Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest is a bustling metropolis of incredible architecture, fascinating historical sites, public parks, and thermal spas bisected by the Danube River. A robust public transit system and a wealth of cultural touchstones make Budapest a popular tourist destination - and when you stay in one of our Budapest vacation rentals, you'll be perfectly positioned to explore every part of this gorgeous city.
Budapest was originally three separate cities - Obuda and Buda on the west bank of the Danube, and Pest on the east bank. In 1873, the three cities merged and Budapest became the capital of Hungary, precipitating the city's golden age. Today, evidence of this intriguing history still exists all over the city.
On the city's western side, take a walking tour of Buda Castle and the surrounding castle district. If you aren't in the mood to climb up the hill, the Buda Castle Hill Funicular is a popular alternative. Two miles south of the castle is Gellért Hill, the highest point in Budapest and the site of the Citadel. At the top, you'll be rewarded with sweeping views of the Danube flowing through the city.
Cross the iconic Chain Bridge to the eastern side of the city, where you'll find St. Stephen's Basilica and the Hungarian Parliament building. Stroll east along Andrassy Avenue (a UNESCO World Heritage site), passing boutiques, villas, embassies, and the Hungarian State Opera. The avenue terminates at Heroes' Square and City Park, which houses the Budapest Zoo and Vajdahunyad Castle.
Known as the "City of Spas," Budapest has more hot springs than any other capital city - 118, to be exact! There are 15 public thermal baths throughout the city, as well as numerous private spas. Some of the baths are hundreds of years old, such as Király Bath, which dates to the 1500s.
Because they are naturally heated (anywhere from 70 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit), the baths are open year-round. Warm up in winter as snow falls around you with a soak at Gellert Bath, or check out the pool-party atmosphere at Széchenyi Bath on Saturday nights. If you're looking for something more family-friendly, Palatinus Bath on Margaret Island has special pools for children.
Budapest's food scene reflects the area's many diverse culinary influences. The Ottoman era brought flavors of Turkish cuisine, while Austrian influences appeared during the period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Hearty dishes such as goulash, pilaf, and stuffed cabbage can be found everywhere from neighborhood cafés to Michelin-starred restaurants. If you're feeling bold, pick up some fresh ingredients at the Great Market Hall and try cooking one of these authentic dishes yourself at your vacation rental!
Learn more about the city's history at the Budapest History Museum, or see the remains of a Roman city at the Aquincum Museum and Ruin Garden. The Hungarian National Museum provides an in-depth look at the country's history.
Art enthusiasts should be sure to visit the Hungarian National Gallery, located in Buda Castle. Lovers of modern art will enjoy a visit to the Kunsthalle. The Palace of Arts (known to locals as Müpa Budapest) houses the Ludwig Museum, which features work by modern and contemporary artists. Müpa also hosts a diverse assortment of dance and music performances.
Our Budapest vacation rentals are the perfect starting point for exploring this beautiful city, as well as the surrounding countryside of Central Hungary. Get ready to fall in love with the Pearl of the Danube!
Photo Credit: Thomas Depenbusch via Flickr