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Nowhere in Europe is there a city that is easier to pretend to be a local - if you forget about the language. Budapest apartments have an old world charm but often have been updated to allow for all modern conveniences. Most holiday flats are in buildings with lifts but it is always important not to assume that your fifth floor flat, for example, will have one. Check with your prospective landlord about lifts or any other features that are "must-haves" on your vacation checklist. Many flats have Wi-Fi, some have washers and dryers but never assume anything. But in a city as magical as Budapest, do you really want to spend your days or nights on the Internet or doing laundry?

Much like Paris, Budapest is divided into a spiral of districts. Growth has made the lay-out a little confusing from afar but, in reality, the areas around which one will travel will be much easier to navigate when you're there. The city is divided by the River Danube with one-third to the west of the river, the section that was originally Buda, and two-thirds to the east, what was Pest.

The city centre of Budapest is made up of four districts on the Buda side (Districts I, II, XI and XII) and six districts on the Pest side (Districts V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and XIII). Buda is extremely hilly while Pest is flat.

If your holiday flat is in Pest, you'll find yourself at the center of the commercial and financial part of the city. It's a mix of Renaissance and modern architecture, with historical sites juxtaposed with new buildings. Lovely flats are readily available in Pest, the area of the city with the most action. If you enjoy shopping at high-end boutiques, make sure that your flat is close to Vaci utca , a pedestrian-only shopping area that caters to both tourists and locals. Located in District V, the area called Inner City or Belvaras is also known for its lively bars and good restaurants.

You also might want to consider Theresa Town, or Terezvaros , in District VI as your home away from home. In this section, you'll find flats on the elegant Andrassy ut , plentiful shopping, the Opera House and St. Stephen's Basilica. This district is slightly farther from the river but connected to the entire city by three metro lines.

If you want to avoid large hotels and areas that are more popular with tourists, you may want to try Watertown, or Vizivaras , in District II on the Buda side of the river. While not far from the Danube, it is still rather hilly and may require that you walk through small alleys with stairways rather than on the proper streets that you'll find on the Pest side. Because of the hills, your flat may have lovely views of the Danube and Pest. The area has cobblestone streets, good restaurants and plenty of charm.

Regardless of where you stay, a holiday flat in Budapest most likely will be roomy and comfortable. Most flats have maintained their old world charm but have added many modern amenities like Wi-Fi and air conditioning so it is possible to feel that you're in another century without giving up all of the modern conveniences that you are used to.


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