Straddling the romantic Danube River, Budapest is a gem, full of beautiful baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau buildings. With parks brimming with attractions, museums filled with treasures and thermal baths belching steam, the Hungarian capital is a delight by day and by night.
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Budapest straddles a gentle curve in the Danube. It has broad avenues, leafy parks and elaborate bathhouses. It also has a turn-of-the-century feel to it, for it was then - during the industrial boom and the capital's heyday - that most of the city was built.
What To Do
Bathing in Budapest's many thermal baths and swimming pools - some of which are as beautiful as palaces - is not a luxury but a way of life, a necessity for one's sanity. If you need to work up a sweat for this indulgence, cycling, rowing or caving should do the trick.
What To See
Cruise the Danube and explore Buda's colorful Castle District.
Budapest's highlights include a cruise along the Danube, strolling along the riverfront or across romantic bridges, browsing through antique bookshops and jewelry stores, or 'taking the waters' at one of the city's many Turkish-style baths. The city is well laid-out, rarely confusing, and ideal for walking.
New and old exist side by side in Budapest. Open-air markets selling farm produce stand side by side with mammoth shopping malls that set new standards in variety. There's a plethora of traditional products on offer, from folk embroidery to porcelain, goose feather duvets to Pick-brand salami.
For a city of its size, Budapest has a huge choice of things to do and places to go after dark - from opera and folk dancing to jazz and pulsating clubs. It's almost never difficult getting tickets or getting in; the hard part is deciding what to do.
Budapest is a cultural mecca and has a long tradition of celebrating its checkered history; each of the four seasons has its own festivals. By far the capital's largest (200 events at 60 venues) and most important cultural festival is the Budapest Spring Festival, occurring in March at venues throughout the city.
Hungary's premier sporting event is the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix, held in mid-August each year.
Food and Drink
Budapest's grand culinary tradition stretches back to the nineteenth century. Though there's no shortage of Hungarian cuisine on offer in the city - a meat- and spice-heavy style - there's plenty of other choices to tempt palates used to lighter flavors.