The US has its fair share of famous Americans of Hungarian extraction — actors Drew Barrymore, Adrien Brody and Tony Curtis, to name but a few.
And you won’t struggle to source authentic goulash in stateside cities like New York, Los Angeles and Cleveland.
But Budapest is a brilliant place for US travelers regardless of their roots — here are five reasons they should embrace it.
Drinking in a ruins bar like Szimpla Kert is an experience that most American fans of the occasional alcoholic refreshment will savor — they’re just so different to traditional US emporiums.
The ruins bar movement started around the millennium when enterprising entrepreneurs reclaimed derelict buildings, parking lots and industrial spaces in the city and converted them to unique public houses. They’re now commonplace and popular, but you can still grab a premium beer for $2.
2.New York Café
The New York Café in the city centre claims to be the world’s most beautiful and, when you first step into its exquisite ornate interior, you might concur.
Opened in 1894, its Italian Renaissance style features were restored to their former glory in 2006, after falling into disrepair during the post-war era.
Sipping cool champagne in these palatial surroundings, you’re instantly spirited away to a more genteel and glamorous era.
3. Beer bikes
If you’re bouncing into Budapest for a bachelor or bachelorette party, locations like the New York Café might be slightly too sedate for the occasion.
But hiring a beer bike from Kingbike probably hits the mark — after all, who wouldn’t like to be pedaled round a lively city by a sober driver while sitting at a mobile bar with pals, draining 20 or 30 liters of cold beer, cider or any beverage that floats your boat?
4. Buda Castle
Budapest has modern and ancient historical sites aplenty and Buda Castle is certainly one of the best.
Originally built between the mid-14th and late 15th Centuries, this impressive gothic complex has been extended by multiple monarchs in the centuries since and is now a world heritage site.
You could easily spend and entire day here, but a walking tour of the Castle District takes you to the historical hotspots in a couple of hours.
5. House of Terror
Don’t mistake the city’s House of Terror for a Halloween-style funfair attraction — this museum to the victims of Hungary’s 20th Century fascist and communist regimes is much more chilling.
This former HQ of the Hungarian Nazi party at 60 Andrássy Boulevard once had a torture chamber in the cellar and was taken over by the sinister Soviet-backed State Security Authority after World War Two.
Opened in 2002, 11 years after the Communism collapsed, it contains artefacts and memorials which serve as a lasting reminder of the dangers of any authoritarian ideology.
Find flight routes to Budapest from American departure points at Kayak.com and don’t forget that booking US airport parking with Looking4.com ensures your vehicle’s safely stored for the duration.
So ends our list — but please share your Budapest travel tips in the comments section.
Photo: Alpár Kató – Daily News Hungary