What to see in Hungary
Tourist attractions Budapest
A city of two halves, dubbed the ‘Paris of the East’, Budapest is a city-break paradise, awash with culture ranging from world-class classical music to vibrant nightlife and natural thermal baths, this is a truly sophisticated city. Divided by the mighty River Danube into Buda and Pest, on the east and west respectively, a holiday to Budapest is a fantastic opportunity to unearth the heart of Hungary and, no doubt, fall in love with the country.
The city began as a Celtic settlement, later becoming the major Roman town of Aquincum, the ruins of which still remain in the oldest parts of Buda. In more modern time, Budapest was the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A city brimming with stories, a trip to Budapest is perfect for history buffs. It is even home to the second-oldest metro system in the world.
Today, the city is famed for its numerous important cultural institutions and museums and boasts a rich art, fashion and technology scene. The oldest part of the city is protected by UNESCO for its amazing buildings and historic significance.
Highlights of Budapest
There’s so much to see that you should definitely set out an itinerary if you are on a tour of Budapest to ensure you fit in all of its most emblematic sights. Buda Castle and the Royal Palace are a good place to start; a historic castle complex first completed in 1265, today its ornate baroque palace steals the show.
The National Gallery is housed inside the castle, which is situated on the Buda side of the Danube, perched upon the side of a hill. From here, the Fisherman’s Bastion is the next must-see sight. Expect absolutely beautiful views across the river to Pest from this impressive terrace structure, decorated with statues representing the stories of the old Magyar clans.
The Castle Hill Cable Car is nearby, for traveling back down to the riverside, where you can take the phenomenal Chain Bridge over to the Pest part of the city. This bridge was the second largest suspension bridge in the world when it was built in 1849 and as night falls, the floodlit structure transforms into one of the cities most photographic landmarks. Arriving in Pest, the Hungarian Parliament, sat on the banks of the Danube and visible from Castle Hill, is all the more spectacular up close.
Its characteristically decorative facade is composed of a number of intricate statues and figures, representing Hungarian rules, princes and military commanders. Inside, organized tours can introduce you to a select few of the 691 rooms, making it one of the largest parliament buildings in Europe. After all the excitement of sightseeing, a visit to Budapest is incomplete without relaxing at Szechnyi Thermal Bath, filled with warm, mineral-rich water. With a total of 15 indoor and 3 outdoor pools, this thermal bath is even open at night. Szechnyi was inaugurated in 1913 and is contained within an old neo-baroque palace in the City Park.
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