Referred to during ancient times as Ak Ink, meaning "abundant waters", Budapest has retained its reputation as the “spa capital of the world”. But it is so much more than that. Technically two cities - Buda and Pest, the Hungarian capital is a fascinating mix of old and new. Cosmopolitan, yet steeped in rich history, Budapest is a city well worth discovering and one of Europe’s best river cruise destinations.
Kick things off with a gastronomic journey through Central Market, right next to the iconic Liberty Bridge. Marvel at the array of local spices, giant sausages, antiques, traditional wines and street food on display. The Great Market Hall is as beautiful inside as it is outside, so don’t forget to pack your camera - and your appetite. It’s quite easy to snack yourself into a food coma at this place. A quick coffee might be needed before moving on to your next destination.
The perfect excuse to take a ferry ride along the gorgeous Danube River, Margaret Island is an adorable green oasis that can also be accessed by the Margaret and Arpad bridges. Take a quick stroll through the gardens or spend hours immersing yourself in the history and calm surrounds of this treasured local hotspot.
When observing the thriving café culture, trendy shopping districts and lively local music scene that is synonymous with modern day Budapest, it’s hard to imagine a city once hidden behind the “Iron Curtain”. But rather than run away from its past, Budapest has embraced it. Remnants of Soviet occupation, including communist landmarks and statues dot the city. Liberty Square, Memento Park and the Hungarian Parliament (the latter of which features a memorial to victims of the 1956 Revolution), can be visited on their own or as part of a walking tour.
For an experience that relaxes the body and stimulates the mind, challenge one of the locals to a game of chess at Szechenyi Baths and Pool. Be warned: in this part of the world, chess is considered a sport and many of these retired gentlemen spend hours each day refining their skills. If you are feeling a little down after being swept aside in four moves, then a massage will surely lift your spirits. With a mix of hot and cold bathing facilities, as well as a vast selection of food and beverage options, Szechenyi Baths and Pool offers a fantastic escape from the hustle and bustle of big city living at any time of the year.
Located on the city’s ‘Buda’ side, Castle Hill is lined with opulent buildings, cobblestone streets and historical points of interest. The World Heritage site offers majestic views of the city and is the best vantage point to enjoy a Budapest sunset. Travel up by funicular from Chain Bridge to Castle Hill and soak up the unique atmosphere.
Celebrating the best of old and new world Europe, Budapest is a sprawling city of culinary and cultural delights. Contact us on 1300 954 661 and one of our expert Cruiseabout cruise consultants can provide you with details on all cruises travelling to this magnificent city.
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