Sandwiched between Eastern and Western Europe, Hungary has been ruled by Romans, Austrian Hapsburgs, and Ottoman Turks –to name but a few – and each has left their mark. Straddling the Danube, the twin city of Budapest dates from Buda's earliest days as a Roman outpost and rivals Vienna as the most elegant city on the river. Wide avenues and cathedrals are watched over by imposing Buda Castle, besieged no less than 31 times in its 750-year history. Hungary's spas will pamper you, its wine beguile you, and its architecture stun you so much you'd swear you were in more affluent Western Europe. But the traditional countryside – and the prices – will pinch you out of that dream.