London Stansted to Budapest Ferihegy Airport.
The Hungarian capital of Budapest is a treasure trove of cultural and architectural gems. The city consists of two distinct parts divided by the River Danube; to the west is the posh, hilly Buda with its narrow cobbled streets, to the east is flat Pest with wide boulevards and Art Deco architecture. Both parts joined together in 1873 to create Budapest.
Flights from London Stansted to Budapest Ferihegy Airport are provided by SkyEurope. The Central European no frills airline, based in Slovakia, began operating in 2002.
Ferihegy Aiport is located about 20km (12 miles) from Budapest city centre.
A taxi rank is situated in front of the terminal, journeys to the centre can cost between 3,500 HUF and 6,500 HUF. Fares are unregulated so passengers should either check the meter is running or negotiate a fare beforehand. There is a regular minibus service from the airport to the city centre that costs 2,100 HUF for a single ticket, 3,600 HUF for a return. Tickets can be purchased in the arrivals hall. Cheaper still is the regular number 93 bus to the nearest underground station - you can then take the metro into the city centre. However, always validate train and bus tickets in the orange machines on the train/bus as you could be liable for a large fine.
Visitors to Budapest can benefit from the purchase of a Budapest Card which entitles cardholders to free or reduced admission to many of the Budapest's top attractions as well as free travel on public transport within the city. Available for either 48-hour or 72-hour periods at 4,700 HUF and 5,900 HUF respectively.
Places of interest in Budapest include:
- Matthias Church. One of Budapest's most popular tourist attractions is a mixture of architectural styles and has been in existence since the 13th century. When the Turks occupied the city in 1541, Matthias Church was stripped out and converted to a mosque. In the 1800s the building was restored to its original splendour by the architect Frigyes Schulek.
- Parliament Building. This enormous neo-gothic structure with its large central dome is one of Budapest's most imposing landmarks. Built in 1902, the building also houses the Hungarian crown jewels. Guided tours are available throughout the day.
- Dohany Zsinagoga (Central Synagogue). Budapest has been home to a large Jewish community for several centuries, and its synagogue is the largest in Europe and the world's second largest. Completed in 1859, the synagogue was desecrated by Nazis in the Second World War but has since benefited from a 10-year restoration.
- Buda Royal Palace. There has been a palace on this site since the 13th century, although it has been destroyed during wars and re-built several times. Within the vast complex are three museums; the Budapest History Museum, the Hungarian National Gallery and the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art which includes works by Picasso and Andy Warhol.
- St Stephen's Church. The construction of Hungary's largest church took over 50 years to complete. Fantastic views can be enjoyed from its tower but most fascinating (and probably not for the squeamish) is the preserved hand of St Stephen in the chapel.