This is the introduction chapter of a four-post travelogue. Click the following links to access the other chapters or return to the country page.
Budapest is one of the great crown jewels of Middle Europe — one of the primary cities of the former Austro-Hungarian empire, and a center for arts and culture that survived a half-century of Communist domination completely unscathed. Modern-day Budapest has thrived and is symbolic of Hungary’s aggressive pursuit of entry into the European Union and return to prominence on the world stage.
An obscure but extremely important fact about Budapest that I didn’t know prior to visiting — that Budapest didn’t begin as a single city, but two competing cities facing each other across the Danube… the western highland Buda (home of the great Buda Castle and other old world attractions) versus the eastern marshland of Pest (the City’s main commercial zone and seat of government). History eventually joined these two together, and the world has been better off for it. Getting to Budapest was really easy from Germany by train… Frankfurt and Munich had daily night trains there at the time and they were very inexpensive. Getting around Budapest is also easy, as it has an extensive bus and metro system, and connections to anywhere else in Hungary was also easy. Before Hungary joined the Eurozone, it was also a cheap place to visit. I recalled getting most of my meals from local vendors for under $2, and metro rides costed like 40 cents — undoubtedly that has changed…
In my original site, I included only two chapters but decided in this redesign to split out the eastern side into two separate travelogues. Over time, my fondest memories were the visit to the city park region and Vajdahunyad Castle to the northeast, and thus created a chapter dedicated to that visit.
I hope you enjoy these travelogues, and hope to see you in Budapest some day! Meanwhile, choose from one of the colored areas below to get more details on this wonderful city!
Below is an interactive city map of Budapest with the regions highlighted corresponding to the four subchapters in this travelogue. The highlighting does not exactly match the geographic layout of the four districts covered (for example, the borders of the regions are not precise, rather they illustrate the territory covered in the chapters.)
The map is created using a screen capture of Google Maps with the areas added using Adobe Photoshop. Image maps were created using the Free Online Image Map Generator.