Budapest Travel Guide
Budapest, capital of Hungary, is the most vibrant of all the capital cities of the "Other Europe," and easily the loveliest and most famous one on the Danube, aptly labeled, "Pearl of the Danube." The city unfolds on both banks of the Danube, with storied bridges crisscrossing the river to stitch up its two principal parts – Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank – into one: Budapest. On the Buda side rise hills, most prominently Gellért Hégy, crowned with the Citadel, and Castle Hill, upon which sits the majestic Buda Castle; and in Pest, which is largely flat, are Andrássy út (Andrássy Avenue), loaded with fabulous Neo-Renaissance buildings and historical monuments, and the magnificent Hungarian Parliament which rises from the banks of the Danube in a flourish of spires, reflected in all its splendor upon the shimmering waters of the river below. The city has its fair share of museums, galleries, universities, libraries, theaters and opera houses, along with some of the best shopping venues in Eastern Europe. It has more Turkish baths and public bathhouses than any other city on the continent, and scores of restaurants and cafés where goulash is king. Ultimately, Budapest can fairly be touted as a city of Magyars and Gypsies, a city dripping with history and culture, a city both pillaged and fortified, a city that has emerged from the "Goulash Communism" of the Soviet era more vibrant than ever, a city, indeed, as Hungarians would say, "where the paprika burns twice."
Budapest is located in north-central Hungary in Central Europe, some 134 miles (215 km) southeast of Vienna or 96 miles (155 km) southeast of Bratislava, Slovakia.
Budapest is divided into 27 districts, which are distributed among three core city areas: Buda, which is dominated by the city's two most prominent hills, Gellért Hégy and Castle Hill; Pest, home to District 5, also known as Belváros, Budapest's best-known district, as well as the Hungarian Parliament; and Óbuda, the city's oldest part, at the heart of which lies Aquincum, rich in Roman ruins.
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