This city, a relic of the glorious 19th century is worth every minute and € Euro it takes to get there. One can easily fill a week in the coffee houses alone. Hungary requires no visa for US, Canadian or EU citizens, and neither do the Czech Republic or Austria (countries through which one must travel to get there from Berlin). Citizens of less privileged countries such as Australia get hit for US$65 for a single entry Hungarian visa which you need to get at the embassy in Berlin before you leave.

The trip to Budapest costs under € 250 round trip by train and takes approximately 15 hours. By plane it is only a few hours away and can be quite inexpensive depending on current deals, but expect to pay around € 200. The bus is the least expensive alternative at less than € 100 and also takes around 15 hours; the benefit being that one can leave the return date open. Reduced fares are available for students (click here for details) .

Upon arrival in any Hungarian city the first stop should be Tourinform. In Pest it is on Süto utca 2, very near the international bus depot and Metro stops. Not only do they speak English, they provide a full range of accommodation information, city maps, cultural and sight-seeing brochures, city and country booklets, and more. It is all for free, all in English, and all you will need. Don't miss the Castle District, Parliament, and one of the most splendid coffee houses in Eastern Europe: Gerbeaud.

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