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55 Reasons why everyone should visit Hungary at least once

55 Reasons why everyone should visit Hungary at least once

Ever since I found out about my Hungarian ancestry as a kid, I’ve been inspired to learn more and eager to visit Hungary. In the recent years, I’ve been exploring the country quite a lot, and last summer, especially when Christine and I did a road trip by train from Budapest to Eger, Miskolc, Tokaji, Debrecen and back to Budapest!

This article is a tribute to my Hungarian heritage and my grandfather Geza Waltner, who lives in the small but charming town of Sajószentpéter. 

If you haven’t yet been, I urge you to go and experience all that Hungary has to offer. Here are 55 reasons why I think everyone should visit Hungary at least once in their life! 

See the best hotels in Hungary

1. Food

One of the first things that come to mind when I think about Hungary is the food. There are so many delicious and flavorful dishes to try. Below are some notable dishes that are traditional in the Hungarian kitchen.

Pörkölt Gulyas
Halászlé Meggyleves
Rakott Krumpli Húsleves
Töltött Paprika Lecso
Paprikás Csirke Töltött káposzta

2. Esztergom

An old city that already existed during Roman times and the former capital of Hungary between the 900’s and 1200’s, before King Bela IV moved the capital to Buda. The famous basilica is also the largest church in all of the country.

Esztergom is surely another good reason to visit Hungary beyond Budapest!

basilica esztergom

3. Fisherman’s Bastion

Few attractions have caught my eyes like the Fisherman’s Bastion and Mathias Church next to it. This place is like taken out of a fairytale, but it’s very real, and you can walk here yourself.

If you come here early in the morning, you can almost imagine walking around in a scene from the Lord of the Rings!

fisherman's bastion

4. Tokaji Aszu

Probably the best sweet wine in the world. It’s so delicious. The first time you try it, make sure to select a good quality Tokaji Aszu with at least 5 puttonyos.

tokaji aszu

5. Architecture

Everywhere you go in Hungary, you will see old and beautiful architecture. In Budapest, you can walk around a whole day, just looking at old buildings and still haven’t seen them all.

But also in other cities you will see some impressive architecture!

St Stephen's Basilika

6. Lillafüred

Famous for the natural caves and the Palace hotel in neo-Renaissance style as well as being home to the highest waterfall in Hungary.


7. Interesting and unique folk tradition

Hungarian culture and traditions are some of the best-preserved ones in Europe. They go back to the old days, and as a tourist, it will be very interesting to attend events and festivals.

hungarian dancers

8. Aggtelek

A world heritage site and also the longest stalactite cave system in Europe. If you like to explore underground, then you shouldn’t miss Aggtelek in Northeastern Hungary!

aggtelek - reasons to travel to hungary

9. It’s still affordable as a tourist

While prices have increased in Budapest in recent years, it’s still very much affordable to visit Hungary as a tourist. You can see a lot of things, use public transportation, eat lots of food and have a good time without breaking the bank.

The same goes for hotel and spa experiences. You can stay at a luxury hotel here for at least half the price compared to cities like London or Paris.

10. Budapest

One of my absolute favorite cities worldwide. There are just so many attractions, spa, neighborhoods, nature, cafés, bars and shopping that you could stay here forever and never get bored. As a tourist, you will probably only stay for a couple of days, but you’ll definitely want to come back!

Read my guide with the top things to do in Budapest


11. Opera

While Opera originated in Italy, you will find plenty of extravaganza and quality for your money when attending the National State Opera House in Budapest.

First of all, the opera house is one of the most beautiful in the whole world with fantastic acoustic. Secondly, it’s very cheap compared to La Scala, but you still get a high-class performance here!

If you haven’t been to an Opera before, then make sure to go in Budapest.

budapest operaPhoto

12. Langos

Probably the best snack/fast food in the whole world.


13. Hollókö

Another UNESCO world heritage site, and a place to visit if you want to get a cultural experience. Here you can also see the Hollokö castle.

holloköPhoto: János Korom Dr./Flickr

14. Balaton Sound and Sziget Festival

If you like to party with people from all over the world, you should visit Hungary when Balaton Sound or Sziget Festival is ongoing. I will let the videos talk for the festivals, and if you like it, then you know that you have to come!

15.  Hungarian Hip Hop

You might not understand a word of this, but it’s still catchy.

16. Lake Heviz

The world’s largest thermal lake can be found in Heviz, close to the Balaton Lake. Another good reason to visit Hungary!

lake heviz

See the best hotels in Hungary

17. Pálinka

The national liquor of Hungary is said to cure everything from a broken heart to the common cold. Whether that’s true or not I will leave others to say, but I will tell you to try Pálinka as it’s a very tasteful spirit.

An old Hungarian saying is “what can be used to prepare jam can also be used to produce pálinka” and there are several fruits that can be used to produce this spirit. However, the most common ones are plums, apricots, apples, pears, and cherries


18. The Kiskunság National Park

A UNESCO biosphere reserve that is one of the most characteristic geographic areas in Hungary.

