Budapest, Hungary’s capital is bisected by the River Danube. Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. A funicular runs up Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town, where the Budapest History Museum traces city life from Roman times onward. Trinity Square is home to 13th-century Matthias Church and the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion, which offer sweeping views.
East of the river, Pest’s neo-Gothic Parliament Building houses the Holy Crown of St. Stephen. St. Stephen’s Basilica displays the saint’s right hand. The Dohány Street Synagogue contains a museum, a memorial and a cemetery. Grand Boulevard Andrássy Avenue passes the neoclassical Hungarian State Opera House on its way to Heroes’ Square, where statues commemorate the creation of the Hungarian state, and there are 2 art museums. The ornate Széchenyi thermal baths complex in adjoining City Park is one of many in Budapest, and part of an enduring Hungarian mineral bathing tradition.
When to visit: Many travelers visit in spring or summer, when days are long and warm. Winter (Dec–Feb) is cold and often overcast. Budapest Spring Festival (Mar–Apr) features music, from opera to jazz, at several locations. Budapest Summer Festival (Jun–Aug) includes open-air opera on Margaret Island. Sziget (Aug) is a multistage international pop and rock music festival. St. Stephen's Day (Aug 20) sees crowds line the Pest embankment to watch a large fireworks display. Budapest Wine Festival (Sep) includes tastings and gastronomic events.