Budapest is a beautiful, historic city, bursting with cultural monuments and experiences. It is a great home for families, offering efficient healthcare, great education systems, and plenty of activities and entertainment.
The name is derived from two ancient cities on opposite sides of the Danube river, Pest and Buda, coming together to form the present day city. There were heated debates between the two cities about whose name should come first, so it could have been called Pestbuda!
Life in Budapest
Budapest is one of the cheapest European cities to live in, making it appealing to expats. The locals often speak English or German in addition to the native Hungarian.
Public transport is efficient and cheap and the city offers endless travel opportunities. You can easily visit Vienna, Prague or Krakow for the weekend. There are usually cheap deals on flights to Italy or Spain too!
Business in Budapest
It is basic business etiquette to arrange meetings in advance and be punctual; cancelling an appointment last minute is considered extremely rude. Socialising is an important factor of building a business relationship, as it forms trust, so expect a good amount of small talk and “getting to know you” conversation before talk of business begins.
Where to go, what to see
One beautiful attraction in Budapest is the Chain Bridge, a 19th century suspension bridge designed by William Tierney Clark. With the Danube River running below it, the bridge connects the Pest and Buda sides of the city. Before its completion in 1849, there was no permanent bridge crossing the Danube river, so locals would have to ferry across or go as far as Vienna for the nearest bridge! The bridge was then destroyed during WWII, and was one of the first structures to be rebuilt when the war ended.
Another amazing landmark is St Stephen’s Basilica, which took 50 years to build and finished construction in 1906. The church is named after Hungary’s first king, King Stephen, and features decorative work by Jozsef Kauser. It can hold 8,500 worshippers, and visitors can climb 364 stairs (or take the lift) to the tallest tower and see magnificent views across the city.
The National Museum highlights the history, archaeology and art of Hungary and is the countries oldest museum, founded in 1802. On the museum’s front steps, Sandor Petofi (a poet and liberal revolutionary) read the “12 pont” during the Hungarian Revolution in 1848. Also, parliament would convene in the museum, before the parliament building was constructed. Both these moments give the museum a solid place in the nation’s history.
Yearly Events/ Festivals
March – March 15th – A national holiday celebrating freedom and democracy, commemorating the Hungarian Revolution in 1848-1849
April – Budapest 100 – A celebration of the 100-year-old buildings in the city
May – Floralia – A traditional Roman festival with gladiator shows and theatre performances
June – Buda Castle Beer Festival – Ideal for beer-lovers, as it showcases almost 200 domestic and international beers
July – Budapest Pride – The LGBT community celebrate the country’s diversity and acceptance
August – Sziget Festival – One of the largest music festivals in the world, attracting almost 400,000 visitors over the week-long concert. Featuring well-known international artists, such as Muse, Rihanna and Sia, who headlined last year’s Sziget
October – October 23rd – Commemorating the revolution of 1956, when Hungarians rose up against the Soviet ruled communist system
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