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Did you know Budapest has the most thermal springs of any capital in the world?

This is just one of the many surprising facts you'll find out about Hungary. Well placed at the very heart of central Europe, it's a fascinating land of music and history, of fertile plains, hilltop castles and legendary horsemanship.

A country where the mighty Danube River divides Buda and Pest as it flows through the great capital and on towards the Black Sea. Surrounded on all sides by so many other interesting European countries, such as Croatia, Slovenia and Austria, Hungary makes for an integral chapter on any central European jaunt and is best explored by river ship.

The food and wine here is a joy to discover, from sour cherry soup to deliciously fluffy plum dumplings and all-out comfort food, the intensely savoury goulash.

 

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Culture and history

Hungarians love their music – there’s a very strong tradition of folk music that continues today and influenced composers Franz Liszt and Béla Bartók, as well as renowned conductor George Solti.

Other famous Hungarians include newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, founder of the Pulitzer Prizes from the world of entertainment, Bela Lugosi, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Peter Lorre, film producer and director Alexander Korda and escapologist Harry Houdini.

And last but by no means least, inventors Laszlo Biro of ball point pen fame, and Ernö Rubik, creator of the eponymous (and fiendishly difficult!) cube.

Food is a fundamental part of Hungarian culture and dishes include the world famous goulash.

The Hungarian innovation known  as ‘red gold’ – paprika – is often used as flavouring.

Things to do

Book a river cruise along the Danube and travel through central Europe on a Saga holiday visiting the region's iconic cities, from Vienna and Prague to Bucharest and Belgrade.

Sail through the Iron Gates Gorge between Serbia and Romania and on into Hungary to explore the striking architecture of Budapest, the ancient town of Esztergom or pretty Visegrád, with its fairy-tale castle perched high on a wooded hilltop.

Take a tour of the town of Mohács, famous for its folk culture, marvel at the pirouettes and turns of Hungary's accomplished horsemen or take in a production at the Hungarian State Opera House on our specialist classical music tour.

Budapest

Known as ‘The Paris of the East’, Budapest is one of Europe’s most beautiful, cultural and historic cities, and one that you will certainly find rewarding. You can discover this wonderful city for yourself on one of our river cruises, and even stay on Margitsziget Island, which is situated in the middle of the Danube.

Elegant boulevards, grand architecture, chic boutiques and a wonderful atmosphere… Budapest will surprise and delight any visitor. Explore the city and discover the former Royal Palace, Buda Castle, the turreted Fishermen’s Bastion, the very grand St Stephens Basilica and iconic Chain Bridge. You can also take a funicular up to Castle Hill, discover the many statues, busts and plaques in Memento Park, or watch the world go by from one of the many excellent cafes.

Margitsziget Island

The island of Margitsziget is named after the daughter of King Béla IV – Margaret – who lived in a convent here in the 13th century. Thermal waters run beneath the island and are believed to have healing qualities – these feed the resort's spa and pools.

This idyllic island in the heart of the river dances to a different beat from the bustle of the city, offering a pocket of peace away from the crowds. There are no vehicles allowed, and the verdant landscape is the ideal location for walking.

Flight time

The average flight from London to Budapest is 2 hours 25 minutes.

Currency

Forint -

The Hungarian currency is the forint (abbreviated Ft or HUF). It’s divided into 100 fillér. The forint’s name comes from the city of Florence, where gold coins called Fiorino d’oro were minted in 1252.

Phrases

Here are few niceties in Hungarian for you to get your tongue around

Hello - Szia (see-yah)

Goodbye - Viszontlátásra (VEE-sont-la-tash-raa)

Thank you - Köszönöm (KUR-sur-nurm)

Please - Kérem (KEY-rem)

Yes - Igen (EE-gen)

No - Nem (nem)

Good morning - Jó reggelt! (yoa REG-gelt)

Good afternoon - Jó napot! (yoa NA-pot)

Good evening - Jó estét! (yoa ESH-teyt)

Good night - Jó éjszakát! (ay-SA-kat)

Timezone

Hungary is one hour ahead of GMT but two hours ahead during European/continental summertime.

Electricity

All sockets take small round two-pin plugs so an adaptor is required for most British electrical appliances. Mains voltage is 220 volts AC (50 cycles).

Language

Hungarian - The official language is Hungarian (Magyar). English is widely spoken in Budapest but not as much in the countryside.

Tipping

In Budapest, a tip of 10-15% is standard for good service; outside the capital tipping is less customary, but is always appreciated by the staff.

Climate

Hungary experiences four distinct seasons, so you’ll find temperatures are typically more extreme than in the UK, with summer (June to August) very warm, and winter very cold  – a chilly average temperature of just -2C in January.

Happily, spring and autumn are pleasantly mild.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

Hungary has a population of around 9.9 million, less than a sixth of the UK’s.

At 93,030 square kilometres, Hungary is 2.5 times smaller than the UK, but is far less densely populated with just 126.6 people per square kilometre compared to 257 per square kilometre in the UK.

Smoking

Since January 2012, smoking has been banned on public transport and in public buildings.



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