Neues Palais

Hungary Overview

Budapest

Located in Central Europe, Hungary’s history dates back more than 1,000 years, filled with empires and rulers, war and reconstruction.
Today, Hungary is the scene for a kind of modern-day Renaissance and those who travel to it will find it an impressive mix of the past and present; a country with its eye fixed forward but with some old-fashioned customs still very much part of its charm.
If you travel to Central Europe and are looking to concentrate time in one country alone, Hungary could very well be that rewarding choice.
Landlocked, Hungary is bordered by Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia.
To travel here, you could certainly make it part of a multi-country trip.
From the capital Budapest, you can take the train or bus and travel to various points in Hungary within three hours or less.
As for where to go and what to see in this historic country, there’s plenty to easily fill a week’s worth of day trips and sightseeing travel excursions.
If you happen to time your trip for when Hungary is having one of its many festivals or fairs, all the better.
The Sziget for example is the largest music and multicultural event in all of Central Europe and it takes place each August in Budapest.
The Hungarian capital also enjoys the BudaFest Opera and Ballet Festival and the Budapest Spring Festival.
It’s no wonder that the city is known as the “Paris of Eastern Europe.”
Note however that each region in Hungary has its own festival offerings and travel to any one of them should prove a memorable time.
The main regions in Hungary are the aforementioned Budapest, Central Danubia, Northern Hungary, Lake Tisza, the Northern and Southern Great Plain, and Transdanubia.
Most travel takes place in Central Hungary, where Budapest is located; however, the Great Plain region is also well-known and within Transdanubia, you’ll find Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe.
As noted, travel in Hungary is relatively easy, thanks to train travel and bus travel offering links from Budapest to major cities, such as Debrecen, Esztergom, Szeged, and Eger (famed for its castles and wines).
Not surprisingly, those who travel to Hungary often find that the old small villages are where the real charm of the country is daily found.
You could travel to Gödöllő and see the former royal palace; take a trip to Szentendre and enjoy its picturesque setting; or go on a sojourn to Vác to see the venerable churches and fine examples of Baroque architecture.
All this can be experienced in and around Hungary. Afterwards, simply travel back to Budapest for an evening of good food and wine and rest for the next day of adventure. Indeed, Hungary is awash with culture and history.
One travel savings you may consider is to purchase a tourist card, such as the Budapest Card, which will permit you full access to public transportation across Hungary and passport to nearly all museums.
Walking tours are also a good way to see the cities and save on travel expense.
Given the continental climate, there are often days perfect for a stroll. Rainfall can be unexpected however, so be aware of the seasons when you visit. Note that the conditions in the Great Plain region can be particularly extreme, with summers being quite hot and winters cold.
As for where to stay when you travel to Hungary, you’ll find a mix of hotels, hostels, and even farmhouses due to the charm of village tourism.
Also popular are spa travel packages, as Hungary is famous for its thermal springs, numbering over 1,000 and counting. Many travel to Hungary – and Budapest specifically – for a rejuvenating wellness holiday.
You’ll find a number of spa hotels both in the city and countryside.
As for the country’s currency, it’s the forint (HUF), though the Euro (€) is accepted at most hotels and some restaurants. Thus if you travel from neighboring countries, you may not have to exchange your Euro dollars immediately upon arrival in Hungary. The conversion rate is about 198 forints per Euro.
Finally, when you travel to Hungary, please be respectful of local customs and be patient if you’re unable to find someone who can speak English. Though the younger generation learns English in school, it’s not as prevalent a language as you may find in other European countries, but the locals will try their best to help you along.