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It says something for the unique culture and people of Hungary when their favourite activity is playing chess while soaking at an elegant thermal bath complex. Taking to the water in Hungary is a tradition and one not to be missed especially in Budapest, the nation’s stately capital. The River Danube flows through the centre of the city, separating the ancient towns of Buda and Pest. As you explore the city’s medieval heritage, don’t be frightened by the crazy-looking names. Your pronunciation may not fool the locals, but they’ll be thrilled to hear you try and will go out of their way to make you feel welcome. For something completely different head to the Statue Park, the last resting place of more than 40 statues from Hungary’s Socialist past.
Beyond the city lie lakes and spa towns and the vast Hungarian Plain that still pounds with the sound of hoof-beats – the Hungarians love their horses. Join them on a ride, or watch the Magyar cowboys demonstrate their awesome abilities. Meet Hungary’s dynamic young generation in the university city of Szeged and wander the cobblestone streets of arty Szentendre, one of several towns along the picturesque Danube bend.
Hungarian cuisine reflects this country’s unique heritage. The Turks introduced coffee and paprika and it is from here that hearty, rich goulash soup originates. Try turkey roasted with fruit, and for dessert, chestnut cream. Live life to the full the way the Hungarians do.
This illustrates the decades of Nazi and Communist repression. It is in the former headquarters of the secret police of both these governments and is also a memorial to the victims. It is fascinating, and while presenting the horrors it also makes people understand that the sacrifice for freedom was not in vain.
Displayed in the park are 42 pieces of art from the Communist era between 1945 and 1989. You’ll find Marx and Lenin here and gigantic heroic monuments and statues to the ‘workers’ and other famous personalities.
Budapest has some of the world’s finest Turkish baths. They boast original Ottoman architecture with wonderful octagonal pools, stained glass windows and mosaics. Some are pretty elaborate; just as they were when built in the early 1900s.
Get out on the river to admire its beauty close up. The Danube River divides ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’, so you can enjoy all the attractions along the river banks at a relaxing pace.
These are the ‘ruin pubs’ of Budapest’s seventh district and one of the best bar-hopping areas on the Pest side of the Danube, behind the Great Synagogue. Each pub is unique, usually an abandoned or bombed building with a hipster vibe, once the thriving Jewish district but destroyed during WWII, now these buildings are renovated into trendy bars and restaurants.
Under the castle is a 1200 metre cave system that was created from hot water springs almost half a million years ago. They have been used as cellars, storage and rooms for the castle. During wartimes in the 1930s it was able to shelter up to 10,000 people and is where Count Dracula was imprisoned and tortured from 1463.
Next to Pest’s City Park, this elite Budapest dining institution has paintings by Hungarian masters adorning the walls. Enjoy a refined Hungarian meal, washed down with Hungarian wines. For dessert you have to try Hungarian palacsinta; a pancake stuffed with chocolate sauce and flambéed.
If you love shopping, a visit to Vaci Utca will be one of your favourite Budapest experiences. The street was formed in the 18th century and is lined with beautiful architecture. The avenue is full of exclusive boutique shops but is also the ideal place to pick up an ‘I love Budapest’ t-shirt and to grab a bite to eat in one of the courtyards.
Here's a taste of some of our favourite hotels and lodges in Budapest, Hungary.
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This is just a taste of the information and advice we have available through our House of Travel consultants.
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