Ok, I think I am not objective when I judge Budapest as I was born here, and I have been living here for most of my life. But I definitely love Budapest and I think this is one of the best cities or better to say it has the potential to be one of the best cities.
There are some given things what make Budapest attractive:
Budapest has a classic continental climate. For tourism the season is between early April and late August but in fact between the middle of March and October the weather is perfect to any outside activities. The winter is cold here, and in a big city the lot of snow is always rather troublesome but for example the Christmas season with all those special lights make Budapest again very attractive.
The Danube divides Budapest into Buda and Pest. The river is pretty wide here that provides breathtaking views to the city from the bridges or even from the Danube bank. The landscape of Budapest is simply beautiful.
Some says that Budapest is like a fairy tale. The Buda Castle on the top of the hill, the elegant bridges and all the buildings of the downtown creates a late XIXth Century atmosphere. Apart from the touristy aspects I like the structure of the old houses in the Budapest downtown. The high ceilings, the green backyards and the funny corridors.
Big city life
Maybe it is matter of size but Budapest definitely has a life. When it comes to culture, entertainment, nightlife, outdoor activities or shopping Budapest provides everything. Doesn't matter which subculture you belong to, in Budapest most likely you will find your niche. There are many foreigners (expats) living in the city, Budapest is popular among Western Europeans or Americans as it provides all these beauty for a price which is unbelievable in their countries. An entire industry is serving them in Budapest. Movies, theatre, dentists and health services, education and shopping are all available in English.
To be honest everything I wrote above is available not as a result of a good governance but spite of anything they call government here. I do not want to open a file for politics but definitely Budapest would deserve more. Everything that is exciting in Budapest is made by the people here. The ruin pubs, the exciting art projects and architectures, the more and more popular movement of the bicycle riders or the existing re-born of the VIIIth district. These are successful initiatives that shaped the life of Budapest lately but most of them are not official programmes supported or even encouraged by the city hall.
The quality of public services including transportation or health services are in critical conditions. The corruption became a state standard and Budapest starts to be a city of huge unequalities. Until October I will live in the downtown and I can experience the huge difference between the shiny inner city and the suburbs.
Very nice to see the new luxury stores of the Andrássy Avenue but to to every entrance they have to hire guards to send away the homeless people who used to sleep at their walls.
My lovely city starts to be a scene of a Latin-American movie where the few "haves" are living a life in closed and defended circles while the plebs are excluded from everything that used to be our Budapest.
This city is very promissing it would be a pity to create a black hole from it in the middle of Europe.