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Hungary Tourism And Travel Guide
7.7° C / 45.8° F
April to September
6 to 8 Days
Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport
Budapest Keleti Station
Hungary is a European landlocked nation that is located in the centre of the continent. Without any influence from seas or oceans, Hungary is still very well fed by River Danube and the many thermal springs and a man-made lake. It is a country of many ethnicities, from Serbs to Romans, Russians to Germans and Siberians. English is not as widely spoken here but a very common second language. Tourism in Hungary is one of the most significant sources of revenue for the people, mainly due to the baroque and medieval beauty that the country displays in the form of its architecture. So if you are ready to take a trip to Hungary, here is a travel guide to navigate you.
How to Reach
Hungary has two main international airports - Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport and Airport Debrecen. Regular flights from Indian cities are available with airlines like Jet Airways, Air India, Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa.
You can drive into Hungary from neighbouring countries like Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and Romania. Roadways are well paved and lead from Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland into the heart of the country. Bus operators like Volˆnbusz and Orangeways offer good bus services.
Budapest, being at the centre of Hungary as well as Europe makes for a hub of most Euro railway lines. You can reach Budapest from Romania, Ukraine, Switzerland, Russia, Austria, Serbia etc very easily by train.
In Hungary, the best mode of transport is public transport (bus, metro, taxi) in big cites and the humble feet in smaller towns. Some cities like Budapest, Debrecen etc have tram networks too. And there are also water taxis and boats and ferries to take you around River Danube as well as Lake Balaton.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Hungary is best visited through spring, summer and autumn; although the former is better because of less crowds.
Spring (March to May):
The arrival of spring takes temperatures soaring upto 20°C and fogs get cleared. Humidity is very high at this time and occasional rain can be expected. But spring is a relatively free time here as tourists start flocking by summer.
Summer (June to August):
Summer is the best season for a trip to Hungary weather-wise. It is warm, almost hot and humid with average 27°C, waterbodies are lukewarm to dip into and most activities are available to indulge in. However, you will have to compete with a lot of crowds. And it is also quite expensive to get accommodation and travel reservations.
Autumn (September to November):
If you want to miss summer and spring for a better time then autumn is it. The temperature is still quite warm, dropping gradually from 25°C to freezing points by November end. You will still be able to enjoy the waterbodies and water sports in Lake Balaton while ensuring your stay doesn’t weight too heavy on your pockets.
Winter (December to February):
Winter is frigid, cold and accompanied by snowfall for almost 40 days in a season. The Alps and Balkan ranges are covered in snow while the plains are not the most forgiving either, weather-wise. Cold winds and storms are common and the only way to enjoy winter holidays in Hungary is to visit during Christmas and New Year time.
Things to Do
A walking tour of Budapest is just the way to get to know this amazing city. Buda and Pest are two different parts of the city, divided by River Danube. You will be thrilled to walk across the Chain Bridge on Danube, visit the Buda Castle and Parliament Building, tour the Jewish Quarter, and enjoy an evening of views from the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Enjoy Thermal Baths:
Hungary has a specially endowed gift of natural thermal springs, as well as a history of Romans and Ottoman Turks who created special public baths in its towns and cities. Today the best thermal baths include the Szechenyi Bath in Budapest, Egerszalók spas, Mikolc-Tapolca and other spas and springs of Lake Balaton.
Relax in Lake Balaton:
The Lake Balaton region of Hungary is really a beautiful hub of resort towns, spa towns, castle ruins and volcanic remains. Some relaxing and pampering is in the offing when you visit Lake Balaton, with towns like Marcali, Badacsony and Siofok to enjoy. There are vineyards and wine-making ventures here as well as sailing, swimming and bathing opportunities.
Cruise down River Danube:
One of the most coveted activities to indulge in Hungary is a Danube cruise, one that takes you down the vista of Buda and Pest on either side of the river. You can opt for a night cruise if you want a quiet, romantic setting and wish to see the skylines of Budapest come to life. Or you can go for an all-day cruise around the Danube Bend that may include meals and drinks too.
Celebrate on the ‘Island of Freedom’:
Sziget is a beautiful little island in Danube river, not too far from Budapest, known for hosting one of the most happening music festivals of Europe - Sziget Music Festival. You must attend this festival that takes place in summer (August) and portrays the culture of Hungary in all its glory. From circus shows to live street performances, food stalls to art installations, there will be amazing fun awaiting you.
What to Eat
Hungarian cuisine uses some majorly spicy ingredients like paprika, saffron, wild onions etc in their day-to-day cooking. One very famous meal here is the goulash (a thick soup-stew) with noddles or dumplings added at times. The cuisine is also highly influenced by Austrian, German as well as Turkish tastes and hence boasts of cakes as well as cabbage rolls stuffed with meat. You should try Kürtőskalács or chimney cakes that are a cross between crusty churros and soft cinnamon rolls. Another sweet delicacy is the dobos cake with seven layered moist chocolate sponge and thick chocolate buttercream icing. This cake is best eaten at Central Kavehaz.
For drinks, Hungary is famous for its red wines. White dry wines are also good, as are beers. Cold cuts, sausages and meat platters are also the norm of this land.
Where to Shop
The shopping hub of Hungary is its capital city Budapest. You will find some cute boutiques and garage stores selling high street fashion here, as well as malls with 300 or more brands. Visit the Central Market of Vasarcsarnok for kitchen shopping like cold-cut sausages and paprika, Second Chance for high street labels and brands at cheap prices, Szputnyik Shop for contemporary as well as retro styles and Mammut Mall for holistic shopping. Other souvenirs to take back from Hungary include Porcelain handicrafts, crystals, traditional shirts, table cloths, wooden toys and painted eggs for Easter.