Budget

Best Vacation Deals 2009

by Bob Payne

Budapest

Budapest isn't the new Prague: It is the old Prague, when Prague was affordable. This city on the Danube—especially attractive to walkers, spa-goers, and admirers of eclectic architecture—represents the best of a post-Communist, free-market society, and the perils of it, too. Once low-cost airlines became attracted to the Hungarian capital like bees to royalty, a synergistic boom in hotels, restaurants, and nightlife followed. Only now, with tourism slumping and the local currency, the forint, being taken out into an alley, stood up against a wall, and slapped around by the euro and the dollar, locals are becoming acquainted with the capitalistic concept known as price-slashing. Take advantage and get a room for $140 (versus the normal rate, $250) at one of the city's finest hotels, the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal. Or, for a sense of Budapest history, try the Burg Hotel, in the Castle District, where doubles cost $134 and up. And if you don't mind flying on an airline called Wizz Air, you can get from London Luton to Budapest for as little as $54.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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