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Create New Memories in Hungary

Hungary offers life changing experiences from cave tours to bike tours that take you sightseeing all throughout Hungary!

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Everything you need to know about transportation to tipping!

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Destination Overview

Visit anything from therapeutic mineral springs to historical ruins!

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City Guides

Learn more about Hungary and its amazing cities!

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Things To Do

Activities

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The Treasures of Buda and the Danube Bridges

Try a Collection of Hungarian Wines
A somewhat newer attraction on Szentháromság Square is the House of Hungarian Wines (Magyar Borok Háza), where 450 wines from all 22 of Hungary’s historical wine-producing regions can be tried in the huge cellars. Visitors receive a small cup on arrival and can begin their adventure, for 70 to 80 different types can be tasted within the admission price.

Enjoy a Cave Tour in the Capital
Among the many ways in which Budapest can be summed up, one is as a City of Caves. It is the only city in the world where there are surface openings to cave systems in built-up residential districts. One such is the Pálvölgy dripstone cave system; it is Hungary’s third longest, a protected site and open to visitors for guided tours starting hourly and extending for 500 meters. A 300 meter-long, recently renovated section of the Szemlo-hegy cave is also open to visitors. This is one of those rare instances where the entrance is fully accessible to visitors with impaired mobility.

Budapest – City of Spas

Relax with a Choice of Spas
Budapest first gained the Epithet City of Spas in 1934 and with it recognition that there isn’t another capital city anywhere in the world that has more hydrothermal and mineral springs. It is also a unique fact that the 118 natural or specially drilled springs, with a temperature ranging from 21 to 78 °C (70–172 °F), deliver 70 million litres (15.4 million gallons) per day. Walking along the Danube embankment on the Buda side, you come across the famous thermal baths one after the other. They have a wide appeal, suiting those engaged in sports as well as those who would rather sweat it out in the steam room or pass the time of day unwinding in the soothing thermal water. The particular mineral content of the waters here marks them out as being efficacious in the treatment of locomotor, circulatory and gynecological disorders.

Attractions around the Capital

Have a need for speed?
There has been motor sport in Hungary since the early 1900s, when the first automobile club was set up. In 1912 the first international car race took place. Today, at Mogyoród (C5) just to the east of Budapest, the Hungaroring circuit is the only Formula One racetrack in Central Europe, and each year in August it is tested to the limits by the world’s best racing drivers, attracting crowds in their hundreds of thousands. On the other hand, the Hungarokart go-carting center is open all year to followers of that sport.

Journey to the Distant Past
At the town of Százhalombatta (B7) on the right bank of the Danube, the main attraction is the skansen. Here, by one of the hundred Iron Age tumuli that give the place its name, visitors can travel back in time to see Bronze and Iron Age dwellings, and can themselves fashion utensils and jewelry using contemporary methods.

BudaBike Tours – Sightseeing by bike!
This is a new and exciting way to discover the city, different from walking or sitting on a tour bus. You’ll see Budapest from a very different perspective and move YOUR way. Besides seeing different and more sights than on usual tours, with BudaBike you’ll stay active, be part of a group and have lots of fun!

Budapest Circle Sightseeing – Hop-on Hop-off
They will show you the nicest squares, museums and churches of the city and unique panorama of the river Danube. You can hop off at any stop and hop on again as you please. Your ticket will be valid for 48 hours. The ticket price includes 2x 1-hour river cruise in the daytime and at night on the Danube, walking tour and a cup of hot chocolate.

City Segway Tours
City Segway Tours is happy to welcome you to Budapest and to everything the Hungarian capital has to offer. Imagine cruising effortlessly through the beautiful parks and sidewalks of Budapest while receiving a great orientation, informative historical and current-day information, heaps of unique and fascinating stories, fantastic photo ops and superb personal service from your guide. The Segway is the first of its kind-a self-balancing, personal transportation device that's designed to operate in any pedestrian environment. It's new; it's cool and a ton of fun! The 2.5-3 hour tours are limited in size so you can count on a great, intimate experience.

Eurama
Eurama would like to show you Budapest, the "Heart of Europe" through their city tours in Budapest and sightseeing excursions in Hungary and provide you a great personalized service. Have fun and a great time during their Budapest sightseeing programs, City Tour and day-trips in Hungary.

Free Budapest Tours
Free Budapest Tours is simply the best alternative for you to explore Budapest with a guide. Free Budapest Tours is run by English speaking licensed guides who are also history buffs and people oriented. These free spirits do what they do best on a pass-the-hat basis. Tipping the guide at the end, or whenever you decide to leave, is a way of showing your appreciation for what they are sure you will enjoy, and good tips help them to keep the independent project alive. With them you will be entertained and informed, and you will still manage to save money.

Legenda – Explore the beauty of Budapest by ship!
A pleasant hour on board a panoramic boat, sailing between the splendid vision of Buda and Pest & an optional 1 hour guided walk on Margaret Island. A sparkling cocktail and a choice of wine, beer or soft drink are included.

RiverRide - See Budapest the most exciting way: from both land and water!
Budapest is the first city on the Continent where you can enjoy the unique experience of sightseeing aboard an exceptional amphibious coach. Until now you had to decide between two options: see the beautiful capital city through the windows of a tour coach or enjoy a boat ride on the Danube surrounded by the wonderful sights of Budapest. No need to choose anymore... First, enjoy the sights of Budapest from the comfortable seats of RiverRide, as they drive through busy streets; then experience the unforgettable moment when, with a big splash the coach plunges into the Danube and sails downriver with you while it passes the breathtaking World Heritage sites of this magnificent city. Following the water adventure, RiverRide climbs ashore, and you’ll find yourself once again in the midst of a bustling metropolis.

Uniquebudapest - Budapest with a difference!
Uniquebudapest aims to introduce the Hungarian capital’s unique and hidden faces to foreign tourists. The city’s legends are known only to those who live there. Uniquebudapest’s team of authentic, young and enthusiastic experts can show you this other, everyday Budapest, the city’s unparalleled, unrepeatable and constantly changing faces. They reveal the facets of this vibrating, sometimes tense but always fascinatingly interesting European metropolis, which can be discovered by tourists and come to life on their walking tours. You can gain experiences which you cannot live through alone or in other group tours.

