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Budapest is a prime site for dreams: the East's exuberant vision of the West, the West's uneasy hallucination of the East." M. John Harrison

The “Queen of the Danube” is really two cities: the hilly Buda and the flat Pest, lying either side of the river. At various times an Ottoman province, imperial city, communist capital and modern metropolis, Budapest combines a tumultuous history with great provisions for today’s visitors.

Gradual incursions by stag parties can’t take away from Budapest’s charm. Buildings and architectural styles survive from the city’s whole history: everything from Roman ruins to Baroque churches and Turkish mosques. Its bars and restaurants offer food from the world over, and are more affordable than anything in Paris or London. With attractions varying from grand galleries to pinball museums, panoramic hills to cave churches, Budapest caters to all tastes, meaning you’ll never be stuck for things to do.

Though often compared to Prague in the Czech Republic, Budapest is very much a working city. Transport is good, the atmosphere unpretentious. Don’t worry about the notoriously hard Hungarian language; most locals speak good English.

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