For a city with fewer than two million inhabitants, Budapest offers a surprisingly wide variety of nightlife. Bars, pubs, clubs and live music venues abound and when twinned with a first-rate public transport system, make this a city well-worth exploring after dark.
The Danube is a must – take a sunset boat trip to admire the Castle and Parliament building twinkling under a mantle of lights, and take your pick of fine restaurants for dinner and a candlelit serenade by gypsy musicians. Va´ci, a pedestrianised shopping street packed with good-quality souvenir and designer fashion shops, also boasts authentic Hungarian pavement cafes and good-quality restaurants. Sampling the country’s ubiquitous goulash and locally produced wines should also feature on your city break agenda.
A visit to the city's majestic State Opera House makes for an unforgettable cultural evening, as well as a reminder that Budapest's legendary love affair with classical music has helped build orchestras and venues of the highest standard.
If your taste is more techno than Tchaikovsky, there are a number of night clubs and jazz or rock venues in Budapest, as well as casinos and even musical folklore evenings. Both Franz Liszt Square (near the Oktogon) and Ráday Utca are full of bars, restaurants and small, intimate cafés that stay open until the early hours of the morning.
Daylight options abound, but don’t miss the sight of mass jogging in Margaret Island Park and do consider a hot air balloon ride over the city. The award-winning Elephant House at the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden will help keep children occupied and if they tire of all the wildlife, take them to the Funfair Park or the Budapest Puppet Theatre.