Arts

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Like many areas of the Hungarian economy, the art market is just beginning to find its feet after 40 years of turmoil. For the last decade and a half, dealers and connoisseurs have been hard at work trawling through the nation's attics and cellars discovering and cataloguing the work of long-forgotten artists. Hungarian art has consistently followed European trends, the majority of well-known artists, including József Rippl-Rónai and Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka, spent a great deal of time outside Hungary honing their skills, while staying true to their roots. There is a large number of artists, such as Victor Vasarely and Mihály Munkácsy, who established themselves outside Hungary. In fact, as result of the political restrictions of the last century, some of these are all but unknown in their home country.

Folk Art

While in some places in the world, folk art is confined to a museum, in the Hungarian countryside it is a living tradition. The spontaneous desire to delight and entertain, passed on from one generation to the next, is reflected in the diverse music, dance, crafts and costumes that can still be found all over the country today. What's more, folk art is influenced by Serbian, Slovakian and Romanian traditions from the waves of settlers that arrived in the region over the centuries.

Lace and embroidery are typical of Hungary, although techniques and designs vary from village to village. Halas lace, for example, from the Southern Puszta is unique in its intricacy, and Kalocsa embroidered folk costumes bear an ancient motif commonly incorporated into wall paintings. Matyó folk embroidery, originating in Mezökövesd, is also popular both within Hungary and abroad. When it comes to Hungarian pottery, decoration is as important as function - colorful plates often take the place of paintings on walls.

All of these traditional forms of folk art can be found in local markets and cottage workshops throughout Hungary. In addition, the Skanzen open-air village museum just outside Szentendre is a good place to start discovering traditional architecture, and there are several more dotted around the country. The Kovács Margit Museum, also located in Szentendre, is a tiny jewel-box. Its charming ceramic figures are visions of goodness, beauty and humanity. Souvenir hunters or antiques enthusiasts in Budapest should head for the Ecseri market, one of several market halls and the row of shops on Falk Miksa Street.

Beaches

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Although Hungary is a land-locked country, it does have some beach areas available along rivers and lakes.

Sport Beach

Services available include camping and sports such as volleyball, soccer, basketball, kayaking, hiking and swimming.

Platán Beach

Services available include locker rooms, buffet area, and shower. Sports include volleyball, mini golf, soccer, handball and basketball.

Lake Balaton

Lake Batalon provides activities for everyone, including boating, fishing, and swimming.

Culture

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Religion

The history of the Hungarian state is the same age as Christianity in Hungary, for the state’s founder was King St. Stephen, who one thousand years ago raised Christianity to a state religion. According to the 2001 census, approximately three-quarters of the population stated that they were Christians, but all the historic churches and believers of other religions live together. Among the rights declared in the Constitution of the Hungarian Republic, those of freedom of conscience and religion express the community’s pluralism, founded upon the mutual tolerance and understanding of people of different persuasions. This freedom of conscience and religion applies not only to religious people but to every citizen.

According to the World Parliament of Religions, without dialogue among religions there will be no world peace. The world religions, who represent universal values, must not forget that God is universal, and that no single church or culture has the right to claim him as their own. A good example can be found here, where in the heart of Europe the congregations of orthodox and neologian synagogues, Catholic and Protestant churches, mosques, Krishna temples and Buddhist stupas mutually respect each other’s religions.

Religious buildings receive many visitors as a result of their architectural, cultural and religious peculiarities. The majority of visitors are not primarily motivated by religion; they seek out religious buildings and sacred places, several of which are now listed World Heritage sites, to take in the spectacle, the wonderful works of art and to take a glimpse at “living” history. Naturally there are those amongst them who are motivated to travel to religious sites and events through their religious practices and outlook on the world. This they may do freely in Europe’s Hungary, and as they live their spiritual lives they can also be enriched by an unparalleled cultural experience.

Music

Classical Music

It is no exaggeration to say that the musical landscape would be very different without Hungary's contribution. Between them, BARTÓK Béla, ERKEL Ferenc, KODÁLY Zoltán, LIGETI György, LISZT Ferenc revolutionized the performance, composition and teaching of classical music all over the globe.

Opera

Hungarian opera singers are among the best in the world, and MARTON Éva, MIKLÓSA Erika, ROST Andrea are just as likely to pull a full house at the New York Met or Milan's Scala as the Hungarian State Opera House.

Folk Music

Hungarian folk music and dance can still be enjoyed on festivals, concerts or in dance houses (in Hungarian: táncház) full of young people.

Operetta

Devotees of lighter music know that there are many Hungarians among the operetta greats. The works of Imre Kálmán, Ferenc Lehár and Jeno Huszka are regularly performed in theatres around the country side by side with the operettas of Offenbach and Strauss.

Jazz

Hungarian jazz musicians appear at all the international festivals as invited guests. The popularity of the genre is proven in that during the summer Budapest provides free open-air concerts nearly every weekend.

Gypsy Music

Performances of Gypsy music, an organic part of Hungary's musical culture, by the Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra or the Rajkó Orchestra are assured continual full houses both at home and abroad. In addition, some Hungarian restaurants feature Gypsy music.

Popular Music

Several musical festivals had been started in the last 15 years on the basis of the developing youth culture. Sziget Festival (Budapest) is worldwide known, presenting world-class performers from all genres. VOLT Festival (Sopron) is the second-largest music festival in Hungary, it is is considered to be the "cheaper version" of Sziget. Hegyalja Festival (Tokaj) invites mainly hard rock and rock formations, but many more genres are present. Don't miss Balaton's newest feature, Balaton Sound at Hungary's fanciest beach, Zamárdi, along the shore of Lake Balaton. BalaTone, another major event near Lake Balaton is held in Zánka.

Castles and Palaces

More than 1,500 castles, palaces and manor houses have been built in Hungary over the centuries. It was after the Tatar invasion of the 1200's that King Béla IV erected castles and strong fortresses throughout the country. The foundation of nearly all castles are still standing or rebuilt today, including the Royal Palace in Budapest, date to that period.

