Hungary (know by Hungarians as Magyarország “Land of Magyars,”) is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordering Slovakia to the north, Austria to the west and Slovenia and Croatia to the south west. The capital, Budapest, is bisected by the Danube River. Ancient Roman ruins, baroque churches, medieval towns and fascinating architecture make Hungary a treasure trove to be discovered. Turkish and Roman influence on Hungarian culture includes the popularity of mineral spas, including at thermal Lake Hévíz. Hungarian cuisine is sophisticated yet homely and just another reason why foodies particularly love to visit this great country.
HUNGARY TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
When it comes to classic good looks steeped in history and culture, Hungary’s capital totally delivers. Budapest has something for everyone! From dramatic history and fantastic architecture to outdoor spas and ruin bars. Budapest’s therapeutic thermal spas and hearty restaurants serving Hungarian fare like Goulash, make it perfect for a winter trip. Summer is for open air pools and leafy strolls on Margaret’s Island in the middle of the majestic Danube.
Cruise the Danube River
Seeing all of Budapest’s top sites from a river boat by taking a cruise along the Danube. The Danube is Europe’s second longest river and was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire. Today the Danube flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world. There are several cruise options, including a leisurely night cruise through Budapest or an all-day cruise through Visegrad, Szentendre, and Estergom. Boat companies are situated at the banks of the River and cruises run daily, throughout the year.
Hungarian Parliament, Budapest
Hungarian Parliament is a notable landmark of Hungary and a top tourist destination in Budapest. It’s a magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture and just over 100 years old. You can find the Hungarian Parliament in Kossuth Square, in the Pest side of the city, standing tall on the banks of the Danube. Across from the parliament building is a large square where rallies are often held. A number of tours in different languages run every day. Book online and explore the beauty of the Hungarian Parliament.
Hortobagy National Park
Hortobágy National Park is a unique example of the harmonic interaction of man and nature. It’s Hungary’s first national park and became a World Heritage site in 1999. Rich with cultural history and folklore, the park, a part of the Alföld, was designated as a national park in 1973. A part of the park is used for farming, and the visitors can learn a few traditional agricultural techniques of Hungary. On the other side of the National Park, you can find a vast range of plants and wildlife, including semi-wild and rare Przewalski Horses.
Aggtelek Karst Caves
The Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst is a UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of 712 caves spread out over a total area of 55,800 ha (138,000 acres) along the border of Hungary and Slovakia. It is the largest stalactite cave system in Europe, and its stalactite and stalagmite formations are spectacular. Why not go in the cave in Hungary and come out in Slovakia!
Read more: Top 10 things to do in Hungary
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HUNGARY TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Budapest Fringe Festival
Similar to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this is an annual festival that takes place during Spring in Budapest. The festival was first held in 2006 and now takes place every year. Around 500 talented artists come together to perform roughly 50 dance, music, alternative theatre and comedy shows.
Busójárás takes place in February in the town of Mohacs and celebrates the carnival season. The celebration features Busós and includes folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing. Busójárás lasts six days and usually takes place in February. Men from villages don scary masks and perform marches on the streets. Initially the Sokci people, a Croatian minority, used to celebrate the festival but now it has become popular with all locals and tourists.
Badacsony Wine Week
Baadcsony is situated on the shore of Lake Balton and is famous for the wine. The city plays host to numerous folk art and wine-related events that go on every year for about two weeks. The festival involves tasting wine and is a learning (and merry) experience for wine lovers. Tasting is followed by many fun activities such as art and craft exhibitions, folk performances and live music.
Language: The official language of Hungary is Hungarian. English is also widely spoken as many people who live in Hungary are fluent in English due to working in the tourism industry.
Currency: Hungarian Forint.
Visa: Visiting Hungary will usually require a valid passport and visa for any travelers that are not from the European Union. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for Hungary is required, which will depend on the country you are from, and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: In Hungary the standard voltage is 220-240 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in Hungary, if the standard voltage in your country is between 220 – 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa). Buy a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet Hungary: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN HUNGARY
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in Hungary are listed below.
Goulash: One of the national dishes of Hungary and a symbol of the country. A traditional Hungarian Goulash is a soup or stew that is usually filled with tender beef and onions spiced with paprika. Many versions add other vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, peppers, and tomatoes. Originating in medieval Hungary, goulash is a common meal mainly eaten in Central Europe but also in other parts of Europe too.
Langos: Langos is Hungarian fried bread, sometimes called Hungarian pizza. It is a favorite street and fair food that has a yeast dough made with mashed potatoes and flour. It comes with an assortment of toppings and can be served with cheese, sour cream, garlic sauce or sausages.
Fozelek: The főzelék is a traditional Hungarian vegetable-based meal, not quite like a soup, and thinner than a stew. Főzelék, which probably translates best as creamed vegetables, is a very popular Hungarian dish that you must try.
Somloi Galuska: This is a traditional Hungarian sponge cake that has been described as “Hungary’s favorite dessert”. The sponge cake is coated with chocolate and topped with walnuts, whipped cream, and rum.
Fisherman’s Soup: Just like goulash, this is also cooked in a kettle over a fire and is considered one of the national dishes of Hungary. The soup is prepared with river fish and flavored with paprika which gives the dish its red color.
WHERE TO STAY IN HUNGARY
Hungary is a reasonably affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Hungary is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to Hungary affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget. Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, Hungary will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in Hungary can cost less than 100 euros.
If you’re looking for accommodation that includes luxury amenities and comforts then there will be endless options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Budapest or Debrecen. Whatever month you choose to visit Hungary, it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have been snapped up already. Hungary is an extremely popular year-round destination with business travelers and backpackers.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Hungary. However, if you are backpacking in Hungary or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Hungary very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies where ever you go.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT HUNGARY
The best time to visit Hungary is in May and June or September and October when the weather is reliably sunny. It is also less crowded at these times than the summer months of July and August which are high season and can be very hot, more expensive and extremely crowded, especially during the afternoons.
HUNGARY TRAVEL BUDGET
Hungary is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to Hungary really depends on the level of comfort you want. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between 50 to 100 euros per day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between 100 to 250 euros per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget at least 250 to 500+ euros per day.
IS HUNGARY SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Safety does not need to be a huge concern for women travelers in Hungary which is considered a generally very safe country to visit. As with any country you visit, always be extra careful when walking alone or at night. Some parts of Hungary aren’t as safe as other areas so do your research before you go and avoid these places. Based on many years of travel in Europe I would never leave home without insurance and recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your Hungary trip.
HUNGARY VISA CHECKER
HUNGARY FLIGHT DEALS
HUNGARY TOURS & ACTIVITIES
HUNGARY PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to Hungary, like most other places in Europe, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to Hungary.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our awesome finds with you.
If you’re visiting Hungary during the warmer months it will be much easier to travel light. Pack mainly lightweight and breathable clothing but still be prepared for cold mornings and evenings depending on the month you visit. You’ll need to wrap up warm between November and February. So pack a warm sweater, waterproof coat, gloves, scarves and a wooly hat if you’re traveling during winter.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Hungary include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.