Explore Castle Hill, Buda's fortress and royal centre of Hungary since the tenth century with its theatre, palace, museums and churches. You'll get great views of Pest's landmark Neogothic Parliament from here as well as from the turreted Fisherman's Bastion's Romanesque viewing terrace. Delight in Budapest's hidden courtyard entrances which open into surprisingly large sprawling bars or upmarket Hungarian restaurants. For pure relaxation, take a cruise down the River Danube.
The former towns of Buda and Pest are divided by the River Danube and today form Budapest. Buda and its castle complex sits high upon a limestone plateau dotted with caves. Obuda (Old Roman Buda) is on the Buda side, north of Castle Hill. As the royal section of the city, its citizens have always looked down on the commercial district of Pest. Budapest has 23 districts numbered clockwise in widening circles. The central, lower numbers hold Budapest's main attractions, which you can easily explore on foot. Otherwise, hop on tram 2 for an unofficial sightseeing tour of Budapest.
Walk along the Danube and tour the Neogothic Parliament building. Marvel at the Neorenaissance dome of St Stephen's Basilica. Follow Budapest's grandest boulevard, Andrassy utca, to Heroes Square with its monumental statues of Hungarian historical figures. Cross the Danube to explore lofty Buda's Castle complex and Kiscelli Museum with its 19th- and 20th-century Hungarian masters. You can soothe aching muscles in a spa before spending the evening at the Hungarian State Opera. For dinner, choose from Buda's sophisticated fusion dining or opt for one of Pest's traditional Hungarian restaurants.
Explore Obuda, the remains of the Roman town of Aquincum. You'll find ruins of a military amphitheatre, the so-called Herkules Villa where his tasks are depicted in mosaic, and an early Christian chapel. Wander freely through the pedestrian gardens of Margit Island then take a boat trip along the Danube Bend to Visegrad and Esztergom. If you're interested in Budapest's 20th-century history, visit the Terror House Museum in the former headquarters of the secret police, and the Statue Park, packed with communist sculptures.
Hungary's busiest airport, Budapest Ferihegy flies about 8.5 million passengers a year from three terminals and is one of the fastest-growing airports in the world. Central Budapest is 16 kilometres, or a 25-minute drive, to the north-west.