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Hungary with A&KHungary has been a bright star on East European stage since the Iron Curtain was raised in 1989. Its beguiling mix of grand architecture, impressive palaces and churches, along with historic spas, thriving café culture and legendary river, has proved a major hit with returning guests.
A&K are perfectly placed to reveal the treasures of a country whose sights reflect over a millennium of history, culminating with recent independence. Our experienced, multilingual Europe team has provided seamless luxury travel across the region for the last quarter of a century with highly qualified staff, well established contacts and expert guides. The result? You can expect insight and experiences off the mainstream tourist radar from access to private museum collections and unique tastes of daily family life, with home cooking lessons on demand, to bespoke tours.
Budapest, spilt into halves by the River Danube, is an Eastern European showstopper tailor-made for a weekend city break. You'll find Buda the more rarefied area, with its castle, royal palace and Matthias Church blending striking architecture with widescreen views; while Pest has the Neo-Gothic Parliament, basilica and several famous squares that have witnessed major political events.
The capital mixes its eras with gay abandon: impressive Austro-Hungarian boulevards, Art Nouveau mansions and buzzing cafes where it's easy to imagine Cold War intrigue. There's lively contemporary nightlife and several bathhouses, some gloriously elaborate, others more austere with a steamy history dating back to the Ottomans.
Take an Abercrombie & Kent luxury holiday to Hungary in 2014, however, and we'll show you there's more to the country than Budapest. There's the artists' hotspot of Szentendre with its pastel-hued facades and lively cafes, and Esztergom, a glorious splatter of elegantly ageing architecture, reflecting its importance to the founding of the state and its central role in the Catholic Church. Its vast hilltop basilica - catch its perfect reflection in the Danube on a calm day - is Hungary's largest church, and its museum, Keresztény, hosts the biggest ecclesiastical collection, while its Watertown neighbourhood, beneath the Castle, is riddled with excellent hot springs,
Visit the cities by land, or, more romantically, on our Danube cruise. Either way, they're memorable destinations - and A&K is your ideal guide.
Best time to be there
Winters in Eastern Europe are very cold but Christmas is a magical time to visit. July and August are very hot, May, June and September enjoy pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds.
Budapest (British Airways)
2.5 - 3 hours
GMT +1 hour
The Galapagos. After Mashpi we were somewhat apprehensive and hoping that the luxury and diversity of the Lodge would not deter from the different experience that was awaiting us on the MV Eclipse. Wow! The whole job lot with the crew, the guides, the food, the other guests and the islands and wildlife . . . . just blew us away. An American lady and her husband that we teamed up with on some trips said to us "How are we going to explain to friends and family back home about this place?" We all agreed that you couldn't!
Thanks for organising the holiday Eleanor and thanks to A&K
- RY, Berkshire