Vacation in Hungary
Hungary is rapidly becoming a favorite spot for those who want to take a vacation in Eastern Europe. It became the first former soviet country to embrace democracy in 1989 and has grown and thrived ever since.
Hungary has a very varied landscape with forests and mountains in the north and a huge southern plain covering the rest of the country. The west of the country has Lake Balaton which is one of the largest inland stretches of water in all of Europe. Hungary’s main river is the Danube which flows for the length of the country and more or less cuts Hungary in two. The Danube also flows through Budapest – the capital city.
Hungary has a roman heritage as well as being now populated by descendants of the Magyar peoples. Atilla the Hun captured the country from the Romans in the early part of the fifth century. The country changed hands several times over the centuries with its pivotal place in the very heart of Europe making it a desired geographical base.
The country has a great heritage in art and music with Lizt and Bartok among its most favoured sons. It is also well known for its cuisine with the most famous dish of course being Goulash – heavilly spiced with paprika which is Hungary’s best known export product.
Budapest – the capital city – is the perfect base for exploring Hungary. Budapest was founded as a city in 1873 when three smaller towns joined up to form a city. The towns of Buda and Obuda were on one side of the Danube and Pest was on the other. The best way of getting around in Budapest is by tram and there are also more than two hundred bus routes which are useful for locals and tourists alike.
Popular tourist sites in Budapest include the Royal Palace with its statues, gateways and fountains. The Matyas church is famed for housing the tombs of the ancient rulers of the country. Bath houses are very popular in Budapest and are built around spas and healing waters. Some of them are encrusted with mosaics and decorated with stained glass windows. Men and women bathe separately and each area has saunas, steam baths, plunge pools and swimming pools. Some also have outdoor swimming pools with wave machines.
On the Pest side of the river you can find the state opera house, St. Stephens basilica, the Hungarian national museum and the state parliament.
The best time to visit Hungary is from April to the end of June and from August until October. July is usually too hot to stay in the city and the locals take advantage of this to head for cooler parts of the country. Good hotels in Budapest include the Hilton, the Danubius Hotel Gellert, the Astoria and the Kempinski Corvinus. Prices are usually good compared to other European capital cities.
Good places to eat in the capital include the Buda Vendeglo – an elegant restaurant with arcaded walls and a good wine cellar. Hungarian wines are good quality. Other good places to eat include the Rivalda Cafe and the Maligan Bistro. There are two kinds of restaurant to look out for in Hungary. An etterem will serve both Hungarian and international food while a csarda is a smaller tavern that specialises in local cuisine.
Hungary is a great place to base yourself if you want to explore Eastern Europe. Come visit and enjoy the scenery, the lifestyle and the famed Hungarian hospitatity.