Things to do in Budapest
Things to do in Budapest include visiting the many museums, enjoying a spa treatment or people-watching in one of the many pavement cafes around the centre of town. Budapest is without doubt one of the most vibrant cities in Europe. Visitors flock to the city to admire the cultural and historical attractions, sail along the Danube or discover some of the hidden gems of restaurants in the Latin Quarter.
The banks of the River Danube was once home to three cities - Buda on the west bank and Obuda and Pest on the east bank, which were amalgamated into the city of Budapest in 1873. Today, with over two thousand years of history, this city is one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe and the modern architecture blends with the rich, historic past of centuries old castles, palaces and parliament buildings on both banks of the river. Budapest is often referred to as the Queen of the Danube and it's easy to feel like royalty as you stroll along the cobbled streets of the Castle District and imagine those who lived here hundreds of years ago.
The city covers an area of two hundred square miles and flowing north to south through the centre of the city is the mighty River Danube which offers a choice of things to do in Budapest. Buda and Obuda, comprising roughly a third of the total, are situated mainly in the hills to the west, with commercial Pest on the plains to the east. There are three islands - Obuda Island, Margaret Island and Csepel Island - and nine bridges, two of which carry railway lines. Budapest is famous worldwide for the therapeutic and healing powers of the thermal waters and many tourists come just for a spa holiday.
The centrally located Gellert thermal baths and pools are situated on the Buda side of the Szabadsag Bridge and are one of the largest spa complexes and hotels in the city. Here you can enjoy the waters, massages, steam rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, solarium, naturist sunbathing terraces and a cocktail lounge. No list of things to do in Budapest is complete without a river cruise. One of the most enjoyable ways to see the city is a Danube River cruise by night with a four-course candlelit dinner and live music.
As you glide gently along the Danube you will see the city's famous monuments festooned with their dramatic, colourful floodlights including the Opera House, the Royal Palace, the Parliament Buildings, the Castle District, the Lanchid Bridge, the Freedom Monument and the Palace of Arts – a magical introduction to the city. In the twenty years since the end of communist domination of Hungary, Budapest has emerged as a modern city with an historic past and has earned the reputation as being one of the most popular European cities for visitors looking for a short break.