In addition to the Buda Royal Palace, the towering ruins of Visegrád reflect both the military and strategic significance of this small but ancient town along the banks of the Danube. The imposing fortress was built by King Mátyás at a time when Hungary was flexing its muscles on the international stage. This is further emphasized by the lavish palace in the town below.

Lake Balaton has always been treasured by Hungarians and it is no coincidence that it is surrounded by castles and other fortifications. Some 30 kilometers to the north of Keszthely, the castle of Sümeg dominates the skyline from its vantage point atop its solitary limestone hill. Originally built as a defense against the Mongols, it was the only fortress that didn't fall to the Turks, but it did finally succumb to the might of the Habsburgs. In the sixteenth century, the town of Nagyvázsony was on the border between Turkish and Habsburg-ruled Hungary. The 90 foot-high castle keep is still intact today and is complemented by the Zichy manor house, which also has its own riding school.

The area of Transdanubia to the north of Lake Balaton was caught in the crossfire for much of the long-drawn-out conflict between the Hungarians, the Turks and the Habsburgs. The scores of castle ruins in the region are a lasting legacy of the battles fought out over the centuries. In 1532, 800 soldiers held an army of 60,000 Turks at bay for 25 days at the city walls of the delightful town of Koszeg on the Austrian border, halting their progress to Vienna. Today, Jurisics Castle and the historic medieval town stage tournaments in the summer months, as well as a Renaissance festival in August.

The famous Hungarian aristocratic family, the Eszterházy family built the country's largest Baroque mansion in Fertod. The 18th century jewel often likened to Versailles had an opera house, puppet theatre, music hall, Chinese pavilion, small churches and its own orchestra directed by Haydn. Today the international Haydn Festival is hosted there as well as many musical performances.

Remarkably, the Benedictine Abbey in Pannonhalma, founded in 996, has survived every war in Hungary's history. It is one of the few medieval cloisters still standing today, although it has had a few makeovers and even functioned briefly as a mosque. Sárvár, with its pentagon-shaped Nádasdy Castle, is also home to a Renaissance mansion decorated with lavish paintings and furnishings, as well as a fine collection of medieval weaponry. What's more, many of the trees in the arboretum are more than 300 years old and the park houses a modern thermal spa hotel, one of the most popular in Transdanubia.

Events

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Hungarian people may rightly be proud of their cultural festivals. International stars and artists follow on each other’s heels, including those of Hungarian origin who can be seen on the stage only on these occasions. Such programs are organized between early spring and late autumn and there is something for every age-group.

Budapest Spring Festival

The Budapest Spring Festival has long been Hungary’s biggest cultural festival. The series of events is of international significance, too. It is noted in all countries; travel agencies receive the planned program months in advance. In the last two weeks of March around 200 events await Hungarian and foreign tourists in 50-60 venues in Budapest. Besides classical and pop music concerts, there are theatre performances, film screenings, open-air programs and other festival-type events.

Spring Festivals in the Country

The kaleidoscope of programs encompasses choral music, orchestral concerts, chamber recitals, theatrical productions, a puppet-theatre meeting, jazz festival and exhibitions of fine and applied arts.

The Greatest Hungarian Masters of Photography

The universal history of photography records four Hungarian artists without whom no exhibition on photographic history could be regarded as complete. Their photos portray the work of the masters from the years that preceded World War I to the years after World War II, more precisely up to the time when photographic trends characteristic of the interwar years came to an end.

Formula-1 Hungarian Grand Prix

World-class drivers pitch their skills against each other at the Hungaroring circuit.

Sziget Festival

Shipyard Island on the Danube becomes a town within the city during this multicultural festival. Around 400,000 come to Sziget each year for concerts featuring global names, the cream of Hungarian bands and rising stars, as well as for theatre performances, films, exhibitions, classical music and sports programs.

Celebration of Crafts: Forum for Living Folk Art

Many of the most prominent craftsmen and women in Hungary showcase their skills in workshops set up throughout the Buda Castle, while visitors can also take in performances of folk music and dance. The Feast Day of King St Stephen on 20th August is marked with a procession of harvesters and the blessing of the new bread, followed by the most amazing firework.

Jewish Summer Festival

This is a wide-ranging festival that focuses on Jewish culture. It features a week of books and films, exhibitions and gastronomy events, as well as those international “languages” of culture – music and dance.

Budapest International Wine Festival

The best wine makers introduce themselves at exhibitions and a fair organized in the grounds of Buda Castle, and once again there is the essential wine auction and grape-harvest procession. The festival also includes cultural programs, and classical and jazz concerts.

Budapest Christmas

Folk and applied artists sell their wares, made exclusively from natural materials, in Vörösmarty Square. Browse the stalls and enjoy a cup of two of steaming mulled wine.

“New Year’s Eve” Gala and Ball in the Opera House

Prominent artists of the Hungarian State Opera House and foreign star guests perform in this gala concert staged in one of Europe’s most attractive buildings. The festive supper is prepared by chefs from the internationally renowned Gundel Restaurant, and is followed by a New Year ball that lasts until dawn.

Family

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Family Fun at Balaton

This is a youngsters’ paradise. While the toddlers paddle and splash in the shallow water, the older children can shoot down waterslides, take to a pedalo, try their luck at fishing, join a game of volleyball or have a bash at wakeboarding, windsurfing or other watersports. Siófok is the liveliest spot. Away from the lake’s edge, water-babies might head for the massive aqua-park at Zalaegerszeg, complete with wave machines and a 300m-long artificial river, or for the more sedate pleasures to be enjoyed at the family-friendly spas of Zalakaros and Kehidakustány. At Tapolca, you can even go for a boat ride on a subterranean cave lake!

There is a host of options for those who’d prefer to keep their feet dry, too. The varied landscape and bounteous wildlife provide a beautiful backdrop during a horse-riding tour or a day’s cycling. The Kápolnapuszta Reserve in the Balaton Uplands National Park is home to the traditional Hungarian buffalo – first brought over by ancient Asiatic tribes – and plays a vital role in the survival of the species. At Keszthely, the girls can wander around the Doll Museum while the boys revel in more bloodthirsty attractions at the Torture Museum. Alternatively, how about exploring the castles at Nagyvázsony, Sümeg or Szigliget, before watching displays of jousting and archery, and guzzling a medieval banquet?

