It was interesting to visit Budapest, the Hungarian capital, this month. It used to be two cities - Buda on the hilly side and Pest on the flat side. The Danube flows between Buda and Pest, which are linked by seven bridges.

Budapest has beautiful squares, wide, clean tree-lined streets and magnificent architecture - grand banks, grander apartments, the Opera House and the cathedral.

Budapest's stunning Parliament building overlooks the river and is modelled in part on our Houses of Parliament.

Why so large a building for just 10m people? Because Hungary used to be much bigger and boasted a coastline. Now it's land-locked.

In contrast to the grandeur are the 1960s concrete apartment blocks which are cold in winter and hot in summer, with no sound-proofing.

Budapest is but 15 years into freedom from communism and The Danube is busy with river boats, the Opera fully booked and bars and restaurants buzzing.

If you want a holiday that includes spas, horse riding, bird watching, culture, walking, sailing or cycling, you'll find it here. It's great value, too.

To arrange a holiday in Hungary, book with an AITO Specialist Travel Agent ( ) or with an AITO operator - or ring 020 8744 9280 for a list of travel specialists.