Escorted Rail Tours to Budapest
Hungary's twin cities of Buda and Pest
Budapest is a city of two halves divided by the mighty River
Danube and sewn together by a collection of beautiful, elegant
bridges. The most famous is the Szechenyi Chain Bridge, the first
permanent crossing to link the two halves of the city. The two
parts of the city are very different; the flatter, lively region of
Pest looks across the water to its older, historical neighbour, the
hilly Buda that rises up away from the banks of the river.
Pest is the busy, modern part of the city, with excellent
shopping, trendy bars and modern restaurants. Buda has a distinctly
medieval atmosphere, with beautiful old buildings and cobbled
streets. Budapest was once the joint capital of the
Austro-Hungarian Habsburg Empire. The city and its buildings have
been restored to their very best in what is now one of Europe's
finest, grandest and most picturesque cities. Budapest is known for
its baths - the hot bath water is said to flow from a hundred
streams. Home to the city's famous bathing chess players, the
Széchenyi Bath is Budapest's most famous outdoor baths, which was
built in New Baroque style and is open all year round.
Standing impressively on the banks of Buda Hill,
overlooking the Danube, is Buda Castle. The historic castle and
palace complex, which was completed in 1265, has UNESCO World
Heritage status and was home to the Kings of Hungary. The complex
contains some fascinating museums including Budapest Historical
Museum, the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art and the National
Budapest rivals Vienna as an international Opera capital.
The city's fantastic neo-Renaissance opera house, the Hungarian
State Opera House, was built in 1884 and is worth visiting even if
you don't enjoy opera.
One of Budapest's most remarkable (and controversial)
attractions is the Statue Park (Szoborpark), located in a quiet
suburb of Buda. Described as a "Communist Theme Park", it contains
(among others) a gigantic statue of Lenin and Cubist statues of
Marx and Engels.