Family Attractions

One of Europe’s Oldest Zoos

Budapest Zoo is a pleasant day out for all the family. It first opened in 1866 and has in the last decade undergone significant modernization. Some of its buildings are particularly fine examples of Hungarian art nouveau. Five hundred types of animal and 4,000 different plants live within its 250 acres. The animal petting area is especially popular with children – they can come into close contact with and feed the goats, small cows and sheep.

Prize-Winning Merry-go-Round

Spectacles and curios were already being paraded in the City Park in the middle of the nineteenth century, and traveling circuses regularly set up their big top here. Budapest’s own permanent circus settled there in 1891.

The adjacent Fun Fair is a real meeting of antique and state of the art technology. There are gentle rides on the Ferris wheels and, for the brave, there are fast, spinning, hair-raising rides on the roller-coasters. The hundred year-old merry-go-round, recently awarded the European Nostra Prize, and the two-thirds of a mile-long wooden framed switchback with nine peaks (now a listed monument) have a charming old-world atmosphere to them. There is an exhibition about the history of the Fun Fair in the departure building.

City Park

Budapest’s City Park is reputed to have been the world’s first public park open to all. In 1808 the Emperor ordered a Hungarian “National Garden” to be laid out, including the planting of seven thousand trees. Today’s City Park contains amusement areas, sports grounds, foot and cycle paths, as well as the hundred-year old Széchenyi Thermal Baths (Pest’s first), popular for swimming, relaxation and treatments. There is also the Transport Museum, containing rare model locomotives, the Petofi Hall, home to rock concerts, and at weekends one of the city’s most interesting flea markets, where goods on sale range from interesting old books and antique painted plates to valuable old toys. In summer there is boating on City Park Lake. In winter, it is transformed into Central Europe’s largest artificial skating rink.

Budapest’s Most Beautiful Park is an Island

The seven-buttress Margaret Bridge, built to a French design, was Budapest’s second permanent river crossing and opened in 1876. From the central buttress a spur links to Margaret Island, unquestionably the city’s most beautiful park. After the Mongol invasion it became home for several monastic orders; it was at that time known as the Island of Hares, and only later assumed its current name in honor of the pious daughter of King Béla IV. His Margaret joined the Dominican nuns in their new convent in 1252, and remained there until her death. In its time Margaret Island has also been a royal hunting ground, and from the nineteenth century, a 250-acre municipal park. Hidden behind its noble trees are sports grounds, swimming pools, the capital’s largest open-air leisure pool, an outdoor theatre, and two spa hotels. The island, which can also be reached by small boat, is free from traffic, and a very popular way of getting around it is by hiring a “bringóhintó” family cycle car. The north end of the island is connected by Árpád Bridge to both Buda and Pest.

Vácrátót

Lovers of nature in general and plant life in particular should head for a well-loved beauty spot, Vácrátót, where in the protected environment of the botanical gardens (covering 70 acres) 13,000 different species of plants can be seen.

Buda Hills

Széchenyi Hill, Sváb Hill, János Hill, Hármashatár Hill

A mecca for nature lovers and excursionists, the Buda Hills (400-500 m) lie to the northwest of the city center and offer visitors excellent air and endless forests with well-marked tourist trails. In addition to walking and cycling, the most popular means of getting around for tourists include the cogwheel railway, the narrow-gauge railway which (apart from the locomotive) is operated by children, and the chair-lift running up and down János Hill, which when the weather is fine offers a breathtaking panorama of the city.

Népliget

This is the largest park on the Pest side, founded in the 1860s. Located to the southeast of the city center, the 5-km-long, 112-hectare park filled with trees, flowers and grass is a pleasant place to stroll. Statues and memorials line the paths. The ‘Centenarium’ park, established to mark the 100th anniversary of the unification of Pest and Buda, forms a part of Népliget. The Planetarium, an establishment of national significance, is also sited here. Visitors can learn more about the wonders of astronomy, or enjoy laser programs projected on to the dome (diameter: 23 m) with pop or classical music accompaniment.

Railway History Park

One of Europe’s largest open-air railway museums has nearly 100 rail curiosities, the majority still in good working order; Interactive games (drive a locomotive, locomotive simulator, rail-car, operate the turntable, model railway, car converted for rails, horse-drawn tram); exhibitions (locomotives, carriages, railway equipment, objects, fittings).

Food

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Characteristics of Hungarian cuisine

Authentic Hungarian dishes are definitely not for people on a diet. You may find the dishes a bit too heavy and fatty; however their rich flavor, aroma and texture compensate you for the slightly excessive calorie intake.

But don't think that everything is soaking in pork fat and paprika. These ingredients are essential for authentic Hungarian dishes, but properly portioning them and using modern cooking methods can make healthy as well as delicious dishes.

The fertile Hungarian plain and the favorable climate provide excellent conditions for growing tasty vegetables, fruits, and to raise domestic animals whose meat is savory.

