Buda Castle towers over the River Danube
Buda Castle towers over the River Danube ©Getty Images

Budapest is ...
• The capital of Hungary.
• A city formed by the merger of Buda and Obuda, on the west bank of the Danube, with Pest on the east.
• Home to 80 geothermal springs and the world's largest thermal water cave system.
• The city that gave the world Ferenc Puskás and many of the other 'Magical Magyars' of the 1950s.
• A city of science: key Budapest inventions and discoveries include the ballpoint pen, the Rubik's cube and vitamin C.

Where is it
Follow the river Danube around 300km from Vienna, past Bratislava, and you will eventually hit Budapest, which is right at the centre of the Carpathian Basin, around 7,000km from both New York and Beijing.

The venue was named in honour of Ferenc Puskás
The venue was named in honour of Ferenc Puskás©Getty Images

Puskás Ferenc Stadion
• Work began on Budapest's new stadium, named after its most famous footballing export, in 2016 and is expected to finish in 2019.
• The completed venue will have an all-seated capacity of over 65,000, and it will become the new home of the Hungarian national team.
• The old Puskás Ferenc Stadion has been bulldozed to make way for the new arena, the one-time Népstadion (People's Stadium) having been inaugurated back in 1953.
• The old ground witnessed England's heaviest international defeat; they lost 7-1 to Hungary on 23 May 1954.
• Non-footballing stars to have played at the original venue include Queen, Genesis, U2, Guns'n'Roses, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson and Depeche Mode.

Matches at the Puskás Ferenc Stadion
16 June, time tbc – Group F match
20 June, time tbc – Group F match
24 June, time tbc – Group F match
28 June, time tbc – Round of 16 (1C v 3D/E/F)

Getting to and around Budapest
Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport – named after the composer, better known abroad as Franz Liszt – is 16km out of the city. Budapest has a substantial metro system, including Line 1 – the oldest underground railway in continental Europe – as well as trams, though the stadium is perfectly placed for those who prefer to walk, lying around 1km from the city's central railway station.

Where to stay
Budapest is a major tourist destination, with a good number of centrally-located, international hotels and plenty of cheaper options too. See useful links below.

The view across Chain Bridge
The view across Chain Bridge©Getty Images

What to see
For culture: The impressive Budapest History Museum offers art as well as history inside the imposing Buda Castle, while the city's cathedral, synagogue and sobering House of Terror Museum are recommended.
For atmosphere: A UNESCO World Heritage site, the 1km-long Castle Hill takes in plenty of key sites, notably Trinity Square, Matthias Church (Mátyás templom) and Fisherman's Bastion (Halászbástya)
For fresh air: Crossing the Danube via the Chain Bridge is something of a must for tourists, as is a trip out to Margaret Island, which has great places to jog and swim in addition to a thermal spa and wildlife park.

Eating and drinking
Sweet paprika is the keynote taste of Hungary, and while Budapest has plentiful international options for fussy eaters, a heavy gulyás (gulash) soup and trademark stews Pörkölt and papriká (the latter with soured cream) should be sampled, along with rich local pastries. In terms of drink, sweet Tokai wine is world famous, while fruit brandy Pálinka and fruit beers are more of a well-kept local secret.

Football in the city
Debrecen's successes since the turn of the millennium have muddied the waters a little, but Budapest clubs have dominated Hungary. The most fiercely contested local derby is the one between the Green-and-Whites of Ferencváros and the Purples of Újpest, though MTK Budapest, the one-time Hungarian army team Honvéd and Vasas, founded by the Hungarian union of ironworkers, have all been major forces locally, and in UEFA competitions, at different times.

Get out of the city
While central Budapest maintains its golden age splendour, a great vista into its more recent history is available at Memento Park, out in the city's southwest fringes, which now houses some of the huge monuments that dominated the Hungarian skyline during the communist era. Gödöllő Palace, to the northwest of the centre, is a more relaxing reminder of Hungary's Baroque-period grandeur.

Useful links
Budapest Tourism: http://www.budapest.com/
Lonely Planet: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/hungary/budapest
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest
Puskás Ferenc Stadion: http://mnsk.hu/en/letesitmeny/puskas-ferenc-stadion/
Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ): http://www.mlsz.hu/

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