The capital of Hungary, Budapest is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Straddling the mighty Danube River (at its most beautiful here), the city is full of parks, museums, and impressive architecture ranging from baroque, neo-classical, art nouveau and beyond. It is easy to see why more than 20 million people are drawn here every single year.
Once the centre of European culture, the city is full of majesty and wonders from eras long passed: ranging from epic buildings like the Royal Palace and Fisherman's Bastion on Castle Hill, to the National Gallery, the historical Museum of Budapest, and the world-famous Danube Bridges. There are literally dozens of museums, churches, synagogues and more; you can lose yourself for days just wandering these historic streets.
However, there is more to Budapest than architecture and history: the city has much to offer by way of culture, cuisine and nightlife.
The State Opera House is considered one of the best opera halls in Europe, and there are plenty of places to experience the artistic side of things, from the Palace of the Arts to the Theatre Madach.
The city is also renowned for its spas, the last remnants of Turkish occupation. These range from traditional Turkish bath houses to the more modern “spa” settings that are so common in the Western parts of the world. There are also several cave systems to go exploring and pot-holing in, if you happen to enjoy some underground fun.
Hungarian cuisine, beer, and wine are all exceptional. You cannot say that any visit to Hungary is complete without sampling Tokaji. This unique Hungarian wine, from the region of Tokaj-Hegyalja, has been a favourite of many European leaders and the recipient of accolades throughout the centuries. It is a wine which goes well with the local cuisine. World-famous dishes like the traditional goulash, popular Hungarian pork and beef roulades and delicious, rich sauces, make the restaurants of Budapest alone worth the trip.
Finally, in the summer months nightlife abounds in Budapest, from live pop and rock concerts on Margaret Island, in the middle of the Danube, to fantastic laser-light concerts in the Planetarium and a vast array of bars, clubs and restaurants on the Pest (Parliament) side of the river. Check out venues on the Official Tourist Website beforehand, as some clubs and bars in popular areas like Vaci Utca have, sadly, acquired a particlarly bad reputation amongst visitors.
Szentendre is a sweet cobblestoned village only about 20 km from Budapest. It is a place where many artists live(d). There are a lot of cafes and restaurants on the main square as well as alo…