Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and nicknamed “the Heart of Europe.” This modern metropolis can trace its history from the Celtics, Romans, Mongols, Ottomans & Hapsburg and was a historical capital for the Kingdom of Hungary in the 13th century. This Hungarian city has exchanged hands numerous times and reminders of each era can be found in the city’s architecture, dedicated memorials and culture. It is the financial center for Hungary and has major connections in commerce, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education & entertainment.
The name Budapest derives from the combination of the small townships of Buda, Obuda & Pest to create the global super city that it is today. The iconic massive Chain Bridge found in the heart of Budapest stretches languidly across the Danube that connects historic Buda and commercial Pest. Characterized by beautiful Neo-Gothic architecture and a buzzing vibe, it is a city worth exploring. Ride the funicular up towards the castle district, Varhegy. Visit the ancient thermal baths which date back to Ottoman rule and do not miss the exquisite jewels at the National Treasury.
If you are in Budapest during the theater season, a performance at the Opera House is a must. In summers, an evening river cruise on the Danube is delightful as you see the city lit up after dusk on either bank. Budapest was home to a large Jewish community in Pest and there are several sites of Jewish interest, including three synagogues and a poignant Holocaust Memorial. Navigate the nooks and crannies of Budapest with Exeter International’s seasoned staff on the ground.
For custom luxury travel and tours to Budapest and Hungary, please contact one of our travel experts.
Budapest has a continental climate with June-August, being warm. There is plenty to see in Budapest all year-round with numerous cultural festivals that take place there nearly every month and serves as a great hub to travel the rest of the Hungarian countryside and provides a port to explore other cities along the Danube River.
March through May is a perfect time to visit with the start of spring and most of the tourists that come to visit this historical & vibrant city will be missing.
May to September is the peak season for hotels and river boat arrivals.
Throughout the year, many musical festivals take place that ranges from classic concerts, jazz concerts, opera, and ballet. In the months of March & April, one can attend the Budapest Spring Festival and the Szentendre Spring Festival to see theater, film, concerts, opera, ballet and classical musical performances. From June – September one can attend the Danube Carnival, Budapest Summer Festival, Sziget Festival, Festival of Folk Art and much more. These festivals showcase theater, concerts, film, rock & pop music, and folk art. Budapest offers something for anyone with different tastes and interest throughout the year.
If you are interested in Formula 1, Budapest holds races in August where one can see these super cars in action on the city streets.
In late November and December, Budapest turns into a Christmas fairy wonderland with the start of the Budapest Christmas market. This is where you can walk the cobblestone streets, enjoy mulled wine, shop in the market for hand-crafted goods and see the Christmas lights that will be found throughout the city.
Our handpicked guides lead you on tours along the inside track of Budapest. Our behind-the-scenes, closed-door Exeter International Extraordinary Experiences take you a step beyond the ordinary, creating the ultimate luxury Hungarian vacation. Enjoy a private cooking lesson to learn the secrets of Hungarian cuisine or a private wine tasting at the famous legendary restaurant, Gundel. If you have Jewish interests, enjoy a private behind-the-scenes tour of the Dohany Street Synagogue, which is the largest in Europe. You can have a private visit to a local Hungarian artists home if you have an interest in art. You can also enjoy an exclusive private tour of the secret military hospital and nuclear bunker that was established in World War 2 located under the Royal Castle.
Our team of travel experts can customize a unique program for you for travel in Budapest, Hungary based on your exact preferences and interests. Hungary can be a country specific destination and it can be combined with other Central European nations, especially along the Danube river.
If you are on a Danube River cruise, and in the port of the Budapest, we can arrange a private shore excursion with your own Exeter hand-picked private guide. Our private shore excursion ensure that you will receive, not only the best experience possible, but a personalized excursion throughout your stay at port while in Budapest.
In Budapest, there is so much to see that it is impossible to see it all in one day and holds sites that fulfill a variety of interests.
If you are on the commercial Pest side, make a stop at the 19th century Budapest Market Hall to get a taste of authentic Budapest. You then must make a stop at Hero’s Square to see the Millennium Monument dedicated to its highest point of development during the Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian monarchical rule. It a site to see. If you have an architecture and historical interest, take a drive through Andrassy Boulevard with art nouveau building that dot along the route. Then make a final stop at the House of Terror, which was the former headquarters of the Arrow Cross Fascist Association before WW2 and was the Communist Party HQ after the war. It is now a museum dedicated to explaining and to serve as a reminder of the brutal life that Hungarians faced under the Hungarian fascist regime If you have a Jewish interest, head to the Jewish Quarter and see the largest synagogue in Europe, the Great Synagogue. It is still used by the Hungarian Jewish community today.
If you are the hilly and green Buda side, you must head to the top of Gellert Hill to get a great overlook of the city. The Buda side of the city is known for where the royals lived, including the Ottomans. Check out the Royal Palace that was occupied the Hapsburgs and now holds the National Gallery and make a stop at the Fisherman’s Bastion to get another great overlook of Pest, across the Danube.
Budapest has an up and coming world -class restaurant scene. One of our favorite restaurants is in the heart of Budapest and in walking distance to many of the hotels that we recommend. It is called Onyx Restaurant and it has two Michelin stars. This restaurant strives to combine modern cooking techniques with traditional Hungarian cuisine. If you ever wanted to experience European fine dining, this would be the place to try!
Picking up Hungarian paprika at the Budapest Central Market is as authentic as you can get to remember your time in the Hungarian capital. This is a staple in most of their cuisine and can trace it cultural origination to the time of Ottoman rule in the 16th century.