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Budapest has often been called one of the best-kept secrets to be encountered within the European Union. It is the capital of Hungary as well as its largest city by far. This can clearly be seen in a metropolitan area of more than 525 square kilometres and a population exceeding 1.75 million residents. Budapest is also considered to be a global city due to its strengths in commerce, trade and technology. Still, do not let these staggering statistics fool you. This city is also home to what can only be called truly spectacular attractions as well as to a warm culture. Thanks to a continental climate, a variety of seasons can be experienced. If you plan on a trip to Budapest, what should you keep in mind and which sites are worth a closer look?
It is thought that the history of Budapest stretches as far back as the Celts when they occupied this land around 1 AD. Originally intended as a centre of commerce, it was not long before traders from various portions of Central and Eastern Europe began to settle down and build a very real community. Although parts of the city were destroyed by allied bombing campaigns during the Second World War, many of its historic buildings still remain intact.
In modern times, Budapest is known for its resurgence following the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War. Since the early part of the 1990s, this city has once again learned to thrive. This is due in no small part to significant outside investments from large multinational corporations as well as from private organisations. It should also be mentioned that the city itself has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its rich history and the plethora of unique architectural masterpieces to explore. This now brings us to our next point.
As mentioned in the previous section, Budapest is full of some truly breathtaking sights and attractions. Before delving into the urban delights, it is worth noting that the nearby countryside is quite beautiful and it contains numerous hills, valleys and even a handful of mountain ranges to explore. These can all represent excellent ways to enjoy a day out with the family. Avid hikers will often venture out to these parts due to the relative sense of peace and tranquillity that they can offer the visitor.
However, the scintillating lights of the city can be amazing. Many feel that the world famous Budapest Chain Bridge is the most iconic landmark; particularly in the evening when it is lit up with thousands of lights. Some other attractions include University Church, Matthias Church and a Roman settlement known as Aquincum found within a large open-air park. Buda Castle is another location to visit, as guided tours are available which can offer unique insights into its history. Finally, let's not forget the romantic River Danube. Numerous boat rides will enable you to experience the majesty of this city from an entirely different perspective.
The temperatures in Budapest are similar to those found within Berlin and Paris. In other words, summers are warm and dry while winter temperatures will often dip below freezing. If you are hoping to enjoy a more moderate climate as well as to beat the masses of tourists often present during the summer months, it might be a good idea to plan on arriving in the spring or the early autumn. Either way, you will not be disappointed with what this city has to offer.