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Hungary Travel Guide

Hungary, Hungary Travel Guide
Hungary
Hungary

“It’s beautiful here. They say that, of course, that Budapest is beautiful. But it is, in fact, almost ludicrously beautiful. A riot of gorgeous architectural styles, palaces, grand public spaces, former mansions of various princelings, the remains of a long-gone empire still here, still here.” 

anthony bourdain

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Hungary, Hungary Travel Guide

Top Six Destinations In Hungary

  1. Budapest The capital of Hungary, is one of the must-see destinations in Hungary. It is a city in a stunning natural setting with a rich architectural and historical heritage. It offers an unmatched combination of culture, gastronomy, and the advantages of thermal waters and UNESCO World Heritage sights.

    Divided in two by the Danube, the city is made up of Buda on one side: with Ottoman-era thermal baths at the foot of Gellért Hill, the royal palace, and Matthias Church, it radiates calm and peace.

    On the other side lies Pest, vibrant and lively, with its slew of museums rich in cultural and historical treasures, extraordinary Art Nouveau architecture, its majestic Parliament building, Saint Stephen’s Basilica surrounded by pedestrian streets, and its entirely renovated Jewish Quarter and Palace District. Massive murals and ruin bars full of random décor bring a unique aspect to the city. Budapest is brimming with urban art.
  2. Veszprem The city is between the Bakony Hills’ wooded slopes and Lake Balaton’s northern shore. It has rare and distinct natural and environmental assets and an attractive cityscape. Eszprém is known by the slogan the City of Queens.

    Besides its location, its topography also makes it particularly attractive. Rising above the valley of the Séd Stream, the Baroque buildings on Castle Hill are the city’s most significant landmark. Several ecclesiastical memorial sites share the story of the city’s thousand-year past and rich history.
  3. Eger Is one of Hungary’s most famous towns, known for its superior wines, natural healing water springs, and impressive monuments. It was founded in 1004 BC, around the time King Stephen brought Christianity to Hungary, making it predominantly Christian. Eger is influenced by Christian and Turkish culture, Baroque, and Classicist architecture.

    The town has a charming medieval atmosphere, where a thousand-year-old castle, thirty-eight temple towers, and hills with vineyards provide a compelling backdrop.
  4. Heviz Is a charming town just 2 1/2 hours from Budapest and Vienna. The name of this town means hot water. The world’s largest natural thermal lake, good for swimming, can be found here. It is the place to relax as it is a quiet, peaceful place amidst lush green forests. A place where you can bathe among colorful water lilies in the gentle turquoise thermal water. A place that is invigorating and revitalizing.
  5. Pecs Is the fifth largest city in Hungary and is located near the Croatian border. It is one of the must-visit places in Hungary.

    Recognized for its architecture, Pecs has a unique heritage, such as the domed Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim (built during the Ottoman occupation), the Cathedral Towers, and the Early Christian Mausoleum in Europe.

    With its unique UNESCO heritage, bars, restaurants, trendy shops, the relaxed and sparkling atmosphere of the city, and strong culture, it is the perfect Hungary stop.
  6. Szentendre Is located on the Danube River and 40 minutes from Budapest; renowned for its baroque architecture, it is also famous for its colorful houses and cobblestone streets.

    You will also find numerous art galleries in Szentendre and a rich architectural heritage, such as the 18th Century Greek Orthodox Blagovestenska Church.

Did you know?

Hungary Stats

  • Population: 9.7 million (2022).
  • Capital City: Budapest. The city is actually two cities; Buda and Pest.
  • Currency: Forint (HUF).
  • Government type: Unitary Parliamentary Republic.
  • National colors: red, white, green.
  • National symbols: Holy Crown of Hungary (Crown of Saint Stephen).
  • National Anthem: “Himnusz” (Hymn).
  • Area 35,919 Square miles
  • Ethnic populations: German 88.5%, indigenous minorities 1.5% (includes Croatians, Slovenes, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma), recent immigrant groups 10% (includes Turks, Bosnians, Serbians, Croatians) (2018).
  • Languages: Hungarian (official). There are 44 letters in their alphabet.
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 55%, Orthodoxy 5.1 Other Christina 3.8 No religion 26%, Muslim 8.3%, other 1.2%.
  • The Hungarian Parliament is the 3rd largest parliament building in the world, with 691 rooms and 12 miles of stairs.
  • The Hungarian parliament in Budapest is the world’s third-largest and tallest parliamentary building in the capital city. It is also counted among the oldest legislative buildings in Europe.
  • Terrain: mostly flat to rolling plains; hills and low mountains on the Slovakian border
  • Major Moutain Ranges North Hungarian, Transdanubian
  • US State Department Risk Level: Level? (2022).
  • Terrorist groups:
  • President: Katalin Novák.
  • Hungary is a landlocked nation.
  • Hungary joined NATO in 1999 and the EU in 2004.
  • Borders: Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Ukraine.
  • The main waterway in Hungary, the Danube River, is the second longest river in Europe at 1,800 miles.
  • Industries: mining, metallurgy, construction materials, processed foods, textiles, chemicals (especially pharmaceuticals), motor vehicles.
  • Exports: $123.83 billion (2020 est.)
    cars, vehicle parts, packaged medicines, spark-ignition engines, video displays, and broadcasting equipment (2019).
  • Imports: $120.25 billion (2020 est.)
    cars, vehicle parts, integrated circuits, packaged medicines, broadcasting equipment, and crude petroleum (2019).
  • GDP Nominal 2023$ 421 billion.
  • Hungary was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  • Life expectancy is 75.62 years old. Austria’s Median age is 42.
  • Literacy rate of 99.1%.

