THE QUEEN OF THE DANUBE!
Budapest as the 9th most populous city in the European Union is the capital and the fundamental political, commercial, industrial and cultural center of Hungary. While having a longer history tracing back to the Roman town of Aquincum, 89 A.D.
The city centre is 16 kilometres away from the airport, and can be reached easily by cab, minibus, shuttle or train. Economically the best option is the train with a journey time of around 25 minutes. Most of Budapest’s city centre and historic districts are suitable for walking. There are pedestrian precincts in downtown Pest and traffic is restricted on Castle Hill, so walking is probably the best way to get around. However, Budapest also has an excellent public transportation system. The system consists of a combination of bus, trolley-bus, tram, metro, and train lines. Budapest currently has four metro lines. The Yellow line is the oldest underground transportation line in continental Europe and retains much of its old-fashioned charm. Budapest has an extensive system of above-ground trams. The most useful lines for tourists are the famous 4 and 6, which follow the large ring road that encircles Budapest city centre. In addition to the trams, Budapest is served by numerous bus lines. The 200E bus connects the airport with the Metro 3 terminus Köbánya-Kispest. A funicular connects Buda Castle to Clark Ádám tér. Quite an attraction in itself, it gives a great view of the city. Public transportation in Budapest virtually ends after 11pm, when the metro, streetcars and trolley buses stop operating. There are some night busses running, but not as frequently. Taxis can be fast and cheap in the city, especially late at night when there is limited public transportation. Taxis can be hailed on the street, but it is cheaper to call and book in advance.
Budapest has a wide choice of hotels that range from simple 1-star establishments to luxurious 5-star international. Some of the upscale hotels are : Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, Le Meridien Budapest, InterContinental Budapest, Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace, Corinthia Hotel Budapest, Baltazar Budapest, Gerloczy Rooms de Lux, Iberostar Grand Hotel Budapest, Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge, Boscolo Budapest, Autograph Collection, Hilton Budapest City. If you are looking for a medium priced hotel you can check out the Casati Budapest Hotel, Bo18 Hotel Superior, Millennium Court - Marriott Executive Apartments, Ibis Budapest City, Star Inn Hotel Budapest Centrum, Hotel Central Basilica and Hotel Erzsebet City Center. If you prefer low priced accommodation you can stay at Hotel Chesscom, Hotel Sunshine, Europa Centerpoint Budapest, Carpe Noctem Hostel, Retox Party Hostel, Green Dream Apartment or Maverick City Lodge.
Danube embankments, the Castle district and Adrassy ut are the city's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Castle District is one of the best sights of the city with its three churches, six museums, charming buildings, streets and squares. From the Fishermen's Bastion, you will witness a brilliant photographic view of the city. The houses, bridges, the Parliament, Greshem Palace, Basilica around Danube reflect the historic and panoramic structure of the city. Andrassy Avenue (Andrassy ut) is the most reflective road of Budapest. Andrassy Avenue is pretty attractive via its Eclectic Neo-Renaissance palace, squares and museums. The best green and beautiful place of Budapest is Margitsziget Island (Margaret Island) located in the middle of Danube River. Spanning between Margaret Bridge and Arpad Bridge, the island has 100 hectares of parkland, the largest open-air swimming complex, English/French/Japanese gardens, Aqua Park, sports facilities, Thermal Hotel Margitsziget and Grand Hotel Margitsziget. Csepel-sziget (Csepel Island) as the largest island of Danube, Hajogyari-sziget and Luppa-sziget are among the other magnificent islands of the city. Budapest is named as 'the City of Spas'. Budapest boasts with its natural springs rowing out of thermal waters. The 16th century Turkish baths and the thermal spas are the major treasury of the city. Gellert Bath, Kiraly Bath, Csaszar Bath, Rac Bath, Kukacs Bath, Szechenyi Bath and Ruda Bath are the fundamental benefactions of thermal waters in the city. Geller Baths at Buda located below the Gellert Hill (XI. Kelenhegyi ut) is the most favorite bathhouse of the city. It is exactly one of the most fundamental locations for visitors. In addition to its thermal baths, Budapest is famous for its caves. The number of known caves in the city is about 200. These caves have unique compositions and were constituted by thermal waters. Varbarleng (Castle Cave, I. Uri utca), Sziklakapolna (Chapel in the Rock, II. Szent Gellert ter), Palvolgy Cave (II. Szepvolgyi ut) and Szemlohegy Cave (II. Pustaszeri ut) are the most splendid and ample caves which you should pay a visit to. Innumerable museums are existed in the city. Terror Haza at Pest, Military History Museum at Buda, Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art located opposite the National Theater and Budapest History Museum at I. Szent Gyorgy ter 2 are few examples.
