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My wife and I visited Budapest, Hungary in August of this year and I thought I would share some recommendations with the board. Budapest is one of the hottest new vacation sites in Eastern Europe. It is probably one of the most Western feeling cities in the East. The city is divided into 2 halves seperated by the Danube. The hilly historic Buda side and the flat metropolitan Pest side.

Where to Stay
There are many fine hotels in the city which were featured in a recent WS article. However, I recommend the:
Artotel- This is where we stayed and we got an excellent online rate.

Things to Do
Castle Hill- At the top of the hill on the Buda side is Castle Hill. There are plenty of museums, art galleries, cafes with splendid views and historical buildings to visit. Take the funicular up the hill.
Danube river tour- We took a boat up the river to the historic town of Szentendre. The views of the river on the way up were bland. I would recommend going a little farther past the much more scenic bend in the river to the towns of Visegrad or Esztergom. The daily boat which leaves from near the chain bridge costs only $8 one way.
Central Market- A very large indoor market which concentrate mostly on food. Try to find smoked paprika to bring home which is very rare and hard to find in the US.
Folk concert- You can look into a Gypsy/Hungarian folk concert at one of the concert halls if that appeals to you.

Where to Eat
Gerbeuad- This bakery/coffee house has some of the best pastries in Europe. Stop in for breakfast.
Marvany Menyasszony- If there is one restaurant to go to this is it. It will not be in any guide book and was recommended to us by a local. Typical hungarian cuisine at reasoanble prices. My roasted duck was about the best I have ever had. Very good wine list of unique Hungarian wines also at good prices. Make a reservation. The floor show of live Gypsy/Hungarian music with violinists running about the room is excellent.
Gundel- The finest restaurant in the city and the prices reflect it.
Kacsa Vendeglo- A small quite restaurant with impeccable service and a romantic piano and violin duet. Very nice wine list.
Fatal- This was recommended to us but we could not go.

Where to Buy/Drink Wine
Grinzingi Borozo- This is a very good wine bar on the pest side of town.
Bortarsasag- This wine shop has a very nice selection of Hungarian wines. Here is a link to the store.
Belvaros- Another wine shop
Monarchia- And another.

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