Budapest, Hungary is a huge city with a population of over 3 million people. In 1873, the two cities of Buda and Pest joined together to form the Austro-Hungarian empire Budapest, which today is the capital city of Hungary, and one of the largest cities in the European Union. Because the city is so large, you have to cover a lot of ground to see it all. This is a city well-suited for an on/off bus tour. We booked a Big Bus tour which included a boat ride up and down the Danube river. Unfortunately, we started our day with heavy rain--on the upside, there were plenty of open seats on the upper deck of the bus, but it definitely made it difficult to appreciate the beauty of the city.
Lucky for us, the weather cleared up, and we were treated to some of the most amazing sights! The Chain Bridge, below, was the first permanent stone bridge connecting Buda and Pest. This bridge is one of the iconic symbols of Budapest.
Budapest has some lively outdoor markets like this one near Vorosmarty Square. Look for handmade items such as felt bags & hats, baskets, handcrafted soaps, leather items, and artisan foods. Enjoy local Hungarian dishes like spicy, smokey grilled sausages, beef stews & ragouts, and local jams & honey.
Heroes Square is one of the major squares in Budapest. The square has played an important part in contemporary Hungarian history and has been a host to many political events.
After sundown, Budapest lights up. Some boat operators offer twilight cruises on the Danube (depending on the time of year) so tourists can appreciate the sparkle of the city at night. Evening is also a great time to walk through the city center when shops, outdoor markets, and restaurants really come to life.
Budapest has more thermal springs than any other capital city in the world. Roughly 20 million gallons of thermal water rises to the surface in Budapest every day, earning the city the nickname, "The City of Spas." Thousands of tourists come to the city for this reason alone, and the many hot springs have given birth to dozens of medicinal baths and to a bathing culture dating back to Roman times.
Budapest is a destination city that would take weeks or months to cover in-depth. It is a center for history, arts, culture, and relaxation. Also known as "Paris of the East," it's a city not to be missed!