In 10 words: Striving to be Vienna, reminiscent of Paris, beautiful and regal.
For your first visit you need no less than two full days to be able to fully appreciate the city and all of its major sights while keeping relatively unhurried pace.
Distances between points of interest are not always walkable, you will need use of public transport more than occasionally.
Love avenues and squares of central Pest, fronted by impressive examples of 19th-century architecture.
Don’t miss: taking a dip in a hot springs spa; browsing the covered Central Market Hall; viewing the entire city from the lookout at Citadel late at night.
On the other hand: Construction and renovation was omni-present in the city during our visit – Budapest may become even more impressive once the major works are concluded.
Worthy attractions: Royal Palace grounds; Mátyás Church; Fishermen’s Bastion; Labyrinth of Buda Castle; St Stephen’s Basilica; State Opera House; Central Market Hall; Vajdahunyad Castle grounds; Széchenyi Baths; Gresham Palace.
    
Destination appeal
 
Our verdict
Left for another visit: Hungarian National Gallery; Parliament [did not tour inside]; Ethnographic Museum; Hungarian National Museum; Great Synagogue [did not tour inside]; Museum of Fine Arts; House of Hungarian Wines; Margaret Island [only circled on a boat]; Aquincum [further afield].
Last visit: April 2009.

 

The Parliament

 
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