This wonderful country brims with culture and natural beauty. Budapest - one of the finest capitals in the world.
You don't need to be in Budapest long to realise that you never know quite where you stand – and that's not because of the street layout. Everywhere you look, there is evidence of a city that has been brought to its knees – and restored to its former glory – time and time again.
Even today, it is littered with Roman remains, Turkish baths and Gothic and Baroque architecture, as well as elaborate secessionist (Hungary’s take on Art Nouveau) facades, however visiting Budapest is not just about discovering the past, it is also an opportunity to witness a city building its own bright future.
The most obvious way to begin exploring Budapest's extraordinary diversity is to view it from the Citadella on Gellért Hill, or from between the turrets of the famous Fisherman's Bastion in Buda's eclectic Castle District. A boat trip, a stroll or a ride on the number 2 tram along the embankment on the Pest side of the Danube is a great way to admire the hills of Buda and the giant Parliament building. Further exploration of the wealth of fascinating architecture in the hustle and bustle of Pest is also a must.
Then it's on to the real sightseeing. Must-see landmarks include Europe's largest Synagogue, the Szent István Basilica and the Buda Royal Palace – not to mention the Széchenyi Lánchíd (Chain Bridge) and the dramatic statue of St Gellért, perched above Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth Bridge). The long walk down the majestic Andrássy út ends at Hõsök tere (Heroes' Square), an extravagant monument to Hungary's key historical figures, and Városliget (City Park), which boasts a host of attractions of its own.
Budapest is not just a city of stunning buildings – many of its museums serve to highlight a history that is proud and unfortunate in equal measure. The imposing National Museum is impossible to miss, and the chilling House of Terror – the building used by both the Nazi and Communist secret police – is impossible to ignore.
The city is also packed with clubs, concert venues and festivals for music of every possible genre – and theSziget Festival in August is Europe's largest and loudest. In addition to providing a springboard for home-grown talent, Budapest can now draw the world's top contemporary artists.
And not far from the traffic and noise of downtown Pest, Margitsziget (Margaret Island) is a hub for outdoor activities, and the tranquil hills of Buda are a haven for cyclists, walkers and families. And who could forget the relaxing and healing properties of the city's spas...
An Overview of A Beautiful Country Hungary
Situated in the heart of Europe, the Republic of Hungary lies in the Carpathian Basin in Central Eastern Europe and is bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Rich in history and culture, as well as natural beauty, Hungary is a beautiful country to visit and combine with dental treatment.
With a population of around 10 million and a central Europe climate of very hot summers and raw cold winters Hungary has plenty of natural beauty and a fascinating artistic, historical and cultural element after surviving many a heroic struggle against oppression. Today Hungary is known as the Gateway to Europe, but this central position has made the country vulnerable to plenty of invaders, including the Turks, the Habsburgs, the Germans and the Russians and each has left their mark here - for example, the Turkish thermal baths, the Austrian Citadel on Gellert Hill, Szent István Basilica (the world's largest Synagogue), and the Russian statues in a park on the outskirts of Budapest.
The capital, Budapest, is located in a central northern position on the banks of the river Danube and is considered to be one of the top European destinations, even above Prague. A bustling, vibrant and architecturally beautiful city there is plenty to see and do, and despite the many invasions and uprisings the city's original charm remains: Imagine sipping drinks in one of the many coffeehouses which have long time been popular haunts for poets, soldiers, musicians and aristocrats with passionate gypsy music in the background, overhearing locals' heated discussions, or watching yellow trams hurtle down cobblestone streets passing facades marked with signs of revolution and magnificent old apartment blocks.
Budapest was originally separated into three parts and divided by the River Danube which flows from the north to the south with the district of Buda situated at the west, Pest at the east and Obuda (which translates as old Buda) at the north-west, but in 1873 three became one to form 'Budapest'. As many of the dental and cosmetic surgeons are based in the capital, culture vultures can enjoy the city's attractions after their treatment. Highlights include the Opera House, the Royal Palace, Buda Castle and the Old City Wall. Take a ride on the funicular railway to Castle Hill, or Tram number two to enjoy the hills of Buda, stroll around the Museum of Fine Arts or the Hungarian National Gallery then relax in one of the city's 400 cafés with coffee and cake.
Hungary was one of the Eastern European countries to enter the European Union. Hungary is very accessible and from the UK you can fly direct to Budapest in just under two and a half hours with return fares on budget airlines from as little as £ 40.
The Hungarians are very friendly, proud, and patriotic races who are generally very hospitable. As far as dining goes expect to see dishes such as Paprika Chicken with dumplings or Goulash. Pork is also big news in Hungary and you will see plenty of it at most meal times, either as a main course or used for seasoning and added to anything from soups, sauces and cabbage. Allegedly the ham obsession goes back to the Turkish invasion when the Muslims (who for religious purposes won't eat pork) left behind many pigs and hence it became a staple dish. And don't forget to sample some Hungarian wine with your meal; it regularly wins prizes at international wine fares.
Nature lovers will delight in Hungary's spectacular scenery; Lake Balaton, for example is Europe's largest freshwater lake, known as the Hungarian Sea and there are many other nature conservation areas to be explored. Take a trip out of Budapest to Szentendre, a peaceful folk village north of the city on the Danube bend, just 20 minutes by car or 40 by train. The country also boasts a collection of thermal spas (around 400 thermal springs in 85 different locations) whose therapeutic and medicinal properties have attracted visitors for many years and have been recognised by the Ministry of Health. The thermal water absorbs minerals from the earth's crust and is especially good for muscle tension, aches and pains or circulatory/injury rehabilitation. The main ones are Gellért Spa, King Spa, St Luke Spa and Széchenyi Spa. See www.budapestgyogyfurdoi.hu for more information.