Hungary is a country with a rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, and a fascinating history that captivates travellers from around the world. Located on the Danube River, its stunning architecture, historical sites, vibrant cities and natural beauty makes it a ‘must see’ European destination for all tourists. Hungary is home to beautiful parks, historical buildings and castles, opera, thermal baths and offers culinary specialties from all over the world. It is a country which offers entertainment for the whole family from children to adults. Its well-organised transport system (public and private companies) facilitates movement not only between cities and also offers a well connected system within each city.
FUN FILLED PLAYGROUNDS
Hungary has over 600 playgrounds offering activities for children of all ages and for all seasons.
One of the most popular playgrounds is the Main Playground of City Park which spreads over 13,000 square metres and houses 50 special playground elements suitable for children of all ages.
A two-story castle, with a turreted bottom and with its own cannon, bastion and suspension bridge is part of the King Matthias Playground. Another lovely playground is located at Erzsébet Square next to the Budapest Eye and the skating park, offering amusement possibilities to the whole family. It is also worth visiting the Margaret Island Playground, where one can find a mini wildlife park, a Japanese garden, a musical fountain as well as the Palatinus beach. It is tucked away in the trees behind the fitness park next to the Alfréd Hajós National Sports Hall. The Playground at Tabán Park has terrace-like layout offering scenic views of Budapest and the Buda Castle.
The Hunyadi Square Playground is another beautiful place for children with its fully fenced climbing frames and slides, swings, large sandpit and mini climbing wall. Its safety plastic sheets and comfortable benches makes sure even the smallest ones enjoy themselves and have fun.
SCENIC RIVER CRUISES
One of the most interesting attractions in Budapest is a boat ride along the Danube River. River cruises are one of the best ways to see the stunning architecture of the historical capital. Budapest offers various types of cruises on the Danube, suited to all age groups, styles, and budgets. A la carte dinner cruises with music as well as Hungarian folk shows or even a private boat cruise, all are available. One can get in touch with
Budapest River Cruise: https://budapestrivercruise.com
Duna cruises: https://dunacruises.com/en
HIKING AT NORMAFA PARK
Normafa Park in the Buda hills is a popular destination for hikers in the capital. Its natural features, proximity to the city, easy accessibility and well-developed infrastructure makes it a popular destination for day trips and light hikes. People from Budapest visit this park when the first snow falls or when spring gives reason for a sweater hike. Normafa and the surrounding forests are not only a popular destination for hikers, but is also a special natural treasure. This area is home to 400-year-old oaks and lime trees and 200-300-year-old beech trees. It has one of the largest stands of exceptionally complex old trees in Hungary. You may visit Normafa Park website: https://normafapark.hu/english
ENCHANTING RAILWAY EXPERIENCE FOR CHILDREN AND THE WHOLE FAMILY
When visiting Normafa and the Buda Hills near Budapest, Children’s Railway should not be missed. Like any other railway, it has ticket offices, diesel locomotives, signals, switches and a timetable. Unlike other railways though, this one is run by children. The line stretches along the Buda hills from Széchenyihegy to Hűvösvölgy, crossing the Cogwheel Railway and serving Normafa as well as the highest point of Budapest: Jánoshegy. It is the world’s largest Children’s Railway. The lookout towers, forest playgrounds, places of pilgrimage and other attractions lie close to the stations, making the Children’s Railway the ideal jumping-off point for a half-day trip for the whole family. The journey between terminals takes approximately 40-50 minutes and on some days, the steam locomotive is also operating.
PICTURESQUE SUBURBS OF BUDAPEST
Just two hours away from the capital towards the west is Lake Balaton, a source of recreation and joy all through the year. Mountains like the Bükk or Mátra in the northeastern part of the country gives one the opportunity to organise more outdoor activities such excursions, beginners’ skiing, camping and many more. Hungary does not have tall mountains, as the highest point of the country is the top of Mátra mountain: 1,014 metres. Szentendre, where the suburban railway plies regularly from Batthány Square in Budapest, besides its charming ambience, hosts an open-air museum (Skanzen), where old farmhouses, rural lifestyle and the whole traditional cultural heritage of Hungary can be seen. During the summer, beginning April one can also get there by boat from the city center.
