Photograph by Catherine Karnow
Budapest—a city of thermal baths, cafés, striking turn-of-the-century architecture, and most of all, a city of the Danube, “whose gentle waves,” according to the great Hungarian poet Attila József, “embrace past, present, and future.” Straddling the wide river, which separates hilly Buda from level Pest, the Hungarian capital offers one of the most striking metropolitan panoramas in Europe. Budapest is a city of music, from the classics of Bartók and Kodály to the contemporary fusion of folk, klezmer, jazz, and Gypsy sounds. Long hidden behind the Iron Curtain, Budapest is rightfully regaining its reputation as one of the most vibrant capitals of central Europe.
While the Four Seasons, Nobu, and other global luxury brands have glitzed up postcommunist Budapest, the city’s soul remains intact. Dazzling architecture, stunning Danube vistas, and grassy parkland offer visitors plenty to do that won’t cost a forint.
Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Budapest—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.
Learn a few local favorites tucked away in this gorgeous European city.
Hotels play starring roles in the Hungarian capital, headlining a blockbuster renovation sweeping from Castle Hill in Buda to newly brightened Kossuth Square in Pest.
2015 Traveler Photo Contest
Explore the top photos, share your favorites, and browse all entries.