Hungary – a land of many treasures
Most foreigners associate Hungary with Ferenc Puskás, the famous football player, the delicious tasting goulash dish or the grassland plains (or ‘puszta’) of Hortobágy. But this small landlocked country in central Europe keeps many other interesting treasures!
At the very heart of Europe
Hungary is quite small in terms of area. The distance from the middle of the country to its borders is not more than 300 km, so it is possible to discover all regions even if your stay is not very long. One of Europe’s oldest countries, it is a land unrivalled for its cities, landscape and people.
To uncover Hungary’s vast riches all you have to do is travel to the very heart of Europe – where the splendor of Budapest meets the calm sweep of the romantic Great Plain and Hortobágy region. Experience the many ancient walled towns such as Sopron and Köszeg and compare their unique beauty to the 16th century Turkish bastion city of Pécs or the Baroque masterpiece city of Eger.
Not surprisingly, Hungary holds eight sites that qualified for the world heritage list of outstanding value, including the capital city, Budapest. Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Budapest and its surroundings offer plenty of history and sights to see for tourists, especially along the banks of the river Danube. Europe’s second longest river divides the city and all its majesty in two, and offers spectacular scenic views from the hilly regions in the north.
Nicknamed the ‘Pearl of Danube’, Budapest boasts many great museums, an opera house and castle, the world’s largest thermal water cave system, third largest parliament building and beautiful walkways along the Danube. And there is so much more awaiting your visit! The northeast region of Hungary is called the Eger-Tokaj Wine Region. It has common borders with Slovakia and produces exquisite wine including the world famous ‘Bull’s Blood’ and Tokaji aszú.
Now to the southeast Great Plain of Hungary – the world famous region of Hortobágy. It is home to Hungary’s favourite holiday spot, Lake Balaton, the largest freshwater lake in Europe. Stretching nearly 80 km across the west of the country, its average depth is no more than 3 m, offering the perfect conditions for a fantastic vacation. The lake provides much loved holiday activities such as swimming, windsurfing, sailing and water skiing, and for those who prefer not to get wet, there is tennis, fishing and horseback riding. And in winter, the frozen surface of the lake offers an opportunity to ice-skate, ice-sail and ice-fish!
Hungarian kitchen delights
Traditional Hungarian cuisine uses a lot of meat and bacon and contains many other pig products and specialties. Hungarians became masters of pork without having a choice – during the 150 years of Ottoman occupation, the Turks confiscated almost everything except for pigs! The common spices and vegetables found in the Hungarian kitchen include paprika, garlic, onions, red or black pepper, potatoes and tomatoes.
When it comes to celebrations the goose is usually first choice for any feast. And of course the delicious wines Tokaji aszú, Bikavér (Bull’s Blood), Törley sparkling wine and the aperitif Unicum. Gourmet lovers are invited to taste the Hungarian goulash, stuffed cabbage, Lecsó and the world famous dessert Dobos cake or Somlói.