.
On the other side of the river, high above the city on Gellert Hill, stands the Liberty Statue of Budapest. It is well within view from the tram. The view of the city from up there is fantastic and we decided then and there that we will make the climb the next morning.
The next interesting landmark, also on the other side of the Danube, is the Budavári Palota (Royal Palace). Even the cable car that operates from the base of the hill up to the palace can be seen from the tram.
Only a little further and the Fisherman’s Bastion, an imposing fortress from the 19th century, comes into view. The reflections from the colourful roof of St. Mathews Church shine across the Danube on a nice day.
On closer examination, passengers can even spot the shoes in front of the Parliament that are part of a memorial. We only managed to see the people standing around them and had to come back at a later date to see the shoes themselves.
Just before the Parliament, the tram line 2 turns off the road that runs along the embankment. It rattles, slows down, takes a few curves and then makes its way across the square directly in front of the Parliament building. Looking at the humungous building is really impressive and I am happy that the tram is going so slowly. That leaves enough time to get a good first look. It is crystal clear to us that we will come back to have a closer look.
We are so in awe that we almost miss the lovely building on the other end of the square. It is the ethnographic museum, housed in a building that is no less impressive than the Parliament.
Another few curves and our tram pulls up to its final stop. We really liked the tour. For little money, we got a good first impression of the city and discovered multiple places that we put on our bucket list.
Ticket fares for public transport / trams in Budapest
24h pass: 1650 Ft
(We used that on our arrival day fort he airport transfer, metro, tram and bus)
Single ticket: 350 Ft
(Converts to about 1.15€, valid for 80 minutes and allows one change between metro lines)
10 ticket pass: 3000 Ft
Be aware that purchasing the tickets from a bus driver is more expensive!