Get ready for an exciting year in Budapest
2011 is shaping up to be another great year to visit Budapest. Numerous festivals and events, new venues, a vibrant art scene, award winning restaurants and its scenic location on the Danube make Budapest a top destination. Here are some of the best reasons to plan your trip to Budapest in 2011:
1. City of Baths
Spa tourism is now part of the Hungarian National Tourism Agency’s new campaign to promote the healing thermal waters abundant in Hungary. Whether you are an experienced spa enthusiast or a first timer you will be impressed by Budapest's baths, as there are over 120 hot springs in the city feeding a vast selection of bathhouses, aqua parks, swimming pools and spa hotels. Currently, as part of the Budapest Winter Invitation campaign the city is offering free admission to one of three of the most popular spas through March 2011. Look for specials throughout the year. In addition, following extensive renovations the Császár Baths, one of the oldest Turkish baths, will reopen in 2011.
2. Liszt 2011
Ferenc Liszt, the famous piano virtuoso, composer and music teacher of the 19th century was born 200 years ago in 1811 in Hungary. To commemorate Ferenc Liszt, 2011 is dedicated to the master. Music lovers will appreciate the series of concerts and exhibitions held in Budapest and Hungary throughout the 2011 Liszt year.
3. Sziget 2011
Summers in Budapest are filled with festivals and events offering a lot of entertainment. Held each year in August, Sziget is one of the largest music festivals in the world. Sziget is also amongst Europe’s top 10 biggest festivals. Sziget Festival is a great way to spend a party-filled week in Budapest.
4. Welcome to CET
Budapest’s newest state-of-the-art cultural center is opening in 2011. Located on the Banks of the Danube near Liberty Bridge and the Central Market Hall and situated halfway between the Black Forest and the Black Sea at the Danube's symbolic middle, the CET (Central European Time) is the place to be. It will offer galleries, exhibitions, shops, cafés, restaurants and so much more.
5. Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace
The Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace, opening in summer 2011, will be the newest addition to the city’s luxury hotel scene. Located on Váci Street, the hotel will occupy a historical, hundred year-old former palace. The 102-room hotel will feature contemporary-modern Asian-Colonial interior designs and a signature blend of restaurants, bars and lounges. The Klotild Palace will join the long and illustrious list of luxury hotels in Budapest.
6. Award winning restaurants
Budapest has a vibrant restaurant scene and the city is well known for its wine and cuisine. Many of Budapest’s restaurants have received international recognition. There is Costes, Hungary’s first Michelin Star restaurant and its aspiring peers like 21 Restaurant, Arcade Bistro, Bock Bistro and Csalogány 26, which have already received Bib Gourmand Qualifications.
7. Art, history and science exhibitions
Budapest is big on art and culture and 2011 is going to be another busy year with new shows and exhibits. Art lovers should check out the Ludwig Museum, Trafó Gallery and Kogart Gallery for contemporary art exhibits and retrospectives. The National Gallery and Kunsthalle focus on Hungarian art history. Photo enthusiast will enjoy the Mai Manó House of Photography and everyone can learn something new and interesting at Millenáris.
8. Wine festivals
With 22 wine regions and long traditions in wine-making, Hungary is now producing wines that can rival the best of Bordeaux. Wine connoisseurs won't want to miss one of the several wine festivals held throughout the year in Budapest. The biggest one is the Budapest International Wine Festival, held every September.
9. Ruin Pubs
Ruin pubs are unique to Budapest. They occupy formerly abandoned buildings and are very popular hot-spots so be sure to include one on your pub-crawling itinerary. If you are going to get all glammed up for a night out in Budapest, you'll definitely want to check out some of the featured ruin pubs on our list.
10. Budapest is still affordable
You'll find that Budapest is still a bargain compared to many other European cities. Eating out is reasonable and opera tickets, entrance fees to museums and galleries are inexpensive. Exchange rates are also favorable, as Hungary does not use the Euro as its currency. Hungary is often mentioned in international media as a bargain destination. Most recently USA Today listed Budapest as one of the ‘Great places for travel bargains in 2011’.
11. The Danube
The Danube, this scenic divider of Buda and Pest is always one of the top reasons to visit Budapest. A cruise on the Danube is an unforgettable experience. Both the Danube and Budapest got a mention in The New York Times’ ‘The 41 Places to Go in 2011’ article.