Congratulations, Budapest!

I feel like sending my city a congratulations card! This month, Condé Nast Travelers voted Budapest the second best city in Europe! With a whopping 83,727 votes, the Pearl of the Danube came in ahead of Prague, Rome, Vienna, Salzburg, and Barcelona!  



The magazine’s editors didn’t seem that surprised.We already know that Budapest is one of the best cities of the world,” they wrote. “So we are not very surprised to see that our capital is chosen the second best city in the world.” The editors added that when they’re in Budapest they love to sneak away from the tourist attractions for some cafe and spa culture. New York Kávéház and the Gerbeaud are must-visits, they claim, as are the city’s spas. “These places are full of wonderful touches like roaring granite lion heads spewing out warm mineral water. If you can muscle out the Hungarian grandma from her prized spot then you’ve found nirvana.”


New York Kávéház

Here’s Condé Nast Traveler’s new list of the Top Ten European Cities. Congratulations, Budapest! Well done!

1. Florence, Italy

2. Budapest, Hungary

3. Prague, Czech Republic

4. Rome, Italy


The Interior of Széchenyi Baths in Budapest

6. Kraków, Poland

7. Vienna, Austria

8. Siena, Italy

9. Salzburg, Austria

10. Bruges, Belgium

14 thoughts on “Congratulations, Budapest!

  1. Good for Budapest, it has come a long way! Still, English is hardly spoken anywhere, even though the city is full of tourists year-round.
    Also, speaking of gorgeous cities, what about Paris and Montpellier?

    • English is spoken in most places, I have had no problems during many visits over 30 years and the locals are very friendly and make every effort with a foreigner. As for Paris and Montpelier the locals there seem to resent visitors and go out of their way to make life difficult or more expensive than it needs to be for foreigners it’s no wonder French cities don’t figure on this list

      • I have lived in Budapest for 20 years. As for English speaking, little has changed since then and most of my friends here from a myriad of countries will tell you the same thing. At the post office, no one speaks english. At Media Markt, T-mobile, Spar supermarket, the same thing. In 8 out of 10 shops no english is spoken. This has been the experience of many expats and tourists here, and not only that: they often feel unwelcome here, they have had many experiences where they were denied help because they were foreigners or because they did not know hungarian. Just recently at a Nespresso stand at Stop Shop, I was refused to be served coffee because I did not speak Hungarian, and encountered a completely racist near-attack. A friend went to Media Markt just days ago, because there was something wrong with her phone, and out of 5 young people not one spoke any english – finally, she was explained that she is in hungary and should speak hungarian. In my experience and that of my many colleagues, friends and acquaintances, most of whom are from all over the world, a great majority will agree that though Bp is undeniably a beautiful city, its citizens in general seem negative, pessimistic, xenophobic, unfriendly, unhelpful and unwelcoming to foreigners. I have heard testimonies of this time and again. Truth be told, I myself have a great many Hungarian acquaintances and friends – but if we generalize, that is definitely the overall impression. As for Montpellier, I have been there several times in the last couple of years, and so has my sister, daughter and husband ; and we all agree that we haven’t had a friendlier welcome and a more positive experience in many years past. Paris, yes, does have a reputation for rudeness to travelers, no denying that……but English is still hardly spoken in Bp, and the people are hardly in favor of anything or anyone not hungarian – generally speaking, of course.

  2. Budapest always comes out on top. Keep in mind fifty years under Russia at school we had to learn Russian and not English. Today all our young generation speak English. They start learning in kindergarten. For the city we were always called little Paris. Thank you “CONDE NAST TRAVELER”

  3. Well this is an annual revolving door… the top 10 cities go up and down like a roller-coaster to keep folks chatting… I love Budapest but how can you compare it to Paris, Barcelona, Rome… they are worlds apart!

  4. I’m fortunate to visit all the cities in the Top 10 list. I went to Budapest in June 2015, this city is really beautiful, especially the night cruise along Danube River, the view is amazing! I like Fisherman Bastion too, very nice buildings and cathedrals. I’m Asian and I have no problem communicating in Budapest, the people can speak English :) I love Eastern Europe so much, hope to visit it again, especially Budapest, Prague, Krakow and Salzburg. Very very nice.

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