What to Do in Hungary

Two of my best friends growing up were (and are) Hungarian. For this week’s letter I wanted to delve into what their country has to offer to a traveler! What to do in Hungary? Let’s find out!

Language

Hungarian. This is one of the most bizarrely difficult languages to learn in the world – partially because it’s not related to any of the other languages around it in Europe. Much like Basque (spoken in the mountainous Basque territory in Spain and France), no one is really sure how Hungarian managed to survive in such relative isolation with all the Romance and Germanic languages surrounding it.

Currency

The Hungarian Forint, currently the exchange rate is more favorable, so now is a fairly good time to visit Hungary!

What to Do in Hungary

Budapest

I love, love, love spas. You should all know this by now. So of course my first visit will be to the spas in Budapest. Gellért Baths and Széchenyi Thermal Baths are the most well known and they look absolutely gorgeous. Some things are worth braving tourists – but I think I would try to go during the colder times of the year as many areas are open-air and the hot waters would be wonderful.

Margaret Island is an island in the middle of the Danube River which flows through Budapest. There’s some cool medieval ruins and nice walking/bike paths. Everyone mentions the Ruin Bars so I suppose I’ll have to take a gander and bar hop 😛

And of course I would take a river cruise as it’s something I do. It’s always a nice way to get an understanding of a city.

Lake Balaton

I was curious about that large lake (the largest in central Europe) that shows up on the map of Hungary and it turns out there’s a good few towns dotted around it. Because I’m me, I want to do a circuit, and see how each lake-side town goes about their day! Siofok is known as the party town, Revfulop is quaint, and Balatonfüred has healing springs and history. Hévíz is the most famous and most therapeutic, and Tihany has its church perched on the peninsula of Lake Balaton, which is quite picturesque. Most of these towns can be reached via the Lake Balaton ferries which will go across the lake.

Eger

A great place to base oneself in order to see the highest point in Hungary (Kekes), go on a wine-tasting tour, and what I’m most interested in – Hollókó (meaning “Raven-stone”) a World Heritage Site where there is traditional dress and a peek at the traditional way of life in Hungary.

A Meal Recommendation

Sausage. Hungarian sausage is well known and varied, called Kolbász in Hungarian. There is no one single standard of sausage, or one single way of preparing it. It appears to be eaten and cooked in any way it possibly can, hot/cold/baked/soups. Besides the grouping of sausage, only one thing unites them – the use of Hungarian red paprika. I’ve never quite understood how paprika is meant to flavor anything, but I do miss it when it’s not in my homemade Spanish Bean Soup (made with chorizo sausage). I’ve never been able to identify the flavor but I somehow know when it’s not there! At any rate, I recommend a tour of Hungary’s sausages should you ever find your way through it’s borders.

This is a Series!

For more posts like this, where we learn just a little bit about each country, check out these posts!

A is for Azerbaijan

C is for Cyprus

P is for Panama

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