But what gives the Hungarian capital an edge is that this capital has two parts, Buda and Pest, separated by the River Danube as it flows past landmarks like the decorative parliament building and the magnificent Buda Palace. The city also gets its charm from the many impressive bridges that stretch across the Danube to connect the two sides. The Chain Bridge, in particular, is a beautiful sight when lit up in the evenings.

Budapest itself has quite a story to tell, from Turkish occupation in the 15th century to communist rule, which – in the context of the city’s long history – ended relatively recently in 1991. Don’t expect to see any obvious Iron Curtain remnants around the place, however: much of the evidence of Budapest’s communist era and the remains of monuments of Stalin, Marx and Lenin were torn down or removed by the Hungarian people and, now, the statues are about 10km from the city at Statue Park.

This eerie collection of stone figures is open to the public and it’s well worth the 30-minute bus ride from the city centre to see exhibits such as Stalin’s enormous concrete boots – all that was left of the only Stalin statue in Budapest. The statue, which during its heyday stood 25 metres tall, was destroyed in the Revolution of 1956, when crowds of people pulled it down and joyfully smashed it to pieces.

Having done with these dismal vestiges of the past, the locals seem to have cleared the way for non-stop partying. The stags and hens are pouring in and, if you venture out at night, you’ll soon learn why. See if you can keep up with the home team at these bars and clubs.

Leafy and relaxed outdoor bar Sakkert is on Margit Island, about a 10-minute walk from the Margit Bridge. Sit under the stars and have a beer or two – or some apricot schnapps.

Gordor Klub
The Hungarian underground music scene is alive here as local bands play from 9pm. The club was built in what was planned to be an underground car park for a museum, but said museum ended up being built in another location. The glass roof of the bar is the glass bottom of a shallow fountain pool in the city square. Check out artists’ exhibits from at this hip joint.

Szimpla Kert
Translated to ‘Simple Garden’ in English, this place was once a condemned block of flats but it was bought and revamped into a lively bar packed with partying local students. It’s well off the beaten track and you can get cheap booze and even cheaper Hungarian food here with a band in the beer garden.

‘Clutch’ in English, the walls of this open-plan bar once housed a mechanic’s garage. Now within its graffiti-covered walls you can drink away under a giant dinosaur-shaped lantern collection.

Marxim Bar
It’s cheesy and the tourists love it: this bar has aimed to recreate a drinking spot from the country’s Communist era. On the menu is Pizza à la Kremlin and Papa Marx’s Favourite, and the place is adorned with communist flags and wall paintings.

Across the garden path from Sakkert, you can sit under hanging lanterns at Holdudvar Bar. Follow the sound of the pumpin’ stereo.

• Amelia Bentley travelled to Budapest with the Hungarian National Tourist Office (www.gotohungary.co.uk) and Malev Hungarian Airlines (www.malev.com) who have return flights to Budapest from London for £90 return.