Holidays in
Hungary

Heady times in Europe’s heartland

Hungary holidays can be intoxicating. Steam fills gorgeous bathhouses, cities burst with architectural gems, feet stamp to folk festivals and wine and brandy spill from tables bursting with food. The nation is the bridge between Central and Eastern Europe, where the Alps become foothills and vast plains stretch east, the great Danube meandering through it all. Budapest is Hungary’s magical capital, and one of Europe’s most fascinating cities.

Its dramatic history, from Roman legions and Magyar horsemen through the Ottomans and the Habsburgs, can be traced through ancient fortresses, baroque churches and shimmering art nouveau hotels. History feels thrillingly alive here – the former Royal Palace houses a museum and gallery, Turkish baths offer the chance to soak in the past, and ‘ruin pubs’ have repurposed old buildings as beer halls, offering quirky decor, sunny terraces and club nights. Several appealing destinations are within day-trip distance of Budapest.

Szentendre displays a Serbian influence and sits on a dramatic bend in the Danube where it features intriguing museums and atmospheric side streets. The town of Eger’s beautiful centre boasts a castle and minarets, with good vineyards and hiking in the hills around. Holidays to Hungary can go further afield, too. Lake Balaton is a great outdoor destination – you can visit beaches, forests and resorts that mix elegance with some wild bars and clubs. The second city, Debrecen, is a good base for exploring the Great Plains and watching cowboy shows – acrobatic displays of horsemanship that, like so much in Hungary, will make your head spin.

All regions in Hungary

Three tips for a top trip

Pop out the paprikaPaprika is everywhere in Hungary, giving soups, meat and stews a warming nip. You’ll often see it on tables next to the salt and pepper shakers.
Drink upLike many classy continental cities, water fountains are frequently found in Hungary’s urban public spaces. They’re free and safe to use, so save money on bottled water and reduce your plastic while you're about it.
Find the coolest pubsBudapest’s most famous ‘ruin pubs’ are in District VII, just across the river from Buda Castle, but many of the coolest places are south of there, in District IX.

Don’t-miss dates in Hungary

April

Spring is fine and fresh, and features two major festivals. Budapest Spring Festival stages theatre, folk and opera, while the village of Holloko celebrates Easter with traditional music and costumes.

Balaton Sound

Lake Balaton is Hungary’s party playground, and Balaton Sound ramps it up in midsummer with a hedonistic vibe and performances from big-name pop, R&B and dance acts.

Egri Bikaver

Set in the charming city of Eger, this July festival celebrates the region’s rich, mellow Bull’s Blood wine. There are food stalls, DJs – and plenty of red wine.

Best things to do in Hungary

Wander Buda and Pest

Hungary’s capital used to be two cities, divided by the Danube – explore the Royal Palace in hilly Buda before crossing the Danube for food and drink in livelier Pest.

Lie among lilies in Heviz

One of the best bases in the Lake Balaton region, this spa town is home to Europe’s largest thermal lake – a lily-covered wonder that you can bathe in year round.

Get arty in Szentendre

This charming town on the Danube is packed with museums and galleries. It’s a short hop from Budapest – make a journey of it by taking a river ferry.