Another interesting destination outside Budapest is Gödöllő, which is home to the famous Grassalkovich Baroque Palace. It is located only 30 kilometres from Budapest — offering clean air, a forest, and a fascinating Baroque castle, with a romantic and seemingly endless park. White and gold royal suites and a permanent exhibition with several rooms and furniture on display await visitors. For anyone obsessed with the Habsburgs and Empress Elisabeth of Austria — the famous Sisi! – it is almost a duty to visit this place, as it was one of her favorite summer residences.
More on family programmes in Hungary: https://visithungary.com/category/hungary-for-families.
NEW HOTELS ENSURING HIGH HOSPITALITY EXPERIENCE
Hungary in the last few years welcomes new and reimagined luxury, which takes the form of multiple investments in renowned international hotel brands. Among them is W Budapest, located on Andrassy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, directly across from the State Opera House on the city’s most luxurious shopping street. The historic palace of W Budapest re-opened its doors, bringing local storytelling to life through the brand’s bold interpretation of luxury. Housed in the impressive Drechsler Palace, the hotel offers visionary design, eclectic gastronomy, and a socially driven spirit drawn from the cosmopolitan capital.
Matild Palace Budapest
Matild Palace Budapest gives a new meaning to elegance. Set in one of Budapest’s most landmark buildings, the hotel’s spaces are unique and unmistakable: Hungarian heritage is present in every corner of the building, and the moment you enter through the main entrance, you are immediately captivated. Matild
Palace aims to inspire its guests with its rich history, culture and gourmet cuisine. With its luxurious surroundings, authentic experiences and unforgettable memories, there is no better base from which to explore the magic of Budapest.
Tura Botaniq Hotel
Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, leaving behind the tasks of everyday life, and enjoying the pampering tranquillity of nature, care, and elegance — that’s what we all long for, and that is what Tura Botaniq Hotel offers to all visitors. The architecture of this fairytale château is reminiscent of the charm of the Loire Chateaux. Every corner of the Botaniq Hotel has its own special atmosphere - the forest surrounding the château, the fragrant park and the tranquil lake combine in a soul-soothing harmony that makes it the perfect setting for idyllic retreats and unforgettable events. Tura Botaniq Hotel is a breathtaking sight and a unique culinary experience, as fresh ingredients ensure a unique fine dining experience. This unique ‘jewel box’, in all its original splendour, yet meeting all the expectations of our time, offers a magical experience for those who seek indulgent relaxation, culinary delights or lavish events.
Verno House is an urban oasis where you can bond, breathe and bloom. A meeting point for travellers and locals alike, allowing a deeper understanding of the city’s spirit. It evokes the idea, born in 19th century Budapest, that one can only truly appreciate all the modern attributes of a city, if there is a nurturing, natural environment to escape to from time to time. Verno is a sanctuary where you can recharge before the next day’s explorations. With 50 rooms, the hotel is located on the corner of Szabadság Street and October 6th Street, rooted in the heart of the city. Its central location provides quick access to all the city has to offer and there is always something happening nearby.
Kozmo Hotel Suites and Spa
The building that Kozmo Hotel Suites and Spa occupies in Budapest today is a historical landmark known for being home to the largest telecommunications centre in Eastern and Central Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. A monumental bourgeois building that has kept its original elements – it is a protected property – coexisting with meticulous interior design that highlights the features of the age, such as the reddish material of its facade, its infinite palatial ceilings and the imposing staircase that presides over the lobby. A spire-shaped tower makes it the tallest building in the vicinity, offering 360° views of Budapest, with views of Buda Castle and the Citadel from the small viewpoint on its lowest floor. Art is on display throughout its rooms and common areas, by Carlos Cánovas — in the selection of photographs, and Lluis Lléo — in the application of the “al fresco” painting technique.
