Europe is full of beautiful countries with their own cultures, but Eastern Europe is a capital city that should not be missed. Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a city rich in history and full of old-world charm. The city was originally split into three different cities called Buda, Pest, and Óbuda. The three were united in 1873, into what is now known as modern Budapest.
While Budapest is now a fairly well-known tourist destination, it was not always as accessible as it is now. Hungary has something of a dark history, as it was a member of the Soviet Union until 1989. Since its move to democracy in the late 1980s, Hungary has experienced something of a rebirth. It was accepted into the European Union as a member state in 2004, which created a sense of economic security. Since then, the Hungarian government has worked to promote tourism and the wonderful sites it has to share with the world.
Budapest is easily accessible via train, plane, bus, and even cruise lines. Low-cost carriers like Ryanair and Hungary’s own Wizz Air offer inexpensive flights from many European cities. Eurorail includes Hungary as a destination in its Euro passes, and many buses enter Budapest from a variety of neighboring countries and cities within Hungary itself. As Budapest is situated on the Danube River, cruises from all over Europe make their way to the capital to sway gently in front of the iconic Parliament Building. Cruises will cost a bit more than flying into the country though.
What To See And Do
While the Parliament Building is a must, there are many other architectural wonders, museums, and unique bars to visit. Budapest is known for Budapest Castle, which sits atop a hill overlooking the city, and it also contains a museum that tourists can visit. In addition to the castle, there is the Hungarian State Opera House which is very opulent and well-worth a tour. The city is also home to the Dohány Street Synagogue, which is the largest synagogue in Europe and can house 3,000 people. In the same district as the synagogue, known as the Jewish Quarter there are a number of ‘ruin’ bars that are open into the small hours of the morning. These are unique because they tend to be underground and have been around for over a hundred years. One of the most well-known is Szimpla Kert, and it is full of contemporary art from up and coming Hungarian artists.
Lastly, Budapest is known for its thermal baths. The thermal springs underneath the city are full of minerals, which are reported to be beneficial for your health. The two most popular baths are Széchenyi Thermal Bath and the Gellért Thermal Bath. They are both beautiful, and worth an entire day of exploring and soaking.
Budapest is waiting for you!