Several special ingredients are accountable for the distinctive flavor of Hungarian meals:

• Hungarian paprika

• lard

• onion and garlic

• sour cream

• cottage cheese, walnut and poppy seed in sweet courses

Must try Hungarian dishes

Soups:

• Goulash or in Hungarian: Gulyás

• Újházi chicken broth

• Palóc soup with tarragon

• Jókai bean soup with smoked pork knuckles

• Cold cherry soup

Main courses:

• Chicken paprika or in Hungarian: Csirke paprikás

• Stuffed cabbage

• Goose liver

• Hortobágy style pancakes (filled with minced chicken paprika)

• Rose duck with forest fruit sauce and potatoes croquettes

• Lecsó (Hungarian style Ratatouille)

• Goose leg with steamed red cabbage and sautéed potatoes mashed up with onion

• Túrós csusza (Pasta with cottage cheese and bacon bits)

• Any kind of Fozelék (Vegetables simmered usually in water and thickened with roux)

Desserts:

• Apple or cherry strudel

• Gundel palacsinta (Gundel crepe)

• Somlói galuska (Somló sponge cake)

• Túró gombóc (Cottage cheese dumplings)

• Szilvás gombóc (Plum dumplings)

• Dobos cake

• Eszterházy cake

• Rákóczi Túrós (Cottage cheese cake)

• Kürtos kalács (Funnel cake)

• Gesztenye pure (Chestnut pure with whipped cream)

• Túró Rudi (sold in supermarkets)

Other:

• Csabai sausage (spicy)

• Pick salami

• Csalamádé (home-made mixed pickles)

First Strudel House of Pest

This hidden gem of Budapest offers special programs including a strudel stretching presentation (guests are welcome to actively participate) and a twelve minute movie about Hungary, Budapest and Strudel (Hungarian, English, Japanese narration, German subtitle).

Pálinka

A ubiquitous specialty throughout Hungary and the Hungarian enclaves of neighboring Transylvania, pálinka is the generic name for the fiery fruit brandy often distilled by peasants from home-grown plums, apricots and pears. Only for responsible drinkers, 40% proof.

The Rézangyal Pálinka Cellar at Kálvin Square, Budapest offers more than 100 types of pálinkas!

Unicum

Unicum is a special blend of herbs and spices that Hungarians swear by as an aid to digestion, among many other things. It is indisputably Hungary's answer to Marmite- you will either love it or you hate it.

Monuments

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UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The preservation and transmission to a new generation of one’s own culture, history and traditions is an important task for every nation. Recognition of this heritage is necessary for an understanding of the present and planning for the future. Some cultural and natural values have local significance, while others are important for the whole of mankind, because they are unique and special.

It was to preserve and protect the most outstanding of these values that the UNO created the World Heritage Committee and accepted the Agreement regarding the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage, to which 175 countries have attached themselves. In 2005, 812 World Heritage sites in the territories of 137 states were added to the list. The original two categories have been joined by a third, that of cultural region. Here can be found treasures where the natural and man-made environments are tightly interdependent and mutually worthy of preservation.

UNESCO Sites
Budapest including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue (1987+2002)
Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape (2002)
Busó festivities at Mohács: masked end-of-winter carnival custom (2009)
Old Village of Hollóko and its surroundings (1987)
Ferto / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape (2001)
Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (1995)
Hortobágy National Park - the Puszta (1999)
Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment (1996)
Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (2000)

Historical Government Sites

Parliament
The largest building in the country, the permanent site of the national assembly, Parliament sits on the Danube embankment with its entrance looking out over Kossuth Square. The neo- Gothic building is the work of architect Imre Steindl, and was constructed between 1884–1904. It has 691 rooms, is 268 m long and its cupola rises 96 meters into the air. The staircase is embellished with fine frescoes by Károly Lotz and sculptures by György Kiss. Parliament’s most important work of art, the painting “The Conquest” by Mihály Munkácsy, is in the Munkácsy Room next to the President’s office. Since 2000 the general public has been able to view the Hungarian coronation regalia here: St. Stephen’s Crown, the scepter, orb and Renaissance sword.

Statues

Liberty Statue
The 14-meter-high statue, the work of outstanding architect Zsigmond Kisfaludy Strobl, was raised in 1947 in memory of the country’s liberation. And even though the post-war period also marked the start of Soviet rule, the statue on Gellért Hill was not removed even after the change of regime since it had become an indelible part of the cityscape. There are two other sculptures at the foot of the female figure holding aloft the palm of victory: one is an allegory of progress, the other the fight against evil.

Statue of St. Gellért
The statue of Bishop Gellért, who died a martyr in the 11th century, stands opposite Elizabeth Bridge on the south side of Gellért Hill. According to legend this is the spot from where pagans pushed the missionary bishop, sealed in a barrel, down into the Danube. The striking statue is enhanced by the semicircular colonnade behind and the natural spring which rises to the surface at this point, and which turns into a waterfall below the statue.

Champion Archangel
Andrássy út terminates opposite one of the best known groups of statues in Hungary, the Millenary Monument at Heroes’ Square. Construction began in 1896, and the centerpiece is a 118-foot Corinthian column supporting a 16-foot statue of the archangel Gabriel. In his right hand he is holding the holy Hungarian crown, and in his left the double Apostolic cross – just as he is supposed to have appeared in a dream to Hungary’s first king. The statue won the Grand Prix at the 1900 Paris World Exhibition. Around its base are equestrian statues of the seven chiefs of the conquering Magyar tribes, and within the arched colonnades to the sides stand bronze figures representing the most illustrious rulers of Hungarian History.

Architecture
Hungary is perhaps best known for its architecture and cultural heritage which dates back to ancient times. Visitors may find themselves travelling several hundred years back in time standing on a single street corner or visiting one of Hungary's most admired sites.

Within the often changing borders of Hungary during its history, fine arts developed in strong interaction with European art, and although they always reflected European tendencies, they retained a strong character of their own.

Roman Remains
The Aquincum HÉV urban railway station on the way to Szentendre is named after the ancient capital of the Roman province of Pannonia Inferior. Extensive remains of this garrison town can still be seen even today, including two amphitheaters, an aqueduct and the Roman baths, where there is now an outdoor bathing complex. Outside Budapest, the tombs in Pécs are a rare example of early Christianity outside Rome itself.

Romanesque
When the Hungarian Christian state was founded by Szent István in 1,000, a host of Romanesque churches, cathedrals and fortresses sprang up. Very little remains today, but Romanesque relics can be observed in parts of the Esztergom Castle. The most celebrated complete buildings are the abbey churches of Ják near Sopron and Bélapátfalva north of Eger.

Gothic
Some burgher houses in the Castle District and parts of the Buda Palace and Mátyás Church bear the gothic hallmark. Several parish churches have incorporated Gothic remains and the Calvinist church in Nyírbátor to the east is one of the largest in the region. The few remaining medieval castles, including those in Diósgyor and Siklós, all have Gothic elements.

