Often referred to as the 'Pearl' or 'Queen' of the Danube in reference to the blue artery that flows through it, Budapest offers cultural attractions old and new. To get an overview of the Hungarian capital and the sweep of the river, take the funicular railway to the Royal Palace. Enjoy a spectacular panorama of Buda, Óbuda and Pest, separated by the Danube but linked by seven bridges, including the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge, with Margaret Island in the middle.
It’s easy to get around on foot or by public transport. Make sure you visit at least one of the imperial thermal baths set under their Ottoman-era cupolas – an unforgettable must-do experience in this city.
Step aboard Europe’s first underground railway. Purchase a porcelain antique at the Ecseri market. Stop to try some typical lángos bread or Túró Rudi, the country’s most loved dessert. Music lovers can visit the museum dedicated to local hero Franz (Ferenc) Liszt, or catch a concert at St Michael’s Church. Or savour the city’s artistic heritage by taking a seat at the New York Café, where the satirist Karl Kraus, novelist Joseph Roth and playwright Frank Wedekind once met.
At the end of the day, stroll through Budapest’s lively squares, taking the opportunity to enjoy a shot of pálinka, the famous Hungarian grappa, traditionally served as an aperitif but just as good in a tucked-away bar late at night.