The city is often touted as “the Paris of the East”, but the people of Budapest, capital of Hungary, prefer to have their beautiful city built on the banks of the Danube River judged on its own merits. Merits it has, in abundance, as anyone on holiday in Budapest will discover. Lively and sociable, themore
Have you been to Budapest? - Mikka and Makka from Helsinki. Date of travel: Aug 2008
Not? It's a shame. One of the MUST SEE CITY in the world. Nice girls, historical places, palaces, churches, museums and so on! Plus the food is unforgettable.
Budapest Chilling out in Spa city! - Stephen. Date of travel: Jun 2008
Budapest sometimes referred to as the "The Pearl of the Danube" is an amazing city exuding cultural sophistication that intrigues all those who visit this city. Straddling both sides of the legendary Danube with grand buildings and exquisite bridges, this city is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and worth the visit. The Bathhouses are at the heart of this city, come wallow in the adult equivalent of waterworld where the people of Budapest have developed a passion for their thermal springs, a love breed deeply over two millenia when the Turk invaders established historic Turkish baths that have retained most of their original character to this day. To the Hungarians the baths are like the pubs to the Irish, people come here to strip off their glad rags, to come and chat to friends, read newspapers and play chess. Many of you might have seen the typical scenes in the Szchenyi baths were chess players brood over their next move. Pleasure or health choice either ways these baths are engrossing and delightful to visit. The decadent old world Gellert still retains its unique character with its steam chambers, hot pools and rather vigorous masseurs who look scary at the best of times. Sometimes the bewildering list of options on the baths tariffs can confuse however it is worth delving through the options to find one that suits. Beware the feeling of decadence as you strip off and put on a small white apron that barely covers, brings togs if you wish otherwise you might feel a trifle bit self conscious. After settling into the baths all my troubles melt away. “Who knows? Who cares?” was what Jozef the attendant said. In the corners of the main chamber were other pools – warm, tepid, cool, cold. Beyond were saunas and a steam room. Then more showers, where we could abandon our pinnies for long, white sheets that made us look like Roman senators gathering to undermine Crassus. The masseur big, butch and scary and was waiting for me in the gloom of cubicle five. He was a bald, malevolent-looking fellow, reminiscent of those East European weightlifters, pumped up on drugs and propaganda, who regularly beat western waifs to the medals during the cold war. Relieving me of towel with a flick of his wrist, he grunted and waved me onto the table, then began to work on my naked form. It was excruciating painful but enjoying at the same time. The Rudas Baths are originally Turkish, but the history of the Budapest springs goes back further than that. The Romans began the tradition with thermal baths for arthritis. Sufferers came from across the empire. When the Huns invaded they messed up the plumbing somewhat and the baths fell into decline. The Catholic church reversed the decline when they promoted the baths for medicinal purposes, given that they were not overly comfortable with the idea of lounging around semi naked. The Turks reintroduced serious bathing when they conquered the city in the 16th century. They remained for 150 years: plenty of time to build elaborate bathhouses and encourage the locals to join them for a hot soak. Budapest offers the visitor the familiarity of European culture with a unique Hungarian Flavour. The Hungarians are sometimes referred to as a grumpy bunch however the fact is that they are realists and they tell you how it is. Very refreshing when you consider the false niceties that one receives every time you walk into a Gap or modern retail establishment. There is a great history to Budapest, which is evident in the neo-Gothic Parliament buildings, sidewalk cafes and Magyar cuisine; classical concerts and Hungarian folk music. Budapest was originally two cities built on either side of the Danube, namely Buda and Pest. The two districts are still distinct in their contrasting makeup, with the older and more charming Buda comprising atmospheric cobbled streets, little picturesque coloured houses and a medieval, neo-Classical mixture of architecture set among the gentle hills of the west bank. It is famous for its historic Castle Hill featuring the Royal Palace, museums and galleries, St Matthias Church and the ramparts of Fisherman's Bastion. As for accommodation offerings in Budapest there is a plethora of unique and nice properties to stay. In a city renowned for its art-nouveau In a city renowned for its art-nouveau treasures, why not stay in one? The Gresham is a feast of melting stone, gilded facades, peacock gates and stalactite chandeliers that was a ruin on the riverbank five years ago. It was built in 1906 as the European office of the Gresham Life Assurance Company, but wartime bombs, followed by a cash-strapped communist regime, had left it rotting by the time Four Seasons took over in 1999. Four years and €95 million later, it reopened as the most luxurious of five-star hotels, with all the stellar service and comfort you’d expect from the chain. Some other gems include the Art Hotel, super-modern meets 17th-century classic at the splendidly incongruous Art’otel. The hotel is fronted by a seven-storey glass structure, connected by glass walkways to four beautiful old town houses at the back. And it works brilliantly. Another gem is The Gellert. With all those thermal waters bubbling away under the city, you’d be mad not to reap their benefits in a traditional spa. The Hotel Gellert is standard stuff, sadly past its turn-of-the-century best, but the adjacent temple to the healing and restorative powers of the springs is still an eye-wateringly pleasurable experience. Hotel guests have unlimited free access to the spa via a rickety lift. Alternatively another special accommodation feature of this city is the availability of classical apartment rental that offer apartments of unique historical interest sprinkled with a few modern apartments available for short term rent. These Budapest apartments for rent are considerably cheaper than a comparable star rated hotel in Budapest, and offer more comfort and represent exceptional value for money. Enjoy everything this great city has to offer...
Caryn Vine. Date of travel: Nov 2003
Public transport is one of the best in a large city. I never had to wait long for anything and there are many options - buses, metro, trams, trolleybuses - all very efficient. Travel passes are good value too.
William, Bernie. Date of travel: Oct 2003
We tried out the restaurant Fatal in Budapest which is quite touristy, but they have enormous wooden platters of Hungarian food -really yummy but we couldn't even finish everything on our plates. The service was a bit slack though - as if they know they have a good reputation and nothing more is needed.
Hotels in Budapest User Rating
5-Star Hotels
Andrassy Hotel | * * * * * |
Corinthia Aquincum Hotel | * * * * * |
Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal | * * * * * |
Four Seasons (Gresham) | * * * * * |
Hilton | * * * * * |
Hilton Budapest | * * * * * |
Hilton West End | * * * * * |
Inter-Continental | * * * * * |
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4-Star Hotels
Minotel Gloria | * * * * * |
Hotel Liget | * * * * * |
Apartmenthotel Residence Izabella | * * * * * |
Aquarius Hotel | * * * * * |
Art'otel | * * * * * |
Astoria Hotel Budapest | * * * * * |
Best Western Grand Hotel Hungaria | * * * * * |
Best Western Lido Hotel and Wellness Centre | * * * * * |
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3-Star Hotels
Domina Inn Fiesta | * * * * * |
Hotel Benczur | * * * * * |
Anna | * * * * * |
Atlas Hotel | * * * * * |
Attila Hotel | * * * * * |
Bara | * * * * * |
Baross Hotel | * * * * * |
Berlin | * * * * * |
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2-Star Hotels
Dominik Panzio Hotel | * * * * * |
Agro Panorama | * * * * * |
Gerand Hotel Touring | * * * * * |
Marco Polo Hostel | * * * * * |
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