Aurea Ana Palace Hotel
Aurea Ana Palace Hotel is a pleasant and cosy, yet elegant hotel, which is a perfect setting to discover the true face of Budapest. Guests of the unique Aurea Ana Palace Hotel are welcomed by the cultural economy of the capital, as every corner of the hotel evokes the character and history of Budapest. The hotel is located in the Old Town on the banks of the Danube in a truly historic building, one part of which was originally built in 1847 in neoclassical style, while the other part was built in 1895 and served as the seat of the Austrian delegation.
WELLNESS SPAS: A MUST VISIT FOR TOURISTS
Budapest is famously known as the Queen of Bathing Cities, as no other capital in the world has so many hot-water springs. Whether for rehabilitation or recreation, it is worth spending time in the city’s thermal baths. No visit to Budapest can be complete without a visit to its spas, which give the sense of stories from the pages of a history book coming to life.
Bathing in medicinal water and springs in the Hungarian capital has an over 2,000-year-old history. The Romans established a flourishing bathing culture on this spot, which was enriched by further additions during the Turkish conquests during the 16-17th century. The development of bath culture was made possible by the network of hot springs running under the city capital. The springs ranging from pleasantly lukewarm temperatures up to 77° Celsius surge to the surface through over a hundred man-made wells and in several spots in natural form.
Europe’s largest bath complex is the enormous Széchenyi Thermal Bath at City Park, which combines the heavenly environment with the gentle healing water. It is also surrounded by many wonderful attractions such as Heroes’ Square, Vajdahunyad Castle or the Museum of Fine Arts. Turkish bath, a large swimming pool, wellness options, therapeutic services and various mineral water drinking cures await visitors at Rudas Thermal Bath. Moreover, the rooftop thermal water jacuzzi is open during winter and summer where one can enjoy the silkiness of the bubbling medicinal water while admiring the panoramic views of Budapest (even at night). This unique thermal bath offers “men only” and “women only days” on weekdays.
The largest biologically active natural thermal lake in the world is in Hungary, Lake Hévíz offering visitors a beautiful natural environment, a magical turquoise lake, cute water lilies and green trees. The water of the lake has a very special composition, containing sulphur, calcium, magnesium, and hydrogen carbonate. It is extremely rich in minerals and, as such, is very effective for numerous health issues, its wellness benefits and cosmetic rejuvenation truly combine treatment and relaxation, as used by the Ancient Romans. Many wonderful creams and serums are used in Hévíz, and the medicinal mud of Hévíz offers many health benefits. When combined with the sulphurous thermal water, it tightens, softens and detoxifies the skin. In Hévíz, one can try several face and body treatments that use either the medicinal water or the mud as one of the active ingredients. In addition, one can choose from a wide range of natural ingredients and the most modern skincare technologies to suit ones skin type and needs. One can combine facial and body treatments with bath therapy or even light and oxygen therapies. For those who want an even more effective firming treatment, laser treatments can be the perfect solution.
More on bathing culture in Hungary: https://visithungary.com/category/baths.
BUDAPEST — A GASTRONOMICAL HAVEN
Gastronomy has always played an important role in Hungarian culture. It is characterised by both tradition and innovation, as well as creative ideas and solutions inspired by a heritage of many centuries. In recent years, Hungary is going through a gastronomic revolution, where high-quality ingredients are used to keep Hungarian gastronomy’s long tradition.
Budapest, among other things, is famous for some of the finest Michelin Star restaurants in the world. As of November 2022, Hungary has seven restaurants with one Michelin star and two restaurants with two Michelin stars. Seven out of the nine restaurants in Hungary with Michelin stars are located in Budapest, and for the very first time, the country boasts a two-star restaurant also in the countryside. Owning to Hungary’s multicultural history and Eastern European influence, Budapest offers one of the most lavish dining opportunities.
There are quite a few Halal restaurants in Budapest that Muslim tourists can dine at. These restaurants serve a variety of cuisines, ranging from; Pakistani to Persian, Lebanese Turkish, and Middle Eastern. There are also a couple of Halal meat shops within Budapest; ideal for tourists who have the facilities to prepare their own meals.
Extra tip: If you are in Hungary, you should definitely try the lemonade specialities, which consist of different combinations of refreshing fruits and delicious spices.
More on Hungarian gastronomy: https://visithungary.com/category/food-2.