Photos: Alexander Stemp

See this all-in-one exclusive at Sas-hegy

Birds-eye Budapest

There is often a sense of competition when it comes to taking the best panoramic photographs of this highly scenic capital. Certainly when light and weather conditions are right, one can take sensational landscape pictures from the illustrious Castle District, which always gives a very defining overlook of central Pest, the River Duna, as well as parts of the Buda side too.

The same applies when either gazing out from a Pest-side office or hotel window that overlooks the Buda side. But my tip is, for a close-up of both central Buda and Pest combined and with the sun relatively behind, make your way to the Citadella. This is approachable via the Number 19 tram, along the southern part of central Buda. Get off at the Gellért Hotel stop, proceed towards the Gellért Church Cave and walk the remainder up the rocky and forested hill. Or take a tourist bus. When there, make your way to the designated look-out point. Then, with the capital in a northwards-facing focus, take your shots. I guarantee the best results.

But if this is not enough and you wish for a bigger overview, make your way to the not-so-familiar Sas-hegy, which translates as “Eagle Hill”, in south-west Buda. The results will be even greater.

Although many pictures continue to be taken from the main Buda Hills sites, I was often dissatisfied with my outcomes. Simply because the contrasts between the main city views and the overhanging sunlight seldom worked out favourably. Probably the best way to achieve taking better pictures from Sas-hegy is when there is less direct light, either first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. I look forward to accomplishing this one day.

To gain access to the Eagle Hill, head out on the busy Hegyalja road that leads to a crossroads junction. The motorway proceeds to the left. The MOM Park shopping centre is on the right, and directly in front in clear view is Eagle Hill, which is also in the same line of sight with what has to be Budapest’s most famous petrol station, as this juncture was always a meeting point for ambitious hitch-hikers wishing to reach Vienna, Balaton or Zagreb.

With this peak in clear, obvious view, go beyond the traffic lights and make your ascent there. The number 8 bus from the city centre will get you almost to the top. This requires getting off at Sion Lépcscő before a brisk upwards walk. Pay an admittance fee at what is now a commendable nature reserve and continue the trail until completion. Or do what I did and cycle there. The most splendid view of the city and beyond awaits your arrival.

To get the entire metropolis in one photo is impossible. But you can get most of it in shot providing favourable weather allows. But in case of heavy cloud or fog, don’t bother – otherwise you will resent this article and wish not to have gone further with this quest from the city centre.

But regardless of rain or shine, the peaceful, less congested landmark makes a very pleasant outing. And should you really go there at a time when it is a supremely clear day and snap away, you will be the envy of your photographic friends for sure. They will suspect you either used a drone or befriended a local person who lives in a nearby top-floor apartment. To prove them wrong, send over this article to them. Hopefully they will return from this venture with grateful thanks.

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