Budapest is the capital of Hungary and one of the largest cities in the European Union. Budapest was formed in 1873 unifying the cities of Buda and Obuda on the western banks of River Danube along with Pest which lies on the eastern banks of the river.
The city was completely destroyed during the Battle of Budapest in 1945 and it was rebuilt by 1980. Today, Budapest is home to 1.7 million people and serves as the nation’s political, cultural and industrial center. Hungarian, English, German, French and Russian are the prevalent languages here.
Budapest is situated in the Carpathian Basin sprawling over a total area of 525 sq km. It is surrounded by the settlements of Pest County. The city lies on both sides of River Danube, with the hilly banks of Buda on one side and flat plains of Pest on the other. The highest point of Budapest is Janos Hill which stands at a height of 529 m. The city is home to three islands, viz., Csepel Island, Margaret Island and Obuda Island.
The city is divided into 23 districts, of which 16 are located in Pest while 6 are in Buda and 1 in Csepel Island.
How to Reach (Transport) :
The city is served by the Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport which lies about 16 km from the city. It connects the city to over 30 countries via the British Airways, Air France, Jet2, Easy Jet, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, etc. From the airport, one has a variety of choices like taxis, airport train and airport minibus shuttle in order to reach the city.
Budapest is connected to almost all countries of central and eastern Europe via trains. Trains from Berlin, Sarajevo, Munich, Prague, Belgrade, etc, arrive at Budapest Keleti railway station. The city is also accessible by buses provided by international bus service companies from countries - Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Slovakia, etc.
Inside the city, one can avail of public buses, taxis, scooters, bicycles, the underground metro, rental cars or simply walk.
When to Visit :
Budapest features a humid continental climate. Temperatures in summers can rise up to 30 degree Celsius and in winter fall way back to -15 degree Celsius. However, one can visit the city at all times as there are always plenty of activities to take part in, and beautiful sights to see. Springs hosts a number of traditional festivals, summers are characterized by various musical events. The city buzzes with activity during the wine festivals in autumn and the fairs and carnivals held in winters.
Budapest is at its scenic best during the seasons of spring and summer, with beautiful landscapes and pleasant weather. Autumns are accompanied by little rain and winters often bring about snowfall to the region.
Fairs and Festivals :
Nicknamed "Capital of Festivals", Budapest hosts several culturally rich festivals throughout the year.
- Sziget Festival also referred to as the Burning Man Festival of Europe, held in August, is one of Europe’s largest music festivals. The week long celebration attracts over a thousand artists and almost 300,000 tourists every year. Celebrations include dance, theater, tattooing, bungee jumping, football, etc.
- Budapest Spring Festival, celebrated in March and April, is an art festival sponsored by the government in order to promote the traditional art forms. The ten-day long festival also hosts several dance and music shows.
- Budapest International Wine Festival, held in September, is hosted at the Buda Castle Hill. Festivities include lots of Hungarian wines sold at little booths all over the city accompanied by regional music and dance programs.
- Festival of Folk Arts in Buda Castle, held in August, celebrates Hungary’s birthday. Celebrations include fireworks display, good food, music, folk dances, etc.
Points of Interest (Places to Visit) :
Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe and is named "Pearl of Danube" and "Heart of Europe". It is also the official "City of Spas" as the area is full of natural thermal springs. The must visit sites of the city are as follows.
- Buda Castle, built in the 13th century, is located on Castle Hill. It was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1987. Originally home to the Royal family, the castle is now one of the most popular museums of the city.
- The Chain Bridge, the first permanent bridge over River Danube, was opened in 1849. It officially merged the eastern Buda to the western Pest.
- Heroes Square Budapest or Hősök tere is an important square of the city and home to the magnificent Millennium Memorial. It also borders the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art.
Budapest offers accommodation of all sorts, including camp sites, hostels, vacation apartments and hotels of various kinds. Whereas hotels like Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Hotel Palazzo Zichy, Corinthia Grand Hotel and Kempinski Hotel are the best luxury hotels in the city equipped with spacious suites, beautiful architecture and even spas. The most popular budget hotels are Hotel Central Basilica, Brody House, Bo18 Hotel Superior and Connection Guest House. Other options are vacation apartments Locust Tree Apartments, Nova Apartments and Town Hall Apartments along with campsites like Haller and Romai as well as hostels like Budapest Bubble, Goat Hostel and Grand Hostel Buda.
Last Updated : October 17, 2013