by our Hungary expert Paul Baderman
There always seems to be another side to Hungary. It looks east towards Asia and west to Europe; its capital is actually two cities, Buda and Pest, either side of the mighty Danube; it truly is somewhere to visit in both summer and winter.
Far older than France or Germany, the country of the Magyars has had centuries to develop many different facets. In summer, visitors and locals head for Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe with many adjoining spa towns. Winter is for Budapest, one of the great European cities. Christmas Fairs and open air skating (overlooked by the majestic Vajdahunyad castle) and a New Year’s Ball that rivals Vienna’s.
Pest grew as a trading centre and is now the seat of Parliament. Buda is the ‘Royal’ side, with the Palace now a superb art gallery and museum. The linking bridges, notably the Chain and Elizabeth, are great attractions in their own right. St Gellért is, typically, one of several Patron Saints, martyred by being rolled down the prominent Hill that bears his name. It’s where you’ll find the imposing Citadella fortress as well as the magnificent Gellért colonnaded spa.