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Budapest, Hungary - An Incredible City
Located in Eastern Europe, Hungary is diverse and beautiful country. The undisputed treasure of the country is Budapest.

Budapest – A Tale of Three Cities

Over 2,000 years old, Budapest is a large city containing traces of the various forces that have ruled it over time. Romans, Turks, Goths and many others have conquered the city. Somehow, the various influences work in such a way as to make the city sparkle.

In a bit of trivia, Budapest was historically considered three cities. The three cities were Pest, Obuda and Buda. Although grouped together, the cities were naturally divided by the Danube River which forks in the middle of the city. In 1873, the three cities were combined into one and given the Budapest name.

Although Budapest has more attractions than could possible be covered in one article, here are a few must see locations.

Buda Castle

Sitting on top of a hill and towering over the Danube, the Buda Castle is stunning. Construction started under the guidance of King Bela IV in the 14th century and was expanded upon by later rulers. Medieval times, however, saw the castle burned, looted, demolished, bombed with cannon balls and ransacked. Each time, new rulers rebuilt.

Visiting Buda Castle is like stepping back into the heights of the renaissance. The Castle is adorned with red marble stairways, gothic facades, bastions and epic statutes overlooking the Danube. The fountains around the Castle simply can't be described with words.

Spas

Budapest sits over a tectonic plate fault line, which usually is a bad thing. In this case, however, the location of the city corresponds with a plethora of hot mineral springs. Enterprising Hungarians have build spas on the springs and are open for business. The spas are "over the top" with an opera house feel. Floating around peacefully, one feels like European royalty.

If you are traveling to Europe, plan on devoting a week to Budapest. For those in love with Prague, one visit to Budapest may change your mind.

Margaret Island

Margaret Island is one of the unique elements of Budapest. The island is located in the middle of the Danube River in central Budapest and is a little more than 1 mile long and 500 yards wide. With the exception of a hotel at the south end, the island is free of cars and buildings.

Historically, Margaret Island served as a private park for Hungarian royalty and you can see why. The island consists mostly of paths flanked by old growth trees, rose gardens and tailored lawn areas. Peacocks walk freely around the island and wild ducks nest throughout the island. At the south end of the island, you can visit hot thermal springs, walk on paths through peaceful ponds or relax in front of tiered water cascades. During part of the year, plays are undertaken at an outdoor theatre.

The island is named after Princess Margaret, the daughter of King Bela IV. If the beauty of the island is a reflection of the Princess, she must have been one impressive woman.

These days, the island is open to the public and serves as a recreation area. During the weekdays, workers in Budapest pour out of the city and onto the island for lunch breaks. Only in Budapest can you be in the middle of an active city, walk 200 feet across a bridge and be in a peaceful, forested area.

Traveling can be hectic and stressful. If you're feeling this way in Budapest, a visit to Margaret Island should provide a cure.
About the Author
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of travel journals to preserve your travel experiences.
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