Hungary Travel Guide

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Hungary is a relatively small country located in Eastern Europe, with a population just shy of ten million and a land surface of 93,028 square kilometers. If I’d have to describe Hungary in just a sentence, I’d say that it makes for the odd-one out compared to its neighboring countries.

However, Hungary is “odd”in a good way, as it’s linguistically and culturally distinct from its surrounding neighbors, making for a hugely interesting travelling destination this summer.

To start with the most obvious thing, let me tell you a few factoids about its main city and capital, Budapest, which is widely regarded as a mirror-image to Austria’s Vienna, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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Budapest is a world in itself, a micro-Cosmos if you like, boasting its impeccably preserved castles and a beautiful landscape of oak forests and thermal springs.

Today’s Budapest is following into the steps of ancient Romans, who were the first to discover and benefit from the medicinal properties of the city’s hot waters, hence a visit to Budapest must include a trip to the local spas/touristic resorts, spending some quality time relaxing in the splendid bathhouses the city offers to its visitors.

Budapest is a lively city, stylish and elegant, which is composed of 2 distinct settlements, sitting on both sides of the Danube river. One half is the hilly Buda, which boasts its Habsburg legacy, i.e. the neoclassic and graceful architecture, while the second half, Pest, is the country’s commercial center, offering its visitors a unique opportunity to enjoy its art nouveaux architecture and its vivid night life.

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Basically, Budapest is a must-see urban center while visiting Hungary, offering some of the best natural delights together with a chance to meet a warm and welcoming populace. Lake Balaton is located south west of the capital, and it makes for the biggest lake in Europe, an excellent choice to spend this summer cooling off in Balaton’s top-notch tourist resorts.

Exploring Budapest, you must take a stroll on the city’s cobbled streets and enjoy the magnificent view of the river Danube along the way, which is especially terrific from the Fisherman’s Bastion. Also, Pest is home for the Museum of Applied Arts, the Hungary National Museum and the Hungarian Parliament building.

Baroque interior of The Great Church, Hungary Kecskemét

Baroque interior of The Great Church, Hungary Kecskemét

While visiting Hungary, when living Budapest for Szeged, remember to stop at  Kecskemét, a very interesting little town which is home for an excellent selection of art nouveaux architecture and several museums, but more importantly, here you can acquire the taste for palinka, a fruit brandy which is Hungary’s pride and joy. The locals use to say that palinka is a medicine taken in small amounts or a remedy in large amounts.

Pecs is the former European Capital of Culture, Hungary’s 5th largest city and home to one of Europe’s oldest universities. Also, while in Pecs you can stand in awe admiring some of the finest architectural wonders dating back to the Ottoman period, especially the mosque of Gázi Kászim Pasha which was built almost 500 years ago. Don’t forget to take a peek at the Early Christian Metropolis, which is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, along with many buildings from the Habsburg era.

Hortobágy National Park sits on a huge grassy area in eastern Hungary and it makes for the perfect place for nature lovers, especially bird-watching aficionados. This magic place also sits on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and it’s a sanctuary for 350 bird species, including warblers, storks, rare great bustards and herons.

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Together with palinka, Hungary is world renowned for its Bull’s Blood wine, which is best sampled while visiting  Szépasszony Valley’s vineyards. Here you can enjoy some of the best red-wines in the whole wide world; I must recommend you Miskolc-Tokaj’s area distinctive dessert-wines, which are absolutely wonderful.

Speaking about wines and palinka, I must confess that Hungarian cuisine is excellent, being a melange of Turkish, French and Central European, best known for its paprika, garlic and sour cream use. Specialties include spicy soups made with paprika and fresh fish, the Hungarian goulash, made from capsicum, paprika soup and hearty beef, paprika chicken, kidney bean soup, sausage spiced with paprika and egg dumplings.

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As per Visa requirements, Hungary is an EU member and it signed the Schengen treaty, hence no Visa is required unless you’re from outside of the EU, in which case you’ll only need a valid passport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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