A city in a stunning natural setting with a rich architectural and historical heritage, offering an unmatched combination of culture, fine cuisine and thermal baths...
A city on either side of the majestic Danube: Buda, with its romantic streets and alleyways, and Pest, an effervescent cultural centre.
Take your pick! Or enjoy its diversity!
Divided in two by the Danube, the city is made up of Buda on one side: with Ottoman-era thermal baths at the foot of the spectacular Gellért Hill, the royal palace and Matthias Church, it radiates calm and peace. One the other side lies Pest, vibrant and lively, with its slew of museums rich in cultural and historical treasures, extraordinary Secessionist architecture, its majestic Parliament building considered as one of the most magnificent in the world, Saint Stephen’s Basilica surrounded by pedestrian streets, and its entirely renovated Jewish Quarter and Palace District.
Besides its historical value, Budapest has a highly developed cultural scene with its world-class festivals, theatres, museums, concert halls and sporting events. For relaxing and enjoying nature, Margaret Island is the city’s “green heart” (considered by many to be one of Europe’s best city parks) - the perfect place to enjoy a stroll, various sports, swimming in outdoor pools or soaking in thermal baths and spas. As for foodies, the celebrated creations of Hungarian cuisine are a definite must!
While traditional goulash soup and pörkölt have a well-established reputation, the culinary revolution has taken over Budapest, as well. From street-food made from local, all-natural ingredients to haute cuisine creations featured in the Michelin Guide, Budapest has it all.
Full of adventures and guaranteed to win your heart, Budapest welcomes you!
Over the centuries, three cities grew and blossomed side by side along the banks of the Danube: Buda, site of the royal residence; Pest with its dynamic growth from the 19th century onwards; and Óbuda, known for its somewhat less urban but cheerful restaurants and citizens.
Inhabited since Roman times, later destroyed by Ottoman troops and Austrian cannon. It was in the Reform Era (1825-1848) that the city experienced its first development boom, when, among other buildings, the Hungarian National Museum and the Chain Bridge connecting the two shores of the Danube were constructed. It was in 1873 that the three cities finally united, leading to a pace of development which was virtually unmatched in Europe. The period before the First World War truly was a Belle Époque, a period of “happy peacetime”, as the Hungarians called it.
The city’s parks were built, along with the elegant Andrássy Avenue and the Opera House. In honour of the millennium of Hungary’s foundation, Europe’s second underground railway was built between Heroes’ Square and the Secessionist Museum of Applied Arts; new bridges were built after the Chain Bridge to connect the two banks of the river, while the Parliament Building was constructed at a tremendous expense and using an enormous labour force. According to foreign travellers of the day, it seemed at that time that everyone was living in the coffee houses. The city’s concert halls were packed every evening, the newly-built train stations were welcoming in the city’s new citizens, while the neighbouring cities were cranking out manufactured goods.
The 20th century did not hold much good in store for it, as many citizens died during World War 2 and in the course of the 1956 revolution. A great part of the original buildings were destroyed, but the city almost miraculously rose up again. It is true however that bullet holes, traces of many battles, can still be seen on the walls of some of Budapest’s buildings. One of Budapest’s main attractions is its truly unsurpassed architectural diversity: the houses in the Buda Castle area were mainly built in the Baroque period, while the streets of downtown Pest are marked by eclectic apartment buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, along with Secessionist and modern buildings. Meanwhile, traces of Budapest’s Roman past can be discovered throughout the city, as well as the legacies of the Turks in the 16th and 17th centuries and of Socialist Realist architecture of the 20th century. It is an exciting medley, just like the cultural activities that the city offers. Today, Budapest is a metropolis of approximately two million people, and is waiting to be discovered.
Budapest has one of the richest public transportation systems of all European capitals. The Budapest Card holder can travel without restrictions and for free within the city limits on more than 200 bus, 32 tram, 15 trolley and 4 metro lines, on the HÉV Suburban Railway and with boats. You can also take a free trip to the hills of Buda with the cogwheel railway.
The M-1 metro line, continental Europe’s oldest underground railroad, was built in 1896
and constitutes part of the world’s heritage. This line starts from Vörösmarty Square and continues under Andrássy Avenue with stops at the Opera House, Heroes’ Square and the City Park.
The M-2 metro line runs from the Déli (Southern) train station on the Buda side to Örs Vezér tér in Pest, cutting across the city from east to west.
The M-3 metro line goes from Újpest-Központ to Kőbánya-Kispest, stopping at the Nyugati (Western) train station as well as at the local and international bus station at Népliget. Bus 200E travelling to the Liszt Ferenc International Airport Terminal leaves from the Kőbánya-Kispest metro station.
With its spacious stations, the M-4 metro line, the newest in Budapest, links the Kelenföld station in southern Buda with the Keleti (Eastern) train station. This line also has stops at the Great Market Hall on Fővám tér and at the Gellért thermal baths.
Budapest’s bus network, comprising over 200 separate routes and criss-crossing the entire city
can bring you almost anywhere within the capital, as well as to several neighbouring towns. In some parts of the city, there are also express lines which do not stop at every bus sign. More than half of the buses that come frequently have low, easy-access entry doors.
By European standards, Budapest’s tram network is also well-developed. The yellow vehicles are emblematic of the Budapest cityscape. The most frequent tram line in the capital city is the 4 and 6 tram traveling along the Nagykörút (Grand Boulevard). Lines 1 and 3 are among the most important on the Buda side. The tram lines which form the backbone of the Buda transit network allow for direct connections between the different parts of the city without having to transfer lines.
The line 2 tram along the bank of the Danube is one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful tram routes. As you ride on this tram, you can admire various historic buildings and sights, including the Parliament, the Budapest bridges, the Buda Castle district and the view of Gellért hill.
The other two lines that are especially attractive for tourists are the 19 and the 41.
The red, environmentally-friendly trolleybuses can be found in the Pest downtown area and in Zugló.
The HÉV trains connected Budapest’s suburbs with major downtown hubs. The picturesque town of Szentendre, the Danube Bend, the Roman ruins at Aquincum and the site of the Sziget Festival (Óbudaisland) can all be reached with the H5 HÉV line. Other destinations are available on the H6-H9 lines.
Extra HÉV tickets must be purchased for destinations outside of Budapest on the HÉV lines, as Budapest transit passes and tickets are only valid within the city limits.
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There are several taxi companies operating in Budapest. The officially licensed taxi cabs can be easily identified by their uniform yellow colour, with the sign ”Minősített budapesti taxi / Licensed Budapest taxi” displayed on the front left door in both Hungarian and English. The registration plate is also yellow.
You are seated in an officially registered Budapest taxi if the driver’s photo identification card and taxi fare rates fixed by the Municipality of Budapest are posted on the instrument panel as well as on the two rear side windows.
You can pay the taxi fare both in cash and with a bank card but it may happen that some bank cards are not accepted. The prices listed above are valid within the municipal boundaries of Budapest. If you wish to travel outside Budapest, please check the terms and conditions in advance.
After the trip, ask for a receipt printed from the taxi meter, by which you can check if the officially fixed rate has been applied, and any complaint that may be related to the trip can be effectively handled.