Hungary: Reasons Why It Should Be on Your Travel Bucket List

When it comes to European travel destinations, Hungary often gets overlooked in favour of more popular countries like France or Italy. However, this hidden gem nestled in the heart of Central Europe has so much to offer to travellers seeking a unique and enriching experience. From its rich history and culture to its stunning landscapes and delicious cuisine, Hungary has something for everyone.

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The rich history and culture of Hungary

Buda Castle, Budapest
Buda Castle, Budapest

Hungary boasts a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. From the ancient Celts to the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the country has been shaped by various civilisations throughout the ages. This rich history is evident in Hungary’s architecture, museums, and historical sites.

One must-visit location is the Buda Castle in Budapest, a majestic palace that offers panoramic views of the city. Another iconic site is the Fisherman’s Bastion, a neo-Gothic terrace that overlooks the Danube River. These architectural wonders are a testament to Hungary’s glorious past.

Hungary is also known for its vibrant cultural scene. The country is home to numerous music festivals, including the famous Sziget Festival, which attracts music lovers from all over the world. Additionally, Hungarian cuisine is a reflection of its cultural diversity, with influences from Turkish, Austrian, and Jewish traditions. Goulash, a hearty meat stew, is a must-try dish that represents the essence of Hungarian cuisine. Exploring the local markets and trying traditional dishes is a delightful way to immerse yourself in Hungarian culture.

Top tourist attractions in Hungary

Eger, Hungary

Hungary offers a wide range of tourist attractions that cater to different interests. For history enthusiasts, a visit to the historic town of Eger is a must. Known for its stunning Baroque architecture and the Castle of Eger, this charming town transports you back in time. Another popular destination is the picturesque town of Szentendre, located just outside of Budapest. With its colourful houses, cobblestone streets, and art galleries, Szentendre is a haven for artists and art lovers alike.

Nature lovers will be captivated by Hungary’s natural beauty. The country is home to several stunning lakes, including Lake Balaton, the largest freshwater lake in Central Europe. With its crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches, Lake Balaton is a paradise for sunbathers and water sports enthusiasts. For those seeking adventure, the Hungarian countryside offers breathtaking landscapes, such as the Bükk and Mátra Mountains. These areas are perfect for hiking, biking, and exploring the diverse flora and fauna of Hungary.

Exploring the capital city, Budapest

View of the Hungarian Parliament Building from Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest
View of the Hungarian Parliament Building from Fisherman’s Bastion, Budapest

No trip to Hungary would be complete without a visit to its vibrant capital city, Budapest. Divided by the Danube River, Budapest is often referred to as the “Pearl of the Danube” due to its stunning architecture and scenic views.

The city is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the iconic Hungarian Parliament Building and the Buda Castle. Exploring the historic Castle District, wandering along the beautiful Chain Bridge, and relaxing in the famous thermal baths are just a few of the many things to do in Budapest.

Budapest also offers a thriving nightlife scene, with a plethora of bars, clubs, and ruin pubs to choose from. These unique establishments are often located in abandoned buildings or courtyards, giving them a distinct and quirky atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or enjoy a quiet drink with friends, Budapest has something to suit every taste.

For more information about Hungary’s capital, check out the following articles:

Hungary’s natural beauty – lakes, mountains, and national parks

Visegrád, Hungary

Hungary’s natural beauty extends beyond its lakes and mountains. The country is home to several national parks that offer a glimpse into its diverse ecosystems. Hortobágy National Park, located in the Great Hungarian Plain, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and serves as a sanctuary for numerous bird species. The park also features traditional Hungarian shepherd huts and offers visitors the chance to experience the unique Puszta lifestyle.

For those seeking tranquillity, the Danube Bend region is a must-visit destination. This picturesque area is known for its rolling hills, charming villages, and breathtaking views of the Danube River. Visegrád, a medieval town located in the Danube Bend, is famous for its hilltop castle and stunning panoramas. Exploring these natural wonders allows you to appreciate Hungary’s untouched landscapes and reconnect with nature.

Unique experiences in Hungary – thermal baths and wine tasting

Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest
Széchenyi Thermal Bath, Budapest

One of the most unique experiences in Hungary is visiting its thermal baths. The country is rich in thermal springs, and Budapest alone is home to several thermal bath complexes. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath, located in City Park, is one of the largest spa complexes in Europe. With its soothing hot pools, saunas, and massage services, it offers the perfect opportunity to relax and rejuvenate.

