Are you planning to visit Budapest, the capital of Hungary?
Known as the Pearl of the Danube, discover the beautiful Hungarian capital with these 10 things you should know before your trip to Budapest, Hungary:
1Hungary in the heart of Europe
With a surface area of 93,000 km2 and a population of 9.8 million, Hungary occupies a central position in Europe, 1500 km from London and 1600 km from Moscow. The city of Budapest in Hungary is the Hungarian capital with a population of 1.7 million. Its inhabitants are called Budapesters.
Hungary is a ‘flat’ country with a highest point of 1014 metres (‘Kekes’) with the main rivers being the Danube (416 km) and the ‘Tisza’ (584 km) and the largest lake in Central Europe, Lake Balaton (594 km2 ) located 100 km from the capital Budapest.
The official language of Hungary is Hungarian (‘magyar’), its currency is the Forint.
The Hungarian state is a parliamentary republic which joined the European Union in 2004 and became a member of the Schengen Area in 2007.
Hungary is traditionally a Roman Catholic country with a Protestant minority.
2A border with 7 countries
Hungary has a 2,200 km long border with 7 European countries:
Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine.
3Budapest, the great Hungarian capital
The capital of Hungary, Budapest is crossed by the Danube (350 metres wide) which ‘cuts’ the city into Pest (left bank) and Buda (right bank), linked by 7 bridges.
Budapest is not the unification of the cities Buda and Pest but the fusion in 1849 of 3 cities: Buda, Pest and Óbuda.
Budapest in Hungary currently covers 525 km2, divided into 23 districts for a population of 1.7 million inhabitants.
4The Pearl of the Danube – Budapest in Hungary
The Danube is the second longest river in Europe (3000 km), rising in Germany in the Black Forest and ending in the Black Sea. It flows through Hungary for almost 415 km and has given Budapest, which it flows through majestically, the nickname of the Pearl of the Danube.
The banks of the Danube in Budapest are classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
5The must-sees , Budapest in Hungary
Budapest has a unique and diverse architecture, a testimony of a capital that has shone through the centuries. On the Buda side you will discover the old town with the Castle, the Matthias Church, the Fishermen’s Bastion, the Citadel and the Gellért Baths. On the Pest side, don’t miss the Hungarian Parliament (pictured above), St Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes’ Square, the National Opera House on the famous Andrassy Avenue, the Széchenyi Baths, the Great Synagogue and the Great Covered Market among others.
The Hungarian capital also benefits from a very good urban transport network (metro, tramway, bus, trolleybus,…).
Find our dedicated article on ‘Budapest must-sees’ on this link as well as our 2-day, 3-day and 4-day itineraries.
6Budapest, an artistic capital
Culture has always played an important role in Budapest. Museums, exhibitions, festivals, ballets, opera and concerts are always on the go in the Hungarian capital!
Discover the main museums of Budapest on this link and the best exhibitions on this link.
For the concerts and shows offered during your visit, consult this link as well as our calendar by month on this link.
Finally, the biggest music festival in Europe, called the Budapest Sziget Festival, takes place every year in early August! (full information in the Sziget Festival article on this link).
7The Hungarian spa tradition
The tradition of thermal baths in Budapest is a unique experience that you must discover! More than 100 hot springs are present in the Hungarian capital and besides the medicinal and relaxing virtues of these baths, the architecture and atmosphere of the baths are incredible and should not be missed.
The Széchenyi Baths on the Pest side and the Gellért, Lukács and Rudas Baths in Buda are our favourites. Full information in our dedicated article ‘The best baths in Budapest’ on this link.
8Budapest in Hungary, a capital full of life
The ruin bars of Budapest have become mythical since their appearance about fifteen years ago, and give rhythm to the city every evening in Pest in the 7th district.
Ruin bars are bars set up on several floors and in abandoned buildings with large inner courtyards.
Entrance is free and some of them, like the ‘Szimpla Kert’, are worth visiting during the day. Let yourself be tempted by their unique architecture, decoration and atmosphere!
Full information in our dedicated article on the ‘best ruin bars in Budapest’ on this link.
Hungarians love gastronomy and their cuisine is not just about paprika!
Influenced by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Orient, Hungarian cuisine will surprise you with its specialities such as the famous goulash soup, its foie gras, its stews, its chicken with paprika accompanied by very good local wines.
Discover our article on Hungarian cuisine on this link as well as the one on Hungarian pastries on this link.
There are many restaurants in Budapest which will delight all tastes: street food, starred restaurants, Hungarian and international cuisine, discover our selection of restaurants in Budapest on this link.
10Christmas markets in Budapest
From mid-November Budapest lights up for the festive season with its great tradition of Christmas markets. They are all located in the city centre in Pest, within walking distance of each other. This is a unique opportunity to discover the Hungarian capital with its magnificent Christmas decorations in a warm atmosphere. Each Budapest Christmas market has local handicraft stalls as well as many culinary stalls where you can discover Hungarian gastronomic specialities.
Discover the best Christmas markets in Budapest in our dedicated article on this link.