Budapest (boo-dah-pesht) is the capital of Hungary with a population of about two million. It’s a strikingly beautiful city! There’s much history here and the city is a major hub of activity. The local currency is the Hungarian Forint (HUF) and 1 US dollar equals about 250 HUF.
Budapest’s scenic setting and grand architecture earned it the nickname “Paris of the East“. During a day of touring I barely scratched the surface and saw breathtaking castles, parks, and bridges with an architectural masterpiece on every corner!
One beautiful building near my hotel is the Boscolo Budapest Hotel – which was originally called the New York Palace Hotel. New York Café is on the ground floor and I had coffee and dessert there just to admire the Belle Époque interior. The exterior of the building has bronze Luciferes, symbols of artistic spirit.
It will take a few days to re-acclimate from Slovenia to Hungary. I woke up last night and for a minute thought I was still in Croatia.
Budapest has 23 quarters in its two major cities – Buda and Pest. Buda is west of the Danube River and includes Castle Hill, the oldest part of the city which houses castles of former nobility. Pest is the area east of the Danube and is associated with a modern youthful atmosphere, a world-class classical music scene, nightlife popular among young Europeans, and an abundance of natural thermal baths.
Visiting a thermal spa is on my must do list. Szechenyi Spa Baths is one of the most popular in Budapest. Visiting Buda and Vajdahunyad Castles and taking a cruise on the Danube River are other priorities.
“Locals refer to Budapest’s quarters by their historical names. The names are often linked to members of the House of Habsburg or – in fringe areas – the names of villages or towns which later became part of Budapest. Some of Budapest’s more interesting areas include Leopold Town in V. District, the heart of Pest with its beautiful squares, cafés, and the Parliament building, and Andrássy Avenue in VI. District with a range of museums, exhibitions halls, and examples of fine architecture.”
Budapest is becoming an increasingly popular travel destination. It offers a “unique atmosphere influenced by Viennese and Parisian architecture”. Hungarians are proud of their beautiful capital and its contributions to European culture, especially in the fields of music and sciences.
In 1987 UNESCO added Budapest to the World Heritage List for the cultural and architectural significance of the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, and Andrássy Avenue.