Hiking to the Citadella in Budapest, Hungary
May 17, 2022
The Citadella is a fortress that sits on top of Gellért Hill on the Buda side of the Danube River. The Liberty Statue that is located next to the citadel can be seen from throughout the downtown area of Pest. The bronze statue features a woman raising a palm leaf toward the sky and, although it was built by the Soviet Union, it still represents Hungary’s freedom from Nazi occupation. As interesting as the fortress and statues are, the main reason for making the trek to the top of Gellért Hill is for the views of Budapest. You can see the Buda Castle District, the Parliament Building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Danube River, and the heart of Budapest.
We walked from our hotel down to the river where we crossed Liberty Bridge to start our hike to the top of Gellért Hill, which is 771 feet above the river below. The winding path is fairly steep and takes you through a wooded area as well as by the St. Gellért Monument. The hill gets its name because it is the location where St. Gellért was brutally killed and apparently tossed from the hill. It took us about an hour to make the walk to the top of the hill, but we stopped several times to take in the scenic views at the various overlooks.
As we reached the Citadella at the top of the hill, we had worked up quite a thirst and were quite happy to find out that their were several vendors selling food and drinks next to the fortress walls. In addition to the Liberty Statue, there were also two smaller statues that remain from the original four statues that were erected at the site. The other two statues were moved to Statue Park some time after 1947 when Liberty Statue was erected. Once at the top of the hill, we spent about thirty minutes walking around the fortress and statues. We happened to go on a Saturday and there was a mix of tourists as well as locals enjoying the beautiful weather.
There are many wonderful sites to visit while in Budapest and the Citadella is certainly one of them. We would definitely recommend going on a clear day in order to take full advantage of the incredible views of the city.