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Guide to Budapest for Indians

September 03, 2018

Guide to Budapest for Indians

It’s ranked as the second best city to live in by Conde Nast and the 7th most idyllic by Forbes, but most agree it’s one of Europe’s most beautiful. The superlatives used to describe this city of Buda and Pest began as a Roman settlement and in the 9th century, with the arrival of Hungarians, it became a Hungarian city.

Much of the city’s center and the banks of the Danube are classified as UNESCO Heritage Site and with 80 geothermal springs, spas and bathhouses are plentiful. Most of the city isn’t very old as it was built in the 19th century when Budapest was also the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city is split into two by the Danube; the south has Buda, and on the north bank is Pest, hence Budapest.

The Danube is the star attraction of the city and rivals the Seine in Paris in its beauty; crisscrossed with historical bridges and its banks lined with the Buda Castle, the Orszaghaz Parliament Building and much more. You can take a boat cruise or a ferry from south Buda to north Pest or vise versa.

Hungarian National Museum (in Pest) is a purpose-built museum in 1847 and records the history of the Magyar people and much more. A part of its collection comes from Count Ferenc Széchényi’s private collection of more than 20,000 prints, maps, and manuscripts that he donated to the nation in 1802.

The Parliament building was built in 1902 and has 690 richly decorated rooms but these can be seen only if you take a guided tour. The tour is confined to the north wing, a few rooms, the golden staircase and the Golden Hall where Hungary’s icon, St. Stepan’s crown is displayed.

House of Terror (Andrassy Avenue) was an actual place of terror (headquarters of the secret police) and now hosts a permanent exhibition about its nefarious past. The building was used by both the Nazis and the communists at different periods to torture and imprisons people. The walls are of a double thickness to muffle the screams of the victims. A disturbing place but worth a visit.

Ruin Pubs (Jewish Quarter) is named as such as they have been established in mostly abandoned buildings, shops or apartments of the old Jewish quarter which had many empty buildings. These are done up artistically and can be huge; with courtyards and terraces, they are gaining in popularity as the drinks here are cheap too and the ambiance is cool.

Budapest Parks; the city has a number of parks, some are historical and others just for relaxation. City Park is the largest, has galleries, museums and a castle too. Memento Park has more than 40 statues from the communist era. Károlyi Garden has winding paths, flowers, fountains and lots of shady trees.

Budapest is the 6th most popular city in Europe and 25th in the world. It will delight and surprise you. If you plan to visit it and avail of all the bargains and discounts, book as early as possible. For all your travel expenses, carry EbixCash World Money’s multi-currency card that’s valid at all visa outlets and ATMs. The forex card comes with built-in pin/chip security and is backed by 24 x 7 customer support. 

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