Fun Facts

  • They host the largest European cultural and musical festival – the Sziget Festival. The Budapest Spring Festival is another such festival, attracting musicians and artists from all over the world.
  • Budapest, the Hungarian capital, has the world’s highest number of thermal springs. 70 million liters of thermal water rise to the earth’s surface daily. These hot springs are good for health and have been used as medicinal baths since the times of the Romans. Budapest is located in the north-central part of the country.
  • Hungary has 22 distinct wine regions and eight grape varieties, so it can also be called a wine country.
  • The world’s oldest demarcated official wine region is not Provence, but Tokaj in Hungary. 
  • Hungarians write their last name first and first name last. They introduce themselves in this formal way. However people call each other by their first name, but in public introductions, they use their last name first.
  • Hungary became a democratic republic in October 1989.
  • Their water polo team is the best in the sport’s history, with 15 Olympic medals.
  • You cannot name your child in Hungary unless the government approves it. They have an extensive list of names, and if the name of your choice is missing from the list, fill out the form for approval with the Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  • August 20 is the day of the Hungarian State’s foundation, a holiday in Hungary.
  • Hungary also has one of the oldest metro railways in the world, dating back to 1896.
  • Hungarians are intelligent people. They have invented some of the most popular and useful things ever. Hungarian inventions include the helicopter, the ballpoint pen, and the Rubik’s cube.
  • World-famous escape artist Harry Houdini was also born in Budapest, Hungary.
  • Hungary was formerly a part of the Roman Empire, after the fall of which, ‘the Huns’ – people of the country at that time – gave the country their name – Hungary.
  • Béla Lugosi, the original Dracula, was also a Hungarian.
  • There are a total of 13 Nobel Prize winners. They have won Nobel Prizes in every category except ‘Peace.’ All of the Nobel Prize winners, however, emigrated from the country.
  • There are more than 1500 spas in the country with Roman, Greek, and Turkish architecture.
  • Hungary is third behind Greece and Bulgaria regarding the total number of smokers in a country.
  • They have had a university since 1367, their oldest university – the University of Pecs.
  • Hungary ranks 8th in the world for medallists at the Summer Olympic Games.

