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There is certainly much to occupy the visitor in Budapest; with numerous galleries, churches and palaces to explore. It is, though, off the beaten track where you’ll get drawn in to what really makes this city tick. Here, you’ll stumble across thrilling little shops and friendly cafes that boast a world of cosmopolitan themes. Also, in this landlocked country of Hungary, there’s an unusual affinity with boats and maritime pursuits. Disappointingly, The Danube, made famous in the famous waltz by Johann Strauss II isn’t blue at all. It is though, wonderfully romantic and appealing, just like Budapest itself.
You’ll find plenty of accommodation possibilities in and around Budapest; quite a Liszt, in fact. There are hotels that are near Budapest Ferenc Liszt (Franz Liszt) International Airport. The appeal can include a full restaurant, bar and other facilities; plus, they are conveniently only 10 miles from the city centre. The city-bound M3 metro journey from the airport only takes a little over 20 minutes. Significantly, there are stations and hotels en-route, so it’s not essential to stay in those airport hotels. Then, in Budapest city centre, hotels mirror and magnify the city’s wide ranging appeal. Some are vibrant - and can sometimes even vibrate - with partying groups that are out of tune with the city’s waltz-themed heritage. There are, though, plenty of hotels to choose from; so prepare for a quick-step in the direction of those many luxurious, multi-star hotels or the numerous, more modest hotels, B&Bs, and hostels. Booking an all-inclusive visit, of course, relieves you of all transportation and accommodation decisions and concerns.
Budapest is the largest city in Hungary. It was formed in 1873 by the linking of three cities; Buda, Pest, and Obuda. As part of sightseeing adventures in Budapest, you literally can’t miss the Parliament Building which is hugely imposing and the third largest in the world. Beating it by just one place; The Dohány Street Synagogue is the second largest on the planet. You can stimulate the senses at more than 100 galleries and museums and rest your sightseeing feet in more than 40 theatres. In order to get these places from your hotel, you will probably take the metro and it comes as no surprise to learn that the rickety M1 part of the metro system is the oldest on mainland Europe. It’s always worth noting some lesser known features, including Budapest’s seemingly endless supplies of cafes and coffee shops. Ruszwurm is the city’s oldest coffee shop. It has one of the most authentic olde worlde atmospheres combined with delicious content.
There’s always something happening here and many of Budapest’s festivals and events utilise the city’s theatres as their venues. A major highlight, though and one of the largest events of its kind anywhere, is the Sziget Festival. Promoted during August, more than a thousand performances are staged on an island setting to the north of Budapest. Needless to say, hotels, apartments and B&Bs are overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of visitors that are drawn to this event. Not quite so well known outside Hungary is Fat Thursday. This follows Ash Wednesday and is a long-established final food fling before the period of fasting begins. The result is that tourists to Budapest can visit participating restaurants and order half-price food and drink. For increasing numbers - and hangover permitting - there’s a fat chance they’ll be missing out on next year’s money-saving, Fat Thursday celebrations. The Titanic Film Festival is also on a list of annual events that is designed to thrill local residents and visiting tourists throughout the year.
No one can contemplate a visit to Budapest without taking a trip on the River Danube. This is one of the finest ways to see the city at its glorious best and night-time excursions just add to the experience of spectacle and romance. Dining, live music, and wine-tasting are among the optional cruise features and with summer air-conditioning and winter heating; life on the river offers qualities and services that are similar to those in your Budapest hotel. In a city rich in sightseeing opportunities, it’s easy to miss out on attractions that are less well-known. These include Budapest’s indoor and outdoor thermal baths. The one at Széchenyi is the largest medicinal bath in Europe, while the smaller Gellert bath has a cathedral-like quality. Your Budapest hotel will be keen to offer detail on Danube trips and on other places to visit in the city. Just go with the flow and start collecting memories of your visit to Hungary and to this unforgettable city.