Budapest may not be as picturesque as other European cities (nearby Vienna and Prague spring to mind), but hidden behind the somewhat more understated exterior of the Hungarian capital is an exciting, edgy and fast-paced city that few other destinations can match.
Life runs at a lazy pace by day, when you can wander around the local markets and relax at thermal spas, but by night, the city comes to life in the ruin bars, pubs and clubs. With a fascinating recent history, exciting restaurants and one of the most interesting nightlife scenes in Europe, this nearby – and cheap – destination should go to the top of your to-visit list.
One of the city’s many highlights is the Budapest Central Market Hall (www.budapestmarkethall.com). This cavernous indoor space houses everything from brightly coloured Hungarian lace to traditional foods, knick-knacks, jewellery and vintage fashion. Pick up traditional street snacks like langos – essentially a huge circle of deep-fried dough slathered with toppings such as sour cream and cheese. Delicious.
Fisherman’s Bastion (pictured above), should also be seen. Hop on a bus up to this whimsical, turreted look-out point, where You’ll be treated to spectacular views of the entire city and across the Danube to the majestic parliament building. Just superb. Emirates flies to Budapest from Dhs1,000. www.emirates.com.