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The Hungarian parliament building on the bank of the Danube, at night

Compare the best Budapest city breaks

Stroll along the blue Danube, take a dunk in the thermal waters, then feast on thick, meaty goulash on city breaks to Budapest. The Hungarian capital makes a really good choice as a city break destination. It’s full of things to see and do and is excellent value too.

Why go?

City breaks in Budapest make a great short holiday, with lots of variety in what to see and do…

The mighty Danube River slices the Hungarian capital into hilltop Buda and elegant, urban Pest. South of the brilliant white Parliament, the Chain Bridge gracefully links the two.

A steep climb leads to Buda's Castle District, where medieval walls and cathedral towers stand guard over the shimmering river below. Back in Pest, locals chat in pavement cafés outside grand fin-de-siecle townhouses, sipping coffee or swigging hearty “bull's blood” wine.

There is a good range of museums, from the National Art Museum through to the Terror Museum - a recent addition to the capital telling the story of oppression under Nazi and Communist rule.

Getting into Budapest from the airport is relatively easy. Reasonably priced Zona Taxis whisk travellers directly to hotels in central Budapest in 30 minutes. Shared airport shuttles offer a cheap alternative into the city, but may take longer depending on each traveller's destination. City bus services provide the cheapest travel, arriving at the city's Metro line in about 1 hour.

For getting around the city use hop on hop off tourist buses or the excellent and cheap public transport of trams, buses and the metro.

When to go?

Whether you want summer in the city or crisp wintry days, find the best time of the year to travel to Budapest to ensure you make the most of your holiday.

Summer in the city is hot hot hot in Budapest, with temperatures reaching 27 degrees and long hours of daylight. By September temperatures cool but can still reach a pleasant 23 degrees, while during the winter, temperatures generally stay firmly in single figures.

What to do?

Read our recommendations on a range of things to see and do in Budapest…

Romance: A 19th-century funicular lifts you up to the Castle District, where narrow, cobbled streets lead to the soaring Matthias Church. Toast romantic Budapest with a glass of sweet Tokaj wine at a café on Fisherman's Bastion nearby.

Relaxing: Spa fanatics are spoiled for choice on Budapest city breaks. The Gellert Hotel's opulent, turn-of-the-century bathhouse is just one of the more recent - the Romans and the Ottoman Turks all enjoyed a good soak in Budapest's piping hot waters.

Free & cheap: Walk the bridge to Margaret Island for a free afternoon exploration of 13th-century ruins, flower beds bursting with colour and a musical fountain that puts on a show every 20 minutes.

Active types: Tired of the same old city tour? Leave tidy Budapest behind and get your jeans dirty crawling through the underground passageways of the Pálvölgyi-Mátyáshegyi cave system beneath the city.

Families: Children from around the world gaze and giggle at the characters in the Hungarian Puppet Theatre. And who cares that it's all in Hungarian? There's no translation needed for Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, especially when the puppets are this animated.

What's on?

Getting involved in a local festival or event can really enhance your holiday, so find out what’s on during your stay in the city.

Fat Thursday; February/March: As the name would suggest, Fat Thursday is all to do with food, and is the final chance to indulge before the season of Lent begins. It is held on the Thursday after Ash Wednesday and visiting on this day will allow you to dine out for half price at various participating restaurants in Budapest.

WAMP Christmas Design and Gastro Fair: Budapest holds a monthly design market and over Christmas it changes its theme to encompass all things festive. Come along to find unique gifts to take home for family and friends.

Oktoberfest Budapest; October: This festival showcases around 100 different brews to festival-goers. With large scale breweries and smaller microbreweries presenting their produce in Kopaszi-gat Park, you will also be able to enjoy live entertainment and an agricultural fair.