Time: This tour takes about four hours (not including a visit to the Kiscelli Museum)
Getting to Batthyány tér: Take Subway (M2) to Batthyhány tér
Leg 1 - Batthyány tér to Aquincum
Start your trip at Batthyány tér and take the Suburban Railway (HÉV) to Aquincum. Well preserved remains of the Roman city of Aquincum can be seen at the Museum of Aquincum. Aquincum was the capital of Pannonia, a northern province of the Ancient Roman Empire. The excavated ruins date back to the 2nd century AD, when the city had around 15,000 inhabitants. Remains of an amphitheater, mosaic floors, tombstones, statues and remains of some villas are the main attractions here.
Leg 2 - Aquincum to Fő tér
From Aquincum take the Suburban Railway (HÉV) back to Árpád híd and take the short walk over to Fő tér via Szentlélek tér. On your way you will pass the Baroque-style Zichy palace that belonged to an aristocratic family, who once owned Óbuda. The palace, commissioned in the 18th century, is home to several Museums. There is a museum dedicated to the Hungarian born pop artist, Victor Vasarely, another to Lajos Kassák, an iconic figure of the Hungarian avant-garde movement and yet another to the history of Óbuda.
As you head towards Fő tér, on your left, you will see a plaque on the wall commemorating the first university in Budapest, founded in 1395. Fő tér is surrounded by several Baroque-style buildings lending a special character and charm to the square. The most noteworthy statues in the square are the sculpture of Pál Harrer, the first mayor of Óbuda and a group of bronze figures portraying women with umbrellas, by contemporary sculptor Imre Varga.
Leg 3 - Fő tér to Flórian tér
Continue your walk on Polgár utca to Flórian tér. This is where the ruins of a Roman military camp were discovered. The well preserved ruins of a bath complex called Thermae Maiores are on the north side of the square. A small museum provides information about the baths and medicine in Roman times. Several other Roman ruins can be seen in the Flórian tér underpass.
Leg 4 - Flórian tér to the synagogue
Crossing the road beneath Árpád híd will take you to the 18th century Baroque style St. Peter and Paul Parish Church, also commissioned by the Zichy’s. Built by Hungarian settlers in 1015, this is where Óbuda’s first church once stood. Continue your walk on Lajos utca and you will soon see the huge contrasts that are so characteristic of Óbuda: 20th century housing projects to your left and historic houses to your right. The synagogue, a beautiful Classicist-style building built in the 19th century, will also be on your left. Another attraction close by is Restaurant Kéhli. This 100-year old eatery was once a favorite of Gyula Krúdy (1878–1933), a Hungarian writer and journalist, who lived nearby.
Leg 5 – From the synagogue to the Roman amphitheatre
Continue your walk along Lajos utca to the intersection of Nagyszombat utca. The ruins of the amphitheatre will be to your right. It’s an interesting fact that this amphitheatre had an arena that was larger than the arena of the Colosseum in Rome.
Having traveled from Aquincum to Aquincum, the tour ends here. Streetcar No. 17 (Nagyszombat utca stop) will take you back to the foot of Margit híd (Margaret bridge) in Buda for easy access to the city center (both, streetcars No. 4 and 6 stop at the bridge). If you feel like taking a dip in the famous thermal baths of Budapest, get off at the ‘Szent Lukács Gyógyfürdő’ stop (the penultimate stop). Both, the Veli Bej Turkish Baths and Lukács Baths are just a short walk away.
Optional: Leg 6 - From the amphitheatre to the Kiscelli Museum
From the amphitheatre take Streetcar 17 to Margit Kórház (2 stops). Expect a steep climb up the steps leading to the Kiscelli Museum located on the hillside overlooking Óbuda. The building, which houses the museum, is already worth the trip. Built between 1745 and 1760 in Baroque style, it originally served as a church and monastery. The city literally inherited the complex in 1935 when the former owner, Schmidt Miksa a Viennese antique dealer, left it to the city in his will. Managed by the Budapest History Museum, today it houses exhibits focusing on Budapest history since 1686 and the Municipal Picture Gallery showcasing the arts of 20th century Hungarian artists.
Places to stop for a coffee or a meal:
Restaurant Kéhli (Mókus utca 22)
There are only a few cafés and restaurants en-route. The area around Kolosy tér, only one stop away from the Nagyszombat utca stop on streetcar No. 17, has more options:
From Kolosy tér you may also take a detour to the famous Daubner Pastry Shop. Take bus No. 65 or 165 or take the short walk along Szépvölgyi út to the shop, located at Szépvölgyi út 50.
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Map of the Óbuda Walking Tour