Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, one of Europe’s largest and most scenic cities, has an acclaimed classical music scene and fascinating buildings. Hungary’s capital city lies on the Danube River and lays claim to extraordinary architectural styles across several large districts. The city played an important role in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the country’s revolutions in 1848 and 1956.

The 19th-century Hungarian State Opera House east of the river is home to Budapest’s proudest feature, its classical music scene. The building’s new-Renaissance design has a symmetrical façade with elaborate balconies, columns and arches. The red-and-gold interior of the main hall and its ceiling mural generate a grand ambience. Hear intriguing anecdotes from an informative guide on a tour or get yourself a ticket to the ballet, opera or recital.

Cross the river to Fisherman’s Bastion. The castle is straight out of a fairytale with towers and spires. You can climb to the top for a stunning view of the city while you  sip a drink at the café at the top. The castle, which is of neo-Gothic design, is part of the Castle Hill complex that was rebuilt after World War II. Give those weary legs a break and take the cable car to the top.

Leave the fairytale castle to take a dreamy boat ride down the Danube river at night. Here, you will see many of the city’s attractions bathed in warm light. Parliament House is as impressive as the London Houses of Parliament, which inspired its architecture.. Gaze up at the glorious maroon dome of the Gothic Revival structure. Inside, explore the various halls, chambers and riches, such as the Holy Crown of Hungary. 

A short walk to the east will take you to the Book Café at Lotz Hall. At the back of this famous bookshop you can admire beautiful frescos and elaborate décor. Or if you want to relax, consider trying a traditional Turkish Bathhouse. 

Indulge in the local cuisine such as meat stews and casseroles. Goulash, a soup seasoned with paprika, is so popular around these parts that it is considered a national symbol. Crêpes and pastries are popular desserts in Budapest. Try some Hungarian wine and locally brewed beer, such as Dreher.

Budapest International Airport is 22 kilometres (13.7 miles) southeast of the city centre. Get there via a combination of bus and metro, rent a car or take a taxi, which should take around half an hour. Once in the city, metros, trams and boat services will get you around the city on either side of the Danube River.  

Budapest’s fabulous fusion of architectural styles and its music scene will delight your senses. Visit in springtime for plenty of sunshine and a cool breeze. Snow covers the postcard-pretty city during winter months. 

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