Budapest (pronouced "buda pesht") is the capital of Hungary
and is considered one of Europe's most beautiful cities. It is the
largest city in Hungary, with a population of more than 1.5 million.
Budapest is comprised of the 1873 joining of Buda and Obuda on the west
bank of the Danube with Pest on the east bank. It has experienced
Celtic, Roman, Mongol and Ottoman influences during its 2,000 year
history. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Budapest include - the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway.
Average summer highs from May to September are in the range of 75 F (25
C). Winter months from November to March can be cold with little
sunshine. Expect average winter highs of 40 F (5 C) and average lows
around freezing. Snow is rare in Budapest in recent years. Rainfall
averages an inch (30 mm) or two each month throughout the year, though heavy
showers are more likely in May and June. April through September are good
months to visit, as temperatures are comfortable at this time of year.
October can be very enjoyable in the absence of the summer tourists.
Liszt Ferenc International Airport (BUD) is located about 30 minutes from
downtown Budapest. There are cabs, an airport shuttle service and a train
running to the city. The public transit system in Budapest is operated by Budapest Transport Limited Company
(BKV) and includes 4 metro lines.
The Millennium Underground Railway (Metro 1) was built to commemorate the 1,000 year
anniversary of Hungarian Conquest in the Carpathian Basin.
It takes passengers from Vorosmarty Square along the Danube to Heroes Square and City Park by travelling
directly underneath Andrassy Way. Tramline No. 2 runs along the Danube
past the Parliament, the Danube promenade and Millennium Cultural Centre.
The BKV also operates the funicular to Buda Castle and the Zugliget Chair-lift.
The Municipality operates the
MOL Bubi public bike system with over
1,000 bikes. Budapest is a major river cruise destination and many cruises
start or end here.
Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion
Danube River Cruising:
Budapest is one of the most important embarkation points for river cruising in the world. The most popular Danube River Cruise heads up the Danube on a 14 day trip that also traverses the Main River and the Rhine to reach Amsterdam. Second in popularity are one week cruises up the Danube to destinations such as Passau and Regensburg. Cruises also head down the Danube toward the Black Sea and Bucharest.
Major river cruise cover the longer routes, while smaller companies will offer services between cities along the rivers. In 2012 Viking River Cruises began building a large fleet of ships that soon dominated the industry with 75% of the river cruising market.
Parliament House (Országház) - the capital building was built on the
Danube River in 1896
in honor of the 1,000th anniversary of Hungary. It's the
highlight of Budapest. There are great views of the Parliament from river
boats and from Castle Hill on the opposite bank. At the parliament,
attend a Danube Symphony Orchestra Cimbalom Concert.
Stroll along the Danube
Promenade (Duna korzó). Between the Parliament and the Chain Bridge on
the promenade, see the Shoes on the Danube, a memorial to those
who lost their lives in the Holocaust.
Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Lanchid) - cross the Danube between the Parliament in
Pest and Castle Hill in Buda. It was the first bridge to join
Buda and Pest. Viking River Cruises docks at the base of the
bridge. Visit the Gresham Palace Hotelon the Parliament side of the bridge. The Four Seasons took over this
Castle Hill - setting for the Royal Palace (Buda
Castle, Királyi palota), Matthias Church (Mátyás templom), the
Vienna Gate (Bécsi Kapu), the Hungarian National Gallery, Fisherman's
Bastion (Halászbástya) and the Mary Magdalene Tower (Mária Magdolna torony). Walk from the Parliament in
the Danube on the Chain Bridge and then take the Buda
Funicular (Budavari Siklo) up to Castle Hill. It runs every 5
- 10 minutes. From the Bastion, enjoy
views across the Danube to the Parliament in Pest. Stop for cake and coffee in Cafe
Ruszwurm (Ruszwurm Cukrászda) just a block southwest of Matthias
Church. Matthias Church
is 700 years old. It was destroyed and rebuilt. The statue of Mary was
preserved by plastering it in a niche during Turkish rule and is on
display behind the security of iron bars.
Dohany Street Great Synagogue - Take a Jewish tour to the New Leopold district to see the world's second largest
synagogue, the Dohany Street Synagogue.
Also here visit the Jewish Museum, the Jewish garden, the Tree of Life and the Temple of the Heroes.
The Tree of Life in front of the synagogue,
representing a weeping willow, is an inverted menorah commemorating the
half million Jewish Hungarians who lost their lives in the
holocaust. The names of victims are written on the leaves of the
willow. To complete the tour, stop at the World War II Victims
Memorial at St. Stephen's Park. Take a Viator Walking
Tour of Jewish Budapest Including Great Synagogue and Jewish Museum.
Visit the Grand Market Hall and try some local langos, goulash,
gulyasleves, goose liver, wild boar and wine. Walk along the
pedestrian shopping street of Vaci Utca.
Millennium Cultural Center - includes the National Theatre and the Palace of
Visit Margaret Island via the Margaret Bridge and bike around
this vehicle free location.
Crawl and cave under the city. With over 200 caves, Budapest
is sometimes referred to as the City of Caves and guided cave tours
are available. Take a Small-Group Budapest Caving Tour.
House of Terror Museum - on Andrassy Way.
The museum addresses the impact of the Fascist Arrow Cross regime and the communist regime.
Tomb of Gul Baba - 1500s Turkish prophet and companion
of Sultan Suleyman.
- the statues of the communist era, removed for display at a venue
outside of the city center. Here Lenin and Marx statues preach
to an empty field in a setting that is a reminder of terrible times.
Ride the Zugliget Chair-lift to access views over the
city from the Erzsébet look-out tower.