Your comprehensive travel guide to Hungary - All in one place!
Statuesque castles, stunning lakes, extraordinary caves, thick forests, and magnificent churches, Hungary is more than just its glittering capital ‘Budapest’. The myriad places to visit in Hungary are fast turning one of the most popular countries in Eastern Europe into a hot and happening tourist destination. The country has been heavily influenced by its conquerors, which is evident in its interesting architecture and culture.
Hungary is a mostly flat country, dominated by the Great Hungarian Plain east of the Danube. The plain includes approximately 56% of the country's land. The terrain ranges from flat to rolling plains.
The land rises into hills and some low mountains in the north along the Slovakian border. The highest point, located in the Matra Hills, is Mt Kekes at 3,330 ft.
The lowest spot is 77.6 m above sea level, located along the Tisza River in the south of Hungary, near Szeged.
The Danube is the major river, as it divides the country almost in half, and is navigable within Hungary for 418 km.
Hungary has three major lakes. Lake Balaton is Europe’s largest freshwater lake.
The rich culture of Hungary is strong in folk traditions and has its own distinctive style, influenced by the various ethnic groups including the Roma people. Music of all kinds, from classical to folk, is an important part of everyday life, as is the country’s rich literary heritage. Crafts such as ceramics and embroidery, Hungary’s distinct, traditional cuisine, strong fruit brandies, dance and the ever-popular spa treatments all reflect the heritage of this fascinating country.
Hungary’s 10 million people are vibrant, friendly and value the family above all else, with generations living in the same household under one roof and grandparents having a strong say in the upbringing of their grandchildren. Hungarians are a nation of horsemen due to their ancient nomadic past, and visitors often receive an invitation to go riding from their new local friends. Hospitality is a major part of the culture here, and personal questions about your life are all part of the getting-to-know-you process.
Hungary has been inhabited by many people over its long history, including the Celts, Romans, Slavs, Huns, Avars, and Gepids. Today, ethnic Hungarians account for the largest ethnicity at 84% of the population, followed by Romani (3%), Germans (1%), Slovaks (0.3%), Romanians (0.3%), and Croats (0.2%). Almost 15% of the population did not declare an ethnicity at the 2011 census.
Christianity is the most common religion in Hungary, although it has no official religion. Most Hungarians became Lutherans following the 16th century, then the country turned largely to Calvinism. Hungary was home to a large Jewish population at one time. While some Hungarian Jews escaped the Holocaust, up to 550,000 were deported to concentration camps or murdered in the country. Budapest remains the center of Hungary's Jewish population today.
The official language used in Hungary is Hungarian, with additional use of English at 16%, German at 11.2%, Russian at 1.6%, Romanian at 1.3%, and French at 1.2%, in use among the population as well.