Climbing the Buda Hills
János hegy, the highest point of Budapest (526 m) is one of the most popular weekend and tourist destinations.
This weekend we checked the route to tell you about its pitfalls and give you some tips on how to make the trip more pleasant.
The trip may take up to 5 hours, so you better start off in the morning, at 9-10 am, otherwise you may be late for the chairlift (which is the best part of the trip, to our opinion).
The route starts from Moszkva tér, and the easiest way to get there is to take tram No. 4 or 6, or metro M3. From Moszkva tér take tram No. 56 (two stops) to get to the cogwheel railway station, or walk, since it takes only 10 minutes to get to the station, and walking is always healthier (!).
The day we took the trip (Sunday) the train was crowded with tourists and locals, cyclists, kids and adults heading for Buda hills, but we still felt excited about the trip, so we were not inconvenienced by this. The only disappointment was the lack of view - all we could see from the train were the trees and houses surrounding the railway and not the view of the city below us.
In about 25 minutes we got to the terminus, Széchenyi-hegy, and were surprised to see that there was just one café and couple of stalls selling candyfloss and pretzels. Feeling a bit thirsty, we walked in this huge park and then moved to the Children’s Railway located just about two hundred meters from the Széchenyi-hegy station.
There was not much entertainment at the station neither for adults, nor for kids, and such underdevelopment was also surprising to us. Anyway, the weather was good, so we had the sun to bathe in while waiting for the train.
The old train came and we rushed to get the seats in the open carriage. In twenty minutes the train departed from the station and headed for the woods. We were again disappointed to see no view of the city - it was just a forest full of trees, but it felt good to be in the forest and breathe in the clean air smelling of autumn sun and pine needles.
We alighted from the train at János hegy station, and so did the most of the passengers. Our next stop was János hill and chair lift. The hill was not that steep, but it anyway took us about twenty minutes to climb to the chair lift. We decided not to climb to the Erzsébet look-out tower on the top of the hill, since we were tired and hungry by that time and there was just one crowded café and a stall selling pretzels and corn, which was not exactly what we wanted. Actually, the whole area was crowded and there were no benches to sit and have a cup of coffee – that was another disappointment of the trip.
The queue for chair lift was rather long, but it could move faster if there was clear and well-seen information that tickets are available from the café. Thus, everyone had to queue up twice to get to the chair lift.
But the reward for patience and inconveniences was great – we finally saw the city below us, and it was so relaxing to go down from hill enjoying the view, the air and happy smiles of the people going up the hill.
From Zugliget we took the bus No. 158 and went back to Moszkva tér, where we had at last proper lunch and coffee.