Buda Hills

Buda Hills information

Budapest , Hungary
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With 'peaks' reaching over 500m, a comprehensive system of trails and no lack of unusual conveyances, the Buda Hills make up what is the city's playground, and they're a welcome respite from hot, dusty Pest in the warmer months. Indeed, some well-heeled Budapest families have summer homes here. If you're planning to ramble, take along a copy of Cartographia's 1: 30,000 A Budai-hegység map (No 6), available from bookshops and newsstands throughout the city.

Apart from the Béla Bartók Memorial House, there are very few sights per se, though you might want to poke your head into one of the Buda Hills' several caves.

With all the unusual transport options, heading for the hills is more than half the fun. From the Moszkva tér metro station on the M2 line in Buda, walk west along Szilágyi Erzsébet fasor for 10 minutes (or take tram 18 or 56 for two stops) to the circular high-rise Hotel Budapest. Directly opposite is the terminus of the Cog Railway. Built in 1874, the cog climbs for 3.6km in about 16 minutes to Széchenyi-hegy (427m), one of the prettiest residential areas in the city.

At Széchenyi-hegy, you can stop for a picnic in the attractive park south of the old-time station or board the narrow-gauge Children's Railway, two minutes to the south on Hegyhát út. The railway was built in 1951 by Pioneers (socialist Scouts) and is staffed entirely by schoolchildren aged 10 to 14 - with the exception of the engineer. The little train chugs along for 12km, terminating at Hűvösvölgy (Chilly Valley). There are walks fanning out from any of the stops along the way, or you can return to Moszkva tér on tram 56 from Hűvösvölgy. The train operates about once an hour (every 45 minutes at the weekend in peak season).

A more interesting way down from the hills, though, is to get off at János-hegy, the fourth stop on the Children's Railway and the highest point (527m) in the hills. About 700m due east is the chair lift (libegő ), which will take you down to Zugligeti út. (Note the chair lift is closed on the Monday of every even-numbered week.) From here bus 158 returns to Moszkva tér (last one is just after 22:15).