Why Budapest?


Why Budapest?

Hungary is – and has traditionally been – the most progressive transition economy of the Central and Eastern European region. Looking at past years’ growth, it is expected that the capital is going to remain the driving force and centre of economic growth. Highly beneficial, supported and welcome are the processes that foster the establishment of regional corporate centres in and around the capital which keeps on attracting more and more expatriates who find their way to Budapest and settle down with their family. More professional real estate developers are now opening towards this market niche with tailored services for an expat community. You will be dealing with one of the premier agencies in Hungary whose capital is centrally located on the continent, making it a prime location for economic development. This is fueling great demand by Western Europeans, primarily in Ireland and the U.K., for Budapest real estate as investors seek to capitalize on their property gains at home by securing ground-floor opportunities here, thereby simultaneously improving their asset allocation balance. Budapest is viewed by astute corporate and individual investors as the gateway - a mighty, magnificent staging area for further eastward economic expansion over the next decade. Ireland and the U.K. have enjoyed dramatic property appreciation, and while there may not be a bursting of the bubble it is clear that, in the future, the greater appreciation lies elsewhere. Hungary, arguably emerging from post-Soviet domination in the best economic and infra-structure health, is the place to buy property.


Visiting Budapest

  • Area: 525 sq km
  • Population: 2 million
  • Time Zone: GMT/UTC +1 (+2 in summer)Telephone Area Code Hungary: 36
  • Telephone Area Code Budapest: 1


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With its multifarious and often embittered history, incredible architecture and rich cultural heritage, Hungary's capital deserves its reputation as the 'Paris of Eastern Europe'. It has a complex identity, somewhere between Western luxury and simple traditions.

The city straddles a gentle curve in the Danube. It has broad avenues, leafy parks and elaborate bathhouses. It also has a turn-of-the-century feel to it, for it was then - during the industrial boom and the capital's heyday - that most of the city was built.



Budapest is in north-central Hungary, some 250km (155mi) southeast of Vienna. The focal point is the Danube River, which bisects the city into two distinct parts: Buda is mostly residential and built on the hills and high river terraces of the western side; and commercial Pest is on a large, sandy plain across to the east.

It is a sprawling city, with the areas beyond the Nagykörút ('Big Ring Road') in Pest and west of Moszkva tér in Buda mostly residential or industrial and (with the exception of the Buda Hills and City Park) of little interest to visitors. It is also a well laid-out city; you'll have done well to get yourself lost. Ferihegy international airport is 24km (15mi) southeast of central Budapest.




Castle Hill

The Castle District on Castle Hill is the premier destination for visitors and contains many of Budapest's most important monuments and museums, not to mention grand views of Pest across the snaking Danube. The walled area consists of two distinct parts: the Old Town where commoners lived in the Middle Ages, and the Royal Palace. Stroll around the medieval streets of the Old Town and take in the odd museum. A brief tour in one of the horse-drawn hackney cabs is worthwhile for the leg weary. The Old Town is filled with attractively painted houses, decorative churches and the famous Fishermen's Bastion. The latter was built as a viewing platform in 1905, named after the guild of fishermen responsible for defending this stretch of wall in the Middle Ages. It has commanding views over the city, and is dominated by seven gleaming turrets (representing the seven Magyar tribes who entered the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century) and a statue of St Stephen on horseback. Immediately south of the Old Town is the Royal Palace.



Budapest is a sprawling city, with many places vying for your presence. It is a big strain on the feet. Thankfully, certain parts of Budapest are well set up for cycling, including both City and Népliget Parks, Margaret, Óbudai and Csepel Islands and the Buda Hills. Bikes can be rented on Margaret Island and in City Park. Other ways of experiencing Budapest a bit differently include rowing or kayaking on the Danube or - for an underground look at Budapest's belly - caving; a number of caves are open for tours.

If all that is way too energetic, Budapest caters equally well to the more indulgent among us. Bathing in Budapest's many thermal baths and swimming pools is not a luxury but a way of life; a necessity for one's sanity. Another speciality from the house of Hungary are its diverse wines, and no visit to Budapest is complete without ample wine sampling, perhaps combined with a night at the opera.


