Leo Budapest (Outdoor Only)

A rooftop view in Budapest can amount to an impromptu 20th-century history lesson of Hungary. Scan the Danube's bank from atop, and you'll see classically-proportioned, grand buildings alternating, seemingly randomly, with glass and concrete boxes. Those modern structures, not all of them visually pleasing, sprung up during the communist era (1947-1989) to replace what's been flattened by WWII bombings.

You can see it for yourself at Leo, a sleek rooftop bar in Buda perched above the swanky Hotel Clark but open to the public. It's almost literally within arm's reach of the Chain Bridge, a historic Budapest landmark, with equally good views of the Buda Castle, and, well, the whole city. Taking in the views from here, even to locals, is an absorbing experience.

Accordingly, prices are pretty steep by Budapest standards, though not unreasonable—cocktails and aperitifs run €12. (If you're on a budget, grab some beers at a grocery store and hike up to the vantage point above the Buda Castle Tunnel nearby for similar views). Note that Leo usually fills up days in advance, so try booking early. Also, they're only open during the outdoor season, usually from May to September.

We visit all places incognito, pay for our own meals and drinks, and write independent reviews.