As the capital of Hungary, Budapest is obviously an important economic, financial and cultural centre, but also the most densely populated city of the country with about 2 million inhabitants out of a total population of 10 million. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the unification of Buda and Óbuda on the west bank, with Pest on the east bank in November 1873. Actually, its history dates back over 2000 years with ruins that are still visible from the times of the Roman Empire as well as from the Middle Ages. However, its main characteristics reflect the atmosphere of the end of the 19th century when the millennium of the Hungarian state was celebrated in 1896 with the building of numerous landmarks such as The Museum of Applied Arts and the Andrássy avenue, along with the inauguration of the Metro 1 line, named Millenium for the occasion, which was the first underground railway of Eastern Europe and the second oldest one in the world after the London underground.
Hilly landscapes, long history, pleasant climate, rich cultural events, and music prove that Budapest is indeed a jewellery of the Danube River. The city attracts about 4.4 million tourists a year, making it the 25th most popular city in the world, and the 6th in Europe, according to Euromonitor.
All the major credit cards are accepted in Hungary in places displaying the emblem at the entrance.
Generally, Budapest is a safe city where you are unlikely to have any problems. However, like in most cities, we ask you to stay alert: when visiting bars and restaurants, make sure you know the price before ordering; when being in crowded areas, keep an eye on your belongings, when carrying a hand-bag, keep it close to you, and so on.
Things to see/do in BUDAPEST
To learn more about the below attractions as well as other cultural events, shopping, top gastronomic venues and sightseeing opportunities offered by the City of Budapest, please visit the official web portal of Budapest Tourism: http://www.budapestinfo.hu/en/
Opening hours: MONDAY - FRIDAY 8 - 20h
buda castle and matthias church
Buda Castle and the whole of the Castle District are among the most well-known and frequently visited tourist attractions of Budapest. The Royal Palace, where many battles and wars took place from the 13th century, is a symbol for Hungary. In addition to three churches, including the Matthias Church, located on Holy Trinity Square, the Castle District also includes five museums, several buildings of historical interest as well as memorial sites and theatres. The Fisherman’s Bastion and the square in front of the National Gallery offer a breathtaking view of one of the most beautiful sections of the Danube.
Address: Szent György tér 2, 1014 Budapest
With the Buda Castle in the background, the Hungarian capital’s first bridge, now a monument, is a fascinating spectacle that has attracted many tourists to Budapest. The bridge was built upon the request of Count István Széchenyi by designer William Tierney Clark and engineer Adam Clark between 1839 and 1849. Like many other Danube bridges, the Chain Bridge did not survive the ravages of the World War, so it had to be rebuilt in 1949, marking the centenary of its first opening. Visitors also have the opportunity to walk onto the top of the tunnel located on the Buda side, offering a marvellous view of the Danube, its bridges as well as the nicest parts of Pest.
The Parliament, built in Neo-Gothic style and located on the bank of the Danube, serves as the permanent seat of the National Assembly. The building complex, the biggest of its kind in Hungary, was erected between 1885 and 1904 on the plans of Imre Steindl. The building has 691 rooms, and it is 268 metres long and the dome 96 metres high. Since 2000, the Hungarian coronation symbols — Holy Crown of Hungary, the sceptre, the orb and the Renaissance sword — have been on display in the Parliament.
Address: Kossuth Lajos tér 1-3, 1055 Budapest
the spas of budapest
No visit to Budapest is complete without a bath in one of its world-famous thermal spring spas. The city officially won the title of a spa city in 1930, but people could already enjoy the treasures of natural hot springs in the Roman times. All of the city’s 7 thermal baths are open all year round. You can even taste the medicinal water from several drinking wells in Budapest.
Here are some recommended places:
- Rudas Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool: FREE with the Budapest Card
- Gellért Baths and Spa: 20% discount with the Budapest Card
Free Walking Tours
The city offers many different guided tours in a variety of prices. If you wish to have a free guided tour and discover some of the city’s jewels, Free Budapest Walking Tours organises the original tour twice a day.
Meeting point: 10:30 & 14:30 at Vörösmarty square (at the lion fountain)
More information at: http://www.triptobudapest.hu/