Renaissance
The Renaissance movement was initially brought to Hungary by King Mátyás's Italian wife and can be seen in the remains of the Visegrád Palace and in the castle in Sárospatak in north eastern Hungary.

Turkish
Little remains of the 150-year Turkish occupation of Hungary except the beautiful Rudas, Király and Rác baths in Budapest, and the main parish church in Pécs, a converted mosque.

Baroque
Baroque was the dominant architectural style during the economic boom under Maria Theresia, whose legacy includes the stately palaces of Fertod, Keszthely and Gödöllo, as well as numerous churches scattered all over Hungary.

Classicist
Following the floods of 1838, when many of buildings in District V were washed away, the area was largely redeveloped in the classicist style. A little further from the city center, the National Museum is a powerful and attractive display of huge Roman-style columns at their most impressive.

Eclectic
The good times at the end of the 19th century and just before the First World War brought a boom in the construction industry, and a number of past styles were revisited. The Parliament is typically Gothic, but with a Renaissance dome, and a stroll down Andrássy út reveals buildings shamelessly combining Renaissance and Baroque elements.

Art Nouveau
The celebrated Art Nouveau style (sometimes referred to a Secessionist, in line with the Viennese and Germanic look) was pioneered by just a handful of prolific architects at the same time as Eclectic building was all the rage. All the same, it left an indelible mark on the Budapest cityscape. If you can afford it, stay at the restored Four Seasons Gresham Palace to enjoy it in all its pomp and glory, or visit the Museum of Applied Arts or the Geological Institute by Városliget to see the majolica tiles made especially in the Zsolnay factory in Pécs.

Modernist/Bauhaus
Hungarians had a major hand in Walter Gropius’ Bauhaus movement in Weimar, helping spread its principles of design and architecture all over Europe and America after 1933. Some returned to Hungary to build prominent villas in the Buda hills, and the simple but beautiful Városmajor church in the park behind Moszkva tér.

Socialist Realist
Thankfully, the influence of Russian rule didn't quite extend to architecture – Hungary was largely spared the concrete behemoths of socialist realism. Nonetheless, traces of it can be found, the most obvious being the Fehér Ház (White House), the former government building between the Parliament and Margit híd, the Moszkva tér metro station or the former bus station near Deák tér. But to really see Socialist Realism, you need to visit spaciously laid-out steel town of Dunaújváros further downstream.

Museums

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Hungarian National Museum
Founded on the personal collection of philanthropist Count Ferenc Széchenyi, the National Museum has been home to a stunning array of Hungarian art since 1802. The artwork and artefacts on the inside are equally impressive and include St Stephen's coronation cloak and huge frescoes and wall friezes.

Hungarian National Gallery
Occupying three wings of the Buda Royal Palace, the National Gallery contains around 100,000 works of art from the 11th century onwards, including architectural remains, carvings, reliefs and paintings.

Museum of Fine Arts
One of Europe's most important art museums gives a home to the memories of universal art from antiquity till the present day. Visitors are welcomed with changing and permanent exhibitions with both Hungarian and foreign guides as well as activities for children.

House of Terror
For much of the last century, 60 Andrássy Street was an address that struck fear into the hearts of Hungarians. First, it became the headquarters of the Hungarian ultra-right party, the Arrow Cross regime in 1944, before being taken over by the Communist secret police until the short-lived 1956 revolution. The building has now been converted into a museum, incorporating the cellars - and even the instruments - used to torture prisoners. It is designed as much to remind visitors of the horrors of the totalitarianism as it is to educate.

Memento Park
After the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, many of the Communist statues and monuments were immediately removed in Hungary. These items formed the basis for the current collection of the Statue Park. Marx, Engels and Lenin are just a few of the socialist heroes whose alter egos are found here. This is the world's unique such collection from the period of communist cultural politics and it's the most exciting outdoor museum in Central Europe. The Memento Park is accessible via public transport (direct bus) from Deák Square.

The Museum of Military History
The museum exhibits military objects and documents either of Hungarian origin or relating to the military history of Hungary. The exhibition "Thirteen Days about the 1956 Revolution" is well worth viewing.

Mansion Museum
The permanent collection of this attractive Baroque mansion includes over 300 items of furniture and suites in 28 rooms, plus tile stoves, chandeliers, carpets, tapestries, ceramics, glassware and gold and silversmith works.

The Budapest History Museum
The museum presents the 2000-year old history of the capital. The fascinating collection of artifacts and historical documents traces the city's and the castle's history via three distinct exhibitions. In summertime visitors can walk in the reconstructed mediaeval gardens, climb on the top of the castle walls and up the panoramic Buzogány Tower.

Museum of Ethnography
One of Europe's largest specialist museums with around 139,000 Hungarian and 53,000 international art objects. The ornate interior served as Hungary's Supreme Court until 1975. The exhibition includes a variety of temporary exhibitions of artwork, photography, clothing and jewelry.

Hungarian House of Photographers (Mai Manó Háza)
The museum houses contemporary and historic photographic exhibitions.

Vasarely Museum
The museum is named after Hungarian born painter Gyozo Vásárhelyi who moved to Paris in 1930 to work and who as Victor Vasarely gained world fame as the founder of the op-art movement. His pictures use sharp colors, geometric forms and optical illusions.

Ludwig Museum
Relocated to the newly built Palace of Arts, the Ludwig Museum was Hungary's first international showcase for contemporary art documenting the progression of Hungarian artists as they attempted to break out of Socialist Realism.

Museum of Applied Arts
The grand building with the green tiled roof you see as you enter the city from the airport, contains a wide range of textiles, ceramics and furniture handed down through the centuries. More than anything, it is worth visiting for its breathtaking interiors.

KOGart
KOGart is an Andrássy út mansion dedicated to art and pleasure. Regular exhibitions, events and concerts are just part of the story; the building also boasts an excellent restaurant and coffee house.

Mucsarnok Exhibition Hall
To the left of Hosök tere, the Mucsarnok is Budapest’s premier showcase for contemporary art.