Hungary is also renowned for its wine production, with several wine regions scattered throughout the country. The Tokaj region, located in north-eastern Hungary, is particularly famous for its sweet dessert wines. A visit to the Tokaj wine region allows you to explore vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and indulge in wine tastings. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply enjoy a glass of good wine, a wine tasting experience in Hungary is a must.

Off-the-beaten-path destinations in Hungary

Baradla Cave, Aggtelek National Park, Hungary
Baradla Cave, Aggtelek National Park

While Hungary has its fair share of popular tourist destinations, there are also plenty of off-the-beaten-path gems waiting to be discovered. The town of Pécs, located in southern Hungary, is one such hidden treasure. Known for its rich Roman and Ottoman heritage, Pécs offers a fascinating mix of architectural styles and historical sites. The Pécs Cathedral and the Mosque of Pasha Qasim are must-see landmarks that showcase the town’s diverse history.

Another off-the-beaten-path destination is the Aggtelek National Park, located in north-eastern Hungary. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the largest cave system in Europe and offers guided tours that take you deep underground. Exploring the labyrinthine caves and marvelling at the stunning rock formations is a truly unforgettable experience.

Hungarian cuisine and must-try dishes

Chimney Cake
Chimney Cake

Hungarian cuisine is a delightful blend of flavours and influences, making it a paradise for food lovers. From hearty stews to sweet pastries, Hungary has a wide variety of dishes that will tantalise your taste buds. Goulash, as mentioned earlier, is a national dish that should not be missed. This rich and flavourful meat stew is typically made with beef, paprika, and various vegetables.

Another must-try dish is lángos, a deep-fried bread topped with sour cream, cheese, and other savoury ingredients. This popular street food is perfect for a quick and delicious snack. For dessert, be sure to try kürtőskalács, better known as Chimney Cake, a sweet pastry made from dough wrapped around a wooden cylinder and baked over an open fire. The result is a crispy yet soft treat that is often coated in cinnamon or sugar.

Planning your trip to Hungary

Yellow tram in Budapest, Hungary
Yellow tram in Budapest

Visa requirements

Before embarking on your Hungarian adventure, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the necessary travel arrangements. As a member of the European Union, Hungary allows visa-free travel for citizens of many countries. However, it is always advisable to check the latest visa requirements before your trip.


Getting around Hungary is relatively easy, thanks to its well-developed transportation system. Budapest has an extensive network of buses, trams, and underground metro lines that make navigating the city a breeze. For those looking to explore the countryside, trains and buses connect major cities and towns throughout the country.

Renting a car is a popular way to explore Hungary. Compare rental prices on Discover Cars and Qeeq in order to find the best option. You can also use BikesBooking for motorcycle and bike hire. If you don’t drive or aren’t confident driving abroad, GetTransfer offers private driver hire.


When it comes to accommodation, Hungary offers a wide range of options to suit every budget. Budapest has a plethora of hotels, hostels, and guesthouses that cater to different needs and preferences. For a more unique experience, consider staying in a traditional Hungarian guesthouse or renting a vacation home in the countryside.

Booking activities and attractions

If you plan to visit during summer (June-August), we recommend booking popular excursions and activities in advance. You can use Get Your Guide to book a range of tours, day trips and activities. Tiqets is another good option for booking attractions such as museums, and is particularly good for last minute bookings.

Tips for travelling in Hungary – local customs and traditions

Budapest, Hungary

To make the most of your trip to Hungary, it’s helpful to familiarise yourself with the local customs and traditions. Hungarians are known for their warm hospitality and friendliness, so don’t be surprised if strangers strike up a conversation or offer assistance. It is customary to greet others with a handshake or a kiss on both cheeks, especially when meeting someone for the first time.

Tipping is also an important part of Hungarian culture. In restaurants, it is customary to leave a tip of around 10% of the total bill. It is also common to tip hotel staff, taxi drivers, and tour guides. However, tipping is not expected in cafes or bars, unless exceptional service has been provided.

Hungary has its own unique set of customs and traditions, such as celebrating Easter with elaborate egg decorating and enjoying traditional folk dances and music. Taking part in these cultural experiences allows you to gain a deeper appreciation for Hungarian heritage.

If you require emergency assistance in Hungary, dial 112 to contact emergency services.


So, why should Hungary be on your travel bucket list? Because it is a truly captivating destination that offers a wealth of experiences, from its rich history and culture to its stunning landscapes and delicious cuisine. Whether you’re exploring the historic streets of Budapest, relaxing in a thermal bath, or hiking through the picturesque countryside, Hungary never fails to leave a lasting impression.

CTA: Start planning your Hungarian adventure today and discover the wonders of this enchanting country first-hand. Head to Kiwi for flight tickets and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the heart of Europe.

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