There are a million ways to dissect Hungary. Seated right where Central meets Eastern Europe, split in half by the Danube river, and informally divided into five regions (Budapest and the surrounding areas; Eger-Tokaj Wine Region; Puszta and Lake Tisza; Lake Balaton; and Pannoia), Hungary can also be studied through its occupations (Celtic, Roman, Hun, Magyar, Mongolian, Ottoman, Hapsburg, and Russian). But Hungary is not a land of fragments -- broken pieces of history, culture, and geographies. In fact, what has risen from pushes and pulls of countless influences and a few resulting destructions is an organic amalgam of Europe, new and old. The center of it all is Budapest, Hungary's dazzling capital. Known as Aquincum during Roman times, the capital has everything a nation can ask for: architecture that spans the centuries (Baroque, Art Nouveau, etc.), a rolling river (Danube), thermal spa baths (Szechenyi, for example), a smorgasbord of local and international fare (goulash 2.0, anyone?), numerous museums and cultural houses, and an electric nightlife. West of the Danube and less than an hour away is the artist town of Szetendre of galleries, live music, dance groups, and Baroque churches. Further west, in the region of Pannoia, is the 2,000 year old city of Pecs, selected as 2010's "European capital of culture", where both mosques and churches don't battle for but share its streets. Known for its historic and top-notch Hungarian wines, there is more to the Eger Tkaj Wine region than its name suggests: this area is home to Europe's largest stalactite cave system, located in the Aggtelek National Park, as well as the most stunning Baroque cities in the country -- the city of Eger, characterized by beautiful architecture, a relaxed atmosphere, and famous red wines, specifically the Egri Bikaver. Like the nation itself, the blend, also known as "bull's blood," has varied a great deal over the years, but persists stubbornly with a long, smooth finish.
Regions in Hungary
Architecturally stunning Budapest is a tour de force of Hapsburg splendor, best appreciated over rich cream cakes in a chandelier-lit Gerbeaud coffee house or a sumptuous steam in a Gellért thermal bath.... read more
The Danube Bend (Dunakanyar), a string of small riverside towns just north of Budapest, is a popular excursion spot for both Hungarians and international travelers. The name "Danube Bend" is actually a misnomer.... read more
In southwestern Hungary, you will find the fertile Mecsek Hills; the city of Pécs is the major city of this hilly region. Pécs has been named a European Capital of Culture for 2010, when the spotlight will... read more
Top Destinations in Hungary