Europe’s second largest river, Danube, pierces through the city of Budapest whose saga straddles several epochs – from the ancient Roman Empire to uprisings in mid 20th century. The Turks have lent their elegance to the city in the form of mosques and baths. Standing amidst the remnants of the world wars, Budapest is an ebullient image of Central Europe. It is a key political, economic, and cultural center of Hungary.
Places to Visit in Budapest
Margitsziget – This 2.5-km-long island surrounded by Danube River is the heart of Budapest. Its landscape is mostly covered by parks, The Water Tower, and Music Fountain. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this place is a paradise for recreational activities.
Buda Castle – Standing atop Buda Hills, Buda Castle is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This castle was rebuilt after World War II. Historic architecture and medieval monument of Matthias Church, labyrinth of caves, and cellars of this castle make it a must-visit place in Budapest. The seven towers of Fisherman’s Bastion terrace offer a spectacular view of the city.
Budapest Opera House – The auditorium of this opera house is considered to have the best acoustics. Neo-Renaissance structures, ornate galleries, grand staircase, theater, and musical events are a lure for travelers. Guided tours in afternoons are offered in different languages.
Andrássy Avenue – The most famous boulevard in Budapest runs from city center to city park.
Hősök tere (Heroes’ Square) – Millennium Memorial landmark is the highlight of this place and is surrounded by two other prominent buildings – Hall of Art (on right) and Museum of Fine Arts (on left).
To discover Budapest inside out, you should visit the House of Terror, suspension Chain Bridge, world’s third largest Parliament Building, Europe’s largest Dohány Street Synagogue, and Citadella.
Things to Do in Budapest
Sightseeing – Spend few hours on sightseeing and walking tours on Castle Hill. Buda’s Castle District is a prominent area with many tourist attractions within walking distance. More of a cultural movement rather than a memorial, Shoes on the Danube Bank (on east side) is a homage to the lost lives in World War II.
Shopping – The city is an emerging fashion hub. Nagycsarnok, Great Market Hall, Váci Street, and Vörösmarty Square feature numerous shopping malls and trendy cafes.
Choosing a Ferry Ride – A little over an hour-long boat tour in Danube River lets you discover why Budapest is called “Paris of the East.”
To catch a glimpse of royal Hungarian hospitality, stay at any of these luxury hotels like Boscolo Budapest, Corinthia Hotel, and IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Budapest. If you are looking for mid-range accommodations, check in at Medosz Hotel, Hotel Chesscom, Hotel Oswaldo, and Aventura Boutique Hostel. For budget accommodations, easyHotel Budapest Oktogon, Hotel Zugló, and Central Hotel 21 are recommended.
Hungarian Cuisine is famous for its use of Paprika chili pepper. From savory Goulash to mouth-watering desert of Dobos-torte, food lovers would have something special to treat themselves. The Zeller Bistro, Bors Gasztrobar, Walzer Cafe, Gundel Restaurant, and Kéhli Vendéglő are some of the noted restaurants in the city.
Spread over an area of 525 sq. km., Budapest is located in the central region of Hungary on the banks of Danube River.
Best Time to Visit Budapest
From March to May and August to November, Budapest witnesses a relatively mild weather. During these months, travelers can attend Sziget Festival, Budapest Spring Festival, and Budapest International Wine Festival.
How to Reach?
By Air – Located 16 km from the city center, the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD) is well connected with all major European cities. The airport is accessible via public transport system of the city.
By Road – All roads lead to Budapest is the mantra of all leading motorways in Hungary. Well-planned public bus routes connect all suburban city centers. Moreover, Trams run through all the main districts of Budapest and provide services from 4:00 AM. till midnight.
By Train – Main railway stations of the city are, Keleti pályaudvar, Déli pályaudvar, and Nyugati pályaudvar.
Facts about Budapest
- Buda on the western bank of the Danube, Pest on the opposite, and Óbuda were officially unified in 1873 to create the urban agglomeration of Budapest. Currently, the city has 23 districts — 16 in Pest, 6 in Buda, and one in Csepel Island.
- By virtue of being home to 20% of all the population of Hungary, Budapest is also called a Primate City.
- Millennium Underground Railway (Budapest Metro) is the second oldest metro system in the world.
- The grandeur of the Széchenyi Baths is reflected in indoor and outdoor pools and various geothermal springs.
- Budapest is the highest ranked Central or Eastern European city when it comes to quality-of-life index.
- Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden is one of the oldest zoos in the world.
SB20151012Published On: Monday, October 12th, 2015