Expat Life

Exploring the Buda Hills during the Wintertime

February 16, 2018

It has been busy around here lately!  Andrew was in England and last week both of us went to Amsterdam.  We had a great week there, but we are happy to be back in Budapest.  Winter is almost over here, and we were eager to go exploring the Buda Hills during the wintertime. Luckily, we had yet another bright and sunny winter’s day for our adventure to begin.

The Buda Hills

We haven’t really had any snow here in the city – at least none that lasted more than a day. Furthermore, I have never gone up into the Buda Hills.  I mean, I’ve been up to the Citadel to view the city, but never up any further. Since our dog, Lucy, is always up for an adventure, Andrew and I decided set off on a wintertime walk and find some snow.  And although a world away, its only a 20 minute ride on public transit from Széll Kálmán Metro Station to get to Normafa Park.

Normafa Park

Normafa Park is a sport and recreation park open all year round with incredible views of Budapest.  During the winter you can find skiing, sledding and hiking trails open. Its been a favourite spot in the Buda Hills for visitor and locals for over 100 years. “Normafa” is named after the beech tree that grew there for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, the tree was destroyed by lighting in 1927. The memory of Normafa is preserved today by a memorial plaque erected in 1967 for the famous tree.

Buda Hills Walking Fail

As soon as we got off the bus, we found the snow! It was so beautiful and looked just like a postcard – that was until you tried to walk on it. Lamentably, the sun had turned the walking paths into sheets of ice.  And while it didn’t slow down some people (or Lucy), it was definitely too treacherous for me to walk on safely with my wonky foot.

Just one of the many hiking and walking trails to be found at Normafa.

Lucy Loves the Buda Hills

Lucy loving the Buda Hills at Normafa Park.

While I would recommend a picnic, there are a few cafés and restaurants to be found at Normafa.

Andrew and I enjoying the winter sun and spectacular views of Budapest.

I would highly recommend you visit this lovely park.  There is so much to do for everyone – and their dogs. For the latest in current weather conditions and events, you can check out the official website for Normafa. The website and their Facebook page is written in Hungarian, but Google translate can easily assist.

After a carefully taken short walk, we decided it may be best to return another day.  Either a day with more or less snow to reduce the ice.  Personally, I can’t wait until the spring to come up to the Buda Hills with a wine and cheese picnic. And while Lucy protested vigorously, we decided to get back on the 21A bus and head a little further down to the Castle District (District 1).

The Castle District

Changing buses at Széll Kálmán Station, we took a short bus ride to the Fisherman’s Bastion.  Since we were further down the hillside, there was no snow and easy walking. Seeing that it was now mid-afternoon, it was crowded with tourists so after a few key photos, we walked around some smaller streets.

Matthias Church is a Roman Catholic church located in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion at the heart of Buda’s Castle District.

The Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style situated on the Buda bank of the Danube.

Budapest’s Castle District is full of historic sights and attractions. The medieval buildings found here serve as a strict contrast to our classical apartments on the Pest side. You can find many great hotels, cafés and restaurants here as well. Ideally, I would recommend you visit early in the morning before all the tour buses arrive.

If you’re looking for a less touristy place to take a walk, read our blog post about our walk on the pretty Margaret Island.



If you want to know more about our trip to Amsterdam, then head over to our YouTube channel to watch the video. We attended the Integrated Systems Europe show, visited the Rijksmuseum, took a boat tour and explored the city. ISE is the largest AV and systems integration show in the world (or so they say).  It was an educational, fun, beautiful – but chilly week.

Andrew in Amsterdam

Thanks for continuing to read about our expat life!

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