Prague is the capital city and largest city of the Czech Republic. It is one of the largest cities of Central Europe and has served as the capital of the historic region of Bohemia for centuries. The city is famous for its unique medieval architecture, the historical centre of Prague is inscribed in the World Heritage List.
Bratislava doesn’t provoke admiring swoons; it intrigues. In the midst of Slovakia’s capital, a flying saucer hovers above forest-fringed riverbanks. Its castle presides over a pastel-hued old town, but a concrete jungle looms behind. Despite the march of modernism, Bratislava is green. It banks the Danube River, by the Austrian border, and its hilly parks are threaded with hiking and biking trails. The Male Karpaty (Small Carpathians) roll north, with vineyards in their lowlands.
Budapest, Hungary’s capital, is bisected by the River Danube. Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. A funicular runs up Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town, where the Budapest History Museum traces city life from Roman times onward. Trinity Square is home to 13th-century Matthias Church and the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion, which offer sweeping views.
East of the river, Pest’s neo-Gothic Parliament Building houses the Holy Crown of St. Stephen. St. Stephen’s Basilica displays the saint’s right hand. The Dohány Street Synagogue contains a museum, a memorial and a cemetery. Grand boulevard Andrássy Avenue passes the neoclassical Hungarian State Opera House on its way to Heroes’ Square, where statues commemorate the creation of the Hungarian state, and there are 2 art museums. The ornate Széchenyi thermal baths complex in adjoining City Park is one of many in Budapest, and part of an enduring Hungarian mineral bathing tradition.