Not too long ago, Hungary and more particularly its capital — Budapest — was playing host to modern-day hoards of Irish investors who flocked to the city in search of new fortunes. Sadly, it was not to be as Budapest became victim to the same over inflated property prices like everywhere else around the world. Since then, the city has declined in its popularity as a destination for Irish tourists which is a real shame as the city has an awful lot to offer.
As probably everyone knows by now, Budapest is actually two cities (the new and the old) that straddle both sides of the Danube — Europe’s mightiest river. Buda, the old part, sits on the western bank and just oozes character with its winding cobble-stones streets that radiate out in all directions from the Royal palaces that dominate the elevated ground that overlooks the river. Pest represents the modern character of the city and sprawls eastward and whose skyline is dominated by the immensely imposing parliament buildings that sit by the river bank.
Budapest has often been referred to as the ‘Paris of the East’ and it’s easy to understand why when you start to walk around its wide and elegant boulevards — many of which feature impressive belle epoque-like architecture. Even during the darkest days of communism, Hungary was always been as being particularly progressive and Budapest looked more ‘Western’ than many of its eastern European counterparts.
The city boast great antiquities, world-class architecture and delectable restaurants, cafes and tea houses along with a comprehensive public transport system so it ticks all the boxes as afar as tourism infrastructure is concerned. If you and your travelling companions are looking for something different (but not too different) and which is within easy flying distance of ireland, then you would do well by checking out this hidden European gem!