Since emerging from behind the Iron Curtain, Budapest has become one of Europe’s best-loved short-break destinations and I for one can certainly see why! The city is often described as the ‘Paris of the East’, and romance is all around. Running right through the middle of the Danube, you can enjoy the lights from illuminated bridges. The City is split into two parts, Buda and Pest. The hills of Buda are home to the cobbled medieval quarter with its grand palace and multi-coloured Matthias Church and then across the river sits the magnificent domed Parliament building, and around it the elegant 19th-century mansions that today contain the shops, bars and cafés that give Pest its buzz and much more modern feel.
You can browse a colourful market for wooden crafts in the morning, soak in a thermal bath after lunch and head for the crumbling courtyard of an atmospheric ‘ruin pub’ after dark. Every type of cuisine is available in the restaurants, there’s hotels to suit every budget, and the sights are rarely more than a short walk away.
Top things to do in Budapest
- Highly recommend the open top bus tour. As the City is split into two areas its hard to see everything and this tour ensures you don’t miss a thing
- Take some time to relax in the thermal spa at Széchenyi Baths, it’s a huge complex of natural thermal pools full of minerals that are said to ease everything from arthritis to migraines.
- Enjoy a browse around The Great Hall Market Hall – stall-holders hawk fresh produce to locals and bags of powdered paprika and lace tablecloths to tourists.
- Take a river cruise along the Daunbe to enjoy the very best view of The Hungarian Parliament Building
- The Jewish Quarter is known as the city’s coolest neighbourhood, known not only for its bars and clubs but for staging cutting-edge arts events.
- You may enjoy the Budapest Eye for great views of the city, St Stephens Basilica which also has access to wonderful news, The Castle District, The Chain Bridge or The medieval quarter or finally Hero’s Square which was laid out in 1896 to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the arrival of the ancestral Magyar tribes.
- Why not go to the Opera, and try and visit the State Opera House
- Fisherman’s Bastion – Built between 1895 and 1902 to celebrate the thousandth birthday of the Hungarian state, the Fisherman’s Bastion is an impressive neo-Gothic viewing terrace situated on the Buda bank of the Danube, on Castle Hill. Here you will enjoy unforgettable views in a fairy-tale setting, there’s nowhere better.
- The Shoes on the Danube Bank – A heart-breaking memorial to 3,500 people killed by fascists in Budapest during the Second World War.
- Margaret Island is surely Budapest’s most impressive green space, here you will find a 2.5km-long island of quiet parkland on the Danube, linked to Buda and Pest by bridges at either end.
Good to Know
Read the basic information and also some fun facts about Budapest! Here you will find everything you should know…