The capital of Hungary, divided by the Danube into Buda (right bank) and Pest (left bank), is beautiful. Once upon a time, Budapest, along with Vienna, was the joint imperial capital of the Austro-Hungarian Hapsburg Empire. It is known as the Pearl of the Danube.
A couple of landmarks may look “English” to tourists stepping off Budapest flights. The Szechenyi Chain Bridge, which links Buda and Pest, resembles the Hammersmith Bridge (it was built by the same man, Adam Clark) and the Hungarian Parliament Building, all Gothic Revival with spiky spires, is modelled on the Houses of Parliament. Not only is it Hungary’s largest building, it is where St Stephen’s Crown, symbol of Hungarian statehood for more than 1,000 years, is kept. Another part of Hungary’s first Christian king, his right hand, is in St. Stephen’s Basilica.
Its World Heritage sites include the banks of the Danube, Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue and Millennium Underground railway. Budapest (and Hungary), is known for thermal springs, many of them in baths and spas. The Szechenyi baths are the most famous, a glorious yellow confection with arches, columns and mosaics.
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Budapest has long, warm, humid summers and short, cold winters. The city averages more sunshine per year than any other European city. Spring and autumn are beautiful here, as is the summer.Early April marks the beginning of spring, and by May the temperature can reach 21 (Celsius). Summer can be quite warm and humid with temperatures in the high 20s. It stays warm until October. December through February temperatures are usually between -6 and zero. It snows frequently, but the snowfall is light.From April to the end of September, there are about ten hours of sun per day.
July and August are the peak season for visitors coming to Budapest. The city is hot and crowded and the lake region is mobbed.
Both spring and autumn are glorious in Budapest, with plenty to see and do. May through June and late August through September are the best times to search for cheap flights to Budapest and visit – the weather is excellent.
Mid-December is when it starts to get cold and many museums and tourist attractions close for the season.
Hungary’s capital is divided in two by the Danube River, but both Buda and Pest will be easy to get around after your flight to Budapest. Buses, trams and trains are both affordable and dependable. The metro works on an “honour system”. Validate your ticket when you board, or risk paying a large fine. (It’s not a risk worth taking. There are plenty of transport police and they’re strict when it comes to dishing out fines.)