Budapest, capital of Hungary and largest city in East Central Europe, rests comfortably on the banks of the Danube. Budapest boasts the world’s largest underground network of thermal caves and medicinal springs, earning it the moniker "City of Spas" since 1934.
Since the collapse of Communism in the early nineties, Budapest has been eager to showcase its rich cultural and literary heritage, prompting the Economist magazine to recently dub it the "City of Festivals."
Goulash and paprika are but a caricature of Hungary’s culinary potential. Local winemakers have made significant strides in restoring the country’s winemaking heritage, which suffered a blow during communism. With more than 140 varieties of wine grapes grown in Hungary’s 22 wine-growing regions, Budapest is a virtual vinopolis. Sadly, Hungarian wines don’t often make it beyond the country’s borders; while French sommeliers may not yet recognize it, those living within Hungary’s borders are in for a treat.
Budapest is considered the financial hub of Central Europe, and the rise of budget airlines has helped make it an accessible international destination both for investment and visitors.
What is special or unique about your city?
The capital of Hungary, Budapest is traditionally the cultural and commercial melting pot of Western and Eastern Europe.
Above all, Budapest is reputed for its pleasant views, quality restaurants and thriving night life. The river Danube - with its islands and parks - also makes living in Budapest a very enjoyable experience.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Many people think of the city as having two pieces. The hilly Buda side is a more easy going residential area with lots of greenery. Pest, the flatter part of the city, is more dense and vivid.
Traffic is usually a problem due to the fast development of wealth and the slightly slower road construction - this makes public transport a good option.
Are these impressions likely to change?
As you become better acquainted with the city, your impressions will change in a positive way.
What is the local language?
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
By learning just a few basic Hungarian expressions, one can easily survive. In addition, English is now spoken by more and more young people.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
You should be careful when driving.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
Budapest has continental weather. Sunny, dry summers and windy, freezing winters are the most typical. Spring is often just a quick transition and autumn is the nicest time with the falling leaves.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
It can be difficult for some newcomers to get acquainted with the city at first. Some roads lack signs, making it hard to find your way. However, the people of Budapest are very friendly. If you are lost, you can ask somebody to help you.