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BUDAPEST

Modern touches and classical architecture meld together like nowhere else than in the Hungarian capital, meaning a wealth of affordable grand hotels in some of Europe’s most opulent surroundings. Words: David Whitley
IMAGES: GETTY

Budapest is a strong contender for the title of Europe’s best city break. It’s beautiful, either side of the Danube, has a solid range of often rather weird attractions, plus lots of thermal baths to splash around in. It’s also great fun — the ‘ruin bar’ scene is hugely enjoyable, while craft beer pubs and street food truck or stall clusters are popping up constantly. Budapest is still pretty cheap, too, and works for families, for couples and for stag and hen dos. A significant proportion of hotels are housed in grand old buildings from the Austro- Hungarian Empire, meaning relatively few bland, cookie-cutter options. There’s also a strong apartment scene, with numerous mid-range places that fall somewhere between aparthotels and Airbnb. Location plays a part — there’s a vast gulf in personality between pretty-but-quiet Buda and energetic, unashamedly urban Pest — but on the whole, the city is supremely walkable, so this division is by no means pivotal.

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About National Geographic Traveller (UK)

This month, we ditch the jeep to discover Africa from a different perspective. Whether on foot, by boat or hot air balloon, we’re showcasing the continent’s wild side on an active safari across Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and more. We go north of Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland; discover Japan’s Tohoku region; and spend a long weekend in Vilnius. Other highlights this issue include Lima, Fife, Budapest, San Francisco and Turin, while our photo story unearths the tradition of gold panning in Costa Rica.