Getting There & Away

Budapest's Ferenc Liszt International Airport has thankfully emerged from the 1970's brown-veneered chaos of its old terminal, and its shiny new terminal is serviced by over three dozen international airlines. The national carrier Malév Hungarian Airlines operates nonstop flights between Budapest and North America, the Middle East and most European centers. There is no schedule for domestic flights.

The bus is also a popular means of getting to Budapest. There are three main stations, with all international buses and some domestic ones to/from Hungary's south and west arriving at and departing from Népliget bus station. Buses to/from destinations in Hungary east of the capital, leave from the Népstadion bus station. Buses to the Danube bend and parts of the Northern Uplands arrive and leave from bus station Árpád híd. The main carrier is Volánbusz/Eurolines with connections to all major continental European cities. Some of the journeys are long, so take a cushion and avoid flat bottom syndrome.

The Hungarian State Railway (MÁV) links to the European rail network, with different stations handling various destinations. Most international trains arrive at and leave from Keleti station, but always check the station when making bookings. Hungarian trains are clean and punctual but hardly luxurious, so bring along snacks and drinks for longer voyages. For the extravagant traveller, a hydrofoil along the Danube to Vienna is a luxurious possibility.


Getting Around

Ferihegy international airport is 24km (15mi) southeast of Budapest. It is pointless getting a taxi unless in a real hurry, with several much cheaper options linking the airport and city. If you still want a cab however, phone one from arrivals - it will save you about one-third off the posted airport fares. The buses provide a thriftier alternative, with the Airport Minibus offering an ultra convenient door to door service. The ultra budget option is the airport bus between the airport and Köbánya-Kispest metro station, 20 minutes from Budapest. Look for the stop marked 'BKV Plusz Reptér Busz' between terminals 2A and 2B. Budapest has an ageing but safe, inexpensive and efficient public transport system that won't have you waiting more than five to 10 minutes - which will be more than long enough if you're there in winter. It is by far the supreme way of getting around Budapest, with links between the metro, HÉV (green trains), yellow trams, red trolleybuses and blue buses abounding. Tickets are readily available from kiosks, newsstands or metro entrances.


Information on Budapest, Hungary


Bu·da·pest (bu'd?-pest', -pesht') 

The capital and largest city of Hungary, in the north-central part of the country on the Danube River. It was formed in 1873 by the union of Buda on the right bank of the river with Pest on the left bank. The city was the center of the Hungarian uprising against the Communist government in 1956. Population: 1,700,000.


Budapest (bu'd?pest') , city (1990 pop. 2,016,100), capital of Hungary, N central Hungary, on both banks of the Danube. The largest city of Hungary and its industrial, cultural, and transportation center, Budapest has varied manufactures, notably textiles, instruments, and electronics. Budapest has well-developed commercial, transport, and communication services as well. Educational and cultural institutions in the city include Loránd Eötvös Univ. (1635), Central European Univ., the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the National Széchenyi Library, the National Museum, the National Theater, and the State Opera House.

Budapest was formed in 1873 by the union of Buda (Ger. Ofen) and Óbuda (Ger. Alt-Ofen) on the right bank of the Danube River with Pest on the left bank. Buda, situated among a series of hills, was traditionally the center of government buildings, palaces, and villas belonging to the landed gentry. Pest, a flat area, has long been a commercial and industrial center.


The area around Budapest may have been settled as early as the Neolithic era. Aquincum, the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia, was near the modern Óbuda, and Pest developed around another Roman town. Both cities were destroyed by Mongols in 1241, but in the 13th cent. King Béla IV built a fortress (Buda) on a hill around there, and in the 14th cent. Emperor Sigismund built a palace for the Hungarian rulers. Buda became the capital of Hungary in 1361, reaching its height as a cultural center under Matthias Corvinus. Pest fell to the Turks in 1526, Buda in 1541.

