Where Is Budapest?

House of Parliament in Budapest
••• Mihaela Muntean / Getty Images

You've heard of Budapest, but you aren't quite sure where it is. Don't be left wondering, “Where is Budapest?” the next time you have a conversation about great travel destinations. This city is an incredible vacation spot, worth exploring on its own or as a part of a more extensive travel itinerary through Europe. Its sights, cuisine, and annual events attract more visitors every year. It's a hub of Hungarian culture, business, and activities, meaning that travelers will always find something to marvel at, explore, or enjoy.

Location of Budapest

Budapest is the capital of Hungary (not to be confused with Bucharest, the capital of nearby Romania). The city is located in the central northern section of the country and is divided by the Danube River, which separates the Buda side from the Pest side. The two sides were linked by the Chain Bridge in the mid-19th century, and Obuda, another part, was linked a few years later. The three historic sections of Budapest make up the modern Hungarian capital. Three islands on the Danube River are also a part of Budapest: Obuda Island, Margaret Island, and the largest, only partially within city limits, Csespel Island.

You can find Budapest on a map of Hungary. It is located almost in the middle of the country, but closer to the northern edge, to the northeast of Lake Balaton. It also sits on top of thermal springs, which have created a thriving and well-established spa industry that is only one of Budapest's main attractions.

History of Budapest

The earliest inhabitants found Budapest a good place to settle, particularly because of its location on the Danube, still a major European waterway, and an important trade route in the region. Aquincum was the name that the Romans gave to the area that is now Budapest. Remains of the Roman settlement can be viewed by visitors to the modern city—they are some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Hungary.

The Magyars, or Hungarians, entered the Carpathian Basin, in which Budapest is located, in the 9th century. Hungarians are proud of their thousand-plus years of history in the region.

Distances of Major Cities from Budapest

Budapest is:

  • 101 m/163 km southeast of Bratislava
  • 135 m/217 km east of Vienna
  • 182 m/293 km south of Krakow
  • 275 m/443 km southeast of Prague

Getting to Budapest

International flights to Budapest arrive at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, and many direct connections can be had from other European cities. Danube River cruises and tours of Eastern and Central Europe also frequently stop in Budapest.

Budapest is considered a great hub for exploring the rest of Central Europe. Trains connect Budapest to nearby cities such as Bratislava, Ljubljana, Vienna, Bucharest, and Munich.