There are many tourist trails, study trails and lookouts, within the national park; all contributing to a unique experience of the Kiskunság. The main visitor’s center of the Kiskunság National Park, called the ‘House of Nature’, is situated in Kecskemét.


19. There’s a statue that will make you a great writer

According to the legend, you shall become a great writer if you touch the pen of the anonymous statue.

writer statue

20. Enjoy the best thermal baths

Hungary, and especially Budapest are famous worldwide for the thermal baths. Here you can see the outdoor pool of Szechenyi Bath which I can highly recommend!

Some other notable thermal baths in Hungary include Gellert Spa, Kiraly Bath, Rudas, Harkany, Sarvar, Mezőkövesd, Zsóry-fürdő, and Miskolctapolca.

Szechenyi bath in Budapest

21. Sopron

One of the oldest cities in Hungary. Here you will find plenty of beautiful buildings and the medieval Inner Town, which is mostly intact. Notable attractions are the neo-Gothic Ursuline Church, the historic Firewatch Tower, and the ornate City Hall.

In the surrounding area, you will also find lots of lush vineyards.


22. Dobos Cake

Cake is always a good idea.

dobos tortaPhoto

23. Veszprém county

Home to some of the most beautiful places in Hungary, Veszprem definitely deserves more attention with places like Tihany, Badacsony, Round church of Öskü and Castle of Vázsonykő, Nagyvázsony.


24. Biggest synagogue in Europe

Did you know that you can find the biggest synagogue in Europe here in Budapest, Hungary?

great synagogue in budapest

25. Hungarian wines

Already mentioned Tokaji Aszu might be the most famous Hungarian wine.

But there are also white and red wines of great quality. Pictured is the Egri Bikaver, also known as “bull’s blood” that you can find in Eger. The wine region of Tokaji also produces white wines of different grapes and level of sweetness.

If you’re a wine lover like me, you have to visit Hungary! It’s also very affordable to go wine tasting.

hungarian wine egri bikaver

26. Gulyás (goulash)

The most famous Hungarian dish definitely deserves a special spot on this list. It’s one of my favorite dishes, but Gulyás or Goulasch will probably not be the same in Hungary as you got it served in your home country.

It will be a lot more flavorful when you eat it here, especially at a real local restaurant or in a family home.

hungarian goulasch

27. Szeged

Also known as the city of sunshine as it has more sunny days of all the Hungarian cities. You should go here during summer when there are lots of events going on, such as when Dóm Square is transformed into an open-air theater.

szeged cathedralPhoto:  János Tamás

28. Szentendre

This quaint little town is just a stone’s throw away from Budapest, which also makes this place one of the most popular places to visit in Hungary. Szentendre is famous for being an artsy place with lots of galleries, and one of Hungary’s most famous museums – Skanzen.

szentendre - visit hungary

29. Off the beaten tourist path

Except for Budapest, the rest of the country will not be crowded with tourists most of the times. Hungary could be considered as an off the beaten path destination, which makes it even more exciting to explore!

30. Hortobágy national park

Here you will find the Puszta, a world heritage site filled with folklore, culture and the great plain.

31. Eszterháza

“The Hungarian Versailles”. This palace has 126 rooms and was built by Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. It’s the grandest Rococo building in Hungary.


32. Somlói Galuska

One of the most famous desserts in Hungary.

somloi galuskaPhoto

33. Pécs

Due to its Roman history and the surrounding vineyards, Pecs has got the nickname “city of Mediterranean impressions”. Pecs is located on the slopes of the Mecsek mountains in the south-west of the country.

A charming city that is definitely another good reason why you should visit Hungary!


34. Hungarian sausage

There are many different sausages in the Hungarian cuisine. This particular one is one of the famous ones, Gyulai Kolbasz, which is normally eaten as a cold-cut.

gyulai kolbaszPhoto: Hu Totya

35. Balaton Lake

Also known as the Hungarian sea, although it’s not a sea, but rather the biggest lake in Europe. Every summer you will see this area really come to live with tourists coming from nearby countries and other places in Hungary as well.

Siofok is a very popular place to go in Balaton Lake area, but there are also places where you can find tranquility and almost no people at all.

balaton lake

36. Fascinating language

If you’re lucky you will understand some words here and there. Most European languages share lots of common words, but the Hungarian language is from another group. It’s not a Germanic or Latin language. It belongs to the Uralic language family as Finno-Ugric, with similarities to Finnish and Estonian.

It’s a very special language and I’m sure you will find it fascinating too!

37. Unicum

Traditional herbal liqueur or bitters, drunk as a digestif or apéritif. It’s regarded as one of the national drinks, and with its distinct flavor, it’s surely another good reason to visit Hungary!


