Leaving aside the business of finding accommodation, the best source of information
is the National Tourist Office's Tourinform
at V, Süto utca 2, just around the corner from Deák tér metro (daily 8am-8pm; tel 1/438-8080, www.hungarytourism.hu
). Their friendly polyglot staff can answer just about any question on Budapest
or travel elsewhere in Hungary. If you need information outside these hours you can go to the 24-hour office nearby at Vigadó utca 6 (tel 1/438-8080); this is also the office of the tourist police, Policeinform, where you can report any problems you might have and ask advice. The Budapest
Tourist Office ( www.Budapestinfo.hu
) also has a couple of information offices in the city: at Liszt Ferenc tér 11 (daily: May-Sept 10am-10pm; Oct-April 10am-6pm; tel 1/322-4098); and in the Várhegy district on Szentháromság tér (daily 8am-8pm; tel 1/488-0453).
It's a good idea to get hold of a proper map of the city at the earliest opportunity. The small freebies supplied by tourist offices give an idea of Budapest's layout and principal monuments, but lack detail. Larger, folding maps are sold all over the place, but their size makes them cumbersome. For total coverage you can't beat the wirebound Budapest Atlasz , available in bookshops for 1300Ft, which shows every street, bus and tram route, and the location of restaurants, museums and such like. It also contains enlarged maps of the Vár, central Pest, Margit sziget (Margit Island) and the Városliget (City Park), plus a comprehensive index.
Details of what's on can be found in the magazines Where Budapest (free in hotels), the weekly Budapest Sun (around 250Ft), Budapest in your pocket (300Ft, or distributed free on Malév planes), and the Hungarian-language listings weeklies, Pesti Est (free in cinema foyers) and Pesti Musor (available at newsagents for 99Ft).
Although Budapest can easily be explored without a guide, if you're hard-pressed for time you might appreciate a two- to three-hour city tour . These range in price from 4800Ft to 6000Ft (or 8000Ft if combined with a visit to the parliament building) and can be booked through Budapest Tourist (tel 1/318-6600), Ibusz (tel 1/317-7767) or Buda Tours (tel 1/302-6278; VI, Andrássy út 2). Ibusz and Budapest Tourist also organize guided tours of the parliament building, combined with visits to the Ethnographic Museum or the National Gallery. Few of the walking tours on offer are worth the money, with the exception of those around the old Jewish area behind the Dohány utca synagogue.