5 reasons to visit Hungary

Lac Balaton

Some ideas for things to do in Hungary

Hungary has always operated differently: speaking a language, cooking and drinking wine like no other. This is Europe at its most exotic. Architecturally, Hungary is a treasure trove, from Roman ruins and medieval houses to Baroque churches, neoclassical public buildings and Art Nouveau baths and schools. And this doesn’t just apply to Budapest. Take a walk in Szeged, Kecskemét, Debrecen or Sopron and you’ll discover an architectural gem at every turn.

Hungarians have been bathing in the waters provided by some 300 thermal springs since togas were fashionable andAquincum was at its height. They still do, for therapeutic, medicinal and recreational purposes, but the locations have changed somewhat. Today, they range from authentic saunas dating back to the Turkish occupation to clinical sanatoriums. It’s in these places that the older generation likes to rejuvenate and catch up on local gossip, as in the Széchenyi thermal baths in Budapest.

Hungarian cuisine is much broader than simple goulash and remains one of the most sophisticated styles of European cooking. Magyars even believe that there are three essential cuisines in the world: French, Chinese and their own. It may be an exaggeration, but Hungary’s reputation as a foodie mecca dates back to the late 19th and first half of the 20th century and, despite a lull during the dark days of communism, it remains an attraction.

That said, here are 5 reasons (among many) why you should visit Hungary:

5 reasons and experiences to visit Hungary

1. Buda Castle

Budapest has architectural gems in spades, but the limestone plateau that dominates the west bank of the Danube is the Hungarian capital’s most spectacular site. Within the castle walls, various attractions vie for your attention, from the Great Throne Hall and the Budapest History Museum, to the Castle Labyrinth, and the view of Parliament across the river from the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Chateau de Buda

Flickr – archer10 (Dennis)

2. The north shore of Lake Balaton

Hungary’s « sea » (and continental Europe’s largest lake) is the place to be in summer. The quieter side of Lake Balaton mixes hot beaches and water activities with historic waterside towns like Keszthely and Balatonfüred. Tihany, a 30-meter-high peninsula that juts out into the lake for 4 km, is home to a magnificent abbey, and Badacsony attracts crowds with its ideal lakeside location.

Lac Balaton

Flickr – TomOnTheRoof

3. Thermal baths

There are over 300 thermal springs in use in Hungary. Some of the thermal baths, such as Rudas and Kiraly in Budapest and part of the Turkish bath in Eger, date back to the 16th century. Increasingly popular, these « water parks » appeal to a wider public. Try floating on a thermal lake in Heviz or getting into the hot water at a castle in Gyula.

Thermes Budapest

Flickr – Vlastula

4. Wine and Pálinka

Hungarian wines are celebrated the world over. The sweet Tokay and the red Egri Bikavér from Eger are the best known. Don’t overlook the reds from Villany or the whites from the Somló region. And don’t miss Pálinka, a fruit-flavored brandy with a real kick.

Vins Hongrois

Flickr – llee_wu

5. Szeged

The cultural capital of the Alföld (Great Plain), and Hungary’s third-largest city, Szeged is filled with Art Nouveau masterpieces, cafés and green spaces, straddling the River Tisza. Classical and popular music performances abound, especially at the Szeged Open-Air Festival in summer. Szeged is also famous for its food, including a paprika-based fish soup and Pick, Hungary’s best salami.


Flickr – Istvan

How to get to Hungary

Cheap flights to Hungary are available from many destinations in France. Find a cheap flight on the website of our partner Skyscanner.

Have you been to Hungary? Why would you go back?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Hungary