Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, has a rich and complex history that stretches back over 2,000 years and this is why it’s so popular with our river cruise guests.

The History Of Budapest

Roman Era: The area where Budapest is located was first settled by the Celts. Later, it became part of the Roman Empire and was known as Aquincum, a significant Roman settlement and military base. Aquincum thrived as an important trade and administrative centre.

Medieval Period: Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the region came under the rule of various conquerors, including the Huns and the Magyars (Hungarian tribes). In the 9th century, the Magyars established the Kingdom of Hungary, and the settlement of Buda emerged.

Ottoman Occupation: In the 16th century, Hungary experienced an extended period of Ottoman rule. The Ottoman Empire conquered Buda in 1541, and the city became an administrative centre. of the Ottoman province. During this time, Buda was transformed with the construction of Turkish baths, mosques, and other Islamic structures.

Habsburg Rule: In the late 17th century, the Habsburg dynasty regained control over Buda and united it with the neighbouring city of Pest, located on the opposite bank of the Danube River. The newly merged city became known as Budapest. Under Habsburg rule, Budapest developed into a cultural and economic hub, and significant architectural projects were undertaken.

Austro-Hungarian Empire: Budapest flourished in the 19th century as the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a dual monarchy that encompassed Austria and Hungary. The city experienced rapid industrialisation, urban development, and the construction of iconic landmarks, such as the Hungarian Parliament Building and the Hungarian State Opera House.

World War I and Interwar Period: Following World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved, and Hungary became an independent republic. Budapest went through political and economic challenges during the interwar period, including territorial losses and economic instability.

World War II and Communist Era: Budapest suffered significant damage during World War II due to bombings and fighting. After the war, Hungary fell under Soviet influence and became a communist state. Budapest played a pivotal role in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution against Soviet rule, which was ultimately suppressed.

Post-Communist Era: The fall of communism in 1989 brought political and economic changes to Hungary and Budapest. The city experienced a period of transition and transformation, embracing democracy and market-oriented reforms. Budapest became a popular tourist destination, known for its historical and architectural beauty.

Today, Budapest is a vibrant city that showcases a blend of architectural styles, including Roman ruins, medieval castles, Ottoman baths, and grand Habsburg-era buildings. The city’s rich history, cultural heritage, and picturesque location along the Danube River continue to attract visitors from around the world.

Budapest – The Star Of The Danube

Budapest Things To See And Do

Budapest offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors. Here are some popular things to see and do in Budapest:

Buda Castle: Explore the historic Buda Castle complex, which includes the Royal Palace, Matthias Church, and Fisherman’s Bastion. Enjoy panoramic views of the city from the castle hill.

Hungarian Parliament Building: Admire the stunning Hungarian Parliament Building, an iconic landmark on the banks of the Danube River. Take a guided tour to see the impressive interior, including the Hungarian Crown Jewels.

Széchenyi Thermal Baths: Relax and rejuvenate in one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths. Széchenyi Thermal Bath is the largest and most popular, with indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, and spa treatments.

St. Stephen’s Basilica: Visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, a magnificent neoclassical church named after the first King of Hungary. Climb to the top of the dome for panoramic views of Budapest.

Heroes’ Square: Explore Heroes’ Square, a grand square featuring statues of historical Hungarian leaders. It is a symbol of national pride and an important cultural landmark.

Great Market Hall: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Great Market Hall (Nagyvásárcsarnok). Browse the stalls selling fresh produce, local delicacies, and traditional crafts.

Danube River Cruise: Take a scenic cruise along the Danube River to enjoy breath-taking views of Budapest’s landmarks, including the Chain Bridge, Buda Castle, and the Hungarian Parliament Building.

Hungarian State Opera House: Marvel at the beautiful architecture of the Hungarian State Opera House. Catch a performance or take a guided tour to admire the opulent interiors.

Margaret Island: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and relax on Margaret Island. This peaceful park in the middle of the Danube River offers gardens, recreational facilities, and thermal baths.

Jewish Quarter and the Great Synagogue: Explore Budapest’s Jewish Quarter, known for its vibrant atmosphere, trendy ruin bars, and the Great Synagogue, one of the largest synagogues in the world.

Gellért Hill: Climb Gellért Hill for panoramic views of Budapest. Visit the Citadel, a fortress on the hilltop, and see the Liberty Statue, symbolizing Hungary’s liberation from Nazi occupation.

Dohány Street Synagogue: Visit the Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe. Explore the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial Garden, which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust.

These are just a few highlights – Budapest has so much more to offer.


Sailings Featuring Budapest

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