Written on: 08/12/2005 by demkoattila (2 reviews written)
One of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with amazing architecture, wide range of relatively cheap entertainment.
The city is dirtier than Western European towns, but somewhat cleaner than the South European ones. Lack of politeness on the roads is shocking. Language skills are among the worst in Europe.
I returned back to Hungary six month ago from Switzerland, so I will try to give some insider advice, but with the eyes of someone who lived in Western Europe. After living in Geneva, the lack of politeness on the roads is the most shocking. Always keep an eye on the cars when crossing a road, they tend not to stop for pedestrians. The city still has the marks of two devastating World wars and the 1956 war against the Soviets, so prepare for some grey buildings with bullet holes on them. But aside for the road manners and still lingering greyness outside the center, Budapest is amazing.
The 19th century Austro-Hungarian imperial architecture is largely intract, and the Danube crossing the city in the middle makes it even more spectacular. An evening dinner on a ship anchored near the chain bridge is unforgettable.
My advice is to visit from the middle of April to late October - when weather is good and the trees are green.- the Buda side has a lot of forests on the hills. Winter can also be nice when there is snow, but it is rare. If the is no snow the still lingering communist greyness in some districts can be quite depressing.
Go for at least 3 days. Budapest is about twice as big as the canton of Geneva, in fact the old town is far bigger than in most European capitals - the size of Vienna's downtown, or almost the size of Paris's downtown - you cannot do it in 1 or two days. Just for the main attractions - the Royal Palace and the Castle District, the Parliament, the St.Stephen Basilica, the Vajdahunyad Castle, V ci street you need two full days, and you havent been in a historic spa, the hills, the Citadell, the Margaret island, etc.
In short: if Prague is the Queen in Central Europe, Budapest is the King. Bigger, rougher, but at the end of the day, more interesting.
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