Hungary, a country located in the heart of Central Europe, draws travelers with its strong cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and last but not least, delicious food.
But, what makes this country famous? Is it the rich history, the UNESCO sites, the outstanding cuisine, or maybe the scenic roads that wind through stunning landscapes?
Let’s explore the country together.
Hungary's history includes a blend of influences from many cultures, including the Celts, Romans, Magyars, Ottoman Turks, and Habsburgs.
And because of its rich and colorful past, the country is blessed to have multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites that reflect it. No more, no less, but eight.
Budapest, the capital, an ideal mix of history and modernity has three World Heritage sites. The UNESCO sites in the town include the view of the Banks of the Danube with the Buda Castle District and Andrássy Avenue. Except for these three, the Hungarian capital has a lot more to offer and is becoming increasingly popular among tourists worldwide. The city itself already won the prestigious European Best Destination award in 2019.
As a total opposite to the urban city of Budapest is the village of Hollókő. This village is a living example of rural life before the agricultural revolution of the 20th century and takes the visitors on a journey back in time. With its charming traditional houses and cobblestone streets, Hollókő is a tribute to Hungary's rural heritage, earning its place on the UNESCO list, as well.
Hungary has more thermal spas than any other country. With over 1300 springs nationwide, a staggering 123 are found in Budapest alone.
How amazing is this?
The Thermal baths are a time-honored tradition, also known for their healing properties and relaxation benefits. Budapest, often named the "City of Spas," has abundant thermal bathhouses. The Széchenyi Thermal Bath, with its stunning Neo-Baroque architecture, is one of the best baths in the capital and the most visited one. The other four baths worth mentioning that make the top five baths in Hungary are Hagymatikum Baths (Makó), Rudas Baths (Budapest), Gellért Baths (Budapest), and Hévíz Thermal Lake (Hévíz). So, if you want to relax in indoor and outdoor pools that have therapeutic benefits, these are the places to choose from!
As we continue to explore the realm of relaxation, it's only natural that we move on to the topic of cuisine. After all, eating and comfort are inextricably linked to our pursuit of serenity.
Hungary's food is diverse and combines traditional and modern cooking. It's famous for its use of paprika, black pepper, onion, and garlic. Actually, it was the Ottoman Turks who introduced paprika into Hungarian cuisine. Just by simply adding paprika gives a particular flavor character to different kinds of meals. The national dish is goulash, a substantial stew with tender meats, veggies, and aromatic spices. If you read our previous article about the Czech Republic, you might recall this name because they offer this dish too. Although traditional Hungarian recipes are mostly based on meats and dairy items, the country's good location allows it to offer a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables all year.
If you are someone who loves sweet things then when in Hungary, don’t miss out on the Dobos cake, a chocolate buttercream-layered sponge cake, topped with crystallized caramel and covered with nuts on the edges, neither the chimney cake (“kürtős kalács”).
Talking of desserts, Hungary's wine regions, particularly Tokaj, have been producing outstanding wines for centuries, with the region's dessert wines receiving international recognition. Hungary has 22 wine regions in total, the most well-known among foreigners is the already mentioned Tokaj, and then Villány, Balaton Highland, and Eger regions. These regions are also great if you want to have a road trip because the routes wind through vineyard-covered landscapes with breathtaking views and untouched natural beauty.
To sum up, Hungary's popularity comes from everything!
Starting with its unique cultural heritage, the thermal baths, excellent food, and breathtaking scenery. Whether you seek history, relaxation, or culinary pleasures, they have it all! From UNESCO World Heritage Sites to thermal baths and wine regions, there is a little something for everyone.