Hungary Travel Guide

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Hungary

A relatively small country, but full of impressive sightings, Hungary is one of the most charming and attractive tourist destinations in Europe and shouldn’t be missed if you’re planning on traveling in the area. Its landscape holds, among other natural beauties, Lake Balaton, which is the largest from Central Europe, several World Heritage Sites, UNESCO Biosphere reserves, a plethora of other lakes and rivers, Lake Hévíz, which is the second largest thermal lake in the world and much more. But the most enchanting offerings stand in its architectural wonders, which range from town houses, schools, churches to Roman ruins, everything being layered in history, art and elegance.

Hungary is situated in Central Europe and neighbors with Slovakia towards the north, Serbia to the south, Croatia and Slovenia towards the south west, Romania to the east and with Ukraine towards the north east. It spreads over an area of 93,030 square km and has a population of approximately 10 million.

Debrecen City

What to see, what to do

The first and most important destination you should reach once you’re in Hungary is the country’s gorgeous capital, Budapest, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. And it deserves to be so, through its relaxing bath-houses, impressive architecture that gathers and beautifully combines neoclassical, baroque or Art Nouveau styles. The capital is split in two parts by the Danube: Buda and Pest. The first is older and sits on the west side and must be seen for its historical buildings, like the Castle District, the Royal Palace, Fisherman’s Bastion or Matthias Church.
Pest is more lively and exciting, being the commercial centre, and holds the outstanding Parliament building, art galleries, a plethora of restaurants, clubs, bars and more.

royal palace

Once you’ve seen the refreshing and inspiring Budapest, you can visit Györ, a close town which is attractive for its architectural beauties, such as the Cathedral, town hall, Carmelite church, Museum of Roman Archaeology or the Benedictine church of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Kecskemét is another town you should visit if you’re interested in museums and art nouveau architecture. For another breath of culture, visit Eger, an old and lively city that will impress you with over 200 historical monuments. The medieval cities of Kőszeg and Sopron also combine gothic, baroque and renaissance styles and will charm your eyes with their imposing and memorable buildings.

Visit the large Lake Balaton for its numerous resorts, beaches and nightlife. Also in the area, you can visit the Balaton Uplands National Park, several winehills, thermal spas or go swimming, sailing, kite-surfing or hiking.

balaton

As I was previously saying, Hungary holds a good number of World Heritage sites that deserve to be seen: the lovely Budapest is one of them, along with the Hortobágy National Park, the Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst, the university town of Pécs, the preserved traditional village of Hollókő, the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma near Györ, the historical wine region of Tokaj-Hegyalja.

national parks

Food and drink

The Magyars are proud of their cuisine and you’ll find out why once you try some of their delicious traditional meals. These include Gulyás (goulash, the national dish) – soup with beef, capsicum and paprika, pörkölt or tokány – stew with paprika, Paprikás csirke – chicken with paprika, Kolbász – sausage with paprika, Gundel palacsint – a delicious pancake with chocolate, rum, walnuts and raisins, Töltött káposzta – stuffed cabbage and more.
The most common meats are pork and beef. Vegetarians or vegans will have no problems getting food, as there are plenty restaurants that offer proper menus for them or health food stores.

When it comes to drinks, the Magyars are a wine culture and have a plethora of wines to choose from. Among the popular regional drinks are Tokaji – dessert wine, Bikaver – strong red wine, Unicum – liqueur made from over 40 herbs, Pálinka – strong fruit brandy made either from apricots, pears or plums.

hungarian_food_goulash

Visa Requirements

Hungary is a member of the European Union and it signed the Schengen Treaty, hence if you’re a resident of the EU you can travel freely in and out with nothing else than your identity card, if any.  Else, you’ll only need a valid passport, no visa.

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