Escorted tours to Hungary
Currency: Hungarian Forint
Time Zone: CET/GMT+1
Tipping: Tips are generally 10% of the price, if you don't leave a tip it is considered as rude.
Hungary - an introduction
It's a shame to say it but visitors very rarely travel any further than Budapest on Hungary holidays which is a great shame as a wealth of culture, history and an abundance of sights are being ignored. Tourists tend to only venture onto the banks of Hungary when cruising the Danube as Budapest usually features in the itinerary as a port of call, however, if you were to step a little further you will be amazed at what this delightful country has to offer the intrepid traveller.
One of the most exceptional sights to see is the mighty River Danube whose blue snakelike features literally spits Budapest in two. Hungary tends to be the stopover point when planning to explore either Central or Eastern Europe. What it lacks in dramatic scenery, Hungary certainly makes up for with its range of outdoor pursuits, all of which may be experienced on holidays to Hungary. Those visitors with a passion for fishing, horse-riding, bird-watching and cycling will thoroughly enjoy their holidays here.
Hungary is home to a treasure trove of fascinating towns and villages which are just dying to be explored by you. There's the farming world of the Southern Plain, the vineyard covered Villány Hills and the traditional Hungarian region of Örség. Culture vultures may wish to visit the variety of museums, galleries, mosques and ancient Roman tombs to be found in Pécs. See the perfectly preserved castle district in Veszprém. Hungary's original Wild West can be uncovered in Hortobágy whilst charming medieval cities can be explored in Sopron.
Unfortunately, Hungary does not have a coastline but Lake Balaton is a much welcomed substitute that the locals affectionately call the 'Hungarian Sea'. The Lake is the largest body of fresh water in the whole of Europe and is likely to provide enough attractions to suit every type of holidaymaker. If you happen to have children travelling with you, keep to the southern coast of Lake Balaton as the waters here are the shallowest. You will also find high-rise hotels, small sandy beaches packed full of sun worshippers and stalls selling all manner of things from souvenirs to greasy lángos (deep-fried treats). International DJs and party people make this side of the Lake a rather lively place to be especially in the nightclubs. The northern side is a lot quieter with quaint towns to visit such as Keszthely, Badacsony and Balatonfüred. Tihany is home to some of the deepest beaches and is also the location for an important historical church whilst Hévíz has the natural wonder of a thermal lake.
Hungary holidays typically include; return flights or coach travel, accommodation in good standard hotels, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions so you can explore further than Budapest and really get a feel for this exceptional European country.
Things to do
Hungary is such a beautiful country in Europe and it's a shame that so many tourists rarely venture further to discover more than the ports on a Danube cruise. Here are just a few of the places you should make time to visit during your holiday here:
The capital of Hungary where you can explore both sides of the River Danube, Buda and Pest! Buda forms the historical part of Budapest whereas Pest is the business side with its shops and boulevards. In Buda, you can visit the Castle District, a place that everyone will enjoy with its stunning collection of historical monuments, great restaurants, romantic walkways and beautiful old houses – all waiting for you to explore!
Is home to one of the largest lakes in Central Europe and just happens to be one of the most popular places to visit whilst in Hungary. This is the perfect place to come to if you're looking for relaxation as the scenery is both tranquil and stunning. Go for a gentle stroll around the circumference of the lake or hop on a boat and take a leisurely cruise. If you happen to be in Hungary during the winter, the Lake freezes over so you can go ice-skating or try your hand at ice-fishing.
Castle of Eger
Dating back to the 13th century, the Castle of Eger is perched high up on a hill that overlooks the beautiful city of Eger. You'll be able to explore the castle as well as visiting the Prison Museum, underground artillery bunks and one of the most popular museums in the whole of Hungary – Dobó István Fortress Museum.
You may wish to combine your visit to Eger Castle with a gentle stroll through the beautiful vineyards of Szépasszony Valley. Here's your opportunity to sample some of Hungary's finest red wines from quaint wine cellars and taverns found in the region. If you happen to be in this part of Hungary, visit Istenes Pince – the Godly Cellar – which is supposed to be the oldest cellar in the area.
Thinking of travelling to Hungary? Check out the average temperatures for when you plan to visit courtesy of BBC Weather
Tips & Advice
The beauty of travelling in an escorted tour is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Hungary, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Prior to travelling abroad, it is always wise to check with a GP if you will need any medication or vaccinations for your holiday, you should do this around 8 weeks before travelling.
When visiting Hungary, you should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) prior to leaving the UK. This is not a substitute for travel insurance, however it will allow you to access state provided medical treatment should it become necessary whilst you are away. Any treatment which is offered is on the same terms as Hungarian nationals. The EHIC will not cover the cost of on-going treatment, non-urgent treatment or in extreme cases the cost of medical repatriation. Before leaving for your holiday you should check you have adequate medical insurance and also access to additional funds which will cover the cost of repatriation should it be deemed necessary. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
If you are in need of emergency medical assistance, simply dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are taken to a medical facility for treatment, it is important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them.
As ever, always take precautions when in Hungary as pickpocketing and bag snatching is common. Especially when travelling on public transport and other busy tourist areas. Never carry large amounts of cash with you.
Be aware that some clubs, restaurants and bars in Budapest (located in the V District/Business District of central Pest), have been known to charge extortionate prices - some have added up to £60 per drink to the final bill. Those who have been unable to settle this large bill, have then been escorted to nearby cash machines by security guards. Taxi drivers have been known to receive commission for recommending certain bars, restaurants and clubs to unsuspecting tourists and so never ask a taxi driver for a recommendation. Always ensure that there are menus published which show prices before entering a venue.
Keep a look out for bank notes which are old and no longer in circulation, sometimes taxi drivers will try to pass these no longer valid notes on to tourists.
Local Laws and Customs
Always carry your passport with you, in case you are requested to present it as a form of ID. A photocopy will not suffice.
Drug law is as strict in Hungary as it is in the UK.
When staying in Hungary for up to 3 months, your passport should be valid for the entirety of your stay. You do not need to have an additional period of validity beyond this.
British citizens do not require a visa when entering Hungary. Should you intend to stay for more than the standard 90 days, you must register with the closest Regional Immigration Office.
You can use Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) for entry, airside transit and exit in Hungary.
Any other nationality looking to visit Hungary must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
To find out more about visiting Hungary, check out their official tourism website at visit-hungary.com