A Comprehensive Article on Vacation in Hungary for travelers planning to come here for a holiday. I will tell you about the travel trends, what to visit and see in Hungary. This article will help you get an idea of what to expect from a vacation in Hungary and how to best organize your trip.

General Information about Vacation in Hungary

Here are the key points that will give you a general overview:

  • Hungary is a landlocked country in the heart of Europe, one of many without access to the sea. Consequently, there are no beaches here. However, Hungary has its own “inland sea,” the largest in Central Europe – Lake Balaton. Today, all the villages around Lake Balaton form one big resort, where a huge number of tourists gather in the summer.
  • Hungary is almost devoid of mountains. The entire country is mostly flat, with the exception of the hilly northwest, where the Alpine foothills begin. The highest point in the country is Mount Kékes at 1,014 meters. You can find more information about the mountains in Hungary, what to see, and where to go in the linked article.
hungary travel trends
The picturesque Hungarian mountain village of Lillafüred is worth mentioning. In the castle pictured, there is a hotel with thermal baths where you can book a room for as little as 150 euros per day, which is quite affordable for European castles.
  • Hungary has a moderately continental climate. This means that summers are hot (around 30°C), and winters are very mild (rarely dropping below freezing during the day, typically ranging from 0 to 5 degrees Celsius). Snow can be found here, but it doesn’t stay for long. There is even a ski resort, but for such activities, it’s better to visit neighboring Austria.
    • Everything about Hungary’s ski resorts can be found in this article.
    • In this article, you can read about the climate and weather in the country and determine the best time to visit.

Travel Trends Today, or What to Visit and See in Hungary

Now, let’s discuss the kind of vacation you can expect in Hungary and why you should come here in the first place.

Interesting Fact:

Most tourists know very little about Hungary. To them, Hungary is Budapest. Can anyone name another city? 🙂 Today, Budapest is not only the capital of the country but also a major transportation hub. Budapest Airport is the main hub for one of the largest low-cost airlines, WizzAir. There are hundreds of flights daily from almost anywhere in Europe. The passenger flow through Budapest Airport is enormous. Yes, many of them are transit passengers, but many also stop in Hungary for 1-2 days between flights and then continue on.

About getting to Hungary from Europe cities and other regions.

  • Budapest is the main tourist city in the country. Just the Buda Castle, the Hungarian Parliament building, and the view of the Danube River are worth a visit. Budapest is also known as the capital of European ruin pubs.
    • People of all ages come to Budapest to simply walk around the city and admire its architecture, which is impressive in scale and elegance.
    • Many young people from all over Europe also come here to hang out and “party” in bars. It’s a lively city where life is bustling around the clock, and nobody interferes with each other.
    • An Overview of Budapest’s Attractions or What to See and Where to Go.
vacation in hungary
Buda Castle is so vast that it can only be captured from the other side of the Danube

If everyone knows about Budapest, I’ll now tell you about vacationing in Hungary, which many may not have even thought of. About relaxation beyond Budapest.

  • Hungary has a vast number of castles and palaces that are well-preserved and open to tourists today. Almost all over the country, you can find medieval fortresses on hilltops or palaces in the style of Versailles or Schönbrunn. There are too many to list them all: Esterháza Palace, Festetics Palace in Keszthely, Visegrád Castle, Sümeg Castle, and so on.
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Esterháza Palace, 180 km from Budapest, is open to tourists year-round, including its gardens and parks.
  • And now for the biggest discovery: Hungary has over 60,000 thermal springs. 1,300 of them are fully equipped for tourists with baths, water parks, and complete thermal spas.

Interesting to know:

When it comes to Hungary’s thermal baths, everyone knows only about the Széchenyi Baths in Budapest. But I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s mostly marketing; they are the most expensive and not necessarily the best, but tourists flock to them because they don’t know any better.

In Hungary, you can find thermal baths in almost every city, and in many larger cities, there are two or three. In Budapest alone, 13 baths are open to visitors. The mineral waters in these hundreds of spas across the country have different compositions, including sulfur, magnesium, low-salt, and more. You can create your own route through Hungary based solely on thermal baths if you wish.

For more information about relaxing in Hungary in thermal baths and which ones are the coolest, and why the Széchenyi Baths are just marketing, check the linked article. Below are some photos to whet your appetite 🙂

what to do in hungary
Gellért Baths in Budapest – quite modest thermal baths.
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These baths are in a real cave underground on the outskirts of the small town of Miskolc. I recommend them to everyone.

