If not, let me tell you why you should add watching the sunrise from one of its most incredible landmarks to your list of things to do in Budapest.
For someone who loves the peace and quiet of the morning hours, I’m strangely not the type to jump out of bed at 5 in the morning, let alone be someplace to watch a sunrise that early, which explains why I’ve only ever seen a handful of them.
As glorious and incomparable as they have been since I moved, Budapest sunrises have been popping up on my IG feed, and my craving to go out and experience one was steadily growing.
So after many failed plans, together with a friend, I finally made it to Fisherman’s Bastion(Halászbástya), a sought-after lookout point in Budapest. We beat the crowd and arrived there by 5 am, and it was well worth the little hassle of waking up early. Although I have been here many times over the past two years, this was the first time I watched a sunrise from up here.
Anyone who visits the city has Fisherman’s Bastion on top of their list of things to do in Budapest. But not many seems to wake up that early to witness this beautiful moment (or it could even be the logistics).
While dragging oneself out of bed when on holiday might be difficult, especially if you have been to the ruin bars in the Jewish district the previous night, a solution could be staying over at one of the hotels nearby.
I recall this sunrise en route to NYC from Washington DC, the golden sun reflecting off the windows of the highrises as our coach reached New York. Heavenly, to say the least. Then there were those over lake Geneva. I was glad we had uninterrupted views of the lake from our hotel room. But nothing compares to the golden mornings by the ocean, in Sri Lanka.
No matter where you witness it from, there’s something about watching the sunrise that makes you want to dream. When most are still asleep and the air is filled with all these possibilities… you immerse yourself at that moment, uninterrupted by the hustle and bustle.
How to get there
I live on the rakpart by the Danube, so my friend and I took bus no.5 from Március 15. tér and got off at Alagút utca. Then walked for about 15 mins to get to Fisherman’s Bastion.
The whole trip was about 30 or 40mins, even though the maps said twenty. It took “a bus ride and a deviled staircase!” Well, not really…but there is a bit of a climb, and it did appear that way at half-past four in the morning. We wanted to be there at least half an hour before the sunrise because you know…it’s the most beautiful, just before it happens. But we got there only just in time, not before, as we hoped to.
I mean we still loved it; it was out of this world! But, we still wished we had gotten there a little sooner to witness the pastel skies.
How to get to Fisherman’s Bastion will majorly depend on where you are staying in Budapest, but like I mentioned before, many find accommodation at a nearby hotel like the Hilton, which is adjacent to the famous Matthias Church. Alternatively, you could drive or take a cab.
Suppose you wish to take the bus, no. 16 generally operates from 4.20am to 11.20 am all week starting at Széll Kálmán tér and within 10 mins you would get to Szentháromság tér and a two-minute walk and you’d be at the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Getting there isn’t too problematic but it’s always best to have it figured out beforehand so you get there early enough not to miss the whole experience.
Except for a few photographers, there is hardly anyone at the Fisherman’s Bastion at this time. Those who come there just to take a few photographs don’t stick around for too long. At one point we had the whole place to ourselves, which was nice.
There are many stories about the Bastion, but this grand edifice seems to have solely served as a lookout point and I can understand why. The view from up here is breathtaking and we witnessed the sun slowly rise over the Hungarian Parliament, painting the whole sky above Pest with golden hues of red and orange; gently caressing the city.
As the sun soar higher and higher and the birds unendingly chirped away, more of the pest landmarks became visible to us.
We just sat there the whole time, talking, laughing, and taking lots of photographs… but most of all in awe. I believe my photographs don’t do enough justice to this glorious moment, but I do hope they are good enough to convince you to experience the sunrise from up here when you visit Budapest the next time.