Budapest is a unique city, and surely one of the most beautifully situated ones. The river Danube divides it into the flat Pest (eastern) and the hilly Buda (western) side. Pest is the economical centre of the capital, while the Buda side is rich in historic relics and natural wonders, such as a system of caves hidden among houses or in nearby woods.
The most characteristic parts of the city were built around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, including the impressive building of the Hungarian
Parliament by the river, the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Royal Palace (now housing the national library and gallery) almost opposite on the castle hill, Gellért Hill a bit to the south with the Statue of Liberty on top of it.
However, the area was inhabited already in ancient times. You can see archeologically relics from this period in the Budapest History Museum, Castle Museum.
The Roman base of Pannonia Provincia called Aquincum can also be visited. It is not only an archeologically site, but a museum with possibilities to make a fascinating time travel. A water organ is a relic you cannot see in many places.
The Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin took place around 895. Árpád, the leader of the most powerful tribe settled on Csepel Island, a huge island south of the present-day city. King Steven (István), the first sovereign of Hungary, was crowned in 1000. He had introduced Christianity and modern administration thus turning Hungary into a state in the European sense. Buda and Pest – separate towns until 1873 – had soon become the centre of economic and cultural life, and after the 14th century of political life as well.
The ups and downs of the Middle Ages have all left their marks on the city.
You can find the tomb and the remains of the nunnery on the picturesque Margaret Island where Princess Margaret (1242–1270) offered her young life to God to save his people from further attacks by the Tatars. It is possible to see some of the famous Corvina Library of the most beloved Hungarian king, Mathias . You can still enjoy an authentic Turkish bath left here after 150 years of occupation. The largest European synagogue, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2009, is not only a tourist attraction or a concert hall, but also a religious centre and a museum.
Budapest has a vivid cultural life as well. Though it is possible to find an English-language theatre performance, what we recommend you is the international language of music. Concert halls (such as the Liszt Academy, MÜPA or Erkel Theatre house events of classical music, while the Budapest Music Centre is focusing more on contemporary music. Jazz lovers have a great choice of places to go such as the Budapest Jazz Club.
Public transport is very good in Budapest. There are buses, trams, trolley buses, metros, underground, local trains, etc. In the city you only have to wait for a few minutes to catch the next bus, tram or metro. Within the city (not only downtown, but the whole) you can travel for the same price with a single ticket for each line you take. For prices of tickets and more information on public transport visit: https://www.bkv.hu/en/?jid= . You have to buy your ticket in advance, and validate it on the bus, tram, trolley, or entering the metro. Taxis are yellow, and all have meters visible in the front. The price is acceptable. Finding your way is not very difficult. Budapest is like a spider web with three main circular roads, and several radial alleys.
Electricity is European standard, 220–230 Volt, and the wall outlets are type C or F, thus an adapter is required for equipment with US or UK plugs. For more information see: https://www.adaptelec.com/Country-Specific-Answers/Electrical-Plug-Outlet-and-Voltage-Information-for-Hungary
The Hungarian currency is Hungarian forints (HUF). In the overwhelming majority of shops, restaurants and museums only HUF is accepted. However it is possible to pay with standard bank/credit cards everywhere with few exceptions. If you want to give a tip where service is not included in the bill, 10% will do.
Eating out is easy, there are plenty of different restaurants, sandwich bars, cafeterias, etc., and the prices are not very high except for very fancy places. The Hungarian language is considered difficult, but most people can speak at least a little bit of English. Well, if they do not, you can still rely on the friendly attitude they tend to treat foreign guests with.
Budapest is a safe place, you may freely walk anywhere in the city also by night. However, petty crime like bag snatching or pick-pocketing may occur. It is also important to calculate how much you have to pay at a restaurant or shop.