Interesting Fact:

Hungary is home to the world’s largest thermal lake. The water temperature here is consistently above 30°C year-round, even in winter. In summer, it’s 36°C. And it’s not in Budapest, which many tourists don’t even know, and they inexplicably stay only in the capital 🙂
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Lake Hévíz is essentially one enormous hot thermal bath where you can swim across the entire lake. It’s open year-round. A vacation in Hungary is not just about Budapest.

And, of course, Hungary is about food and drinks for those who enjoy delicious meals and wine. Hungarian Tokaji wine, which costs as little as 2-3 euros per bottle here, is worth mentioning. As for Hungarian cuisine, there is a separate article for that. For food enthusiasts, Hungary is paradise: goulash, halászlé, paprikás, pörkölt, libamáj, lecsó, lángos, túrós csusza, and more.

The last dish, though, is for specific connoisseurs: túrós csusza is dumplings or pasta with curd cheese and cracklings. It’s a very interesting combination. In some places, they use sweet curd cheese in its preparation.

Vacation in Hungary: Prices, Itineraries, Tips

You’ve already learned what to do as a tourist in Hungary. Here are a few general tips that will give you a clearer picture:

  • Many tourists used to believe that Hungary was a very cheap country, but that was a decade ago. In recent years, especially after the pandemic, the country has experienced high inflation, with prices rising by 20-25% annually.
  • Numerous Eurozone integration processes have also pushed prices up. Today, Hungary is not cheaper than its neighboring countries, and in many aspects, including tourism, prices are on par with Austria. A vacation in Hungary is definitely not a budget option. Accommodation, dining in restaurants, sightseeing, and thermal baths all fall within the average European price range, or even slightly higher.
holidays in Hungary
The Anna Thermal Baths in the city of Szeged are truly outstanding. A vacation in Hungary often involves daily visits to these baths, which can be quite intense but missing out on such places would be a shame.

Regarding the itinerary of your trip and how many days to plan for Hungary, it’s a complex question. An article on road trips in Hungary may be of great help, but in brief:

  • You can see the essentials of Budapest (all the main attractions in the city center) in one or two days at a minimum. Allocate another day to visit a thermal bath. However, you can spend 3, 4, or even 7 days if you wish.
  • In about 10-12 days by car, you can cover all the country’s top attractions and beautiful cities. Hungary is a small country with short distances and quick transfers. Here’s just a small list of places I recommend to travelers:
    • Szentendre, Visegrád, Esztergom – three satellite cities of Budapest and the first capital of the country, which is Visegrád.
    • Lake Balaton: You can easily spend a week here, especially if you visit during the summer. It’s a resort area with the thermal Lake Hévíz, an aquapark with hot springs in Zalakaros, and wine villages with great wine tastings.
    • The city of Pécs with fantastic walking routes in the hills and thermal baths.
    • The magnificent Szeged – this city has two thermal baths, one of which is among the best in the country. I’m talking about the Anna Thermal Baths, which I mentioned earlier.
    • Debrecen, the second-largest city in the country, also has two thermal baths.
    • A small town in the north, Miskolc, with impressive underground thermal baths in caves.
    • The village of Lillafüred in the Hungarian mountains and a narrow-gauge railway with splendid views.

And this is not an exhaustive list. You could plan a month-long itinerary throughout the country, but not everyone has that much time.

Important::

Vacationing in Hungary can range from a 2-day trip to Budapest alone to a 2-week exploration of the beautiful cities, castles, and thermal baths in the country. Lake Balaton and Hévíz are the cherries on top, perfect for sunbathing and swimming.

In conclusion, I hope you now understand that a vacation in Hungary is all about thermal baths, food, castles, and palaces, beautiful cities, and the unique Budapest. Come here for at least a week, rent a car, and discover a Hungary that few have seen.


IMPORTANT: Below are useful links that will help organize your trip to Hungary and Budapest:

  • Flight: Aviasales – compares prices for flights among 30+ airlines flying to Budapest.
  • Tours and excursions:
    • Viator and GetYourGuide – the best services for finding tours in Budapest and Hungary with the largest database of activities in Hungary. They offer river cruises on the Danube, tickets to baths, and 1000+ tours (available in different languages).
  • Accommodation, apartments, hotels, hostels:
    • Hotellook compares the prices among dozens of other booking services and offer the best price
    • Booking – the most popular booking platform
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Hungary
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – the leading and largest car rental service in Hungary.
  • Travel Insurance: EKTA.
  • eSIMAiralo virtual SIM card in Hungary.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel