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How to discover and enjoy Budapest

Budapest, the City where heroes always reign - 48 hours is simply not enough and you have to know “Sissy”

There is so much to see and do in Budapest that I recommend spending at least a week to absorb all the culture the city has to offer. Despite the numerous graffiti on some of her walls, it is difficult to make a choice between Budapest by day or night because for me, the city is equally as enchanting by day as it is by night. I must confess though that during the night, beyond the beautifully lit city are dozens of monuments such as the Liberation monument staring at you in the dark and that can be overwhelming. The Budapest Tourist office is much organised providing adequate tourist information to the traveller right from the point of entry and the city is booming with tourists arriving from all over the world so they definitely must be getting something right.
Elisabeth 'Sissy' Bridge

Where to stay
Budapest has abundant tourist accommodation ranging from cheap pensions, apartments to luxury hotels. The City also has the world’s largest Thermal Springs and is surrounded by spas all over, so wherever you stay in Budapest you are bound to get some wellness treat before you leave.Our choice hotel however is the Kempinski Hotel Cornivus because as much as I would like to fault Kempinski Hotel, I cannot find any. The hotel is conveniently situated right in the city centre and renowned so every taxis or the airport shuttle will drive you straight up to it with no problem. It is in the heart of Budapest's pedestrian shopping area and financial district and overlooks Elizabeth Park, is just a few steps from the Danube. It is close to theatre, museums and the Opera House and the very friendly hotel concierge can put together exciting programmes to make your stay in Budapest enjoyable.
Hotel Kempinski Corvinus - External Terrace

Most importantly Kempinski Hotel Corvinus serves the best breakfast buffet I have ever seen. Read our full review here

Transportation
Budapest has a very well developed public transportation network, reasonably priced with helpful staff. I will not say that things are cheap because if you lose sight on the exchange rate, your bill might frighten you. If you pre-buy a Budapest Card which is available for sale at the tourist desk at the airport or online you will have access to free services or discounts in more than 100 places including public transport, museums, thermal baths and restaurants.
Paying for things in Budapest
The Euro is widely accepted in hotels and most attractions or shops but the official Hungarian currency is the Forint usually written as HUF. The rates vary, so, it is important for you to work out the equivalent in your respective currency before going on a spending spree as the experience can be costly.
Food
Food is big on the Hungarian agenda and the portions are very generous. Some favourite dishes include Goulash, Fish soup, paprika chicken, somlo sponge cake. If you have spicy tastes there are also a lot of spicy options to choose from.
Tipping habits
If you are not the tipping type, you must learn to tip when you arrive in Budapest. Tips are not included in the bill and a Hungarian will not shy away from asking to write down his/her own tip on the bill. This is usually 10% of the bill.
Driving and parking
If you choose to drive to Budapest, please ensure that you leave your car in the hotel garage or in a guarded parking. The most practical way of getting round the city is by public transport and different parking fees are charged for the various parking zones. Parking your car in Budapest costs between HUF115 and HUF430 depending on the zone.
‘Must sees’ in Budapest
There are several places of interest in Budapest and a visit to The Budapest Tourist office should assist you in planning your journey.

We have however, listed some places of interest:

The Houses of Parliament"The motherland does not have a house."

The Budapest Houses of Parliament
Thus wrote bitterly Mihály Vörösmarty, one of the greatest poets of the Hungarian heroic age of bourgeois civilization, in 1846. So, between 1885 and 1904 a house was built that became the Parliament building and a symbol of the Hungarian capital. A magnificent stature of nearly 18000 square metres with detailed decoration, inside splendour and eclectic diversity. It is the most expensive building ever built in Hungary. It has 691 rooms, 10 courtyards, 27 gates and 29 staircases. It also houses a public library with 500.000 volumes.

The walls from outside are decorated by the statues of the most important historical figures of Hungary.
St Stephens Basilica
This is the largest Roman Catholic church in Budapest, it has the second highest ecclesiastical status in Hungary. This is an ideal place to start your visit if you want to enjoy a panoramic view of Budapest before exploring it by land. An elevator takes visitors up to the left tower, where you can see the streets and squares of downtown Pest, the Castle hill, the Citadel and the other Buda hills. The right tower houses the largest bell of the country – weighing 9 tons.
The Opera House
A walk along the Andrássy Avenue from St Stephens Basilica will take you to The opera-house which was opened in 1884 with great splendour in the presence of King Franz Joseph. It was built in neo-renaissance style along the famous. Statues of renowned composers and the Greek Godesses of art stand boldly on the facade of the Opera House which is home a spectacular chandelier, manufactured in Mainz and cost 12 000 forints. The chandelier which weighs 2100 kgs has 200 lights made up of 156 pieces of 40 watt globes, 75 pieces of 75 watts of general bulbs, 8 pieces of 40 watt bulbs and 8 pieces of 500W halogen lights to illuminate the painting on the ceiling), all working with the power of 14,160 watts in full pomp. It is supported by two steel cables, a manual capstan was – and is still – used to lower it to the level of the stalls making it easier to maintain and clean.
A visit to the opera costs
• Adults 2600 HUF/person
• Students (with International Student Card,ISIC) 1400 HUF/person
A Budapest card gives you a further discount on this visit.


Heroes Square

Andrassy Avenue leading to Heroes Square Some of the heroes on Heroes Square

Continue on the Andrássy Avenue and you will find yourself on one of the most beautiful squares in the World – the Heroes Square – all lined up with Hungary’s heroes all standing majestically as their subjects would expect them to.


Other places of interest
Budapest is a city blessed with spas and thermal baths. The city can boast at least 4 very important thermal baths amidst the 14 that it has discovered. They are usually open to the public between 6am to 7pm with early closing times on Sundays.

The City also has several museums, attractions and caves which have been formed from the springs that have created its therapeutic thermal baths.

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