Hungary’s scenery is more gentle than striking, more pretty than stunning. But you can’t say the same thing about the built environment across the land. Architecturally Hungary is a treasure trove, with everything from Roman ruins and medieval town houses to baroque churches, neoclassical public buildings and Art Nouveau bathhouses and schools. And we're not just talking about Budapest here; walk through Szeged or Kecskemét, Debrecen or Sopron and you’ll discover an architectural gem at virtually every turn. Some people (ourselves included) go out of their way for another glimpse of their 'hidden' favourites like the Reök Palace in Szeged, the buildings of Kőszeg’s Jurisics tér or the Mosque Church in Pécs. It is almost as if they're afraid these delightful structures will crumble and disappear unless they are regularly drenched in admiring glances.
In Hot Water
Hungarians have been 'taking the waters’ supplied by an estimated 300 thermal springs since togas were all the rage and Aquincum was the big Smoke. They still do – for therapeutic, medicinal and recreational purposes – but the venues have changed somewhat. Today they range from authentic bathhouses dating from the Turkish occupation and Art Nouveau palaces to clinical sanatoriums straight out of a Thomas Mann novel. This is where the older generation like to rejuvenate and catch up on the local gossip. More and more though, you'll see clear chlorinated waters in organically-shaped pools that bubble, squirt and spurt at different rhythms and temperatures alongside the requisite wellness centre offering a myriad of treatments. Good for the kids, good for the grown-ups, good for the whole family.
Eat, Drink & Be Magyar
There is a lot more to Hungarian food than goulash and it remains one of the most sophisticated styles of cooking in Europe. Magyars even go so far as to say there are three essential world cuisines: French, Chinese and their own. That may be a bit of an exaggeration but Hungary's reputation as a food centre dates largely from the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th and, despite a fallow period during the chilly days of communism, is once again commanding attention. So too are the nation's world-renowned wines – from the big-bodied reds of Villány and white Olazrizling from Badacsony to honey-gold Tokaj.
Best places to stay in Hungary
Hungary travel guide
Stunning architecture, piquant cuisine, vital folk art and steaming thermal spas are Hungary’s major attractions, but it’s the uniqueness of the people, their culture and language that makes it so mysterious.
Straddling the Danube River, with the Buda Hills to the west and the Great Plain to the east, Budapest is a gem of a city. The Hand of Man Budapest’s beauty is not all God-given; man has played a role in shaping this pretty face too.
Exploring the 'ruin pubs' of Budapest's seventh district
Budapest’s seventh district, once home to a flourishing Jewish community before World War II but which languished for decades after, has emerged as one of the best bar-hopping 'hoods on the busy Pest side of the Danube...
Hungarian is a unique language. Though distantly related to Finnish, it has no significant similarities to any other language in the world. If you have some background in European languages you’ll be surprised at just how different Hungarian is.
Croatia and the Balkans
The Balkans are just getting noticed as a great European travel destination - we can’t believe it took so long! Situated on the balmy shores of the Adriatic and home to some of the most wondrous landscapes, monuments and villages you’ll ever see, this part of the world still feels like a well-kept secret.
Hungary - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Hungary starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus in depth info on eating and drinking like a local.
Brutal buildings: the architecture of Eastern Europe
Ugly or visionary? An architectural period to forget, or a legacy worth preserving? Few building styles have made an impact on a region, or caused as much controversy, as brutalist architecture in the former Communist Bloc...
Budapest's thermal baths and pools
Central Europe travel guide
From the Gothic alleyways of Prague to the steamy thermal baths of Budapest, Central Europe is characterised by an old-world élan. Sip beers in Munich, climb every mountain in Switzerland then party until dawn in Kraków and Berlin.
Bars and coffee houses of Budapest
Cycle from Vienna to Budapest along the Danube cycle path
Hungary - Danube Bend (Chapter)
The Danube Bend is a region of peaks and picturesque river towns, where hills on both banks force the river to turn sharply and flow southward. It is the most beautiful stretch of the Danube and should not be missed.