Budapest

Hard to beat for sheer beauty, Budapest ticks every box you could want from a European city and seems to do it without trying.

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Uber-cool ruin bars in derelict buildings channel the cool of Berlin, while relaxing here can mean an afternoon in one of Budapest's many parks or a dip in waters from its 100-plus thermal springs. The Hungarian capital is, simply, one of Europe's great must-visits.

Essential sights

Fisherman’s Bastion

This stunning terrace at the top of Castle Hill really is like something out of a fairy-tale thanks to its seven towers and beautifully carved parapets. It was built near the end of the 19th century and wraps around Matthias Church, with its colourful roof. You can see as far as Margaret Island to the north and Gellért Hill in the south with the superb views of the city here.

Gellért Hill

Gellért Hill is one of the hills on the Buda side of the city that features the famous Gellért Baths and the impressive Victory Bridge at its foot. Covered in dense greenery with paths winding through it, the hill takes around 30 minutes to climb and gives breath-taking views of the Danube from the top. Here you’ll also find the Citadella, a 19th-century military fortress.

St Stephen’s Basilica

Named after the country’s first monarch, King Stephen I, this ornate Roman Catholic church is the biggest church in Budapest and one of the city’s top sights. It was completed in at the beginning of the 20th century after more than 50 years of construction, and has two large bell towers and a huge dome that’s accessed via elevators or by climbing 364 steps.

Gellért Baths

Budapest is famous for its thermal baths and there are plenty of different ones to spend a few relaxing hours, including outdoor venues and those with river views. One of the most striking is the Gellért Baths at the bottom of Gellért Hill on the former site of a 13th-century hospital. The bath complex was built in the early 1900s and has gorgeous Art Nouveau-influenced décor, from mosaics to high ceilings and decorative columns.