From grand palaces and modern universities to thermal baths and picturesque riverbanks, Budapest is a truly underrated destination. Join us as we explore Hungary’s magical capital…
Forbes magazine recently voted Budapest the seventh most idyllic place to live in Europe. From the moment you set foot on its historic streets, it’s not hard to see why. The two cities of Buda and Pest, occupying opposite sides of the river, were united in 1873, creating Budapest as it’s known today.
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge links them together and is one of the city’s most spectacular sights, spanning the grand Danube River. It looks most magnificent come sunset, when its glittering chains are reflected in the calm stretch of the 1,777 mile-long river. Look out for the majestic lion statues at either end; the bridge was demolished by the Nazis in 1945, but they survived the destruction.
Before the First World War, Budapest was the capital of Austria-Hungary, one of the most powerful empires in 19th century Europe. Many of its historic buildings and riverbanks are preserved as a World Heritage Site including the Castle Quarter, Royal Palace and the extraordinary Andrássy Avenue. We recommend visiting soon, though; these restrictions may be lifted and these sights could look very different in the future.
A walking tour of Castle Hill is the most relaxing (and picturesque) way to see the city’s outstanding urban landscape. Stroll along cobbled streets, and tick off sights like the Sandor Palace, National Dance Theatre, Matthias Church and historic Holy Trinity Square. Next, take in the seven white stone turrets of Fishermen’s Bastion: its pillars and archways frame a wonderful panorama of the narrow pinnacles and soaring dome of the Hungarian Parliament Building.
The city’s architecture tracks its history and nowhere exemplifies this more than Andrassy Avenue. This poker-straight boulevard is lined with prestigious embassy buildings, high-end boutiques and luxurious townhouse facades. The visual splendour culminates with the statues and grand Opera House at Hȍsök Tere (Heroes’ Square).
A little-known fact for you: Budapest has the world’s largest thermal water cave system. It was most likely this which drew the Romans here thousands of years ago. Try the waters yourself by visiting one of the many thermal baths in the city.
The Széchenyi Baths are located in a magnificent Baroque building in the serene City Park. There are 18 pools, 15 of which are fed by natural thermal springs (temperatures range from a chilling 20 to a luxuriously warm 40℃).
Budapest has many secrets, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. With a few days to explore, don’t miss the funicular railway up Castle Hill, the view from the Danube promenade and the ruins of the Roman settlement of Aquincum.
For city-centre elegance, this beautifully styled apartment is unbeatable. Located on the first floor of a grand 19th-century building, the staircase alone will astonish you (let alone the fabulous interior).
Located right beside the beautiful Szabadság tér (Liberty Square), this apartment is a blend of classic and contemporary with page upon page of reviews from very satisfied guests.
If you need a little more room, this luxury villa with its own swimming pool and city-view terrace is ideal.
While people don’t rave about Budapest like Paris or Prague (yet), they really should. This enchanting city shows you both the past and future, but most of all, helps you enjoy the present. So make it the next stop on your European tour!