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Book a flight to Budapest with Qatar Airways and discover why Hungary's capital city is known as the 'Paris of the East'.Hungary's capital city attracts around 2.7 million visitors annually, largely due to its magnificent architecture and stylish art and music scene. It was home to prodigious 19th-century composer Franz Liszt. The two cities of Buda and Pest, divided by the River Danube, exhibit Viennese and Parisian influences, not only in their buildings but in their culture.
On any trip to Budapest, finding your way around the city is easy, and a casual strollis often the best way to get your bearings. If you are visiting for the first time, make your way to Castle Hill, where the city's most popular attractions can be found. The Royal Palace, built in the 14th century, has been renovated six times, and is currently home to the National Gallery.
Take the funicular railway to the top of the hill, or enjoy a leisurely climb to make the most of the scenery. One of the most awe-inspiring views can be found at Fisherman's Bastion, built in 1905. Take the tram or metro to Buda to explore Aquincum, once a thriving Roman city. Today, it is an open-air museum packed with paintings and mosaics, and is Budapest's largest Roman ruin.
Bring your walking shoes when you travel to Budapest, as the city is best experienced on foot. Exploring the interior of the grand neogothic Parliament Building is only possible with a guided tour; plan an early start to ensure you get tickets.
The city is home to several museums, each of which offers its own glimpse of local history and culture. From the National Museum to Buda's Kassak Museum, which showcases modern Hungarian art, there are plenty of options for the curious traveller. Budapest's classical-music heritage is best experienced through visits to Bartok's House, the Liszt Museum and the Kodaly Museum.
Budapest has one of the world's oldest zoos, which is home to more than 800 animals. Sunny afternoons in the city are also a great time to wander around Varosliget Park or head for the popular Széchényi Thermal Bath for a swim or massage. The city has won a reputation as one of Europe’s great spa destinations, with many of its bath-houses dating back to Turkish antiquity. In particular, the Art Nouveau-style Gellert Baths in Buda are considered one of the continent’s finest. Here you can treat yourself to a thermal bath, sauna or refreshing massage after a day spent exploring the city.
Hungarians are very proud of their traditional cuisine, but outside influences can still be seen in many dishes. Most menu options are meat-based, with spices such as paprika featuring heavily. Local specialities include paprika (chicken in a mild, creamy, paprika sauce) and töltött káposzta (stuffed cabbage parcels, served with sour cream).
When it is time for dessert, you will find many Viennese influences in Hungarian sweets. The range of torta available in the city includes rigó jancsi (a light chocolate-cream cake) and gundel palacsinta, which is a pancake with a walnut filling and chocolate sauce.
Budapest is known for its pottery, Hungarian lace and linen, as well as the usual range of souvenirs. While it's common for visitors to shop in the city centre, prices there are higher than elsewhere. The Great Market Hall is a better option for an authentic experience. Here you will find Hungarian spices, snacks and souvenirs, and most vendors are open to a bit of haggling.
Vaci Utca (Vaci Street) is where international brands are concentrated, but it is also worth investigating the 5th District for souvenirs and home accessories from local designers.
Essential facts about Budapest
Enjoy a hassle-free journey with all the information you need to know before your trip