If you can catch Fisherman’s Bastion in the off-season without tourist groups, you’ll find yourself in one of the most romantic spots in Budapest. At night under the glistening Buda lights or in broad daylight under warm sunshine, this place is just breathtaking. I’ve also enjoyed it at sunrise, as a serene way to finish a hike from Pest.
This popular viewing terrace and Buda landmark took its name from the guild that, during medieval and early modern battles, was responsible for the stretch of land on which it now stands. The Bastion was completed in 1905, destroyed along with much of Budapest during World War II, and restored shortly after. It actually stands on a stretch of the original Buda Castle walls. At the turn of the century, with castles and defensive walls no longer strategically relevant, this space transformed in both shape and function. Architect Frigyes Schulek used the remnants of the wall as a foundation for a viewing terrace — a public space, one devoted to shared leisure and pleasure rather than exclusion and militancy.
The skies were overcast and drizzly when I visited this spring, so looking across the Danube came with a wholly different feeling. You know what wasn’t different? The whoosh of breath when you realize (again) how majestic this place really is.