Natural beauty in the heart of Central Europe
Hungary is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and its capital, Budapest, is generally regarded as one of the most beautiful. Home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Biosphere reserves, it boasts Central Europe’s largest lake (Lake Balaton), natural grassland (Hortobágy), greatest synagogue and biggest medicinal bath amongst other national treasures! Split by the romantic River Danube, Hungary lies in the very heart of Europe and is the ideal entry point for Central and Eastern Europe. The country offers low mountains in the north-west, the Great Plain in the east, myriad lakes and rivers and many beautiful small villages. By all means visit the tourist attractions of Lake Balaton and the Danube, but for the best of Hungary you might need to wander off the beaten track. Northeastern Hungary is rich in culture, whilst the hills of Southern Transdanubia are carpeted in vineyards.
Go for the fishing, horse riding, botany, bird-watching and cycling. Go for the thermal spas, Jewish culture, the vineyards and paprika-peppered food. Hungary thrums with a distinctive language, ancient Magyar culture and a natural beauty which cannot fail to delight.
When to Go?
Hungary enjoys a temperate climate, with regional variations across the country. Summers are warm (temperatures average 26°C in July and August) and winters can be cold, damp and windy. Resorts get crowded in summer, so spring and autumn (harvest and vintage season) can be the best times to travel. Don’t be lured by romantic notions of winters on the Great Plain though – many tourist attractions are closed.
How to get there?
Hungary is served by three international airports – Budapest Ferihegy Airport (BUD) in Budapest, Airport Debrecen in Debrecen and FlyBalaton Airport in Sármellék. Malev Hungarian Airlines fly direct from London Gatwick, and British Airways from London Heathrow. Low cost carriers have made flights to Hungary very affordable: Easyjet fly direct to Budapest from London Gatwick and Luton, Ryanair fly from Bristol, East Midlands and Glasgow Prestwick, and Jet2 from Manchester.
Budapest, Hungary’s vibrant capital is a world-class centre of cafés, clubs and culture. Head to Eger for its Baroque architecture, castles and red wine – make sure you taste Bull’s Blood (Bikavér). Don’t miss Lake Balaton and Hollókő, a beautiful preserved village rich in folk traditions. Esztergom is home to the biggest church in Central Europe and Szeged, the cultural capital of the Great Plain, is said to be the sunniest city in Hungary. Soak up some thermal healing at Hévíz, Europe’s largest thermal lake, or visit the fabulous cave bath in Miskolc-Tapolca near the Bükk hills.