I am going to Budapest with a group of friends for a long weekend in March. Can you recommend some things to do and see while we're there?
Widely regarded as one of Europe's most picturesque cities, Budapest is a great place to visit for a long weekend and there is a huge array of things to do and see. The city is divided into Buda and Pest with Buda west of the river Danube and Pest at the east of the Danube.
Budapest is famous for its thermal baths and there are 15 public baths in the city, comprising of thermal pools, steam baths and saunas which are well worth a visit. There are both indoor and outdoor baths and they truly make for a perfect relaxing day.
A particular must-see is the public bath at the Hotel Gellert which dates back to 1918. This bath is one of the more popular locations in Budapest, in no small part due to the luxurious surroundings. The bath is decorated with a wealth of original Art Nouveau furnishings, artistic mosaics, stained glass windows and sculptures.
After a day of soaking in the luxury of the mineral baths, why not let your hair down with a night out with a difference? The Ruddas Baths on the Buda side of the city turns into a nightclub each Friday and Saturday night and proves very popular with the younger crowd.
Another site on your list should be the Houses of Parliament. Situated on the banks of the Danube, it is the largest building in the entire country and the largest parliament in Europe. Stretching 268m along the Danube, the building is characterised by its white neo-gothic turrets, arches and statues of Hungarian monarchs. When the Parliament is not in session you can visit the interior of the building and tours are available in English.
After exploring the Houses of Parliament, make sure to pay a visit to St. Stephen's Basilica. This Roman Catholic Basilica was named after the first King of Hungary, King Stephen and is an architectural wonder. Built in a neoclassical style it has many similarities to London's famous St. Paul's Cathedral. The Basilica's facade overlooks St. Stephen's Square which is a great place to relax and enjoy coffee at the open-air cafes. Another must is the overhead chairlift which offers an incredible panoramic view of the city from the top of the Basilica Tower.
To end your trip, make sure to visit the Chain Bridge, one of Budapest's most famous landmarks. The magnificent suspension bridge was built in the 19th century across the river Danube to link Pest and Buda which at the time were still separate cities. I would recommend visiting it in the evening when it is lit up.
Where to stay:
Golden Park Hotel (****)
Prices start from €26 per room per night on Hotels.com
Located in the heart of Budapest close to Hero's Square, Golden Park Hotel has a sauna, a fitness facility, free wireless internet access and guests are served a complimentary breakfast each morning.
Astrium Fashion Hotel (****)
Prices start from €45 per room per night on Hotels.com
Situated in the heart of Budapest, this hotel is chic and modern. Guests are served a complimentary breakfast each morning; there is also wireless internet access available in public areas.
Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget (****)
Prices start from €46 per room per night on Hotels.com
This city centre hotel is located close to Margaret Island. The hotel has a health club, an outdoor pool, indoor pool and poolside bar. Guest parking is complimentary.
For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!