Hungary Map

Good to know before you go

  • In Hungary, tipping is appreciated but not mandatory. Tipping between 10 to 15 percent is standard practice, but many establishments include a 12.5 percent service charge, so check your bill when it arrives. If a service charge is included, there’s no need to leave any extra.
  • Clothing is quite relaxed in Hungary as most of Europe has become. Jeans and sneakers are common. You will see casual dress even in higher-end restaurants. The clothing at times in the streets was a bit too casual. Young people, as a whole, seemed quite fashionable. Colors often seem pretty neutral, but colors are not uncommon.
  • Roughly the size of the state of Indiana, Hungary is a landlocked country in central Europe bordered by Slovakia and Austria to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Slovenia to the west, and Croatia and Serbia to the south. It makes an excellent central point to get several countries into a trip as we did.
  • Roads vary in quality, whereas minor and major roads can be of poor quality. Some highways were updated. Hungary was generally hassle-free, and the traffic level was generally good. You have few problems with parking etc, except in Budapest (but paid parking is widely available). Tolls Roads (matrica) is by a vignette, but a virtual one, not a sticker. Arrange it through your rental agent, or you may be getting some big tickets in the mail.
  • Although several ethnic groups live in Hungary, most of the population is Hungarian or Magyar. Both Hungarians and minority groups play a role in shaping the culture.
  • Hungarians will introduce themselves using their surname first and then their first name.
  • Some married women may want to keep their maiden surname or take on their husbands or both names. Do not make assumptions.
  • The people of Hungarian have great national pride. Avoid World War I & II, Communism, a person’s economic means, and ethnic minorities in Hungaras it may be offensive,
  • It’s best to wait until you are told how a person wants to be addressed before addressing someone you are meeting.
  • Hungarian’s love of socializing and sharing stories is core to their identity.
  • A firm handshake and making eye contact is a suitable greeting. Friends and Relatives will greet each other with a hug and kiss on each cheek, starting on the left side.
  • Hungarians have tended to a patriarchal society, where the male is the authority. In city and suburban areas, the decision-makers are both partners and families.
  • Hungarian dining etiquette is essential; arriving on time is critical to showing respect. Take off your shoes when entering the home. Never make disparaging remarks about Hungarian food, wine, and spirits. Elbows never go onto the table.
  • Leaving food on your plate is considered rude, as is seasoning your meal with salt and pepper. It may be showing you do not like the food or that the chef is a poor cook.
  • When invited, bring gifts such as chocolates, flowers, or Western liquor that cannot be found in the supermarket or local corner shop. Many people are superstitious in Hungary and avoid the number 13, such as 13 flowers.
  • This one was a surprise; clinking beer glasses is frowned upon. This goes back to Hungary’s 1848 revolution against the Habsburgs. Hungarians vowed not clinking glasses should happen for 150 years. The tradition continues.
  • Music is an integral part of Hungarian culture, especially traditional folk music. Based on the experiences of peasants in the countryside, the music has themes such as joy, sadness, and the weather. Hungary also has a rich classical music history.
  • Hungarians love their public spas and have been soaking for centuries. The soaking traditions came from the country’s hundreds of natural hot springs, which Hungarians still bathe in today. Time and finances are allocated for this important tradition.
  • Hungary’s cuisine primarily consists of meat dishes. Gulyás, a thick beef soup cooked with onions and potatoes, is popular throughout the country, as is halászlé, a rich fish soup.
  • We did a food tour, and it was the highlight of our visit. The cuisine is unique, and it was great to learn more about it. We suggest Nellicious Travels. Nellie is fantastic, and we had a blast on our food tour!

Hungary Essential Info

U.S. Consular Emergency
The 24-hour number from a U.S. Phone is 1-888-407-4747
Outside of U.S., 011-202-501-4444

U.S. Embassy Hungary
U.S. Consular Section
Parking
Szabadság tér 12
H-1054 Budahpest, Hungary
Phone +36-1-475-4400
Emergency +
Fax +36-1-475-4248

Email acs.budapest@state.gov
Website Hungary Embassy

Emergency Numbers
GENERAL 112
Medical and Fire 104/105 Police 107

Country Code
+36

Time Zone
UTC+1

Adaptors for Hungary
“Standard” Euro plug
Type C or F

Driving
Right side

Official Hungary Tourism Office

When to go to Hungary

Hungary is known for its hot, dry summers and mild, cold, snowy winters. The climate varies across its regions: a continental climate in the east, a maritime climate in the west, and a Mediterranean maritime climate in the south. There are four distinct seasons in Hungary. The country receives lots of sunshine, with approximately 2,000 to 2,200 hours annually. During the summer, daytime temperatures hover between 77-86 degrees Fahrenheit. TSummer also sees the most rainfall, averaging 1.9-3.5 inches monthly.

The best time to visit Hungary is the spring and fall, otherwise known as the shoulder season: May, June, September, and early October; visitors will enjoy reduced crowds and milder weather during the shoulder season. Remember, Budapest is a popular convention destination, so September hotel rates can get pricey when hotels fill up and charge their top rates.

Our Favorite Hungary Resources

This resource section contains some Amazon affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Travel Books/Guides

Moon Guide Prague, Vienna & Budapest (Travel Guide) Paperback – March 15, 2022 This is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip and what hidden discoveries await you in Vienna (and two other cities). We love their guides! Let this beautifully illustrated guide be your travel partner. Great photography and lots of details to aid in planning. Discover this fantastic travel guide here.

Rick Steves Budapest Full disclosure: we are huge Rick Steve fans; it will be rare not to recommend one of his wonderful guides. We love his travel style and perspective. His off-the-beaten-path approach, together with his independent travel philosophy, matches well with how we travel. The guides never disappoint and are an excellent resource. This great travel companion is full of expert advice and independent reviews on what to see and do, plus detailed itineraries and suggestions for exploring this fascinating country. Find this guide here.

Our favorite websites

1. Official Hungary Tourism Office

2. U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Consular Affairs Hungary Country Info

We cannot encourage you enough to visit this website as you plan and prepare for your trip. The U.S. Federal Government addresses the safety, security, travel risk, entry, exit, visa documents mandates, emergency U.S. and Embassy contacts, health, local laws, exceptional circumstances, threats, traveler vulnerabilities, government warnings, and transportation in Switzerland. This is your best and most reliable resource for all this critical info. Check back often before you go, as things can change quickly. Being prepared is essential in all travel, but especially internationally.

3. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Hungary Travelers Health Resource

This CDC travel resource provides essential health info for your specific destination. Using their tool, you can determine which vaccines, medications, and health advice recommendations are needed for Malta.

Our favorite maps

Hungary Michelin National Map 732 Easy to read maps with practical road and travel information. These maps are meant for the adventure traveler and are very durable. Detailed highlights and weather info. Significant sites and landmarks are well-marked. Great for planning your route before your trip. Though we default to Google Maps, this came in handy when service was poor or during construction detours. Find this essential map here.

Our favorite apps

Google Maps Trip and Holiday Organizer. Enter any address, landmark, or city in the app, and it will instantly display all your travel options and booking info, along with accommodation providers and things to do. We love it when using public transportation, it is spot on! Find it on your local app store.

Rick Steves Audio Europe This app includes Rick Steve’s audio content library. Get cultural and travel info. Includes self-guided tours of top attractions and historic walks. A must-have. Find it on your local App Store.

Google Translate We use this often to practice proper pronunciations of the three languages you will encounter in Switzerland. Most Swiss speak excellent English as it is their official language. In encounters with older residents, though, their English was rough. As we always encourage, learning the basics of greeting and thanking people in the local language is essential. Google Translate was an easy app to use. If needed, you can enter text in English, and it will speak back in the language you need to aid in communicating with locals.

To check out the best travel apps, visit Best Travel Apps for the Savvy Traveler.

Do you have a favorite Hungarian travel resource? Share your favorites in the comments section at the bottom of this page or

© 2024 Wanderers Compass All Rights Reserved

Travel Insurance

Squaremouth.com
Our favorite travel insurance site!

We could not be stronger advocates of being well-insured—not just for the little stuff but for the big things like medical emergencies. We never leave home without it. Our go-to place is Squaremouth.com. It does a fantastic job with its user-friendly interface and uses top-rated and reputable insurance carriers. They also mediate on your behalf if you have problems.

To empower you as a consumer, we suggest you read our blog post on the importance of travel insurance and how to get the best coverage from top-rated companies for an affordable price.

MedjetAssist
Medical transport back home from anywhere in the world

They are the premier global air medical transport. One caveat to travel insurance is that medical evacuation usually gets you to the closest facility to care for you. Medjet gets you back to the U.S. to the hospital of your choice once you are stable enough to fly. A Medjet membership is only for medical transport. Medjet Horizon offers expanded coverage. They have individual trip policies starting at $99 and annual policies for around $300. Most of their policies limit the age to 74.

To learn more about how Medical Evacuation membership with Medjet Assist works, check out our blog post for a more detailed review.  

Accommodations & Experiences

Expedia.com and VRBO
Hotels, home rentals, BNBs, flights, and other transportation & tours 

Expedia is a US-based company whose mission is to power global travel for everyone and everywhere. Wanderers Compass focuses on independent travel, and using sites like Expedia makes that possible. Every aspect of travel you need, from airfare, accommodations, rental car, and cruises to activities to do at your destination, can be booked on Expedia.  

Booking.com
Hotels, Home rentals, BNBs, Flights, and other Transportation & Tours 

Booking.com connects millions of travelers to memorable experiences, various transportation options, and incredible places to stay – from homes to hotels and much more. It is one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes. It is our preferred booking site.

Viator
The leading marketplace for travel experiences

Viator believes that making memories is what travel is all about. And with 300,000+ experiences to explore—everything from simple tours to extreme adventures (and all the niche, interesting stuff in between)—making memories that will last a lifetime has never been easier. We use them often during our travels and love their liberal cancellation policy.

Shopping

Wanderers Compass Amazon Storefront
An excellent source for all travel essentials and guides

Amazon is one of the most comprehensive online shopping sources in the world. Teams worldwide provide lower prices, better selection, and rapid delivery on behalf of customers. They offer a vast inventory, and their 1.7 million small and medium businesses worldwide selling on Amazon.com offer extensive options to customers.

HYDAWAY

This is not your ordinary drinkware company. The HYDAWAY difference is what their products do when you’re not using them. Practical and portable, HYDAWAY doesn’t take up unnecessary space in your already-packed life or pile up in landfills. We have used their collapsible water bottle, carrying case for the water bottle, and collapsible insulated drink tumbler. They are all lightweight and durable. This is a conservation-focused product you can be proud to buy.

Use our Promo Code. WANCOM15, at checkout for 15% off your Hydaway order

This article contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

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