Budapest has a reputation of being the paradise of shoppers for antiques, art works, books, fashion, food and drink, gifts and souvenirs. Shopping malls, department stores, markets, health and beauty stores are all from the shopping world of the city. The West End City Center located between Nugati ter and Lehel ter in Pest is the biggest shopping place in the city. The city is famous for its open-air market halls. You should absolutely visit one of these halls and the Escari Flea Market. The Falk Miksa Utc (a Pest street) is one of the centers for antique shops. The major six market halls are Central Market Hall, Rakoczi ter Market, Hold utca Market, Hunyadi ter Market, Klauzal ter Market, Batthyany ter Market. You can find antiques, 2nd handbooks at the Esceri Flea Market at Nagykorosi ut 156 and Budapest Flea Market outside the Petofi Hall. Pinter, Nagyhazi Gallery and Muzeum Korut are the other main places of book and antique stores. Tokaj wine, Unicom (bitters), red paprika, Herend porcelain and Symphonic Poems of Frantz Liszt (records) are some of the souvenirs that you can buy before living the city. In addition, there are innumerable malls and department stores in the city offering all kinds of international and local goods. Mammut, Duna Plaza and Arkad are just three examples to mention among these unlimited shopping centers.
Budapest has a diverse and sophisticated culture. Theaters, opera houses, exhibition halls, libraries, art galleries, festivals, special events, performing arts of folk music and dance shows are all the fundamental components of the fabric of the city culture. Budapest is the city of festivals. A plenty of special organizations are annually held in the city. Budapest Spring Festival (annual, March – April) and Budapest Autumn Festival (annual, October) are the fundamental and the largest international cultural events in the city. Orchestral and chamber concerts, jazz, contemporary dance, theater, film, music and art organizations are held during these festivals at a great range of the venues of the city. Bridge Festival-Danube Water Carnival (annual, June), Festival of Folk Arts (annual, August), Jewish Summer Festival (annual, August – September) and Lights of Christmas Music Festival (various dates, December) are among the other cultural organizations in the city. Hungarian State Opera House designed in 1884 is one of the most spectacular and beautiful buildings in the city. It is an architectural miracle. If you can not join the grand concerts, ballet and opera performances the guided tours are available for you to enjoy a short musical and dance performance. This is one of the best opera houses in Europe. The city has a plenty of theaters which are the centers for various performing arts. National Theater, Erkel Theater, Budapest Operetta Theater, Madach Theater, Trafo House of Contemporary Arts and many more are the major spots of theatrical and cultural events in the city. Among these, Erkel Theater is the second venue of the Hungarian State Opera House. There are many libraries available in the city, too. From sports facilities to bars, clubs and pubs, you can find all entertainment alternatives in the city. Go charting, skateboarding, roller-skating, squash, bowling, riding, tennis and more are sports activities that you can experience in the city. Sas Hill at Tajek u, Buda Hill at the north of the city, Nepliget (People's Park) at the south east of the city, City Park at Pest, Gellert Hill and Margaret Island offer a plenty of benefactions from the nature for recreation and relaxation. Both Franz Liszt Square and Raday utca are the ideal places for entertainment considering the bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs located there.