Photo: Thermal baths

Championed first by the Ottomans, Budapest's famed thermal baths include the sprawling, baroque Széchenyi Baths in City Park.

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.

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