Holidays to Budapest strike the perfect balance between old and new. Hilly Buda gives you history on tap, while Pest puts buzzing nightlife at your fingertips.

The Paris of the East

Budapest is a city of two halves – both in name and geography. It’s split by the Danube River, with Buda to the west and Pest to the east. The former’s crowned by a hilltop castle and a fortress, which offer up some of the best panoramas around. Meanwhile, the latter’s home to the quirky Jewish Quarter and the grand-and-Gothic parliament building.

Historic sights

Reminders of the past are everywhere you turn in Hungary’s capital – from the poignant Shoes on the Danube memorial to the charming Castle District and the enlightening House of Terror museum. Then there are the open-air ruin bars, found in the Jewish Quarter’s abandoned buildings. The most famous of which – Szimplakert – has become a Budapest institution. Here, you can take a seat in a cut-open car or bathtub, surrounded by graffiti-covered walls and junkyard-chic furniture.

Taking the waters

As well as a scene-stealing riverside setting, Budapest’s blessed with a collection of thermal springs. The mineral-rich waters supply the city’s popular bathhouses, hence its nickname – the City of Spas. They’re a treasure chest of architecture, too, from the Art Deco Gellert Baths to the Ottoman-era Kiraly Baths and the canary-coloured Szechenyi.

At a Glance

  • Take a dip in one of Budapest’s thermal baths
  • Check out the Jewish Quarter’s eccentric ruin bars
  • Ride the retro funicular railway to the top of Castle Hill