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Budapest, the capital of Hungary, has become one of Europe’s best-loved short-break destinations. And it’s easy to see why. It’s not just a city for stag/hen parties – although it’s a pretty good place to have one! It’s also a city of romance, stunning architecture, fabulous food and is steeped in history and culture.
The Danube runs through the centre of the city, and the hills of Buda on the western bank, are home to the cobbled medieval quarter. Across the river sits the stunning Parliament building, which is surrounded by the 19th-century mansions that today contain the shops, bars and restaurants that give Pest its buzzy vibe. It’s easy to walk around Budapest and see the sights, or if you prefer, buy yourself a travel card and get around on the super-efficient public transport network. It’s such a stunning city you’ll want to take plenty of photos, and you won’t be short of stunning shots to fill your Instagram grid.
The Parliament Building
Designed and built in the Gothic Revival style, it’s one of the largest buildings in Hungary. See the impressive staircase, Session Room and Great Vaulted Hall with a 50-minute tour and soak up the history of this fabulous building, whilst enjoying the convenience of being picked up from your own hotel.
For stunning views of the Danube and Parliament Building, stay at the Novotel Budapest Danube. This 4-star hotel is located right in the middle of the city, and makes for an excellent base for exploring Budapest. It offers 24-hour room service, a sauna, and babysitting services if you fancy an evening out without the little ones.
Budapest is well-known for its thermal spas, and Gellért Spa is one of the most famous thermal spa baths in Europe. It opened in 1918, offering medicinal water treatments using the same deep underground springs the Knights of St John used in the 12th century. It now has an open-air pool (which turns into a wave pool), and various saunas and plunge pools. Plus a range of spa treatments are on offer for ultimate relaxation. Built in wonderful Art Nouveau-style and opened in 1918, the impressive Danubius Hotel Gellert shares the building with the Gellért Spa, at the foot of Gellért Hill. The Panorama Restaurant and the terrace at Hotel Gellért offer superb views over the Danube and Budapest. The restaurant features masterpieces of Hungarian cooking, as well as the finest wines from famous cellars to complement the dining experience.
Sitting in the middle of the Danube, the island is a big park around 2.5km long. A great place to relax, or to try one of the many activities on offer. Take a gentle stroll or rent a pedal cart or Segway to explore the island properly. A 5.5km running track goes right round the island and is a popular place for joggers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There is a small petting zoo which is great for children, and look out for the Music Fountain, where the water ‘dances’ to classical music.
If you want to stay on Margaret Island, check out the Danubius Grand Hotel Margitsziget. Built in 1873, the heated underground corridor connects the hotel to the neighbouring Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget, which features one of Europe’s top health spas. The Széchenyi Restaurant offers fine dining with magnificent views of the park.
[bctt tweet=”It’s easy to walk around Budapest and see the sights, or if you prefer, buy yourself a travel card and get around on the super-efficient public transport network. It’s such a stunning city you’ll want to take plenty of photos, and you won’t be short of stunning shots to fill your Instagram grid.” username=”made4travel1″]
St. Stephen’s Basilica
Also known as Budapest Cathedral, this is the largest church in Budapest, and it is dedicated to Hungary’s first king, St. Stephen. It can hold up to 8,500 people at one time, and took 50 years to build. The dome is 96 metres high, the exact same height as the Budapest Parliament Building. Current building regulations stipulate that no other structure in Budapest can be taller than 96 meters. Having the same height as the Parliament also symbolises the balance between church and state in Hungary. For a truly unforgettable experience, enjoy an organ concert at the Basilica. The sound inside the dome makes it the perfect spot for Bach and Vivaldi, performed by some of Hungary’s most admired musicians.
To add to the experience, upgrade to a late-night dinner cruise on the Danube afterward, and toast to the beautiful view with a glass of Sparkling wine. A traditional Hungarian meal is also available on board, served buffet-style. Along the way you’ll pass UNESCO World Heritage sights like the Buda Castle, lit up for the evening hours.
Just a 1 minute walk from St. Stephen’s Basilica is Hotel Central Basilica. This hotel is a short walk from Deak Ferenc Ter Station, and provides easy access to local bars and eateries. Basilica features a restaurant and a bar where guests are able to unwind of an evening. The Hungarian State Opera House, Chain Bridge, the Dohany Street Synagogue and Hungarian Parliament Building are also within walking distance.
Budapest’s Castle District is a World Heritage Site with historic monuments, museums, and stunning views. Buda Castle was first completed in 1265, but the massive Baroque palace today occupying most of the site was built between 1749 and 1769. The best and most scenic way to get up to the hill is to take the funicular, but you can also take in stunning views whilst taking the steps or slope if you’re feeling energetic.
Lanchid 19 Design Hotel overlooks the river and has stunning views of Buda Castle. Soak up the sun on the terrace, have a drink at the bar or relax in the Jacuzzi. Its central position provides easy access to sightseeing, shopping and entertainment.
Great Market Hall
The Great Market Hall was built in 1897, and is the most beautiful and largest of all Budapest market halls. If you love fresh food and goods, people watching and shopping, this is a must visit during your stay in Budapest. Spread across 3 floors, you’ll find everything from fresh fish and dairy products, to Hungarian paprika and souvenirs. It’s open Monday to Saturday and there are also lots of street food style eateries on the upper floor.
Just a few minutes walk from the market is the Inn Side Hotel Kalvin House. Dating from the 19th century, this hotel offers large, individually decorated rooms with historic furniture and wooden floors. Each has satellite TV and a modern bathroom.
This ‘fairytale-like’ structure is undoubtedly one of the top Budapest attractions. It’s the place locals and tourists come to enjoy stunning views of the city. The Fisherman’s Bastion was built between 1895 and 1902 as part of the series of developments that were to celebrate the 1000th birthday of the Hungarian state. It was inspired by the architectural style of the early medieval times, when the first Hungarian king started his rule. The 7 towers of the Halaszbastya features the 7 Hungarian chieftains who had led their tribes to the present day Hungary to settle down in 895, and the Statue of St Stephen (1906), the first Hungarian king (1000-1038).
Hilton Budapest is conveniently located in the city centre, just a 1 minute walk from Fisherman’s Bastion. This 5-star hotel offers an express check-in and check-out feature, valet parking and an executive floor. It also has babysitting services, a currency exchange and a reception that is available 24 hours a day. The rooms feature views of the river or the city and include satellite channels and a mini bar. All provide bottled water, movies-on-demand and a private bathroom with bathrobes. There are so many other wonderful places to visit in Budapest, so you won’t be needing any Instagram filters. Browse Made4Travel for lots more hotels to suit every budget.
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