Whether it is the country’s strong folk culture, spas and baths, the cowboys of the “puszta”, the beautiful Parliament building, the spicy and hearty cuisine favouring paprika, in Hungary you are guaranteed to find authentic, impulsive and profound experiences that will turn into memories you will remember for the rest of your life.
Water plays an important role in the country’s built, natural and cultural heritage. It is present in the beautiful historical thermal baths, the spas and lakes all over the country, the immerse Danube River splitting the capital into Buda and Pest, our sportsmen excelling in water sports such as swimming, water polo or kayaking, our tradition of sprinkling ladies when Easter comes, or the FINA World Aquatics Championship that has been called the best one in history.
If you make it to Hungary, chances are that you will come across water in some shape, way or form. The country boasts a unique thermal bath located in a natural cave in Miskolctapolca, the largest biologically active thermal lake in the world (Lake Hévíz), Central Europe’s largest lake (Lake Balaton), as well as famous historical baths in Budapest. The fact that there is some form of thermal water under 80% of the country’s territory is a significant strategic advantage. Hungary is the 5th largest thermal water reserve in the world with the value of geothermal gradient being 50% higher than the global average. The country is located over a very active geo-thermic area, it has more than 1400 springs, more than 200 thermal baths, and 40 health spa hotels, which make Hungary the perfect place to relax and recreate. The country also boasts a spa culture with a 2000-year-old history. Anyone can enjoy the healing powers the magnificent spas from the fin-de-siècle era in Budapest, which is the only capital in the EU where authentic medieval 16th-century Turkish baths are still in operation. (MTÜ)
The Hungarian Sea, a 80 km (50 mile) long lake in the middle of Transdanubia, is one of the most precious Hungarian treasure. The 598 square km (231 square miles) area of Balaton has abundant wildlife and the surrounding areas has lots of natural values such as: volcanic structures hills, the Little Balaton nature reserve or Tihany peninsula forests. The water and the sleek mud of the lake are excellent remedies for nervous complaints, anaemia and nervous fatigue.
More information here.
Hévíz is the second largest hot-water lake in the world, with the temperature of 90°F. The source of the 4.4 ha water surface lake, rich in sulphur and minerals, can be found 38 metres deep in the cave, which, due to its high well capacity, completely changes in every 72 hours. The water of Lake Hévíz contains an equal proportion of dissolved and gaseous substances, thus unifying the favourable characteristics of thermal waters rich in carbonic acid, sulphur, calcium, magnesium and hydrogen carbonate.
More information here.
The 307 square km, Lake Fertő (Neusiedler see) and the man-shaped Hanság-area is today a natural treasure guarded by the common national park of two countries. Due to the conservation efforts of the two neighbouring countries the interested visitor can now enjoy nature, hike or just relax in those beautiful areas. As an appreciation of the value of the Fertő region (both the Hungarian and the Austrian part), it has received the title World Heritage in the category Cultural Landscape in 2001.
More information here.
The Danube River is the second longest river in Europe, flowing 1,785 miles from Germany to Ukraine into the Black Sea. The river runs through Hungary for 417 km. The Danube, which split Budapest into two – Buda and Pest, has strongly determined the face of the city by its construction and building of the banks and its bridges.
Beside the Danube, Hungary’s other important river is the Tisza River that is rising in the Bukovina segment of the Carpathian Mountains and is a major tributary of the middle Danube River. The Tiszalök Dam (1954) on the river’s upper course forms the largest reservoir in Hungary, provides hydroelectric power, and, with the Eastern Main Canal linking the Tisza and the Berettyö to the Körös, supplies year-round irrigation water to the Hajdúság and Hortobágy plains.
In addition to the Hungarian lakes and rivers, geothermic activity gives warmth and curative mineral properties to springs all over the country. Some springs produce 70 million litres of thermal water a day, with temperatures ranging up to 58 Celsius. Many of these waters have medicinal effects due to their medically valuable mineral contents, thus unsurprisingly; Hungary has a well-deserved international reputation for the wealth of thermal and mineral water sources throughout the country.
It is also worth mentioning that Budapest alone has over 100 thermal springs and wells, the highest number in the world in one city.
There is also a remarkable cave system, formed by the thermal waters, under some of the hills in Buda. The most extensive one is right underneath the Castle Hill which invites people from all around the world to heal their sore parts, or just relax while enjoying the wide range of offered spa services.
The Hungarian capital is called the spa capital of the world rightly so, since plenty of the countires thermal springs and spas can be found here.
Budapest is not just the heart of Hungary, but also the heart of 125 thermal springs which made Budapest a secret garden of baths and spas.
The Hungarian Tourism Agency launched a campaign in the middle of May, 2018 with the slogan: “Budapest, the Spice of Europe”.
Hungary is famous for its excellent food, as traditional Hungarian cuisine is among the best and richest in Europe. The country is a land where people’s love of food make eating out an enjoyable experience for anyone who comes here. Creative recipes, quality ingredients, and friendly service meet in the country’s gastronomy, offering a vivid fusion of authentic and modern meals.
Discover Hungary, our landlocked country full of water, through the eyes of National Geographic Photographer, Stephen Alvarez.
It is almost impossible to list everything that is worth doing, seeing or tasting in Hungary, and especially in the nation’s capital and largest city for hundreds of years – Budapest.