You’ve seen Florence, you’ve done Barcelona, and you’re looking for a new European destination that will surprise and delight you… preferably without breaking the bank.
You’re in luck!
Let us share with you the top 5 reasons to visit Hungary, and reveal to you why this lesser-known jewel is an ideal place for foodies, bon viveurs, and culture geeks!
Reason No. 1 to Visit Hungary:
Of course, food is going to headline the top 5 reasons to visit Hungary! There is no better place to be hungry than Hungary 😉. Tourism really works up your appetite so before you go off exploring new places, you need to have planned all the deliciousness that you will try when refueling.
So let’s jump in with the most famous food and national dish you no doubt will have heard of…
Spelt Gulyás in Hungarian. It is a rich, hearty soup of meat – typically beef – and vegetables – usually bell peppers – seasoned with a good dash of paprika. Hungarians love the dish so much that each year they hold a Goulash Festival in Szolnok where over 700 pots of piping hot Goulash are prepared and served over the course of two whole days. Now that’s some hardcore soup making!
Feast your eyes on this mouthwatering picture of the traditional meal featured on the budapestfoodguide Instagram…
The second food that deserves a spot in our top 5 reasons to visit Hungary is Lángos. Every country has its version of comfort food or a cheat meal and, as a slab of dough the size of your head, Lángos steals the show!
Before biting into this sinful slice, Hungarians usually smother the doughy goodness in sour cream, cheese, or garlic sauce. Just look at this crunch Lángos on budapest_hungary‘s Instagram calling to be eaten…
Now, we could not have a food section without including a dessert… especially not when Hungary has a patisserie culture to rival that of Paris! So, after much deliberation over which of Hungary’s deliciously rich desserts to showcase, we present to you the mother of all sponge cakes.
Dobostorta, named after the confectioner József C. Dobos, is a five-tiered sponge cake filled with chocolate buttercream and glazed in a shiny, sticky caramel. Not only is this cake aesthetically appealing with such clean-cut layers, but its flavour is rich and indulgent, with the airy sponge and soft buttercream melting together on your tongue.
Here it is in all its glory on budapest_hungary‘s Instagram.
We could wax lyrical about different delicacies of Hungarian cuisine, but let’s keep it moving with our top 5 reasons to visit Hungary and list the other important aspects that make it such an attractive tourist destination.
Reason No. 2 to Visit Hungary:
Is there anything more uplifting than strolling through a city where every street is both eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing? We think not!
Hungarian Parliament (Országház)
The first example to gaze upon is no less than the Hungarian Parliament in the capital city Budapest. It doesn’t get much more majestic than a building with 691 rooms and 29 staircases, decorated with approximately 40kg of solid gold. If that’s not enough to tempt you into a career of politics, we don’t know what is…
Buda Castle (Budavári Palota)
Next up – and pretty hard to miss due to the sheer size of it! – is Buda Castle, a Royal Palace for Hungarian kings in days gone by. The first part of the now palace complex was built back in 1265 by King Bela IV, although the castle itself has since undergone multiple additions and renovations up until the 18th century. The result is an eclectic combination of elements from mostle Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance architectural styles.
Fisherman’s Bastion (Halászbástya)
Last but not least, we have the beautiful Fisherman’s Bastion, constructed at the end of the 19th century in celebration of the Magyar millennium: 1000 years of Hungarian state.
The Bastion flaunts 7 pointed towers which symbolise the 7 chieftains who founded Hungary in the year 895. The 140m long façade runs parallel to the Danube, providing breath-taking panoramic views across Europe’s second-longest river.
With its lofty spires, spiral staircases, and resplendent limestone walls, the Fishersman’s Bastion truly resembles a citadel out of a fairytale! Not to mention the fact that it makes for a marvelously magical Instagram pic…
Reason No. 3 to Visit Hungary:
From the point of view of today’s youth, nightlife almost always has to appear in the top 5 reasons to visit a certain country to compel them to go book flights. Because what is a holiday without a bit of partying?
Luckily enough, Hungary has a pumping night scene.
What makes Hungary unique are its eclectic ruin bars (romkocsma): unassuming buildings that were left abandoned and dilapidated after the Second World War that have been furnished with flea market paraphernalia and given a new life as makeshift pubs.
If you are looking for something a little stronger than beer, however, Hungary will not disappoint. It is not a night out unless you try some Pálinka – a kind of fruit brandy distilled from fermented apricots, pears, plums, and cherries.
If taken before or after a meal to cleanse the palate, you can take Pálinka as a shot. If you are enjoying an expensive glass of this aromatic liquor for the sake of drinking, however, it is best to sit and sip like a true Hungarian!
Speaking of alcohol, we cannot go without mentioning wine! Hungary is one of Europe’s major wine producers, with a winemaking tradition that dates back to long before the Magyar tribes conquered the land.
As for current music trends in Hungary, the electronic scene is booming, A night out will most likely include you stomping your feet and raving to techno beats!
Of course, like most countries in Europe these days, you will also be able to find clubs playing contemporary pop music and chart hits, if they are more your style.
If you are looking for more specific recommendations on where to go and what to hear, check out this music lover’s guide to Budapest.
Reason No. 4 to Visit Hungary:
Having spoken about all the warming alcoholic beverages Hungary has to offer, it would be jolly disappointing to find out that they are expensive.
Fortunately, this is not the case, so you can rest assured that a night out will cost you considerably less than an evening on the town in London or Paris, for example. Both beer and wine are reasonably priced around the equivalent of €2 a glass, and a nice main at dinner can be as low as the equivalent of €7!
It is not just food and drink that are affordable, but transportation and accommodation, too. In other words, you don’t have to be loaded with Forints (Hungarian currency) to have a good time!
Reason No. 5 to Visit Hungary:
By far, the capital’s most popular tourist attractions are Budapest’s thermal baths. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to relax in the warm mineral-rich waters of an outdoor spa? Temperatures can range from 18°C to a toasty 40°C – so Winter is no excuse to refuse a float – and some of the baths are over 100 years old! (Don’t worry, the water has been sanitised since then 😉). The largest and most famous bathhouse we recommend for a satisfying soak is Széchenyi – they even have a room in which you can taste the medicinal water of the springs.
We hope these top 5 reasons to visit Hungary have you convinced!
We can safely say that Hungary is a feast for the senses: let your tongue savour delicious foods and liquors, your eyes take in beautiful sights, and your muscles relax as you gently lower yourself into the rejuvenating water of the thermal baths. There are so many experiences waiting for you, and, even better yet, they won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Already been to Hungary? Share down below what you loved most about the country!