Some fall in love with the city at first sight, some are won over only after a longer period of discovery, but all agree that it occupies one of the most beautiful sites in the world.
The metropolis of two million people is cut in two by the mighty stream of the Danube, with the hills and valleys of Buda on one side and the flat, low-lying Pest on the other. This riverside panorama was made a World Heritage site by UNESCO, and those who have seen it illuminated by night will understand why.
The following are some of the main characteristics of Budapest
Inhabited fifty thousand years ago, it has had its present name for only 128 years: Óbuda, Buda and Pest were separate towns until 1873.
Under its hills there is a continuous cave system with medicinal waters welling up from thermal springs. 80 thermal springs supply 12 spas with 70 million litres of thermal water daily.
Among its monuments there are 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatres, 400-year-old Turkish baths and typically Hungarian Art Nouveau style buildings from the 19th century. The cityscape owes its uniform appearance to the elegant mansions erected at the beginning of the 19th century in Eclectic style.
There are also points of interest in its transport system. The underground railway connecting the Inner City with the City Park was the first on the continent and has been running for 105 years. Serving the Buda Hills you will find the world's third mountain railway and a forest light railway operated by children.
For lovers of culture, the only problem is choice. 237 monuments, 223 museums and galleries, 35 theatres, 90 cinemas, 2 opera houses, 12 concert halls and nearly 200 places of amusement offer a wide variety of things to do, while over the 365 days of the year travel agencies organise walks and sight-seeing tours by coach and boat, tailored to your requirements.
Lying on the bank of the Danube is one of the largest and most important buildings of Hungary, the Parliament. It is the seat of the National Assembly and the home of legislation. It was designed by Imre Steindl and built between 1885 and 1904, showing influence of Gothic Revival architecture.
The first bridge of Budapest which defined the cityscape ever since it was built. The suspension bridge was the first to connect Pest and Buda, and it became a symbol for progression and the Reform Era of Hungary. The bridge was designed by William Tierny Clark.
The Buda Castle, a World Heritage Site, is part of the Castle District. Once a palace of the kings, today it is a symbol of Buda and its main touristic sight. Its importance is not only architectural but it is also the location of cultural institutions such as the National Gallery.
One of the defining buildings of the cityscape of Buda can be found here: the Matthias Church. The Neo Gothic church was originally built in the 13th century and it was expanded, redesigned many times. Its current, richly decorated look was designed by Frigyes Schulek in the 19th century.
An integral part of the Danube Promenade is the Art Nouveau building of the Gresham Palace. The spectacular building was built between 1904 and 1906. It was the location of the famous Gresham Cafe and the Podium Cabaret - an important cultural location at the beginning of the century.
The building is a symbol of the darkest era in Hungary's history. In 1944 it served as the headquarters of the Arrow Cross Party and many people were tortured and killed here. After the war it was used by the secret police of the communist regime. Today it is the home of the House of Terror Museum.
Found at the traditional entrance of the Jewish quarter and at the former border of the Ghetto, it is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world. It was built in Moorish Revival style by Ludwig Förster in 1859. In the adjacent building is the Jewish Museum.
When we first enter the building of the Market Hall, designed by Samu Pecz, decorated with colorful Zsolnay tiles, it is as if we entered another world: it feels like a time travel to Old Hungary where we can experience the traditional market culture and try authentic Hungarian goods.