Mathias Church in Budapest, Hungary. Photo: Supplied
Romantic architecture, picture-postcard scenery and an abundance of thermal baths are just a few of the things that make Hungary a must-visit destination. Its unique identity has been shaped by a diverse range of influences – from Ottoman invaders to Italian Renaissance designers – meaning there’s plenty to see across the country. For the best of Budapest and beyond, here are eight reasons to visit Hungary will get you inspired in a flash.
Fun fact: there are over 1000 natural spring water sources in Hungary. To make the most of those therapeutically thermal waters, Hungarians built dozens of spa baths all over the country. Budapest is home five baths but Szechenyi are the biggest and most attractive, so pack your swimsuit and go for a soothing al fresco dip.
No trip to Hungary would be complete without dining on the country’s signature dish, goulash. A slow-cooked meat stew laden with vegetables, flavoured with paprika and often finished off with a dollop of sour cream, you’ll find goulash in almost any traditional Hungarian restaurant.
You’ll be spoilt for Gothic-style architecture in Hungary, but Budapest’s Matthias Church is one of the finest examples with ornate turrets and an intensely detailed colourful roof.
Go to Gyor
Gyor has all the charm of Budapest on a smaller scale. The quaint town is full of colourful buildings and fantastic churches, and is the perfect place to sit out in one of pretty squares and enjoy a coffee like a local.
Sitting high over the city, the Fisherman’s Bastion is a popular spot to admire the best views over Budapest. An Instagram-friendly viewing platform with striking Disney-esque 19th Century towers, is one of the city’s most visited places.
Try the wine
Originally one of the main wine-producing countries in Europe, Hungary’s wine productivity dried up for a while but is now experiencing a renaissance. The main wine producing regions are Eger and Tokaj in the north and Villany in the south. When dining out be sure to try something local like a Laposa Badacsonyi Olaszrizling, a dry white wine or a red Ráspi Soproni Kékfrankos.
Did you know that Budapest is actually two towns, Buda and Pest? It is the winding Danube River which splits the capital in two, and there’s plenty to explore along its banks. The Shoes on the Bank monument is a haunting memorial to WW2 victims, while the Chain Bridge was the first permanent structure to link Buda and Pest.
Szabo Ervin Library
Wonderfully opulent, the Szabo Ervin Library retains all the baroque charm of its former life as a 19th century aristocrat’s palace. The City Council bought the building in 1931 and converted it into reading rooms. Sink into a leather armchair with a dusty tome and admire the ornate chandeliers.
To discover Hungary for yourself, why not take a Trafalgar guided holiday? Priced from R18 317 per person twin share on Trafalgar’s Autumn, Winter & Spring promotion explore Prague, Vienna & Budapest over 10 days on this At Leisure trip. With later starts, more nights per city and lots of free time you’ll get to grips with all that these cities offer. Savings of 7.5% off are valid until 24 August 2017.
Visit www.trafalgar.com or call (011) 280 8440 for more information or to book.