Budapest: tourism in Hungary’s dynamic capital
If Montreal is the Paris of the West, Budapest most certainly deserves the title of Paris of the East. The wealth of cheap flights available to this architecturally magnificent gem makes purchasing a ticket more attractive than ever. After all, Hungary’s cosmopolitan capital is the focal point of the entire country’s tourism industry.
Made up of seven turrets that represent the seven Magyar tribes that founded the nation, the Halaszbastya (Fisherman’s Bastion) offers some of the best views of Budapest. Sitting atop Castle Hill, the Bastion is named after the fishermen who were charged with protecting this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages.
Once one of the seven underground Wonders of the World, the Labyrinth of Buda Castle is among Budapest’s great sights. The hauntingly eerie castle’s most famous subterranean guest was Count Dracula, imprisoned here in the 15th century by King Matthias.
A quintessential Budapest experience and one of the last remnants of Turkish influence here, the Szechenyi are the largest medicinal baths in Europe. Two thermal springs supply healing waters purported to alleviate joint pain. A soak in these grandiose pools is great for the soul too.
Visitors with a taste for adventure strap on headlamps and overalls to wriggle through the tight crevices in the massive cave system beneath the city. Led by professional caving guides, this attraction is certainly not for the claustrophobic.
Antique furniture and tools of the old confectionary trade decorate Cafe Ruszwurm, one of Budapest’s oldest dessert cafes. The traditional Dobos Torta and Hungarian scones (pogacsa) are sinfully delicious.
After 130 years in the same location, dining is as old-world as it gets at Muzeum. Pristine waiters serve suckling pig shank and fine Hungarian wine as soft piano plays in the background.