Elizabeth Bridge and cityscape, Budapest, Hungary (Photodisc)

Train line in Budapest, Hungary (Kim Steele/Photodisc/Getty)

House of Parliament, Budapest, Hungary (PhotoDisc)

House of Parliament, Budapest, Hungary (Kim Steele/PhotoDisc)

Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary (PhotoDisc)

Budapest - Statue of Prince Eugene and Castle (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Budapest

Budapest is a tale of two cities, with the Danube River dividing Hungary’s capital into two parts: the hillsides of Buda on one bank and the flatter Pest to the east. An older, more charming European feel is found in Buda, with a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets and cafés tucked into tight corners. Thanks to a century of occupation by the bathhouse-mad Turks, thermal spas bubble out of the sloping hills. On the other hand, Pest represents the city’s modern face and houses the commercial core. Suburban neighborhoods fan out among gleaming shopping malls; elegant buildings; and wide, boulevard-style streets. Though the city has been destroyed several times throughout its history, rebuilt bridges do a good job linking both sides of the river, melding Budapest into what’s often referred to as the most beautiful city in Europe.

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