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Budapest... The Best of the Danube River!

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Regarded by many experienced travelers as one of the world’s most beautiful cities, visiting Budapest on your Eastern European river cruise is like winning the lottery — twice! This exciting 1,000 year old city straddles the beautiful Danube River for several miles. Budapest [pronounced “BOO-dah-pesht”] was originally two separate cities: Buda, with its historic Castle Hill district, medieval streets and Roman ruins, joined with Pest, and its riverside promenades, antique shops and bookstores. If you’re current on your 18th-century history, you’ll also be aware that Budapest was formally part of the Habsburg [sometimes called Hapsburg] region, and the local museums still display many of their flamboyant treasures.

Today, many visitors come to Budapest for its incredible array of more than 100 classic thermal baths [your river cruise tour director can arrange a visit]. Reputed to be better than those of the Black Forest region of Germany, people flock to Budapest to enjoy their spiritual and physical benefits. Even if you don’t want to enjoy one of the baths, you’ve just got to take the time to visit one of the outdoor public baths to observe one — it’s like Rome’s Julius Caesar was in town.

An Eastern European river cruise is the absolute best way to enjoy and extended stay here. There is no end of activities and sights to see in Budapest. This vibrant city is a perfect mix of East and West, Old and New. In the spring, summer and fall months she explodes not only with the color of the floral gardens and parks, but with outdoor bar and dining options to be enjoyed by all. One of our particular favorites is the park on Margaret Island and the City Park, both within easy walking distance from your docking spot.

You want UNESCO World Heritage Sites? How about these: the banks of the Danube; the Castle Hill district; Andrassy Avenue (the main shopping street lined with cafes, restaurants, theaters, and luxury boutiques); Heroes’ Square with its Millennium Monument; and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest underground railway system in the world.

But wait... don’t go back to the ship yet! Almost all tours of Budapest include the Fisherman’s Bastion, built in the 19th-century to commemorate the defense of Buda against the Turks in the Middle Ages. From its fairytale turrets and towers, you’ll get a wonderful view of the city below. Then, there’s the famous Chain Bridge [the first link between the Buda and Pest sides], a wonderful photo opportunity and a very romantic place to be, especially at night when it and the entire Pest side of the river is ablaze with lights and activity. Budapest is also the home of the largest and most impressive parliament building in Europe and it’s also the most photographed [Bring along your tripod!]. Speaking of large, Budapest is also home to the largest Jewish Synagogue in Europe.   

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