Uránia mozi
Small cinemas in Hungary are being upstaged by large and impersonal multiplexes and Hollywood blockbusters, but some bastions of small-scale, arty filmmaking remain. The Uránia cinema is the perfect antidote to bright lights and popcorn, even if you don't catch a film, drop in for a coffee.

National Parks

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Visitor and education centers: larger demonstration sites usually situated at one of the main entry gates to the natural park, or at a convenient, central place. Specialists are on hand to give guidance about basic rules to be observed while in the nature reserve and interactive exhibition introduce the rich natural and cultural heritage and the work in the fields of nature and cultural conservation.

Nature trail: a designated route ideal for visitors wishing to roam independently. Stop-off points and information boards along the way give information about the natural and cultural significance of the area.

Demonstration site: a facility aiming to raise the awareness of visitors about a specific topic of natural or cultural heritage.

Guided tours: led by guides who are experts in the natural and cultural treasures of the respective area. Guided tours are especially popular in those parts of the National Parks considered to be at particular risk of damage from the passage of visitors or where the land is subject to the highest level of protected status for conservation reasons, as this is the only means of observing nature at close quarters.

Aggtelek National Park 
This park is home to the most magnificent dripstone cave of the temperate zone, and is undeniably an attractive spot for everyone. Baradla Cave however is not the only attraction of the National Park, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides cave tours, above ground guided walks on foot, horse or bicycle, walks in villages and handicraft programs help the visitors to get acquainted with the natural and cultural heritage of the Aggtelek karst region.

Balaton Uplands National Park
Discover the quieter, greener side of life near Lake Balaton. Observe a great crested grebe as it goes about its daily business; wander in the gentle hills, pet ancient breeds of Hungarian domestic animals.

Bükk National Park
The Bükk Hills sustain an enormously rich plant and animal kingdom, thanks to the area’s unique climate and its unusually varied terrain. Numerous species of plants and animals of Hungary can only be found in this part of the country. Some ninety species of birds, including many in danger of extinction, make their nesting ground in the Bükk. And the best evidence of prehistoric Bükk is to be found in the area’s huge caves, such as at Szeleta-ko and Istállós-ko.

Duna–Dráva National Park
Wooded floodplains on the right side of the River Danube, narrow gauge railway at Gemenc, Holt-Duna branch at Nyék, Mohács, Barcs Juniper Grove on the left side of the River Danube, brisk meadows of Drávaszentes, Babócsa antlers awarded world champion trophies, resettled European beaver, strictly protected white-tailed eagle, black stork, a paradise for birds, extensive loop and oxbow lakes all represent a unique value in Europe.

Duna–Ipoly National Park
The Ipoly Valley’s unspoiled beauty and the spectacular views from the Börzsöny Mountains, Szentendre Island locked in by the River Danube and the ever enticing Danube Bend; all these bring to mind the pleasures of boating, woodland picnics, and romantic sunsets. Take a walk in the fairytale cave or marvel at the birds at the Ferto bird sanctuary at Dinnyés or in the Turján marshlands at Ócsa!

Ferto–Hanság National Park
This marshy western gateway to Hungary is a land where myths and legends tell of the area’s mysterious past. Much may have changed since then, and today the National Park straddles the border with Austria, but the Ferto and Hanság areas remain outstandingly rich in natural treasures and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hortobágy National Park
Hungary’s first and largest National Park, as well as the largest salt plain in Central Europe. An area in which a unique shepherding culture has evolved over many centuries, manifesting itself in distinctive traditional styles of clothing and architecture, and the tending of particular types of animals are not found elsewhere. These remarkable features combine to form a unique World Heritage Site.

Kiskunság National Park
The mosaic patterned national park, consisting of nine individual units safeguards the most characteristic natural lands between the Rivers Tisza and Danube. Its habitats are salt lakes, salt plains, bogs and marshes, and the backwaters of River Tisza. Traditional farming methods, cattle reared in the open air, traditional agricultural heritage together with the natural landscapes provide the unique image of the Kiskunság.

Körös–Maros National Park
The Körös-Maros National Park is a mosaic of smaller areas bounded to the north by the River Körös, to the south by the River Maros and to the east by the River Tisza with a rich natural and cultural heritage. Paddle and enjoy the picturesque riverside forest view or take a walk, cycle or stop for a picnic in the forests of the floodplains alongside the rivers with a pleasant climate even in the summer.

Orség National Park
This is a land of gentle hills, rivers and streams, pine forests and alder groves, peat bogs and marshlands, butterflies and dragonflies, and the beautiful meandering River Rába. There are pretty villages with traditional timber-framed, whitewashed peasant houses, thatched wooden belfries, and fruit orchards. The climate is sub-Alpine, and damper than most of Hungary, but the welcome to visitors is unmistakably warm. And not only the hospitality of the people of Orség, but the mild hilly landscape, beautiful wild flowers and singing birds, welcome visitors.

Shopping

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General Information

Non-EU resident traveler's may apply for a refund of up to 25% of the general sales tax (VAT) on goods purchased in Hungary, with the exception of works of art, collections and antiques, under the following conditions: the total value of the goods on one original invoice, including VAT, must exceed 50,000 Ft (approx. £165 / $250). Not more than 90 days may elapse between the time of purchase and the time of export. The goods must be taken out of the country unused, in their original packaging.

Shopping centers are open seven days a week, other shops from 10 am until 6 pm during the week. On Saturday shops close at 1 pm and remain close on Sundays.

Feel free to use your credit or ATM cards. These are accepted by all major stores and ATM-s can be found all over downtown Budapest. Another safe method of payment is Travelers Cheques, which is also accepted by most of the hotels.

You are not supposed to take valuable antiques out of the country without a special permit, which should be available at the place of purchase.

Malls

Westend City Center
Arena Plaza
Mammut 1-2.
Duna Plaza

Trendy Shopping

WAMP, the Hungarian Design Market Thousands of people visit the Hungarian Design Market, the WAMP every month, to find unique, high quality design products from Hungarian designers. The WAMP follows the example of the London and New York markets and has a main objective to establish a regular forum for design and applied art products.

