The monuments reflecting its impressive 1000-year-old culture and the relics of those who settled here have contributed to Budapest being called the ‘Little Paris of Middle Europe’. Architectural remnants of the earlier Roman rulers and the Turks who came much later, can still be seen in the city. The union with Austria after the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Astro-Hungarian empire has had a spectacular effect on the city’s form and style.
The river Danube bisects the city into two halves, Buda and Pest, and hence the name Budapest.
The medieval streets, houses, museums, caves and the Roman ruins of the historic castle district of the Suburban Buda contribute to its ancient charm. The Pest side is more dynamic and houses the largest parliament building in Europe, besides the riverside promenades, flea markets, bookstores, antique and café houses.
How to reach
Budapest Franz Liszt International Airport (Budapest Liszt Ferenc Nemzetközi Repülőtér), is the airport through which that most travellers arrive. Flying to airports in Debrecen, Sármellék, Győr-Pér and Pécs-Pogány, is also another option. Ferihegy, now Liszt Ferenc airport, is the largest airport of Hungary and is located about 16 km (10 miles) southeast of the city centre. Though a small airport by international standards, it is easy to navigate and is well connected to the city by public transportation.
To/From the airport
Public Transports – Bus:
The main public transport from the airport to the city is the bus (no. 200E), which runs frequently and commutes between Terminal 2 and the Kőbánya-Kispest, metro line M3 which would take about 25 minutes and continues its journey to reach the city centre within 20 to 30 minutes. It stops next to the metro stop. There a fleet of stairs you would have to cross with your luggage.
The other option is to go to the local train station Ferihegy and get on the MAV network to Nyugati station in Budapest or other rail destinations.
Public Transports – Taxi
Founded in 1913, Főtaxi is the only contracted taxi operator from Liszt Ferenc airport. The cost for a trip would range from 5000 HUF to 10,000 HUF, depending on your destination. The new Taxi Decree has regulated the price of the taxi tariff, fixing the basic fee at 450 HUF and 280 HUF / km. The inner city is 20 kilometres away from Terminal 2.
Arriving by Train
Keleti pályaudvar (East main railway station), Nyugati pályaudvar (Western railway station) and the Déli pályaudvar (Southern Railway Station) are the main railway stations of Budapest. Most international trains arrive at Keleti. Check your particular itinerary for more clarity.
Places of interest
The Hungarian Parliament in Budapest is a masterpiece of Neo-Gothic architecture.
It has the honour of being the first permanent bridge in Budapest then. The closest bridge was the one in Vienna. The only way across the river Danube was by a ferry. A temporary bridge was available, but only in summer, as it required disassembling to protect itself against drift ice. During winter, people could just walk over the ice to cross the Danube.
When the 375 m (1230 ft) long, 16 m wide bridge opened on November 20, 1849, it was the longest suspension bridge in Europe. The proof of its engineering marvel as that there were only two towers supporting the entire span of the bridge with giant iron chains. These chains gave the bridge its name lánchid, meaning chain bridge in Hugarian.
During the War of Independence, in 1848, the Chain Bridge was almost destroyed by the Austrians. Close to the end of WW II, in 1945, the bridge was blown up by the Germans to halt the progress of the Red Army. The bridge was rebuilt after the war and was reopened in 1949. The current one is a replica of the original.
Today, complete with an outdoor summer thermal spa and a professional swimming pool, the island is open for a good stroll, jog, sunbath or a good leisure time! Flocks of families visit this island when the weather is good to spend time in its gardens or enjoy its sporting facilities.
It got its name from the Hunyad castle in Translyvania, after which the most picturesque wing of the castle was modelled. The castle housed an exhibition during the millennium celebration, outlining the important periods and events in the history of Hungary’s 1000 years.
The city decided to announce it a permanent treasure as the castle become popular with the residents. Hence, in 1904, reconstruction of the Vajdahunyad castle commenced, with brick and stone and as per Alpár’s original plans, with just a few changes.
When the cities of Buda, Pest and Obuda merged to form one, in the turn of the 20th century, the requirement of a better market place was identified for the burgeoning city. It was decided to build a covered market similar to those in Paris and other European cities.
There are 3 storeys of stalls selling a variety of wares. The ground level has fruits and vegetables sold. The basement has a supermarket and stalls by fishmongers and meat sellers. The upper floor sold arts and crafts and some fast food stands.
Post WW II, Hungary came under the Soviet influence. Democracy was never implemented in Central and Eastern Europe as promised by Stalin in 1945, at the conference of Yalta. Instead, Hungary suffered a totalitarian dictatorship, in the name of ‘people’s democracy’. A revolt in 1956 failed after which the regime’s rules were relaxed. The fall of Communism in 1989 saw the birth of democracy and independence! The statues of the communist era are erected around the park for a close up view. They are large and impressive and still have streaks of their monumentality.
There is also an exhibition in the park to educate visitors about the c communist era during the 20th century and highlighting the events of 1956, when the statue of Stalin was pulled down. The 1989-1990 unrest when the whole communist system fell apart is also effectively showcased.