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Your guide to Budapest
All About Budapest
One of the largest cities in Europe, Hungary’s capital sprawls over more than 7,500 square kilometres in the centre of the continent, with human settlement dating from the Stone Age. Budapest’s architecture blends Roman, neo-Gothic, Renaissance, and Ottoman influences in an impressive display straddling the River Danube, with Buda’s hilly old town to the west, Pest’s lively newer town to the east, and the narrow streets and Roman ruins of Óbuda to the northwest.
Visitors are drawn to Budapest’s famous hot springs, flea markets, and buzzing nightlife, from its network of ruin bars — quirky semiderelict hangouts, where Hungary’s sweet tokaj wine is particularly well regarded — to fine-dining restaurants. Grand coffee houses with glossy mahogany panelling and chandeliers line the leafy boulevards, and art galleries are complemented by a constellation of murals in the Jewish District, including an homage to a popular cube-shaped puzzle invented in Hungary.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Budapest
Spring is pleasant in Budapest, with two of the city’s best food, beer, and wine events — Rosalia Festival, celebrating rose and sparkling wine, and OTP Bank Gourmet Festival, showcasing Hungarian cuisine — in May. The best time to book a vacation rental in Budapest is between April and September, when temperatures in Hungary tend to be warm and the skies are clear. Autumn brings cooler temperatures, but this is a great time to visit for events like the Jewish Cultural Festival and the Budapest Wine Festival, which both take place in September. Winters are chilly and the city is quiet. This is when visitors come to soak up the festive glow during the city’s Christmas markets.
Top things to do in Budapest
Nestled in the middle of the Danube, Margaret Island is a former royal hunting reserve that’s been transformed into a public park. You can walk around the 90-hectare site or take a ride on scooters, bikes, or golf carts. Relax in the tranquil Japanese garden or on the beach, soak in the Turkish thermal baths, and explore the ruins of a historic Franciscan monastery.
Constructed in the 16th century during the time of Ottoman occupation, Rudas Bath still has its original 10-metre Turkish bath, which sits under a dome supported by eight pillars. A modern spa and Turkish-Hungarian restaurant were added in 2014, and there’s also a pool on the rooftop terrace with panoramic views of Budapest.
The Great Synagogue
One of the world’s largest synagogues, the Great Synagogue was built in 1859 with Romantic and Moorish architectural elements. Its Holocaust Tree of Life Memorial, sculpted to resemble a weeping willow, is a sobering reminder of the tragedy in Hungary. The site also contains the Hungarian Jewish Museum and Archives, home to centuries’ worth of artifacts from Jewish life in Europe, including books, manuscripts, ritualistic silver, and a 3rd-century engraved headstone from Roman Pannonia.