Budapest, the largest city in Hungary is also the cultural, industrial and political centre of the country. Budapest sits between the Alps and the Great Plain resulting in warm summers and extremely cold winters, with the possibility of rain all year round. Winters are short with the cold weather arriving about mid-December accompanied by frequent but light snowfall. The best time to visit Budapest is in the summer, from April to September, when the weather is at its nicest with a high number of warm, sunny days, usually about 10 hours of sun a day.
Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, it is home to several World Heritage Sites including the Danube, Millennium Underground Railroad, Andrassy Avenue, Buda Castle Quarter, and Heroes’ Square. Budapest is quickly growing in popularity and attracts over 20 million visitors a year. The city is full of parks and museums; you can enjoy a stroll along the banks of the Danube, take a visit to the Turkish-era thermal baths or enjoy Budapest’s vibrant nightlife.
Getting a Taste of History
Among the historical sights of interest the recently renovated former home of composer Bela Bartok is nestled in the Buda Hills. Among the displays is the Edison recorder Bartok recorded Hungarian folk music on. The Kerepes Cemetery contains the remains of several statesman and national heroes of Hungary. The cemetery also contains the tombs of famous Hungarian actors and poets as well as many who were killed with during the 1956 revolution. The Fisherman’s Bastion is a viewing platform built in 1905 that offers some of the best views of the Budapest skyline. Citadella was built in 1851 by the ruling political party as a means to keep down insurrection. By the 1890’s with the change in the political climate it was no longer necessary and now it is home to a museum, restaurant, and dance club.
Getting a Taste of Fine Cuisine
Game is a popular main dish at most restaurants in Budapest and Aranyzarvas (Golden Stag) is no exception. It offers an upscale casual ambiance with piano music on Thursday to Saturday evenings and an outside terrace in the spring and summer. The very stylish Cafe Peirrot come highly recommended if you are in the Castle Hill area. A hybrid of Hungarian-French cuisine with live piano music and a very friendly staff you’re sure to have a good time hanging with the locals. Fatal serves enormous Hungarian entrees on its namesake, fatals (wooden platters) or in iron cauldrons if you so desire. Book in advance and bring your appetite and some friends. If you want to enjoy some excellent home cooking, try Firkasz. This restaurant run by former journalists features an extensive wine list and picturesque views of Budapest. If you’re looking for a place to meet some of the locals and not to far from the bars, Fozelek Falo, located right near the music academy will probably be right up your alley.
A visit to Budapest will show you that it is definitely not your average European city.