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Throughout centuries of conquests and occupations, Hungary has clung fiercely to its identity and its heritage. From the magnificent northern Renaissance architecture that lines the cobbled streets of the capital Budapest, to the country’s expansive plains and verdant mountain ranges, Hungary is one of the most culturally and geographically diverse you will find. These striking landscapes, its welcoming cafe culture and grand hotels are guaranteed to help you appreciate all that Hungary is so proud of.
Budapest — Sprawling on the banks of the Danube, magnificent is the only word for Hungary’s capital, Budapest. Blending historic surrounds with modern chic and comfy hotels, elegant apartments and cheap and chic hostels, the city is surprisingly affordable for a European capital. Don’t miss the splendid Hungarian Parliament, an apparent collision between fairytale castle and the domes of the Florentine Renaissance.
Debrecen — One of the most important centres of culture in Hungary, Debrecen is the country’s second largest city. Often compared architecturally with Rome, Debrecen oozes personality. It has a thriving music scene, is packed with art galleries and museums at every turn, and has top hotels. Better stop to sample the local brandy, while you decide where to go next!
Szeged — Stay in this youthful and creative city; Szeged is home to Hungary’s most prestigious university. Over the years, the city has spawned an intimidating array of artists, composers and poets, and since the 1930s has been host to the annual Szeged Open Air Theatre Festival.
Pecs — The fifth largest city in Hungary, Pecs offers some stunning architecture, but it is the city’s location on the slopes of the relatively undiscovered slopes of the Mecsek Mountains that make it really unique. The striking, lush forests here attract hikers and outdoor enthusiasts from miles around to its hotels.
Hungary is a small country but it is packed with things to see. Head to Budapest for a sightseeing tour of the local attractions, from the citadels to the cobbled streets and chiming bells of Castle Hill. You could also escape the city in style with a Danube day trip to Esztergom, Visegrad and Szentendre. For picture perfect landscapes, the fertile hiking trails in Balaton Uplands National Park, overlooking Hungary’s largest lake, are truly unmissable. The Hungarian countryside is so unspoiled by urbanisation that you will be hard pressed to find anything to rival it elsewhere in Europe.
Budapest is never quite as grand as when it is lit up, so hit the city for a night tour followed by a three course dinner. Budapest and Debrecen are also home to a number of renowned cafes and restaurants, which will keep the keenest of foodies busy. Every year, Budapest also hosts the Sziget Music Festival, offering the most diverse selection of acts in Europe, and the best vibe a crowd can offer. Finally, no trip to Hungary would be complete without a visit to the eerie underground caves at Aggtelek. The largest cave system in Europe, the magical rock formations here wouldn’t look out of place in the Snow Queen.