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Things to Do in Budapest

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Things to Do in Budapest
Enjoying Budapest

Enjoying Budapest

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Things to do in Budapest range from cultural and historic educational experiences to rest and relaxation. Budapest is a large city with activities to suit any travel personality. Use this list as a starting point. No doubt you will find even more to do when you visit!

1. Visit Budapest's Top Sights: Budapest is full of incredible sights, from the Fisherman's Bastion to the Parliament Building and beyond. Enjoy taking it its sights while on tour, or seek out specific sights yourself as you explore the city.

2. Steam Away Stress in Thermal Springs: Budapest is built on a series of hot springs, and spas and bathhouses have taken advantage of this natural resource. Visitors have been making time to experience the health-giving properties of these special waters for generations, and you should, too!

3. Relax in a Cafe: Budapest has one of the most famous cafe cultures of Europe. House-made desserts, coffee drinks, light snacks, and alcoholic beverages are available in all Budapest cafes. Order a tasty treat of your choice and become a part of one of the city's famous traditions.

4. Cruise the Danube: See Budapest from its main waterway, the Danube River. Boat cruises, which last between one and two hours, can offer a different perspective of both Buda and Pest. Cruises are available both during the day and in the evening.

5. Visit a Seasonal Market: Hungary's Spring Festival and Christmas celebrations are both accompanied by seasonal markets selling handmade souvenirs, gifts, and food. The Agricultural Museum is also a frequent location for art and produce markets.

6. Tour the Opera House: The Hungarian State Opera House represents a Budapest point of pride. Tour the opera house to view its fine interiors (including rooms not open to visitors during performances) and to learn about Budapest opera culture.

7. Shop the Great Market Hall: The Great Market Hall has a history all its own, but for visitors, it acts as a one-stop shop for Hungarian food and crafts. Peruse the bottom floor for pastries, sausages, and wine. Ascend to the top floor for embroidered shawls, handmade soaps, and porcelain.

8. Sample Hungarian Wine: Hungary is famous for its wine. Even if you know nothing about wine in general, you'll find Hungarian wine to be easy to drink, delicious with meals, and a welcome reward after a hectic day.

9. Taste Palinka: Palinka, Hungary's fruit brandy, is not for the faint of heart and is famous for its strength. Order palinka at a bar or restaurant, or attend one of the palinka festivals held in Budapest every year.

10. Ride the Subway: Budapest's subway will transport you into the past. It's the second-oldest underground rail system in the world and its Line 1, built at the end of the 19th century, is protected by UNESCO.

11. Visit Statue Park: Statue Park, or Memento Park, is an interesting excursion into Communist-era Hungary. It's the final resting place for statues of Lenin, Stalin, and Hungarian Communist leaders that decorated Budapest before their relevancy faded and they were moved here. This novelty attraction is a bit out of the way, but it's a top Budapest sight and well worth the effort it takes to get there.

12. Discover Hungarian Food: Hungarian food is full of robust flavors that come from spices and rich stocks. Gulash soup is a dish every visitor to Hungary should become familiar with, but other famous dishes appear on Hungarian restaurant menus. Try something unexpected – it may become your new favorite dish!

13. Go Shopping: Hungary is a major metropolitan area with plenty of shopping to be had! Modern shopping malls, flea markets, seasonal markets, antiques dealers, porcelain dealers, and more make tempting venues for shopaholics.

14. Take a Stroll: Budapest is a sprawling city. Getting around on foot is not always possible, but if you want to see the real Budapest, it's the best way to do so. Even if you only explore the area around your hotel or major sights, you'll encounter turn-of-the-century architecture, out-of-the-way dining establishments, monuments, and shops that you may not have discovered otherwise.

15. Experience Budapest At Night: Lights reflecting off the Danube River, reduced noise and traffic, the moodiness of moonlight on architectural spires and scrolls – this is Budapest at night. Take a boat cruise or enjoy dinner outdoors to take in the evening air and the changing rhythm of the city.

16. Ascend Castle Hill: Castle Hill overlooks Buda and the river, dominating with its elevation and authority. Here, you'll be able to see Buda Castle and pay the entry fee for the Fisherman's Bastion, where you'll get an exciting birds-eye view of Budapest.

17. Enter St. Stephen's Cathedral: This impressive basilica was built in the name of St. Stephan, Hungary's most famous king and saint. A reliquary contains his hand, and the interior glows with gilded scroll work and art.

18. Tour Budapest's Parliament Building: The Neo-Gothic Parliament Building in Pest is a major attraction. Both inside and out, it will wow you. The Hungarian crown jewels, including the crown of St. Stephen, are on display under a massive domed roof that mimics the rich design of the crown itself.

19. Schedule a Visit During Christmas: Budapest, like other European capital cities, goes all out for Christmas. A seasonal market, special Christmas events, and city-wide decorations are a part of the December celebrations. Your visit to Budapest during the holiday season will be unforgettable! Budapest Christmas Market

20. Enjoy Easter-time Events: Budapest's Spring Festival is a major event that happens near the Easter holidays. Performances and a market selling crafts and traditional-style Easter eggs are a part of the festival calendar.

21. Attend Budapest Events: Budapest's calendar of events is never empty! Annual events surrounding holidays, seasonal festivals celebrating music and culture, and live concerts and performances are common no matter what time of the year you visit. Check ahead if you'd like to attend or participate in any of these events, or ask your hotel concierge what's on during your stay. Budapest Month By Month

22. Practice Hungarian: Hungarian language is, admittedly, one of the most difficult for English speakers to master. Many Hungarians speak at least a little English, but they'll be appreciative (and maybe a little amused) if you try out their native tongue. Try simple greetings at first to see if you've got the hang of it.

23. Run a Marathon: If your idea of a vacation is joining others in a marathon, plan your trip to coincide with one of Budapest's marathons. Some of Budapest's marathons are better advertised and popular than others, but even a small-scale marathon in the Hungarian capital will be an experience to remember.

24. Take in Art: Whether you're viewing masterpieces in one of Budapest's museums or you're gallery hopping (or shopping), you'll never run out of art to view. Learn a little bit about native Hungarian artists while you're at it to round out your experience.

25. Spend an Afternoon in a Museum: Budapest is home to a variety of museums, not all of which are art based. Learn about medieval pharmacy, folk culture, Jewish life in Budapest, and famous Hungarians.

26. Seek Out Live Music: Whether you're checking out the classical music scene or looking to relax in a bar or club, live music is readily available year round in Budapest.< ahref="http://goeasteurope.about.com/od/budapesttravel/tp/Budapest-Museums.htm">Budapest Museums

27. Check Out Obuda and Acquincum: The oldest section of Budapest offers Roman ruins and a look back into Budapest's history. Visit the Aquincum Museum to learn about Roman settlement here!

28. Gellert Hill: Ascend Gellert Hill for views over Budapest or stroll in one of its parks. One of the city's most famous hotels, Gellert Hotel, is also located here. You don't have to stay in the hotel to visit its famous baths, though!

29. Heroes Square: Heroes Square was built to commemorate the one-thousandth anniversary of the settlement of the Magyars in the area. It's an enormous monument at the end of Andrássy Avenue near the Museum of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art. You'll be taken back to the year 1896 Millennial Celebrations that made headlines all over late 19th-century Europe.

30. Visit Margaret Island: Margaret Island is only one of the Danube's Islands. Outdoor and leisure activities can be enjoyed here, as well as the Budapest Summer Festival.

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