When Charles V of Lorraine conquered them for the Hapsburgs in 1686, both Buda and Pest were in ruins. They were resettled, Buda with Germans, Pest with Serbs and Hungarians. Buda, a free royal town after 1703, had a renaissance under Maria Theresa, who built a royal palace and in 1777 transferred to Buda the university founded in 1635 by Peter Pazmany at Nagyzombat. The university was later moved (1784) to Pest. In the 19th cent. Pest flourished as an intellectual and commercial center; after the flood of 1838, it was rebuilt on modern lines. Buda became largely a residential sector.

After the union of Buda and Pest in 1873, the united city grew rapidly as one of the two capitals of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The city was by 1917 Hungary's leading commercial center and was already ringed by industrial suburbs. Also a beautiful city, Budapest became famed for its literary, theatrical, and musical life and attracted tourists with its mineral springs, its historic buildings, and its parks. Especially notable is the large municipal park and the showplace of Margaret Island (Hung. Margit Sziget), in the Danube, where St. Margaret, daughter of Béla IV, had lived in a convent.

With the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (Oct., 1918), Hungary, under Count Michael Karolyi, was proclaimed an independent republic. Budapest became its capital. When Karolyi resigned (Mar., 1919) the Communists, led by Béla Kun, gained temporary control of the city and established a Soviet republic in Hungary; but his troops were defeated in July, and Budapest was occupied and looted by Romanian forces. In Nov., 1919, Budapest was seized by forces of Admiral Horthy, who in Mar., 1920, was proclaimed regent of Hungary.

Horthy allied Hungary with Germany in World War II until Oct., 1944, and that same month German troops occupied Budapest. After a 14-week siege the city fell (Feb., 1945) to Soviet troops. Almost 70% of Buda was destroyed or heavily damaged, including the royal palace and the Romanesque Coronation Church. When Hungary was proclaimed a republic (Jan., 1946), Budapest became its capital. In 1948 the Hungarian Communists, backed by Soviet troops, seized control of Hungary and proclaimed it (Aug., 1949) a people's republic. Budapest was the center of a popular uprising against the Hungarian Communist regime in Oct.–Nov., 1956 (see Hungary).



Budapest (booh-duh-pest, booh-duh-pesht)

Capital of Hungary and largest city in the country, located in north-central Hungary on both banks of the Danube River; the industrial, cultural, and transportation center of Hungary. 


Int'l Dialing Codes

The telephone dialing code for: Budapest, Hungary

The country code is: 36
The city code is: 1




Nickname: "Paris of the East",
"Pearl of the Danube"
or "Queen of the Danube"

Official website: www.budapest.hu




Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial and transportation center.

Budapest has over 1.7 million inhabitants, down from a mid-1980s peak of 2.1 million. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with the amalgamation in 17 november 1873 of right-bank Buda (Ofen in German) and Óbuda (Old Buda or Alt-Ofen) together with Pest on the left (east) bank. It is the seventh largest city in the European Union.



Budapest's recorded history begins with the Roman town of Aquincum, founded around 89 ADon the site of an earlier Celtic settlement near what was to become Óbuda, and from 106 until the end of the 4th century the capital of the province of lower Pannonia. Aquincum was the base camp of Legio II Adiutrix. The area of Campona (today's Nagytétény) belongs to Buda as well. Today's Pest became the site of Contra Aquincum (or Trans Aquincum), a smaller sentry point. The word Pest (or Peshta) is thought to originate from the Bolgar language, (a Turkic language, not related to modern Bulgarian, which is a Slavic language) because at the time of the reign of the Bulgarian Khan Krum, the town was under Bulgar Turk dominion. The area then became a homeland for the Avars and some Slavic peoples.

Budapest from Gellért Hill, looking North

Parliament building


Széchenyi Chain Bridge

The area was occupied around the year 900 by the Magyars of Central Asia, the cultural and linguistic ancestors of today's ethnic Hungarians, who a century later officially founded the Kingdom of Hungary. Already a place of some significance, Pest recovered rapidly from its destruction by Mongol invaders in 1241, but it was Buda, the seat of a royal castle since 1247, which in 1361 became the capital of Hungary. The Croats who have been in personal unionwith the Hungarian Crown for centuries and also accepted Budapest as their capital, still call this city Budimpešta (Croatian or Serbian Budim for Buda and Pešta for Pest).

