Budapest is the capital and the largest city of Hungary, a metropolis which leaves the visitor thirsting for more. This impressive capital has the very best of what Hungary has to offer. It is a large, vibrant city, harbouring a population of approximately 2 million people. Being one of the most densely populated cities in the region, it is not just the powerhouse of the Hungarian economy, but also an important cultural centre and the focus of the country’s political life.
The history of the city had begun with Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement that became the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Hungarians arrived to the territory in the 9th century. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the Danube River with the unification of Pest, Buda and Óbuda in 1873.
Today Budapest is a popular tourist destination in Europe. Even if someone comes for a short stay, there are many things worth seeing in Budapest. It has the largest thermal water system in the world, the first underground on the European continent had been built in Budapest more than a 120 years ago, and the Hungarian capital has the third largest Parliament building in the world, as well as the biggest and one of the most spectacular synagogues in Europe.
The Buda Castle Hill, with the 700-year-old Matthias Church, the Royal Palace and the Fishermen's Bastion, is among the most charming World Heritage Sites, from where one can look down at the downtown and the Danube River, with her many bridges, among them the beautiful Chain Bridge – the first one throughout the history to permanently connect Buda and Pest.
The Opera House, opened in 1884 in the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, will attract not only the music lovers, but also those who want to admire its architectural beauty. The Opera is located on Andrássy Avenue, often called as Budapest's Champs-Elysées, which takes the visitor to Heroes' Square, laid out in 1896 to mark the thousandth anniversary of Hungary. From there the City Park – with Vajdahunyad Castle, a replica of a Transylvanian castle of that name, the Budapest Zoo and many museums are just a couple of steps away.
The city’s cultural life is vibrant and diverse, where the museums, the galleries, the theatres, and the concert halls are completed with year-round festivals, concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events.
Budapest is packed with museums and galleries, and there are plenty of temporary exhibitions in the most unlikely of settings, particularly in summer. The city glories in 223 museums and galleries, which presents several memories, not only Hungarian historical, art and science ones, but also memories of universal and European culture and science. Some of the greatest examples among them are the Hungarian National Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hungarian National Gallery.
Going back to the topic of water, the city’s number one reference is the Danube River, which splits the city into the hilly Buda and the flat Pest. Besides, Budapest is a city of spas, with a unique composition and temperature of the waters, where visitors can reinvigorate in one the 19 different thermal baths, including classical and even Turkish spas.
Budapest and its surrounding is also a real paradise for sport events, for instance marathon runs offer splendid views along the two quays of the river Danube. And let’s keep in mind that the city already hosted many aquatic events, like for instance the first edition of the European Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming and Water Polo Championships back in 1926, which was later followed by three continental sport events (in 1958, 2006 and 2010).