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.
Budapest—a city of thermal baths, cafés, striking turn-of-the-century architecture, and most of all, a city of the Danube, “whose gentle waves,” according to the great Hungarian poet Attila József, “embrace past, present, and future.” Straddling the wide river, which separates hilly Buda from level Pest, the Hungarian capital offers one of the most striking metropolitan panoramas in Europe. Budapest is a city of music, from the classics of Bartók and Kodály to the contemporary fusion of folk, klezmer, jazz, and Gypsy sounds. Long hidden behind the Iron Curtain, Budapest is rightfully regaining its reputation as one of the most vibrant capitals of central Europe.