Budapest | Hungary
The birthplace of the Rubik’s cube, ballpoint pen, holography and several Nobel Prize winners, Budapest boasts an innovative culture, as well as classical composers such as Bartok, Kodaly and Liszt. Hungary's magnificent capital spans both sides of the Danube River, as it was once two cities, Buda and Pest, united (along with Obuda) to become a single city in 1873. Famous landmarks, including the Parliament building, medieval Castle Hill and the historic Chain Bridge, have withstood the test of time and numerous invasions. Many sites are UNESCO World Heritage-listed and they add to the city’s distinguished skyline and persuasive old-world charm.
Great Market Hall Culinary Tour
Meet Local Expert – Emese Balizs
Living in Budapest, APT Tour Director Emese Balisz loves to show guests her hometown. Emese shares some of her personal favourites to experience Hungary's capital like a local. Ways to make the most of Budapest's highlights, as well as cultural, dining or everyday experiences you'll only come across if you know the ins and outs of this city.
"Discover the city’s old Jewish Quarter, which besides the synagogues, newly refurbished buildings and street-kitchen restaurants, has a number of once-abandoned buildings, home to reimagined 'romkocsma' or ruin bars – popular city bars with eclectic socialist-era decor. Sitting with a coffee or drink really takes you back to what life could have been like here decades ago."
"One of my favourite activities is definitely walking on Margaret Island, Budapest's answer to New York's Central Park, found right in the heart of the city. I enjoy the extended green parks, the colourful flowers in the summer, and the zoo there. Enjoy a picnic or just cycle around the island and marvel at the amazing city view from right in the centre of the river. The island is a great venue for concerts too."
Currency: The Hungarian forint (HUF)
International dialling code: +36
Local time: GMT +1
Language: Hungarian or ‘Magyar’ is the official language of Hungary, spoken by over 98% of the population. Minority languages include German, Croatian, Romani, Serbian and Romanian.
Useful phrases: Jo napot (hello); Koszonom (thank you); Szia (goodbye); Jo reggelt (good morning); Jo ejszakat (good evening).
Folk shows: Hungary is world-renowned for its folk shows with colourful costumes and ensembles performing folk dances, including Budapest's Festival of Folk Arts in mid-August.
Hearty food: Paprika; chicken paprikash with buttered egg noodles; goulash (gulyas); langos which is a deep-fried doughy flatbread eaten warm with sour cream and grated cheese spread on the top or with garlicky butter; chicken paprikash with buttered egg noodles.
Thermal baths: Budapest is known for its hot baths and people soaking in the city's therapeutic thermal waters. Szechenyi Baths are Budapest's best-known baths with 18 pools open to the public, while Palatinus Baths on Margaret Island are popular too.