Happily, for American travelers burned out on European exchange rates, the global recession has pushed back Hungary’s plans for Euro adoption indefinitely, and the dollar remains strong against the Hungarian forint. Budapest also presents a better value than regional tourist favorite Prague, whose surge in popularity in the last decade has translated into inflated prices for visitors. Visitors in 2010 will be able to enjoy the “Year of Festivals,” highlighting cultural heritage programs as promoted by the Hungarian National Tourist Office, as well as new developments like the debut of the four-star Continental Hotel Budapest, sister to trendy Boutique Hotel Budapest, slated to open in June. To date, Delta is the only airline that flies direct from the U.S. to Budapest, and while a non-stop flight there may be slightly pricier than one to say, Paris or London, the city is additionally serviced by low-cost European carriers Ryanair, easyJet, and Wizz Air, so it’s easy to find a cheap connection from other European hubs. Worth a side trip is Pécs (about 3 hours from Budapest by train), which is designated a European Capital of Culture in 2010; this diverse city steeped in Roman, medieval, and Ottoman history will host concerts, exhibitions, and festivals all year long. Look for combined package deals for Budapest and Pécs from companies like Tatra Travel.