What does Budapest look like? In a word or two: exciting, surprising. With a rich history, beautiful skyline and awesome nightlife, Budapest is a great destination to suit all travel tastes. Ancient history and recent past, charm and elegance come together to make up Hungary’s capital, home of two million people
Divided in two by the Danube, the twin cities of Buda and Pest contain homogenous parts of different building periods such as vestiges of the Roman occupation, the prestigious Castle District preserved in Romanesque and Gothic style, the rigour of the Habsburg Citadel, the eclecticism of the turn-of-the century buildings boasting the richness of the new citizens.
The flat east bank is Pest, vibrant and lively, with its slew of museums rich in cultural and historical treasures, extraordinary Secessionist architecture, its majestic Parliament building considered as one of the most magnificent in the world, its entirely renovated Jewish Quarter and the elegant 19th-century mansions that today contain the shops, bars and cafés.
The hilly west bank is Buda that radiates calmness and peace with Ottoman-era thermal baths and the cobbled medieval quarter with its royal palace and multi-coloured Matthias Church.
Some fall in love with Budapest at first sight, others will only become devotees after a longer stay, but no-one denies that it is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world.
Come and discover Budapest, the "Pearl of the Danube"!
Some Reasons to Visit Budapest
A Collection of Testimonials Shared on the Internet
There are panoramic views aplenty
Breath-taking views of the city and the Danube can be appreciated from viewpoints to be found across the city: its skyline features architectural landmarks including the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Chain Bridge.
Nature is never far away
It’s easy to escape to more natural surroundings without leaving Budapest. You can chose the Buda hills for hiking and barbecues, or a number of large green parks within the heart of the city. The Margaret Island is just a bridge walk away from city streets, and offers medieval ruins, scenic parks, massive sycamore trees and a padded jogging path.
River cruises on the Danube are unforgettable
You can see the most fascinating sights from Danube, so do not hesitate to hop on a boat, and enjoy Budapest from the river. There has been boats integrated into the public transport network, which represent the most budget option. However, you can take a sightseeing cruise or even have a candlelit dinner on one of the cruises. If you look for an excursion from Budapest, you can take these boats to get to several important historical sites, such as the medieval village of Szentendre or the Castle in Visegrád.
Swimsuits are necessities
Budapest is the only capital in the world with more than 100 active thermal springs and fountains. With a rich supply of hot springs beneath its surface, Budapest's history of thermal bathing goes back to the Romans. Today, Budapest has 15 thermal baths, ranging from medieval hammams built by a Turkish pasha to grand Baroque Revival buildings.
The food is delicious
Hungarian food is spicy and somewhat heavy, but it is very tasty. While traditional goulash soup and pörkölt have a well-established reputation, the culinary revolution has taken over Budapest, as well. From street-food made from local, all-natural ingredients to haute cuisine creations featured in the Michelin Guide, the city has a varied and delicious culinary offering.
Ruin bars: trendy and typical
Budapest is famous for its unique nightlife. Ruin bars are in neglected old buildings, located usually in the historic Jewish Quarter converted to bars and clubs with trendy interior, dance areas and a peculiar atmosphere. These hangouts also feature cool semi-secret courtyards for summer carousing with plenty of open-air seating options ranging from simple wooden benches to cosy hammocks.
It is seriously Instagrammable
With stunning architecture, beautiful views, specialty coffee shops and plenty more, Budapest is an instagrammable city.
Budapest has a mild continental climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot with low overall humidity levels but frequent rain showers, while the winter is cold and snowy. July and August are the hottest months. In August it is usually nice and warm with an average temperature of 23-28 degrees Celsius during the daytime, while the average temperature during the night might range between 14-20 degrees Celsius.
The official national currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF) which is convertible. The exchange rates applied in Budapest banks, official exchange offices and hotels may vary.
1 EUR = approx. 350 HUF but it varies on daily basis.
Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept major credit cards such as American Express, VISA, MasterCard if the emblem at the entrance is displayed. Please note that card acceptance is not obligatory, so always carry some cash in forints.
Most banks are open Monday to Thursday from 08:00 to 16:00 and on Fridays until 14:00. There are 24-hour ATM cash dispensers throughout the city, most of which accept international bank cards.
Passport and/or visa
A valid ID or Passport is required for entry into Hungary for participants from the European Union. For participants from other countries a valid Passport is required. Participants from some countries may require a Visa for entry to Hungary. Please check with your local Hungarian Consulate or Embassy or access the website of the Hungarian Consular Service at http://konzuliszolgalat.kormany.hu/en
Most shops are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, while malls are generally open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday till Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Offices are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
Hungary is in the Central European Time Zone (GMT+1).
Daylight saving time: runs between the end of March and the end of October (CET+1/GMT+2).