Fed up with traditional beach holidays? Looking for something a little different? Then Hungary with its picturesque lake resorts and magical fairytale cities could be the answer.
It might sound like a state of being underfed, but don’t let this bother you, because Hungary is actually one of Europe’s most enticing countries. Its rivers are meandering, its lakes are huge and it has a staggering 11 national parks – not bad for a small landlocked country in the middle of central Europe. Of course, you can add to this plenty of vineyards, acres of orchards, snow-capped mountains and a people who are unique in Europe. The Hungarians, or Magyars as they are known, arrived more than one thousand years ago from central Asia and have retained a language and a culture that stands apart from the rest of Europe – remember that one from your history lessons? And what’s more they’re a very friendly bunch too.
No matter what type of holiday you’re looking for,chances are Hungary will be able to deliver. Summers here mean lakeside lounging, and where better than along Central Europe’s largest body of fresh water, Lake Balaton? Resorts like Siófok are packed with beaches, watersports and luxury spa hotels, making this the perfect summer getaway if you’re looking for something a little bit different. And if you like your water with a little more heat then head down to Hévíz and experience Europe’s largest thermal lake. It might not have any beaches, but when it comes to lakes Hungary has the competition licked.
And it’s right up there when it comes to city break options too. Budapest, its capital, is as beautiful a city as you’ll find. The ‘Queen of the Danube’ is a royal city in every sense of the word, packed with neo-Gothic and Baroque buildings that give it a romantic feel only Paris and Prague can rival. Further afield you’ll find cities like Pécs with its early Christian monuments and ancient university, or the beautifully medieval Eger, known for its castle, Baroque palaces and Ottoman baths. And all this at a snip of the price of traditional European holidays. Maybe it’s time you thought about Hungary as your next holiday option.
The best time to come to Hungary is without doubt during the summer. Warm, sunny and long, lasting from May through until September, Hungarian summers see temperatures that peak just below 30 degrees. You will find the cities pretty empty at this time, however, as the crowds escape the heat to the country’s resorts. Don’t rule out an autumn visit either when the changing colours of the trees turn the country into a beautiful multicoloured affair. Similarly if you want to avoid the summer crowds then check out Hungary in the spring. You’ll find it a little wetter than other times, but it’ll be cheaper and you’ll have the place to yourself – more or less.