The Ottoman Empire's conquest of most of Hungary in the 16th century interrupted the cities' growth: Buda and Pest fell to the invaders in 1541. While Buda remained the seat of a Turkish pasha, and administrative center of a whole vilayet, Pest was largely derelict by the time of their recapture in 1686 by Austria's Habsburg rulers, who since 1526 had been Kings of Hungary despite their loss of most of the country.

It was Pest, a bustling commercial town, which enjoyed the faster growth rate in the 18th and 19th century and contributed the overwhelming majority of the cities' combined growth in the 19th. By 1800 its population was larger than that of Buda and Óbuda combined. The population of Pest grew twentyfold in the following century to 600,000, while that of Buda and Óbuda quintupled.

The fusion of the three cities under a single administration, first enacted by the Hungarian revolutionary government in 1849 but revoked on the subsequent restoration of Habsburg authority, was finally effected by the autonomous Hungarian royal government established under the Austro-Hungarian Ausgleich ("Compromise") of 1867; see Austria-Hungary. The total population of the unified capital grew nearly sevenfold in 1840–1900 to 730,000.

During the 20th century, most population growth occurred in the suburbs, with Újpest more than doubling between 1890–1910 and Kispest more than quintupling in 1900–1920, as much of the country's industry came to be concentrated in the city. The country's human losses during World War I and the subsequent loss of more than two thirds of the former kingdom's territory (1920) dealt only a temporary blow, leaving Budapest as the capital of a smaller but now sovereign state. By 1930 the city proper contained a million inhabitants, with a further 400,000 in the suburbs.

Between 20% and 40% of Greater Budapest's 250,000 Jewish inhabitants died through Naziand Arrow Cross genocide during 1944 and early 1945. [1], [2] Despite this, Budapest today has the highest number of Jewish citizens per capita of any European city.

On January 1, 1950, the area of Budapest was significantly expanded: new districts were formed from the neighbouring cities and towns (see Great-Budapest). From the severe damage during the Soviet siege in 1944, the city recovered in the 1950s and 1960s, becoming to some extent a showcase for the more pragmatic policies pursued by the country's communist government (1947–1989) from the 1960s. Since the 1980s, the capital has shared with the country as a whole in increased emigration (mostly to the agglomeration) coupled with natural population decrease.

demographic history

Population Graph

1800: 54,200 inhabitants

1830: 102,700

1850: 178,000

1880: 370,800

1900: 733,400

1925: 957,800

1990: 2,016,100

2003: 1,719,343

2018: 1,759,497


Budapest's districts are numbered clockwise, in widening circles, and are organized similarly to the arrondissements in Metropolitan Paris.

Originally Budapest had 10 districts after coming into existence upon the unification of the three cities in 1873. On 1 January 1950 Budapest was united with several neighboring towns and the number of its districts was raised to 22. At that time there were changes both in the order of districts and in their sizes. Now there are 23 districts, 6 in Buda, 16 in Pest and 1 on an island between them. Each district can be associated with one or more city parts named after former towns within Budapest.


Landmarks and monuments

  • Matthias Church
  • St. Stephen's Basilica, Pest
  • Palace of Arts by night
  • (The below sights are grouped by location.)
  • Andrássy Avenue with its several sights including the State Opera House, the Pest Broadway and the House of Terror
  • Buda Castle with the Royal Palace, the Funicular, Hungarian National Gallery and National Széchényi Library, Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion
  • City Park with Széchenyi Medicinal Bath, Vajdahunyad Castle, the Timewheel, the Zoo, the Municipal Grand Circus and the Amusement Park
  • Danube Promenade (Duna-korzó) with Vigadó Concert Hall
  • Dohány Street Synagogue with the Holocaust Memorial (weeping willow statue)
  • Ferenciek tere with Paris Courtyard and Erzsébet Bridge with Inner City Parish Church nearby
  • Franz Liszt Academy of Music
  • Gellért Baths, Gellért Hill with Gellért Statue, Cave Church and Citadel with Liberty Statue
  • Grand Market Hall and Liberty Bridge
  • Heroes' Square with the Millenary Monument, the Palace of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts
  • Margaret Island with the Centennial Memorial, a Japanese garden, a Musical Fountain, several recreation facilities and Franciscan, Dominican and Premonstratensian ruins from the Middle Ages
  • Museum of Applied Arts
  • National Museum
  • New York Café
  • Óbuda
  • Palace of Arts and National Theatre
  • Parliament Building with King Stephen's crown and sceptre, Kossuth Memorial, Ethnographical Museum, Attila József statue, Imre Nagy statue
  • Saint Stephen's Basilica
  • Statue Park
  • Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Academy of Sciences and Gresham Palace
  • Tomb of Gül Baba
  • Váci Street and Vörösmarty Square
  • Western Railway Station



Main articles: Budapest Metro, List of Budapest metro stations.

The Budapest Subway system is the second oldest subway in Europe (after the London Underground). The original subway line is now the M1 or Yellow line. It was fully restored to its original condition, for a historical ride. Two other lines, the M2 (red) and M3 (blue), were built later and serve other parts of the city. The M4 is currently under construction and the M5 is expected to be started in 2007. Both lines M2 and M4 will be fully automated and operate without drivers. The Budapest Subway was the scene of the 2004 film Kontroll.


The river Danube flows through Budapest on its way to the Black Sea. The river is easily navigable and so Budapest has historically been a major commercial port (at Csepel).

special vehicles

Beside metros, suburban rails, buses, trams and boats, there are a couple of less usual vehicles in Budapest:

  • trolleybus (trolibusz) on several lines in Pest
  • funicular (sikló) between the Chain Bridge and Buda Castle
  • cycle-car (bringóhintó) for rent in Margaret Island
  • chairlift (libegő)
  • cog-wheel railway (fogaskerekű vasút)
  • children's railway (gyermekvasút)

The latter three vehicles run among Buda hills.


Important figures

  • Franz Xaver von Zach 1754 born in Pest, astronomer
  • Ignaz Semmelweis born 1818 in Buda, physician
  • Árpád Doppler born in 1857 in Budapest, composer
  • Theodor Herzl born in 1860 in Budapest, journalist and founder of modern political Zionism
  • George de Hevesy born in 1885 in Budapest, Nobel Prize winner in chemistry (1943)
  • Georg Lukács born in 1885 in Budapest, philosopher
  • Fritz Reiner born in 1888 in Budapest, conductor
  • Albert von Szent-Györgyi Nagyrapolt born in 1893 in Budapest, Nobel Prize winner biologist, first isolated and described the vitamin C
  • Karl Mannheim in 1893 in Budapest, philosopher
  • George Szell in 1897 in Budapest, conductor
  • Leó Szilárd born in 1898 in Budapest, developed the nuclear bomb
  • Béla Bartók lived from 1899 to 1940 in Budapest, composer
  • László József Bíró born in 1899, developed the biro
  • Edward Teller born in in 1908, "father of the hydrogen bomb" nuclear physicist
  • László Papp born in 1926 in Budapest, boxer
  • Ferenc Puskás born in 1927 in Budapest, soccer player
  • Imre Kertész born in 1929 in Budapest, author, Nobel Prize 2002
  • George Soros (Soros György) born in 1930 in Budapest
  • Ernő Rubik born in 1944 in Budapest, developed Rubik's Cube
  • Péter Esterházy born in 1950 in Budapest, author
  • Zoltán Kocsis born in 1952 in Budapest, pianist
  • Zoltán Kodály lived and died 1967 in Budapest, composer
  • Sir Georg Solti born in 1912 in Budapest, conductor
  • Tom Lantos born in 1928 in Budapest, US Congressman
  • Andy Grove born in 1936 in Budapest, founder and former Chairman and CEO of Intel Corporation


Sister cities

  •  Berlin, Germany, since 1992
  •  Fort Worth, Texas, United States, since 1990
  •  Frankfurt, Germany, since 1990
  •  Lisbon, Portugal, since 1992
  •  New York City, United States, since 1991
  •  Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, since 1995
  •  Tel Aviv, Israel, since 1989
  •  Vienna, Austria, since 1990
  •  Vilnius, Lithuania
  •  Zagreb, Croatia, since 1994