With our world finally opening back up in the wake of Covid, the CEO of Expedia, Peter Kern, has predicted summer 2022 will be the busiest travel season ever. With both leisure and business travel on the rise, more and more people are seeking new vacation adventures and in-person business meetings. If you find yourself in Hungary with some free time, this small country (about the size of Indiana) offers plenty to see and do.
Let’s talk first about the relaxation this adorable country is famous for. Hungary offers many of the world’s most famous baths. If you’re in need of physical healing, the Széchenyi Baths Complex should be your first stop. Not only is this the largest “medicinal” bath complex in Europe, its mineral-rich waters are believed to help patients with degenerative joint illnesses and other medical issues.
If you’re simply in search of luxurious relaxation, a visit to the grandest spa in the city, the Gellert Bath and Spa Center, fits the bill. Outside Budapest, Lake Hévíz is the second largest thermal lake in the world, and the facilities are as nice as the area is beautiful. Another excellent choice is Cave Bath, which interestingly is located inside a natural cave in the town of Miskolctapolca.
An historic jewel in the heart of Central Europe, Budapest, is made up of three unified cities, with Buda and Óbuda on the west bank of the Danube and Pest on the east bank. If you’re wondering what there is to do in this capital city, wonder no more. Here is a list of the top sites and experiences within, or very near, this bustling city.
Take a ride on the Buda Castle Hill Funicular. First opened in 1870, this is the second oldest funicular of its kind in the world and is the perfect way to take in spectacular panoramic views out across the Danube. While you’re there, check out the amazing castle!
A stroll down Andrássy Avenue will take you from Erzsébet Square in central Pest, out to the City Park. This is a fantastic way to see and appreciate many of Budapest’s different architectural styles. Along this route, declared a World Heritage Site in 2002, you will pass several national embassies and the famous Hungarian National Opera House.
Visit the massive Hungarian Parliament Building, built in the Gothic Revival style. To capture the fascinating structure in its entirety, make sure to view it from the other side of the Danube, as well.
With so much to do, a visit to the Budapest City Park offers a unique experience for each person. Choose to visit attractions such as Budapest Municipal Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Vajdahunyad Castle, or
the Budapest Circus, all located inside the perimeter. Or choose to play a variety of sports, take a boat ride on the lake, enjoy a picnic or even glide along the ice-covered lake on skates during the winter months.
Enjoy a day of shopping in central Budapest’s most famous marketplace, Great Market Hall, and Ecseri Flea Market, located on the outskirts of town. The shopping is reasonably priced and plentiful. Find anything from designer goods to jewelry and local handicrafts and everything in between.
Sample wines from Hungary’s 22 different regions at the historic Faust Cellars, located under the Buda Castle. A sommelier will offer lessons and even wine sampling notes to help you get the most from the tasting experience.
If time allows, rent a car and see more of this lovely country. Here are some things to see and do outside of Budapest. Remember this country is small, and nothing will be further than a few short hour’s drive.
Hortobágyi National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Eastern Hungary and notably a perfect place to, among other things, experience bird migrations. From mid-October through the end of November, the crane migration is spectacular. Geese and other birds can also be seen in abundance. In addition to the wildlife, the natural beauty of the vast area of wetlands and plains makes this park an interesting place for hikes, as well as other sports and exploring.
Stroll through the Hungarian Open-Air Museum to learn about life in this country throughout the ages. There are eight distinct areas to explore, each with unique architecture and dioramas.
By Lisa Osborne Blalock
Footloose Travel & Tours