Hungary has a long, unstable history and with the 1956 revolution and Soviet rule still in living memory, the Hungarians haven't had long to rise from their turbulent past. But rise they have, into a welcoming nation that gives you the feeling it's having a well-earned break. Hungarians are hospitable people, proud of their rich traditions in music, dance, theatre and art – of which there are many artefacts around the country to discover. Be adventurous and spend sometime out of Budapest and delve further into Hungarian life, you won't be disappointed.
The Rubiks cube and the biro were both invented by Hungarians.
What to see
Hungary's diverse capital is sliced through the middle by the beautiful Danube river, giving you two distinct areas to explore. Buda, on the west side, boasts Castle Hill – home to many museums and the magnificent Royal Palace. Across the river in Pest you'll find the more commercial side of Budapest.
Jump on a train heading south from Budapest and in two hours you'll find the charming 'City of Sunshine'. Expect to be treated to wide, sweeping boulevards and quirky architecture.
A welcoming city with plenty of highlights. Don't miss The Mosque of Pasha Quasim that operates as a Catholic church, Vasarely Museum dedicated to the founder of optical illusion art and the touching wall of lovelocks.
Top experiences / sites of particular interest
Szechenyi Bath and Spa
There are thermal baths and spas dotted all over Hungary but the most impressive is Szechenyi Bath and Spa in Budapest – three outdoor and 15 indoor pools housed in a majestic building.
Many of the statues that stood on the streets of Hungary during the Communist regime now stand here, a short bus ride from the centre of Budapest giving an intriguing insight into Hungary between 1949 – 1989.
Often described as the most beautiful part of the Danube, this area of Hungary presents stunning scenery. Take a day-trip from Budapest or make a long weekend of it.
This 48 mile-long (77 kilometres) freshwater lake, around 3 hours from Budapest, is surrounded by over 50 towns and villages each offering a different experience, from partying and water sports to utter relaxation.
Situated on Castle Hill in Budapest and often overlooked for more extravagant attractions, Fisherman's Bastion is a charming lookout with fairytale towers and spectacular views across to Pest.
When to go
Weather and Seasons:Hungary is at its best in the sunshine. Head over between June and August for temperatures up to 27°C and wrap up in the winter when the thermometer dips into the minuses.
Important Dates and Festivals: Highlights of the event calendar include the Sziget rock festival in Budapest in August, the Open Air Plays of Szeged also in August and festive Christmas markets around the country in December.
Getting there / around
Getting There: Flying into Budapest from the UK takes around two and a half hours and you'll find return flights from as little as £100.
Getting Around: Hungary has well-connected rail and motorway networks, taking you directly from Budapest to all other major towns and cities in Hungary. Budapest has a tram system and underground rail network.
Short Trip: There's plenty to do in Budapest to fill a week, especially with day trips to the Danube Bend and Memento Park.
Longer Trip (Backpacker Trip): If you've got more time on your hands, try to get a feel for rural Hungary as well as the bigger cities. And if you're touring around Europe, Hungary is never too far to include in your adventure, it sits next to Serbia, Croatia, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Romania.
Cheaper Trip: If you're sticking to hostels, you'll find plenty in Budapest and around Lake Balaton. Hungary in the summer is ideal if you're on a shoestring as you can spend days exploring the cities on foot and lazing in the parks.
More Expensive Trip: For a more luxurious holiday, book yourself onto a Danube cruise and wind your way through Germany, Austria and Hungary.
Local DishesNo trip to Hungary would be complete without a big serving of Goulash. One of Hungary's national dishes, Goulash is a meat, noodle, potato and vegetable stew seasoned with paprika. Follow up your Goulash with a slice of the five-layered Dobos cake and a glass of sweet Tokaji wine.
NightlifeHungarians like to take things easy, so grab a Hungarian wine or beer and soak up the chilled atmosphere. If you want to hit the dance floor, head to Budapest for clubs to suit any taste – and don't miss the outdoor clubs in the summer months where you can dance til dawn.
Hungarian forint (Ft) is made up of a 100 fiiler.
British nationals don't need a visa to visit Hungary for less than three months.
Like most countries, it is recommended that you are vaccinated against tetanus, no other vaccinations are required.
Safety, FO travel advice
Pickpocketing in the cities and over-charging in some bars and restaurants. Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for up-to-date advice before you go.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Hungarian country representatives can be found
In the UK:35 Eaton Place, Belgravia, London SW1X 8BY. Tel:- 0207 201 3440.
In the US:3910 Shoemaker Street, NW Washington D.C. District of Columbia USA 20008. Tel:- 202 362 6730.
There is a tourist board
in the UK at46 Eaton Place, London. SW1X 8AL. Tel:- 020 7823 1055.
For more information visit: http://www.gotohungary.co.uk and www.kormany.hu/en.
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