Imperial and high-energy at the same time, the capital city of Hungary has lots to offer, writes Zalina Mohd Som

IT’S “boo-dah-pesht” to Hungarians but to others, the capital city of Hungary, Budapest, is Paris of the East, thanks to its scenic setting of medieval buildings and the celebrated Danube River.

There’s more to the list — its world-class classical music scene, lively night life and its decades-old natural thermal baths. All these make Budapest as one of Europe’s most delightful cities. It has been ranked the world’s second best city by Conde Nast Traveller and Europe’s seventh most idyllic place to live by Forbes.

As the city is split into two sides — Buda and Pest — by the Danube River (which is not blue), Budapest offers more than one setting.

If one prefers a more imperial setting, the Castle District at the Buda side is the place to be. But for those into a vibrant city setting, downtown Pest side has the right formula to get the energy high. But whatever the choice of location, Budapest is a tourist-friendly city that easily makes the fussiest travellers loosen up and go with the flow.

Fisherman’s Bastion, built in 1905, was named after the namesake corporation responsible for the defence of this part of ramparts during the Middle Ages.

At Castle District, there are three churches, six museums and a host of interesting buildings, streets and squares. This impressive Gothic building of Matthias Church is its centrepiece which is backed by the grand Fisherman’s Bastion.

The Castle District exudes romance, thanks to its setting — a hill facing Danube River, 18th-century baroque houses, Gothic arches, cobblestone streets and wide medieval stairways.

The neo-Gothic Parliament is the biggest building in Hungary at 268 metres in length, as seen from the Danube River Cruise.

Exploring Budapest on your own is easy, thanks to its well-connected public transport. The city’s public transportation is provided by the Centre for the Budapest Transport, one of the largest transportation authorities in Europe.

Buda (left) and Pest separated by Danube River, as seen from Gellert Hill.

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