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Budapest Basics


Photo: Shutterstock, Alexandra Lande

The pearl of the Danube, Budapest is a gorgeous city on a global ascent. Travelers from all corners of the world are just discovering the city’s stunning Art Nouveau buildings, which line Andrássy út and other grand avenues, lending the city a Parisian vibe. And as Hungarians emerge from the gloom of their dark history, they’re getting better at sharing their national treasures. For example, Hungary has a distinct culinary tradition dominated by spicy paprika and heavy meat dishes. It also boasts a robust literary and arts heritage, not to mention a booming contemporary design scene. Plus, Hungarian wines are unique and are some of the best in the world.

With the city on the cusp of stardom, Budapest officials have been pushing English education and honing hospitality services. True to their national character, Budapesters have proved somewhat stubborn to this endeavor. For now anyway, you won’t encounter as many English speakers as you do in, say, Berlin. Nor will you feel mobbed as you hit the major landmarks (the Gellert Baths are a big exception).

Though Budapest is a beauty, it maintains an authentic character in all but its fanciest neighborhoods. And thanks to the un-crackable Hungarian language, the city feels vastly more exotic than its big-city neighbors Prague and Vienna.

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