Budapest, the city of bridges, capital of Hungary, pearl of the Danube.
The city has a lot of different aspects and names but nothing compares to a personal experience. Below I will try to summarise the most important things to see and things to do in Budapest. Hungary has a continental climate with the best example of the four seasons. Summer is hot, winter is cold, and so the best time to visit is probably around May or September, to avoid the heat and the cold. Bear in mind that most festivals and special events take place during the summer period though. Getting there has never been so easy.
Budapest has two international airports (new name Liszt Ferenc Airport the old name Ferihegy) which serve millions of passengers. From the airport you can take the shuttle bus or use the local taxis. It is important to get a fixed fare before departure; otherwise you may find the fare a bit too much. Once in the city you have plenty of opportunities to choose from. Budapest has a fleet of hotels from the five star category to the modest motels outside of town. There are a growing number of student hostels in the city too.
Public transport is well-organised and takes you everywhere you want to go. You can save a lot of money if you buy a weekly pass! Budapest is two main parts separated by the Danube, Buda and Pest, hence the name. Buda is a mountainous region with the Castle Hill and the Gellert Hill overlooking the Danube. This is the most ancient part of the city beginning with the Roman ruins of Aquincum. You can visit the ancient city easily with the help of suburban railway. Buda is home to the Castle which is a symbol of Budapest. You can take the funicular railway up to the old walls. Take a stroll around the Castle District to discover the Middle Ages of Hungary!
The panorama from Gellert Hill is probably the most breathtaking view of the city. There you will find the Statue of Liberty and Citadel with a bunker from World War II with interesting exhibitions. If you’re a great lover of forests, go out for a hike to the nearby Janos Hill.
Pest offers a strongly urban experience with the most important museums of Budapest. Take a walk on Andrassy Boulevard to the Heroes Square and you will find everything. The Museum of Fine arts, the National Gallery are just around the corner. In the distance you can see the Budapest Zoo and the Varosliget Park with Vajdahunyad Castle. Inside the castle there is a permanent exhibition of Hungarian folk culture. Around the city you may just pop into in of the famous spas of Budapest. Gellert Spa and Szechenyi Spa are the most well-known along with Rudas, which offers Turkish baths and swimming pools.
You can spend a day admiring the Jewish heritage of in the VII. district and around the Dohany Street Synagogue. Citywide you will find restaurants offering traditional Hungarian meals like pancake Hortobagy style, goulash or fish soup. Hungarian food is spicy and may not be healthy but the flavours are unique. In the following chapters I will describe the main sights in detail.