Hungary: Five essential things to consider before you go

1 Szimpla Kert is Budapest's most iconic ruin pub: park yourself in the Trabant car in the courtyard, order a regional wine or smoke a shisha pipe.

2 Hungarians take their spas seriously. Head to Szechenyi Thermal Baths in City Park. If the labyrinth of indoor pools and saunas is too claustrophobic, lounge in the outdoor pools or take a spin along the lazy river.

3 The Pest side of the Danube is best for after-dark action. Check out the free jam sessions at Budapest Jazz Club.

4 Near the Parliament building find one of the city's most poignant sculptures: 60 pairs of cast-iron shoes honour Jews shot into the Danube during World War II.

5 Nineteen of 28 European Union countries use the euro but Hungary isn't one of them – its currency is the forint.