Here is a list of unique shops that you won't find anywhere else:
Eclectick: Unusual and playful clothes by Hungarian designers.
Retrock Deluxe: Alternative, unusual stuff. Unique one-piece creations by Hungarian designers
Jajcica: Alternative Second Hand - Dohány Street A Flea market in a cellar. Adidas Superstars, jersey wonders, leather jackets, pants, boots, military stuff, all types of exciting accessories. Atmosphere & bargaining.
Ticci: Authentic atmosphere, best selection of the 50's.
Látomás: Contemporary Hungarian fashion and design.

Hungarian Designers
Katti Zoób
Naray Tamas
Hungarian Design Market
OurStyle Showroom
Pazicski
Nanushka
Fregoli Shop
Daalarna Fashion
Léber Barbara
Makány Márta

Sports

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Fishing
Hungary has a wealth of natural lakes of all sizes, reservoirs, quarry lakes, ox-bows, irrigation canals and picturesque rivers, so the Hungarian fishing community of nearly 400,000 and the tens of thousands of foreign fishermen visiting Hungary annually can select from a wide choice.

Hunting
Today hunting is a part of a conscious game economy, but the natural environment and all-year-round organized hunts beckon ever more visitors to Hungary to participate in this unforgettable experience.

There are red, fallow and roe deer, wild boar and mouflon, to mention just a few of the larger game. The Plain and the flatlands mostly teem with small game; pheasant, rabbit and wild duck hunting are popular there.

Foreign citizens are allowed to hunt in Hungary with a valid hunting permit from the Hungarian authorities. Conditions for application are a valid hunting contract, a letter of invitation, a gun-license and a permit to bring the weapon into the country.

Hungary has an all-year-round hunting season, each time of year having its own specialties. Moreover, this active recreation also provides an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with Hungarian cuisine and wines, immediately giving three good reasons why it is worth trying out a Hungarian hunting holiday.

Nature Tours

Greenways
For the hikers, Hungary offers almost 11,000km of safe, marked routes. The majority of these are through hilly areas, although those snaking through the plains and other flatlands still cover a distance of 2,000km. Hungary's tourist routes are unique in having signs that not only inform hikers of the route to take but provide information about observation points, caves and the many other natural formations and interesting man-made creations that fall along the way. Furthermore, the paths have been connected by the European Tourers' Association to the network of long-distance European routes.

Running
Running in Hungary, either as a recreation or a sport, is a special pleasure. The landscape is variegated and picturesque; the country abounds in beautiful natural features, historic monuments and folk architecture. The trails lead through hill and dale, on flatlands, along the shores of lakes and rivers, along dikes. You can visit the country’s most beautiful monuments, museums, memorial sites, medicinal spas and wine regions, and a large number of national parks.

As you roam the woods, meadows and sandy steppes (pusztas), with the wind in your face and the fresh air in your lungs, you can observe the wonderful flora and fauna closely. The running tracks along the surface waters, the Danube, the Tisza and the shores of Lake Balaton, offer many natural features to admire. Spas with thermal waters are the best places to relax after a successful run.

Freshwaters
If you love water, you’ll be attracted by the many routes, from peaceful backwaters to wild rapids, from middling to large rivers. The land is bisected by one of Europe’s largest waterways, the Danube. Europe’s second largest and Hungary’s largest river flows more than four hundred kilometers before it bids farewell to Hungary. The whole of the Hungarian section of the river is regulated and navigable. Meanwhile, the Great Plain is divided by the Tisza, the whole of the Hungarian length of which can be rowed or travelled by motorboat. Water tourism in Hungary is a life form, with the water, sunshine, fresh air, harmonious exercise, camping and the magic of the campfire all being contributing factors, while the landscapes, colors, sounds, sunrises and picturesque sunsets assuring you of an unforgettable experience.

Swimming in Lake Fert o, part of the World Heritage, is a special experience, and rowing and sailing no less so, while there is skating on the ice in the winter. As you make your way through reeds by kayak or canoe, observe the more than 300 species of birds that nest here.

Lake Velence, which covers 26 sq. km. and has an average depth of 1.2 meters, has rightly been nicknamed the sunshine lake, for every year the sun shines upon it for more than 2,000 hours. Its silky waters refresh and regenerate tired bodies, so it is no surprise that it is popular with bathers, yachtsmen, surfers and canoeists from early in the spring.

A few decades ago engineering genius conjured up a lake in the middle of the Hungarian Great Plain. The resulting area created by flooding the Tisza received the nomenclature of Lake Tisza. It is unique in that thanks to its fortunate hydrographic conditions the water skier, jet-skier, bather, silence-loving angler and bird-watching and flora-studying nature walker can all coexist. It is a special water-life through which the Tisza flows, assuring it of a quality of water unparalleled among European freshwater lakes.

Golf
Golf was introduced in Hungary in 1909 and shortly afterwards became a popular pastime of many Hungarians.

Today there are several great golf courses you can enjoy while visiting Hungary. Hungary welcomes both amateur and professional golfers to our 9 and 18 courses in a varied natural environment.

Cycling
Hungary has developed dramatically in recent years in response to the increasing demand for cycling tourism. Today, Hungary has more than 2,000 kilometers of cycle track with another 200 in Budapest. In addition, cycling services have risen to European standards, with repair shops, hotel, camping and catering outlets dotted along the cycle tracks. Cycling is now permitted in a number of hilly and woodland regions, including national parks, but it is important to know that cyclists must keep to marked routes.

Horseback Riding
Horses have played an important role in Hungarian history for thousands of years. Their ancestors, who arrived from the steppes of the Urals conquered the Carpathian Basin on horseback, and Europe quaked at Hungarian arrows. Later the Hungarian hussars showed their equestrian mettle, winning fame in the 15th century for their courage, mobility and the speed of their horses in the wars against the Turks. The figure of the hussar is deeply imprinted in the Hungarian psyche and by the 18th century had become the most popular of soldiers. His decorative uniform, military style and tactical role created a renaissance in military costume.

Hungary's relatively flat countryside, and particularly its network of wetlands and rivers, is ideal for riding tours. The country is full of riding schools and many hotels and country clubs offer riding facilities.

What kind of vacation would you like to take?