38. Hungarian Porcelain

Perfect to bring home as a souvenir.

ornate porcelain

See the best hotels in Hungary

39. Hortobágyi palacsinta

Another delicious Hungarian dish that you have to try when you visit Hungary!

hortobagy palacsintaPhoto: Themightyquill

40. Eger

An ancient city that might be most famous for its castle, wine and of course the place where just about 2100 people fought against 80 000 invading Ottoman warriors back in the 1500’s. Today, Eger is a peaceful town and definitely a place you should visit.

It’s very charming with lots of historical buildings and a lovely spa.


41. Lavender

The first lavender farm was settled in Tihany back in 1920’s, and nowadays you can find lavender products in many places. A great souvenir to bring back home!


42. Nightlife

If you go to Budapest, you will be able to experience some of the best and most unique nightlife in all of Europe. With all the ruin bars and new places that are popping up, you will always have a good time.

And alcohol is cheap too!


41. Paprika

No food in Hungary would be the same without Paprika, and here you will find it sweet, spicy and several colors! Paprika Powder is a very important ingredient in the Hungarian cuisine.


43. Sport

No, I’m not talking about a sport as an activity, but rather as the Hungarian chocolate bar with the same name – Sport.

sport chocolatePhoto

44. Bukk National Park

Go here in Autumn and enjoy the beautiful foliage season.

bukk national parkPhoto: Marcell Fetter

45. Györ

Famed for the beautiful baroque architecture, but also home to some interesting museum and charming cafes.


46. Hungarian Embroidery and Lace

Perfect to bring home as a souvenir.

hungarian embroideries

47. Visegrád

A small city with a rich history. Today you can explore the remains of the old renaissance palace built by Matthias Corvinus and a medieval citadel.

48. Europe’s largest Pinball Museum

A really cool place where you can play almost any pinball machine you can imagine!

pinball museum budapestPhoto:

49. Kékes

The highest mountain in Hungary is Kékes with a height of 1015 meters above the sea.


50. Debrecen

The second most populated city in Hungary is another stunning place to visit. Here below is the Cathedral on the main square.


51. Szaloncukor

Christmas candy that is usually made of fondant and covered by chocolate. You hang these in the Christmas tree. It is said that every Christmas each household will consume 1.5 kilos of Szaloncukor, so of course, they’re delicious!


52. Kürtöskalács

Another sweet treat that you will find in several places is the Kürtöskalács. While you can have it plain, it’s more common to top it with ground walnut or powdered cinnamon or even chocolate.


53. Tokaj

Not only does the Tokaj region produce some fine wine, the region is also home to some charming villages. When you go outside of the villages you can see the vineyards scattered across the landscape.

A great place for a calm and relaxing vacation!


54. Miskolc

The fourth largest city in Hungary is also worth a visit to the Castle of Diósgyőr and the wooden church. From Miskolc, it’s also easy to get to Bukk National Park and Lillafüred.

miskolcPhoto: József Birincsik

55. Beautiful People

Both Hungarian men and women are famed for their beauty, but it’s not only the outside appearance that is beautiful, also the inside. Hungarians hold on to tradition and culture. The hospitality is great too, and guests are being well-taken care of.

I would also recommend trying to learn a few Hungarian words and sentences, it will be much appreciated, especially among older generations as they will probably not be fluent in English.

Just a few words like Szia (hello) or even better Jó Napot kivánok (polite way of saying good day) or Köszönöm (Thank you), or even better Köszönöm szépen (Thank you very much) will bring some smiles while you travel around Hungary!

Flights to Hungary

Hotels & Guesthouses

Do you have more tips on why people should visit Hungary? Leave a comment below and share your tips! Of course, there are more than 55 reasons to visit Hungary.

These were just some highlights from me, and I’m sure others, especially locals have even more helpful tips and recommendations to share!

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Emilia Gilmour

Thursday 12th of December 2019

A wonderful summary. My parents escaped Hungary in 1956. Canada welcomed us and we are totally integrated and now proud Canadians. But, I yearn to introduce Hungary to my grandchildren who have no idea how rich it is with history, art, culture, tradition, food, architecture, On my bucket list is to immerse myself into Hungarian language and cultural revival for a month every year. Now the search for a little pied a terre.......

John Russel

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

I was already planning on going there, but now i'm completely convinced :)

wang jun

Tuesday 12th of February 2019

Hi.I like this article very much. I wish I can translate it into Chinese.

Alexander Waltner

Friday 22nd of February 2019

Hello Wang Jun, thank you! You're welcome to translate it as long as you include this article as your original source.


Monday 7th of January 2019

I was born in Hungary, and in 1956 my mother and I risked our lives to escape to the west to live a better life. But I’m still fond of Hungarian food. I think you left out mákos tészta (poppy seed noodles), a favorite of children (and grown-up children) You wrote a nice piece!


Saturday 9th of June 2018

Egerszalók fürdő Very unique and beautiful place.