BudapestBack to Danube River Cruise »
Hungary's capital and grandest city, Budapest's down-at-the-heels quality gives it a scruffy charm, absent from Vienna and Prague. Split by the Danube, Buda's rolling hills and Pest's wide boulevards are easy to explore, even if you can't master the notoriously difficult language. For a closer view of the river that inspires this itinerary, walk along the promenade or across one of the city's many bridges.
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- Art and Culture
- Budapest's baths have been famous for hundreds of years. Two of the most popular are the Gellért, which exudes a crumbling old-world charm, and the Rudás, a Turkish-style bath with a recently renovated interior and a 400-year old dome.
- Castle Hill, on a bucolic plateau above Buda, is an evocative tangle of cobblestone streets and gothic houses. It's worth spending a day here, especially to visit Buda Castle.
- A stroll along Andrássy út will bring into focus why Budapest was the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Beneath your feet is the continent's first underground railway, while lining the avenue are the Opera House and the Museum of Fine Arts.
- The Spring Festival, with music, film, and dance components, runs for the last two weeks of March.
- The artist's colony of Szentendre is 13 mi/20.9 km north of the city. Come here for a slew of museums and festivals in the summer.
- Farther north is the town of Esztergom, home to Hungary's largest basilica, completed in 1856.