Centuries of dramatic history have made Hungary’s capital one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and each of its districts has its own particular character. The city’s unique setting – encompassing the low mountain range of Buda Hills and the flatlands of Pest with the Danube flowing in between – ensures that Budapest holidays are memorable adventures. Expect extraordinary views, a fascinatingly deep heritage, intellectual café culture and lively Eastern European nightlife.
From the heights of Buda Castle (which you can reach on foot or by funicular), you’ll not only enjoy the beautiful Baroque palace itself, but also stunning panoramic views of the lower part of the city. Budapest is divided into 23 districts, some of which are legendary. Belváros-Lipótváros (District V) is home to St Stephen’s Basilica, the Hungarian Parliament and the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge, as well as a wealth of cafés, bars and restaurants. Terézváros (District VI), meanwhile, has the city’s State Opera House, Heroes’ Square and the verdant City Park.
Alternatively, there’s Erzsébetváros (District VII), famous for its cool ‘ruin bars’ built in the remains of run-down buildings in the old Jewish quarter, and also the impressive Dohány Street Synagogue. Holidays to Budapest should also include a visit to one of the city’s famous thermal baths, which use natural spring water. Once cleansed, head to a bakery to try a local cake – an almond and hazelnut meringue Esterházy torte, perhaps, or a chocolate and caramel Dobos torte.
On the Pest side of the city, this is one of the capital’s most popular sights. The largest building in the country, it is beautifully lit up at night.
As if Buda Castle itself wasn’t pretty enough, its surrounding district provides spectacular panoramic views over Pest, worth viewing during daytime and at night.
Flanked by the Museum of Fine Arts and the Műcsarnok Palace of Art, the square is imposing and impressive with its statues of the Seven Chieftains of the Magyar.