The best of Budapest: A day in the City of Baths

Diving into the glittering capital of Hungary

Budapest is as beautiful as the Danube River that bisects it. With its towering Gothic-style Parliament building dotting the skyline, architectural mix of three interconnected cities (Buda, Pest, and Obuda), as well as several places to get amazing views of this historically-rich city, the City of Baths is a can't-miss destination on any Eastern European trek. The best part? The exchange rate is most definitely in your favor, with the Hungarian forint at approximately 298 forints per $1 USD, you can truly afford to splurge.

Speaking of splurging, Budapest's opulent 5-star hotels will make sure you're comfortable: the famous Boscolo Budapest is a particular standout due to its proximity to the city centre as well as its decadent interior. Budapest's unique architecture shines through in every quarter, with the three cities making it up blending seamlessly into each other in an elegant, eclectic array—Budapest is often called "The Paris of the East" because of this. Much like Paris, Budapest wants for nothing in terms of art: take the time to explore the Hungarian National Gallery, which is near Buda Castle, and after enjoying the beautiful views from above venture into the city, where galleries galore await you.

Beyond art and beauty, Budapest's gastronomical scene is out of this world; several restaurants offer traditional Eastern European food (do not miss the chance to try the meaty wonder that is traditional Transylvanian soup), but for the more casual crowd the city is crawling with cafés, pubs, and a Star Wars-inspired sandwich shop that makes the best Padmé Amidala-themed gourmet sub you will probably ever have.

Of course, one can't really talk about Budapest without talking about the legendary baths that have given the city is nickname. The city's world-famous thermal baths, known for their soothing properties, are also top-notch party destinations. Every Saturday night, both the Lukács and Szechenyi bath houses becomes LED-lit pool parties. Rent a cabin for the night, get a few bottles and feel free to go absolutely manic. If you're looking for a calmer affair, the Rudas gyógyfürdõ spa offers a large indoor facility with all kinds of therapies available, an authentic Turkish pool dating back to the 16th century, and a breathtaking view of the city that's open at night. Imagine yourself in the lap of luxury at a Turkish bath overlooking the city, with full access to the bathhouse facility, for at most $30.

Budapest itself is priceless, but giving yourself every single pleasure the city has to offer won't burn a hole in your wallet. So get that extra glass of champagne as you overlook Buda Castle, half your torso dipped in a Turkish bath, the night air tickling your ears, and have absolutely no regrets about it.

For more information on traveling to Budapest, visit their official website.

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